A knuckle boom crane is a flexible equipment option that is ideal in tight workspaces due to its ability to lift various items with precision. Since workers can install a knuckle boom crane on a truck bed as well as multiple platforms, it is a versatile choice that workers can utilize at many different job sites. 


What Are Knuckle Boom Trucks? 

A knuckle boom truck is a vehicle that features a knuckle boom or articulating crane in the truck bed, providing a unique technological innovation that changes how workers move materials in various industries. Similar to a straight boom crane, a knuckle boom crane gives the crane operator greater versatility by including a main and outer boom with an articulation joint in between. 

For a visual of how a knuckle boom crane works, hold a finger straight out and then bend the finger at the knuckle. This crane design follows a similar motion, allowing for a wide variety of uses. Having a knuckle mechanism makes it easier for the crane to fold or expand to grab and move loads further away. This capacity to fold and extend is what sets a knuckle boom crane apart from its stiff boom crane counterparts. 


What Is a Knuckle Boom Truck Used For? 

Knuckle boom cranes are ideal for use in the petroleum, marine, mining, forestry, construction and transport industries due to their versatility, compact form factor and ease of use. 

Knuckle boom trucks are ideal for moving heavy cargo and machinery in constricted spaces. Many workers find knuckle boom cranes particularly useful in European countries due to the greater restrictions on truck sizes and narrower roads in those nations. However, the knuckle boom truck is growing in popularity in industries across the world. 

How a particular industry uses a knuckle boom crane will depend on the location of its use. For example, the transport and construction industry will fit a knuckle boom crane onto a truck, whereas the marine industry will mount the crane on a boat. Depending on your industry’s needs, you can even mount a knuckle boom crane onto a dock or a rail car. Regardless of its application, the ability of the knuckle boom crane to fold allows for easy storage and transportation. 


How Much Can a Knuckle Boom Crane Lift? 

While a knuckle boom crane may be smaller in size, this does not mean they are ineffective — some models can lift cargo up to 60 tons and over. Depending on your specific needs, you can also outfit a knuckle boom truck with a winch for more lifting options. 


Benefits of a Knuckle Boom 

In addition to their versatility, knuckle boom cranes offer many advantages, such as: 


Ease of Loading and Unloading 

The knuckle boom crane features an articulating loader that enables the operator to unload or load cargo in spaces with limited vertical clearance. Operators also have the option to mount the crane in the rear to perform functions such as loading or unloading a trailer behind a truck. 


Multiple Install Configurations 

Whether you decide to install it on a truck or railcar, the knuckle boom crane is a versatile piece of equipment and can meet many needs. For example, most knuckle boom trucks mount the crane behind the cab, but it’s also possible to secure the mount further to the rear to ensure even axle weight distribution for heavy-lifting applications. 

Horizontal Lifting 

The knuckle boom crane is ideal for horizontally lifting cargo, which allows operators to use it even in tight spaces without causing damage. Operators can also add a jib to increase lorry loader possibilities. 


No Travel Limitations 

Since you can install the crane on a truck, it can go and fit wherever your vehicle does. Having the unit mounted on your truck also reduces your travel limitations, enabling you to do more with your crane. 



Operators can add several different attachments at the end of the boom to accomplish various goals. Some examples of possible tool changes include buckets, grapple saws, pallet forks, log grabs, and brick and block grabs. 


Greater Payload Capacity 

While a knuckle boom crane is suitable for many different applications, it is still a relatively lightweight piece of equipment. When mounted on a truck, it results in a small reduction of how much cargo the truck can move. 


Tips on How to Choose the Proper Truck for Your Needs 

Investing in a boom truck is a great way to ensure solid returns for years to come. However, not all knuckle booms are equal, and it’s essential to consider the following tips to find the truck that best fits your needs: 


Reaching Capacity 

The first consideration when choosing a knuckle boom truck is its reaching capacity. Determine how far you need the crane to reach and how much weight you need to lift and move. 

The different knuckle boom cranes on the market offer varying amounts of reach, affecting the applications that suit them best. 


Performance Analysis 

Before making any decisions, complete a performance analysis of the crane to ensure it meets your specific needs. Some factors to examine include: 

  • Maneuverability 
  • Crane weight and mounting 
  • Retrofit options 
  • Boom configurations 

You will want to consider your load requirements to ensure you invest in a crane with the capability to handle your heaviest burdens. 



Before buying, it is also wise to establish whether you will require any assistance with the purchase so you can consider your financing options. Some sellers may be able to provide in-house financing solutions — for instance, Custom Truck One Source offers excellent lending terms through Custom Truck Capital. 


Are You Looking to Buy a Knuckle Boom Truck for Your Business? 

If you need a knuckle boom truck now or for future projects, Custom Truck One Source is here to help you find a solution. As a one-stop shop for buying or renting new and used equipment, we’re here to support your operations with the equipment you need to do your best work. To request a quote, contact us today.