Telescopic cranes for a service truck can greatly increase a mechanic’s capability out in the field. While service cranes provide more ROI opportunities, acquisition costs can also vary greatly depending upon what type of crane is chosen for the truck. The two most common in service applications are electric and hydraulic telescopic cranes.

No matter if you are just in the consideration phase for purchasing your first service crane or you’ve bought many in the past, we’ve got information that can be of benefit to you. Let’s explore the pros and cons of an electric and hydraulic telescopic crane.

Electric Crane

Electric Cranes


  • Substantially lower acquisition cost when compared to a hydraulic crane
  • Ideal for light-duty (6,000 lbs or less) and short cycle applications
  • Crane can operate without your engine idling
  • Doesn’t require hydraulic components to be installed on the service truck


  • Limited lifting capacity and crane reach
  • Not intended for long cycle operation
  • Slower operation of winch and controls which means slower lifts and movements

Hydraulic Crane

Hydraulic Cranes


  • Wide range of lifting capacity and reach (2,000 – 14,000 lbs and up to 30’ of reach)
  • Can withstand longer operation cycles and heavy use
  • Faster winch speeds and controls translates into more efficient lifting cycles


  • Higher acquisition costs
  • Requires hydraulic components and PTO
  • Engine must idle during crane operation

A few other items are important as it relates to service cranes. Before you slap on a telescopic crane on the side of your service truck, you need to ensure the truck body can withstand the lifting forces from the crane. Cranes place a significant amount of torsional stress and twisting on the service body. Body manufacturers utilize reinforcements within the crane compartment and underneath the body to help absorb the torsional stress of a crane. If your service truck wasn’t intended to have a crane installed, you are asking for trouble down the road if you decide to install one anyway. To help stabilize the truck, outriggers (whether they be manual or hydraulic) should always be utilized during lifting operations. These are commonly integrated within a tailshelf bumper.

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