Cal-West Rentals
Family Business Locally
Owned & Operated Since 1958
707 - 763 - 5665
415 - 884 - 0610
San Rafael
650 - 777 - 3535
San Mateo

Know When to Rent: Ladders, Scaffolding, or an Aerial Lift

When completing work at elevation, there are several rental options for you to choose from. You can rent a ladder, scaffolding or an aerial lift. Each of these has pros and cons depending on how they are being utilized. We will focus on each of the different options. We will look at the ways in which they are used. We will also look at the advantages each offers in specific circumstances. This will allow you to choose correctly so you are getting the most out of the different resources available to you.

Ladders Are Useful For Small Projects

Climbing a Ladder Rental

If you are tackling a small project, a ladder rental may be just what you are seeking. Not only are ladders easy to move from one place to another, but they are also highly versatile. Different types of ladders will make it possible for you to work in practically any situation. The only drawback to a ladder is they are not well-suited to drawn-out tasks, or ones in which you need to bring heavy equipment to the worksite.

One of the choices you can utilize is A-frame ladder rentals. These are easy to set up and offer you a solid base with four feet on the floor. They can be set up independent of a wall. These are perfect for use indoors or in any situation where there is nothing available for you to lean the ladder against. A great example of a use of an A-frame ladder, like this 8-foot ladder rental, is to change a light bulb in the ceiling.

When you are dealing with an uneven surface, you may want to choose one of the many extension ladder rentals. These are perfect for when you have something you can lean the ladder against. Something like this 40-foot extendable ladder rental makes it easy for you to reach heights unattainable by an A-frame ladder. The ladder can be carried in its compacted state and extended when you are ready to work. It is advisable to only utilize these types of ladders when you have someone to support the base of the ladder.

Using a ladder is one of the cheapest rental options you have. If you are on a limited budget, this may be the best option for you. It is also perfect for those who do not have the ability to transport heavy equipment from one location to another. Just toss it in the back of your vehicle and transport it right where you need it.

When You Might Want a Permanent Structure Like Scaffolding

Climbing a Ladder Rental

If the work you are doing is a little more involved, you may want to consider utilizing scaffolding rental. This will allow you to work on a wider area. You will not have to adjust the placement of your ladder and you will enjoy better stability. Scaffolding also offers you the opportunity to work together with others on a project to get the work completed even faster.

The biggest disadvantage of scaffolding is the time it takes to set it up and break it down. This time can be made up by the ability to move from point to point in a worksite while on scaffolding. It is important to consider whether the time necessary to set up the scaffolding will be offset by the time saved while on the scaffolding. If so, there are a few options for you.

Among the most common types of scaffolding is this 10-foot tower. Constructed in place, it supports the weight of the workers as well as their equipment. It can be linked with additional scaffolding to create a network of work areas. This is perfect when working on a long-term construction project outdoors. These do not move from space to space without taking them apart.

If you are working indoors, you may opt for scaffolding on wheels. This 6-foot tower is designed to be mobile with wheels on all four legs. The wheels can be locked when you are on the tower. Designed to be mobile on even surfaces, you will have the confidence to move the scaffolding from one location to another as needed. The big advantage of this type of scaffolding, as opposed to an a-frame ladder, is the ability to reach a wider area. Additionally, you can work on the scaffolding without requiring someone to stabilize the base.

Using An Aerial Lift for More Versatility

If you need to bring heavy equipment with you, but you require the portability of a ladder, an aerial lift rental may be the best solution. There are several different options available. These include models perfect for a team as well as those designed for an individual. The right fit for you to will depend on the work that needs to be done as well as the environment you are using it in.

When you think of an aerial lift, articulating boom lift rentals tend to be what comes to mind. These have long arms that can be extended to the height you require. The arm holding the basket also has the ability to move forward and side to side as needed. This means you will be in the perfect position to complete the work. Articulating lifts, like the 62′ 4WD articulating lift rental, make it possible for you to reach up and over obstacles in a way no ladder will let you. These can be perfect when completing work outside.

If you need to move around quickly with direct access, man lifts rental can be a perfect solution. Designed with wheels, you are able to easily position the lift right where you need it the most. There are models designed for one person as well as models like the 32′ electric scissor lift that carry two passengers and equipment. There are models designed for use indoors as well as indoors. This will allow you to have more versatility. If you are looking to work alone, the 30′ personnel lift offers you direct access in a compact and convenient manner.

Price Considerations for Choosing The Right Equipment

In order to choose the right piece of equipment, it is important to think of more than the upfront cost of the rental. As an example, renting a ladder is extremely inexpensive. However, if you are tackling a large project, you may end up taking more time to complete it when using a ladder. If you had scaffolding or an aerial lift, it will take you far less time to complete the task. Additionally, carrying heavy equipment and material up a ladder is near impossible. You may incur injuries along the way that will cost you more time and money.

Scaffolding is a great investment when you are tackling a project in a given area over a period of time. The cost is higher than a ladder, but the time you save may offset the difference. It is important to consider how much time each day you will spend working in one location. If the work spans several days with several workers, scaffolding may be the most cost-effective solution. Once it is rented and constructed, the price does not change.

Mobility and the ability to lift heavy equipment and materials to the worksite is what an aerial lift is all about. The expense of renting an aerial lift is justified when you are not planning to spend much time in one space. You will have the versatility to move from one location to another at will. This is perfect when you are planning to only spend a few hours in each location you are working on. You will have additional costs for powering the lift to consider. Aerial lifts tend to be the most expensive in the long run, but if they help you to get the work done more efficiently, it is worth the cost.

One thing to consider when deciding between scaffolding and an aerial lift is permanence. Large work sites are only benefitted from scaffolding if you have several workers working at once on multiple pieces of scaffolding. If you have a smaller workforce, it makes more sense to have one aerial lift that can move from place to place.


While all of the different pieces of equipment rentals available from Cal West Rentals are good investments, you now have a better idea of how to choose. The different ladder rentals, scaffolding rentals, and aerial lift rentals available make it easy to get exactly what you need. Use this guide to help you in considering which works best for you. We are standing by to help guide you further when making a decision about your equipment rental needs.