Different Types of Cranes and Their Uses

Oct 21, 2020 | Resources

Cranes have been an important tool in construction since early civilizations—Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, and ancient Greece—and were used to build temples and provide irrigation to crops. As society has advanced, crane design has been refined and diversified to create ideal models for different jobs.


There are two basic categories modern cranes fall into: static cranes and movable cranes. Static cranes typically have a heavier lifting capacity, while movable cranes offer versatility and convenience.


Not sure which crane you need? Take a look at our post on the factors to consider when choosing the right crane for your job.




Tower cranes are static, fixed into the ground with concrete. Their skyscraping height and heavy lifting capacity make them ideal for constructing tall buildings. The largest tower crane can lift over a million pounds!




Telescopic cranes can be static, though they are often mounted on trucks as well. Telescopic cranes have booms made of several interlocking tubes, allowing the boom to expand and contract to varying lengths. Telescopic cranes are valued for their adaptability and are extremely well-suited to moving things to high places since they can adjust to specific heights.




Overhead cranes, also called suspended or bridge cranes, are set into a track which they can be moved along. Quite often, they’re found in assembly-based jobs, like automobile assembly, and the steel industry.




Crawlers are equipped with rubber treads instead of wheels, which make them the perfect crane for traversing the soft, uneven soil of a fresh construction, where dirt is loose and frequently moved. Crawlers are sometimes equipped with telescopic booms, and they are usually used for longer projects due to their size and need to be transported to and from the site.




Also called crane ships, floating cranes are mounted on water vessels to handle heavy lifts at sea. They are used for offshore construction of brides, ports, and oil rigs and have even been used to raise and recover sunken ships.




The value of truck-mounted cranes is in their mobility. As the names implies, these cranes are attached to a commercial truck, allowing them to travel on highways and eliminating the need for alternative transport. Truck-mounted cranes can’t lift quite as much as some of its larger siblings—only about 50 tons—but their outriggers and counterweights are used to stabilize the machine during a lift, making them a reliable option for smaller jobs.




Rough-terrain cranes, similar to crawlers, are used for construction on difficult ground, but they have wheels instead of treads. In addition, they’re equipped with a telescopic boom and four-wheel drive, so they can switch easily from on-road to off-road construction.




All terrain cranes possess the mobility of truck-mounted cranes and are able to travel at speed on public roads. They also have the capabilities of rough-terrain cranes, about to handle jobs on both solid and uneven ground.


Landwehr Construction’s fleet of over 30 cranes include rough-terrain and all-terrain cranes to handle a wide variety of jobs. Ready to take on your next project? We’re ready to help. Give Landwehr Construction a call