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Market Outlook: Let’s Talk About Micro Scissor Lifts

Blog Posts - Nov 23

Market Outlook: Let’s Talk About Micro Scissor Lifts

Bob Begley
Director - Product Management
JLG Industries

Uses for micro scissor lifts (referred to as machines with a platform height of no more than 15 feet) on job sites have been rapidly increasing thanks to their lightweight, compact size — as well as these machines’ ability to fit through standard doorways with no modifications to the machine.  Micro Scissor Lift Market at a glance
In fact, demand for these types of lifts really started to increase as the trend towards urbanization increased, resulting in less open space and buildings getting taller and narrower. This trend created a greater need for products that:

  • Have a small footprint for use in areas with limited or confined access
  • Are lighter weight for use on carpeted, sensitive or suspended floors with weight limitations
  • Can fit into elevators and can be moved between floors for finish and fit-out construction work or ongoing maintenance
  • Can be used in environmentally sensitive areas

Today, micro scissor lifts are frequently used in “high clean” applications, such as clean rooms and data centers, as well as in hospitals, schools, hotels, libraries, museums and office buildings where noise and emission restrictions exist. They are also well-suited for use in ongoing facility maintenance applications, from airports to high-rise buildings — and just about anything in between. They can be efficiently utilized to complete mechanical and electrical work, HVAC and ductwork, hang drywall, install ceiling tiles, paint, retail refit and display, construction finish work and cleaning.

Because they are used in so many different types of applications and their popularity continues to grow, let’s take a closer look at what’s driving the micromachine market…

What features make micro-sized products stand out compared to other sizes of scissor lifts?

The most requested feature for micro scissor lifts is for models to have a gross vehicle weight (GVW) under 2,000 lbs. In fact, at JLG, we refer to these models as lightweight scissor lifts (noted in our nomenclature with an “L”), rather than micro, because they are engineered to weigh less than 2,000 lbs., giving operators the ability to use these machines in limited-access, weight-restricted applications.

Other features customers commonly ask for are:

  • Compact footprint (32-in or less platform width)
  • Zero-turning radius
  • Quick travel-over-ground speed
  • Remote machine control
  • Lift capacity for two people
  • Ability to drive through doorways without folding down the rails
  • Ability to go to full height both indoors and outdoors
  • “Smart” control systems and advanced machine capabilities

Also, in response to the growing demand for environmentally friendly equipment in this size of machine, models with direct-electric drive systems are in high demand right now. That’s because they require fewer scheduled services, give operators more duty cycles per charge and offer users more versatility when working in sensitive or restricted areas thanks to their ability to create a quieter work area, to have less dependency on hydraulic oils and to produce zero emissions.

What new technologies or trends are expected to come in these products? 

Within the coming years, we expect to see more lithium-ion battery options available for micro scissor lifts.
Although these types of batteries are more costly than other battery options, when equipment owners look beyond the initial, upfront investment cost of the technology, the total cost of ownership (TCO) is so good. On average, lithium-ion batteries provide 10 years of use, well exceeding the equipment’s expected first-life (average is 5-7 years) use. For example, on the JLG All-Electric DaVinci® AE1932 Scissor Lift (a 19-ft model), the lithium-ion battery pack is rated for 4,000 full discharge/recharge cycles. Divided by the technology’s 10-year life expectancy, that’s the equivalent of 400 cycles per year. 

In our opinion, lithium-ion batteries will be a cost-effective solution for micro scissor lifts to run a lifetime of applications.

Looking further out, we believe the market will see OEMs working toward total electrification in this size of machine. With no hydraulics or oil, fully electrified models will be leak-free and operate quietly, which will make them a preferred piece of equipment for work in environmentally sensitive areas.

What is JLG’s product offering in this size class?

JLG® offers two micro-sized models in the market — the ES1330L and the ES1530L.

The “L” in the nomenclature lets you know that these models are lightweight. The ES1330L weighs 1,984 lbs. The ES1530L has a machine weight of 1,940 lbs.

Both models measure 30-in in width with the JLG® ES1330L scissor lift boasting a platform height of 13-ft both indoors and outdoors, while the ES1530L offers a 15-ft platform height indoors and a 10-ft platform height in outdoor applications. These models’ compact features include an industry-exclusive zero-turning radius for work in tight spaces, enabling operators to maneuver around job sites more efficiently, as well as 500-lbs lift capacity to allow for up to two operators, along with tools and materials, to be brought to the workspace, and enough platform space to complete work with a single lift. 

The “ES” in the nomenclature lets you know that these are electric-drive models, offering more battery life than comparable models, as well as faster travel speeds, improved gradeability and fewer leak points, for sensitive work and long shifts. They also give users confidence that they’ll have enough power to load the machine onto the truck at the end of the day. 

To enhance operator productivity and/or extend the machine’s applications, JLG’s variable tilt functionality, which enables a larger work envelope when operating on slight slopes, comes standard on these models. Optional features available include JLG’s CleanGuard® Leak Containment System and Advanced Battery Monitoring System (ABSM).

Customers also expect micro scissor lift models to feature the same technologies that enhance the operation and operator experience as their larger counterparts offer. Recent updates to JLG’s ES1330L and ES1530L scissor lifts have included features common to the rest of the brand’s scissor lift line, including:

  • Pin-based load-sensing system for zero-weight calibrations
  • Pothole protection
  • Variable tilt functionality
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Zero-turn radius


What are three equipment owners should consider before purchasing micro scissor lifts for their fleets? 

When considering the purchase of a micro scissor lift, rental companies should consider and compare these three things:

  1. Equipment specifications — specific measurements, such as the model’s lift reach and lift capacity, as well as its indoor/outdoor rating and how many occupants are allowed in the platform, will provide equipment owners with insights about which applications the machine can be most efficiently used in.
  2. Machine footprint — the machine’s GVW, ground-bearing pressure and width, as well as if it has zero-turn capabilities, will suggest to equipment owners where the machine will efficiently fit and how it will effectively maneuver around job sites.
  3. Duty cycles — the battery’s runtime and charging times will indicate to equipment owners how much uptime (when running) and downtime (when charging) the machine could have per day.

In addition to the three considerations mentioned above, JLG also suggests equipment owners know about all the “extras” available for an OEM’s micro scissor lifts. These features can enhance an operator’s productivity and/or extend the machine’s performance in certain applications. For example, standard features like JLG’s variable tilt functionality (which enables a larger work envelope when operating on slight slopes), as well as options like CleanGuard® Leak Containment System, and Advanced Battery Monitoring System (ABSM) can really boost an owner’s and/or user’s experience with our micro scissor lifts.

To learn more about the JLG 1330L and 1530L micro, or lightweight, scissor lifts, click here.

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