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Bucket Truck or spider lift or Nifty Lift

flushcut

TreeHouser
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So here is the discussion topic if you could have one of the following: bucket, spider, or Nifty which would you choose? I am not looking to get into a brand battle other than outing Nifty but just because they are a wider platform than a spider type lift. Yes they all have different access styles but there it is...aannnndddd discuss.



Personally in my service area access is 75% bucket accessible and the rest is a toss up between Nifty and spider access with maybe 5-6% spider only. Having just priced all of the above units they are about the same cost give or take.
 

Bodean

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The only leg up of a lift over a bucket is access... if it's narrower than a truck...it's a lift... if it's through a door... it's a lift...

It's all compromise... the lift doesnt need reg or a smog check... but is slow as hell... but you can run an electric one indoors... and outdoors..


So far the best bang for buck little marvel is this tracked lift 18.90.... for 50k brand new... little 10 hp Honda motor and 50' bottom of platform.... 20190807_103308.jpg

20190807_084550.jpg
 

Bodean

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And as far as bucket trucks... at the Presidio I wa th ched them romp bucket trucks overland like 4x4 quads... so buckets can gain access too... but just need more plywood for proper TPZ's....
 

lumberjack

Young man on the go
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What size lift are you considering?

I’m biased, but I very much like the SD64. It’s reasonably quick, cheap to operate, great reach and capacity, great on grass and very maneuverable.
 

flushcut

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60'-75' range. I've been shopping around. The SD64 is one I am considering. I really like the idea of the All Access truck mounted ones. Also a new Freightliner M2 109 with Terrex boom. I have emails in to a few other manufacturers at the moment
 

cory

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I thought a nifty is a spider lift, just one brand of several?
 

lumberjack

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Typically spider lifts are narrow access machines on tracks with outriggers that are bent and fold out of the way. While Nifty does make narrow access tracked machines, but the SD64 is a 70' lift on turf tires with 4 wheel steering and 4 wheel drive. I've had a standing bet since 2016 that the SD64 is the most turf friendly 70' lift.


If you need narrow access, you need a spider. If you need dielectric, you need a bucket (or now an expensive spider)... if you don't need either of those, the SD64 is a great machine, IMO.


Before I was a dealer for Nifty, I was looking around, trying to find which lift I was going to buy. I had honed in on the Tracked Lift's 72' lift... I prefer Tracked Lifts to All Access. I'm not sure what got me looking at the TM64/SD64, but I started comparing the specs of the 70' spiders to the SD64.

Here are some points I regurgitate every time I have this conversation, in no particular order:

1: The SD64 has 12' of outreach at 70', the Tracked lift only has 6' of side reach at 70'.. that makes a huge difference not being over the machine to reach 70'. You can be 60' vertically and 30' to the side with the SD64
2: The boom speed on the SD64 is very respectable, some customers compare it to a bucket truck but I don't have first hand/practical knowledge of bucket trucks. With the engine warmed up, I can go from a fully stowed boom to fully erect in under 70 seconds (outriggers set up). One of the spiders I looked at was around 3 minutes to do the same function.
3: The SD64 has 42' of sidereach which Segways into number 4.
4: The SD64 has a 500lb capacity anywhere it can reach. The Tracked Lift unit has a 300lb or 441lb capacity depending if it fits through a 3' gate or not. Some other spiders have a restricted chart and can offer a similar outreach to the SD64, but only with 176lb in the basket. I'm a big boy and mainly do removals, the 500lb capacity is very nice.
5. The SD64 doesn't have a "computer." It does have a logic board that uses relays to control outrigger/boom function/alarms (IE can't drive while setting or on the outriggers, can't adjust the outriggers while the boom is in the air.). I've compared it to a complicated log splitter... it uses manual hydraulic valves on the ground and in the air to handle most of the boom functions.
6: It has excellent side hill and climbing gradability ratings/capability.
7: The SD64 does not auto level, and I wouldn't want it to. Getting the machine level is super simple and it only needs to be level within 3* for the rated capacities.
8: The elevator style lower boom is great, you have full outreach with the bottom boom stowed up to a 33' working height. It doesn't seem like a big deal until you're needing to reach something low and far out and the traditional style lower boom can't get you there, like my first lift, the TZ50/30.
9: SD64s hold their resale value exceptionally well. I know of machines with 5k hours on them that have sold for $50-55k.
10: The distributor for Nifty Lift is Nifty lift, not a third party importer/distributor. Nifty has been in the US for 20 something years and is located in Greer, SC. You can buy parts directly from Nifty, and they're usually in stock. The only time I've had to wait for a part was of all things the green paint, which is sourced in the US from Sherman Williams, apparently the store that makes it for Nifty was backed up or something. Weird issue, I have a little paint in stock now though (ordered more than needed for a project).
11: Travel speed on the SD64 is around 5mph vs 1-1.5mph with spiders. Again that doesn't sound like much but it adds up to making a huge difference over the life of the machine. In storm situations we can drop the lift off in a subdivision and drive it between jobs. In 2016 we dropped the lift off in a subdivision and it didn't get back on the trailer for around a month (granted it wasn't working every day, we don't have megasubdivions here).

I can see a path for me to have a spider in the future, however it will be a 90-105', like the Omme 2750, unless the Nifty SD85 comes to fruition (would/will be awesome).

The Nifty was my first major step away from narrow access kinda stuff. My logic was I mainly do removals and doing removals through narrow access means you have to bring the tree debris back through that narrow access which is more stressful, less enjoyable, and slower. Also, narrow access can be done by folks working out of pick ups working for essentially beer money... a tougher market to compete with here. So, I focus mainly on what I can get the lift to and make a great hourly rate in the poorest state in the country. I still use Treesmith to climb, but that's usually for trees that are taller than the lift can access (which isn't all that often) or bigger jobs like storm situations.

I know I'm leaving some stuff out, but that should get you started. If you have any questions or just want to chew the fat, feel free to give me a call/shoot me a text, PM me, or respond here. :)
 

lumberjack

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Was reading comments on FB and that reminded me of another point.... the SD64 won't prevent you from doing basically anything. It won't lock up certain controls if an outrigger gets lite, it won't prevent you from raising the boom if it's not perfectly level (all 4 outriggers have to be in contact with the ground to raise the booms from their rests). It's great to not have to fight the machine and its "features" but rather be responsible for your own safe setup and usage.
 

Merle Nelson

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Think that 2750 Omme is at +/- 90 ft Carl. Up Equip came out with a 100+/- ft on the same unit that they had as an 89 or whatever. (Interestingly their 89 ft rides a lot less bouncy than one of their 70 footers I tried - different boom configurations.)

I would guess that of all the trees I do I could do 20 or 30% from a bucket truck, maybe ten percent more from a wheeled Nifty, and probably 60% from a spyder lift.
 

flushcut

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Thanks Carl!

How does the SD64 do with setting up on hills?

I have used the Nifty 55' tow behind many times.
 

lumberjack

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Its specs say it can set up on a 12* slope, plus the 3* tolerance on being level makes it fairly capable. I've yet to have a job where I couldn't use the lift because I couldn't get it set up.

There are some tricks that I don't want to put on an open forum.


The TM50/SD50 is a steamy pile compared to the SD64. Slower, less reach (obviously), traditional style lower boom (compared to the elevator on the SD64).


What's your timeframe like?
 

Nutball

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I think I'd either go with the lift that can get into the smallest of places, with the most height of it's size. That view coming from my opinion on mini skids: lots of tree people swear by a full size skid steer, but having only worked with a bob cat once and a mini skid for a year, I always think how it is much more worth having something that can easily fit behind houses and feed a chipper by itself well.

Or, I would choose a bucket truck with chip box because you are getting a lift, chip truck, people hauler, equipment tower and storer all in one.

A climber should always be on hand to work trees that are too tall or out of reach for a lift.
 

Mellow

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For residential tree work, the Nifty SD-64 can't be beat. I will NEVER go back to a bucket truck. There's just so many advantages with the Nifty.
 

lumberjack

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My previous setup was a rear mount grapple truck with the excavator and SD64 on the trailer. Both can haul people, equipment, gear, and debris, the hook lift truck is far more maneuverable, with a pinch less than half the practical capacity of the rear mount grapple truck.

49938537_1941015872686992_1517615686040420352_n.jpg
2016-08-05 16.55.25-1.jpg

I bought my first mini in 2007... I use a 13klb excavator with cab and air to handle almost all my tree debris now. I still have access to an articulated loader and mini skid, but it's rare that I need them. The downside is I don't get limited access jobs very often, the upside is my hourly rate is relatively high, my labor expense is relatively low, and our production is great.

With either setup you could easily haul a mini in leu of or in addition to the excavator. With the former trailer (longer) and hook lift I could haule a large articulated loader, the excavator, and the lift. I like the versatility.
 

Mellow

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Mine is on a 24' tilt-bed trailer, towed by an F-550 with the Southco Forestry dump. The Avant 420 rides in the dump bed.
 

lumberjack

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That trailer on my F150 is also a 24' tilt beed trailer. You could haul the 420 on the front of it sideways, if it had more axle or truck.
 

lumberjack

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Not without hanging over. You could pull the basket down to get it shorter but that would get old.
 
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