Telehandlers: A machine with the ability to handle anything!

Your average telehandler for sale is specifically designed to lift, move and shift heavy objects. There are a few different configurations of telescopic handlers but they are normally structured as a hybrid between a forklift and a crane. You might also knew them as a cherry picker crane as they are often used in agricultural applications like picking fruit from high places.


Telescopic handlers are integral in any industrial applications that require maintenance or installation at a height that can’t be safely reached with a ladder or if an object is too heavy to be lifted by conventional means.

A Short History of Telehandlers

Telehandlers were first developed by the Matbro Company in Surrey, England. Matbro took their cross country articulated forestry forklifts and modified them. These forklifts had centrally mounted booms in the front and a drivers cab in the back. Later, the rigid chassis design with the cab to the side of a rear mounted boom arm became the more popular design. This was mainly due to the increased visibility this configuration gave the operator.

Telehandler Applications

A telehandler is essentially a forklift with a crane arm attached to it. A large arm can be extended to reach high places and lift heavy objects. Then there is the boom which can also be used to pick up objects much like a forklift does. You can use multiple attachments on this boom like a bucket for an operator or a safety cage.

In industrial applications, these pieces of machinery can be used to move loads from one place to another and can perform operations were a forklift would normally struggle. They can also be used to move pallets or objects much like a crane would.


Agricultural applications are similar to industrial where the moving of oddly sized or very heavy objects is easily achieved. You can also replace wheel loaders or backhoe loaders if you use the correct attachments. Some machines are solely purchased for a specific application like in the case of a cherry picker crane. There are also those that have been specifically designed for specific applications and there are some that are meant to be more versatile.

Advantages of a Telehandler

As the main feature of any telehandler for sale is its boom arm, this is because of the vital lifting power this part provides and the many extensions one can attach to the boom arm. If the operator knows what they are doing then they can double or even triple the telescopic handlers lifting weight. Using the correct angles and lifting heights dramatically increase the telehandler’s strength. This also goes the other way and you can reduce the effectiveness of this device if it’s not operated properly.


Image Source: Bobcat Website

If you think of the boom arm like a lever, you will understand how this power increase can be achieved. As you increase the length of the arm, the piece of machinery on the ground becomes less stable. As your work radius increases, your lifting capacity decreases. The operator has to make sure they don’t over extend this power ratio or they run the risk of making the telehandler fall over.

Older telehandlers will require the operator to make use of a load chart so they can calculate what the safe operating heights and weights are. They would have to take weight, height and boom angle into account or run the risk of damaging the good or the piece of machinery. Modern telehandlers for sale will make use of special sensors and computer systems to keep the vehicle in the safe operating range. If these limits are exceeded then the machine will automatically cut off or warn the operator.

To take safety a step further, some telehandlers are fitted with stabilizers that extend the lifting limits of the arm while the vehicle is stationary. A roto joint is sometimes used that allows the stabilizers to function even when the telescopic handlers is moving, which essentially turns it into a small, fully operational, crane. These are known in the industry at Roto machines.

Telehandler accessories/attachments

This piece of machinery is specifically designed to be a very versatile machine. A massive part of this is the ability for these machines to have multiple attachments added to them that all perform different functions.

Utility Buckets

If you don’t have a bulldozer or a skidsteer on hand then attaching a utility bucket to your telehandler give it the ability to lit, fill or move dirty or gravel. The cutting blades on the leading and sides give the bucket strength and rigidity when in use.


Concrete Buckets

If you need to get mixed concrete to a very high place but you don’t have a concrete pump, then you might be in trouble. To get around this, one can make use of a concrete bucket that can be filled with already mixed concrete and hoisted up to a rooftop, bridge or a higher story and then released on demand by the operator.

Truss Booms and Jibs

These boom arms deliver an increased overhang when you need to move wood or steel beams. The arm is locked in place so you still have positive load retention and then gives you the ability to lift and swing material.

Spreader Bars

If you are moving very long material then you don’t want to suspend them from a central point. This could cause the material to bend or break as all the weight is on one point. This attachment evenly distributes the load over many hooks.


Forks are used for a wide variety of applications. There are three different kinds and these are pallet forks, cubing forks and lumber forks.


Image Source: Caterpillar Website

Pallet forks are used to lift pallets in storage rooms and warehouses.

Cubing forks are similar to pallet forks but they are much bigger and are designed to handle a lot of other applications besides pallets.

Lumber forks are specifically designed to move and transport pieces of processed wood.

Crane hook

These are similar to the hooks you use on a forklift. These attachments slip over your fork arms and gives the operator the ability to lift awkwardly shaped material or if you want to move the material to a lower point than the forks will allow. This is actually a fork attachment as it just slides over them.

Work Platforms

This attachment is used for applications where people are needed to be hoisted. Think of a painting crew for example of a cleaning crew that needs to be elevated up a few stories when winches are not available. These are normally made form very heavy duty materials that don’t rot or warp. Imagine if you hoisted people on a platform that was rotting… not very safe.

A cherry picker crane makes use of work platforms in varying shapes and sizes.

Earth Auger

An auger is a spinning corkscrew that is used for digging deep cylindrical holes into the ground and pulling the materials back out of the hole. Instead of buying an auger machine, you can buy an auger attachment and use it on your telehandler instead.


Standard Carriages

The carriages is probably the most used attachment that you will find and this is because it’s the most versatile. This can be used to hoist a variety of materials so the operator has no need to stop what they are doing and switch out their attachment.

Swing Carriages

This is like a normal carriage but this gives the operator two more directions to move. This ability is great in tight or restricted areas where there isn’t much space to manoeuvre.

Side Tilt Carriages

The Side tilt carriage takes what the swing carriage does and increases the versatility. These carriages allow for minor lateral movements as well.

Sheet Handler

The sheet header attachment is used for moving large, flat sheets of material. Then they can be raised to an upright position and can be worked on safely.


If you need extra vertical reach then use a mast attachment. This accessory allows the boom to extend further than before which gives the operator many new applications.

With telescopic handlers being such versatile machines, it’s easy to see why numerous South African companies choose to make use of this specialized equipment. If you are looking for a great deal why not find a cherry picker crane or a telehandler for sale on Truck and Trailer?

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Bruce is an SEO guy that has his eye on the prize and traffic on his mind. A lover of good music and a connoisseur of all things awesome.

Bruce Ungersbock

Bruce is an SEO guy that has his eye on the prize and traffic on his mind. A lover of good music and a connoisseur of all things awesome.

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