Crawler Cranes Vs Spider Cranes—Which One Should You Go for?

Crawler Cranes Vs Spider Cranes—Which One Should You Go for?

To the untrained eye, one crane may seem very similar to another. In fact, you may even think that the only real differences stem from size and shape. However, before you choose a crane for your next—or even first—construction job, have you compared the differences between the two more common choices?

It’s not unusual for project managers to opt for the crane hire Brisbane companies are relying on to finalise construction projects. However, since each type comes with its specific features and applications, it’s crucial to know how they differ.

Comparisons to Consider When Choosing the Right Crane

Two of the more common types of cranes to rent in Australia are crawler cranes and spider cranes. That said, how are they different and is one better than the other? Our experts highlight a few of the essential differences that will help you choose the best option for your project.

1.     Crawler vs Spider—What’s the Difference?

The first step in choosing the right crane for your project is to know what both crawler and spider cranes are. Let’s take a look:

  • Crawler: Typically, crawler cranes are mobile cranes that feature a large, tracked undercarriage. They are excellent for areas where the terrain is uneven, and some off-road abilities are required. For the most part, they’re used in both construction and industrial applications.
  • Spider: While spider cranes are also mobile cranes, they are characterised by their ability to “walk” on four or more “legs.” As the name implies, this crane has four or more outriggers on the sides of the body that, when deployed, make the crane look like a giant spider. These strange-looking cranes are excellent for construction or industrial applications—outside or indoors—where space is limited. They also have a unique telescoping boom that makes it possible for them to operate in areas where more conventional cranes, such as crawlers, are unable to operate.

2.     Off-Road Capability

Some construction sites are in yet undeveloped areas which means getting equipment as large as cranes to the site can be challenging. This is how these two cranes stack up in such a scenario:

  • Crawler: For job sites that can only be accessed via off-road terrain you will do well to opt for crawler cranes. Their bigger tracked undercarriages enable them to operate on both soft and uneven terrain.
  • Spider: For the most part, spider cranes are better suited to stable terrain for the outriggers to work effectively. This is why they’re a firm favourite in smaller warehouse or industrial applications.

3.     Lifting Capacity

Another key aspect to consider when you pick a crane is to determine how much lifting capacity you’ll need. Here’s how the crawler and the spider compare in these two instances:

  • Crawler: Since crawler cranes have bigger tracked undercarriages, they can easily spread their weight over a larger area. This enables them to lift and move at a considerably higher weight capacity than a smaller spider crane.
  • Spider: With a four-legged, spider-like design, spider cranes are considerably smaller than crawler cranes. This reduces the amount of weight they can lift, which means they’re more suited to jobs with lighter lifting loads.

4.     Reach Ability

The main goal of using a crane is to reach or move heavy materials that aren’t easily reached by more conventional means. That said, the type of construction job you’re working on may require considerable reach. Here’s how these two cranes compare in the reach they offer:

  • Crawler: A longer boom means that crawler cranes have a much longer reach. This is excellent for areas where loads need to be lifted from or placed on areas that can only be reached from a distance.
  • Spider: Despite being telescopic, the spider’s boom is considerably shorter than that of the average crawler. That means the spider is more suitable for areas where the crane can stand relatively close to where it needs to lift items to and from.

5.     Space Required

When deciding if you need to opt for spider crane hire rather than the conventional crawler crane choice, it’s equally important to understand how much space the machine will need to do its job safely:

  • Crawler: Due to the large undercarriage area, crawler cranes will require a much larger area to stand on. Also, a crawler won’t be able to manoeuvre around existing obstacles on the site. If you’re opting for a crawler, factor in time to clear enough space for it to work in.
  • Spider: Choosing a mini spider crane means that you can operate in smaller, more confined spaces. Compact areas, such as the inside of a warehouse will easily be able to accommodate spider crane use.

Final Thought

When you’re getting ready to hire a crane for your next job site, it’s important to consider the factors our experts have highlighted in this post. That way you’ll be sure that you’re using a crane that can safely reach and move your load. Choosing the correct option will also ensure that the job gets done within your expected time frame!

Written by Joshua Galyon

Joshua is a senior editor at Snooth, covering most anything of interest in the world of science and technology. Having written on everything from the science of space exploration to advances in gene therapy, he has a real soft spot for big, complicated pieces that make for excellent weekend reads.

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