How does an electric scissor lift work?

Read our helpful guide to discover how our electric scissor lift range works.


Electric scissor lifts are a type of powered access platform and one of the most common types of scissor lifts, popularity maintained by their silent motion, lack of fumes and less bulky size. Whilst these are often smaller and primarily used inside, other types are more fitting to other settings. These include those powered by a range of other sources such as diesel and hydraulics.

Their main aim is to assist in lifting and manoeuvring large-scale items onto raised platforms. This is done using a scissor mechanism and a person is needed to operate it.

An electric scissor lift is powered by electricity which is connected to a console of buttons and switches. These are used to perform the two main functions – going up or down. These are its only two functions and all that is needed to control it, as well as an emergency stop button just in case!

Its ability to be driven wherever it needs to be, so it is in position for the lift you need, makes the electric scissor lift a valuable and reliable piece of kit.

How is an electric lift powered – The five main elements 

The lift itself consists of 5 main elements that allow it to move around and essentially, lift. These are highlighted in more detail below.

The Platform:

The top of the scissor lift is a flat plane. This is the area used for both the items you wish to be lifted and the individual controlling the machine.

This can vary in size and shape depending on the nature of the products.

The platform itself is not controlled, it simply sits upon the supporting beams and cylinders, which are.

The Scissor Legs:

The supporting beams, or the scissor ‘legs’, are the main part of the cross-balance support mechanism that allow the lift to go up and down. These involve a variety of extending, folding, and pushing motions to allow the items to be securely lifted up high, whilst also being able to be compact and stowed away when not in use.

As the legs draw closer to each other vertically, the platform rises. When they move apart and compress themselves together horizontally then the platform is lowered.

The Base:

This sits at the bottom of the legs and creates a stable stand for the mechanics to sit upon. It often also has wheels for practicality as this means the lift can be manoeuvred easily wherever it is needed.

The Electric Power Supply:

Everything described above is then powered and put into motion using a small electric motor. This is self-contained in the base of the lift and controls all the movement as well as the control panel.

The electric scissor lift is an all-around piece of equipment, useful for a variety of terrain and jobs. Whether it’s organising the warehouse or helping in construction, the electric scissor lift is fume-free, low noise, and compact.


How can we help?

AWS Nationwide is one of the leading providers for rental and operator training providers. With guaranteed equipment availability, it has a selection of heights for you to choose, from 8 to 14 metres. This height customisation, as well as different sizes of platform, allow AWS Nationwide to provide you with the powered access tool that can be a tailored asset to both you and your team.

To find out more and see how an electric scissor lift could help you, see our website at