June 2021

Different Types of Construction Cranes

There is a wide variety of crane types to serve your specific construction needs. Depending on your goals, a mobile, telescopic, tower, railroad, aerial, floating, or harbor crane may work best.
Different Types of Construction Cranes

Cranes are essential to the construction process. Whether you’re building a two-story house or a skyscraper, there’s a crane to suit your needs. Below, our experts summarize the different types of construction cranes so you can get a sense of which equipment may help you achieve your project goals.

Mobile Cranes

Mobile cranes are the most standard type of crane used today. These cranes are exceptionally reliable in their footprint—the crane’s position to lift material with the correct capacity—and mobility. Mobile cranes can joist materials inside their chart requirements.

Telescopic Cranes

Telescopic cranes are used to conduct rescue operations, lift boats from the water, and build signal towers. This type of crane consists of a large boom in which several tubes are fitted inside each other. A hydraulic system extends or retracts the tubes to increase or decrease the boom’s length.

Tower Crane

As the name suggests, tower cranes assist in constructing tall buildings. These cranes work well at heights between 230 and 265 feet, and they can lift up to 20 tons. Large bolts anchor them to the ground during the construction period and are removed easily afterward. Tower crane operators often use radio and hand signals for communication.

Railroad Crane

As you may have guessed, railroad cranes are specifically used for railway construction and reparation. These cranes have flanged wheels to move easily along the railway tracks.

Aerial Cranes

Also known as sky cranes, aerial cranes resemble a helicopter and are used to carry large loads. Aerial cranes are typically used to transport materials to and from hard-to-reach places, like the tops of high-rise buildings. They are also used in disaster rescue.

Floating Cranes and Harbor Cranes

Floating cranes and harbor cranes work well for projects involving bridge or port construction. They can assist with loading and unloading cargo from ships. Due to their massive size, they are some of the most powerful material-handling cranes in the construction world. Floating cranes are fixed in place but can load up to approximately 9000 tons. Harbor cranes, by comparison, are smaller and more flexible.


At NessCampbell Crane + Rigging, we’re proud to be among the most reputable crane companies across the Pacific Northwest. Call our Portland, Oregon office today at (503) 283-3111 to learn more about our premier crane and rigging services.

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