Types Of Cranes Used In Construction (12 Types)

What Is A Crane?

A crane is a machine used to lift and move heavy loads, machines, materials, and objects for various purposes. Different types of cranes are used in almost all industries, from construction to manufacturing to shipbuilding and material handling.

Cranes are more often on the horizon because they are needed to build the skyscrapers that we often see in our cities today. In this article, we’ll discuss various types of cranes used in construction.

Types Of Cranes Used In Construction

Components Of Crane

There are many cranes available based on the project requirements, which are discussed in detail below, But all cranes generally contain the following basic components:

  • Boom
  • Jib
  • Rotex Gear
  • Outriggers
  • Counterweights
  • Reinforced-steel cable
  • Hook


It is a long arm that can be telescopic or fixed. The main purpose of the boom is to lift, move, and place/position the material. They carry most of the load and are responsible for determining the range of the crane.

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It is a lattice-type structure attached to the end of the boom. The jib helps keep the main support material clear/fixed so it does not hit when moving.

Rotex Gear

The Rotex gear is a mechanism under the crane cab that allows rotation of the cab and boom to the left and right. Simple operation, but very important for the operation of the machine.

Source: maximcrane.com


Outriggers provide support to the crane by distributing the load on the crane over a large area so that the crane itself does not fall/overturn or become unstable.


The additional weights are provided opposite the load to counter the material/equipment loads.

Reinforced Steel Cable

These are used to lift, move and position the materials


A hook is used to attach the material, so carrying materials will be easy.

Types Of Cranes Used in Construction

Depending on the type of work, different types of cranes are used in construction. Let’s now discuss in detail the 12 most used types of cranes. Here is a list of the most used cranes for industrial purposes. 

1. Truck-mounted Crane

A truck-mounted crane is a type of crane that consists of a single engine. This means that the same engine is used for both the chassis and the crane. They are mounted on a rubber trolley, which ensures effortless maneuverability.

truck mounted crane
Source: liebherr.com

The booms stabilize the truck by extending it horizontally or vertically. The main advantage of a truck-mounted crane is that it can also drive on highways, so it’s easy and cheaper.

It does not need any other vehicles or any mode of transportation to transport it. A truck-mounted crane can be rotated up to 180 degrees. However some turn up to 360 degrees, but they are more expensive.

2. Level Luffing Crane

Level Luffing cranes have a hinged jib. In this type of crane, the hook remains at the same level; only the jib can move up and down. It is often used for unloading and loading container ships. Careful movements are required when moving the jib near the ground.

Source: genmasolution.com

3. Railroad Crane

Railroad cranes are used for railway construction, repair, and maintenance of railway lines. It has flanged wheels at the bottom, just like train wheels that can only be moved on rails.

4. Telescopic Crane

The telescopic crane consists of a large extendable boom in which many pipes/tubes are mounted. These tubes/pipes increase their length with the help of a hydraulic system.

They are explicitly used to move things from one place to another, such as handling brick pallets and installing frame trusses in buildings.

When it comes to moving an object at high altitudes, telescopic cranes are the best because they can adjust their height. Sometimes telescopic cranes are used during disaster rescue operations.

telescopic crane
Source: gruasyaparejos.com

5. Aerial Crane

Aerial cranes are also known as sky cranes. They are like helicopters and carry large loads. Aerial cranes are often used in areas where it is very difficult to reach the ground/land like mountains, hill stations, etc.

They use high-strength cables to carry materials/equipment such as boats, cars, and even military equipment (Refer to the below image). Sometimes aerial cranes are used during disaster rescue operations.

aerial crane / sky crane
Source: smithsonianmag.com

6. Tower Crane

Tower cranes are widely used to build tall buildings because they can operate up to 265 feet and under 230 feet. It has a load capacity of approximately 20 tons, and these are fixed on the ground during construction. 

These cranes are fixed with a solid concrete base and anchored with large screws that can be easily removed after completion of construction.

tower crane
Source: liebherr.com

7. Floating Crane

Floating cranes are used for the construction of bridges and ports and also used for loading and unloading ships. They have a capacity of up to 9000 tons, and it is therefore also suitable for rescuing sunken ships from the water.

floating crane

8. Telescopic Handler Crane

Telescopic handler cranes are used to handle pallets of bricks, install steel trusses on top, etc. And they have a forklift type at the end of the boom. They also have outriggers at the base. The crane section is rotatable through 360.

9. Harbour/Port crane 

As the name suggests, these types of cranes are used in harbors to load or unload ships. It is also called a mobile port or harbor crane, and the machine’s flexibility makes it easy to use anywhere.

Source: heavyliftpfi.com

10. Crawler Crane

These are mobile cranes, but their movement is connected with belts, so they don’t need any outriggers for stability. Their carrying capacity is very high (40 tons to 3500 tons). Thanks to the belt system, it can move anywhere, even on soft terrain. 

Crawler cranes can travel while carrying the load, So these types of cranes are used for heavy load transport on the construction site.

crawler crane
Source: cranemarket.com

11. Rough Terrain Crane

A rough terrain crane is a must when working on a new and undeveloped site. The rough terrain crane is essentially a truck crane but with wheels that have increased mobility and better traction. The outriggers extend on the sides of the truck and horizontally and vertically to level the crane.

Source: manitowoc.com

While a truck-mounted crane can move on only leveled sites, a rough terrain crane is an apt choice for the off-road. For extended traction, the rough terrain crane may use two engines, one engine for mobility and the other for lifting weights.

12. All-terrain Crane

It is also a mobile crane that can work at the same speed on paved roads and uneven terrain. They have more wheels than a regular car, and we can use this crane instead of the same cargo crane and dual-purpose heavy-duty crane.

Source: manitowoc.com

Also Read

Types Of Heavy Construction Equipment
40+ Tools And Their Uses In Construction
Types Of Tools Used In Plastering Work
Safety Tips For Working At Heights

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