Rumble in the (urban) jungle

Mobile crane vs tower crane – who reigns superior?

With every new construction project, there comes the question regarding what type of plant you will require. As a necessity for any site, crane hire is always high up the list of considerations. But which type of crane should you get? A mobile crane, or a tower crane? Whilst both share the fundamental ability to haul a load, they also have distinct differences. So, which one is the better choice and what benefits can you reap by selecting one over the other?


The crane contenders battling for your tender

Mobile crane

The most common crane type in use within Australia, mobile cranes are fully portable and utilise a cable or hydraulic system to haul loads. Types of mobile cranes can include all terrain cranes, franna cranes, and city cranes. Suitable for tight access urban areas, mobile cranes also have the scope for large commercial construction site applications.

Learn more about mobile crane wet hire.


Tower crane

A tower, or fixed crane, as the latter name suggests, remains positioned on site during a project and, unlike a mobile crane, does not have a transportable base or moving platform. Adopting an inverted L shape, its basic design utilises counterweights to haul loads and a slewing unit that allows for a 360-degree rotation. It’s also worth noting that all load transportation is restricted to operating within the slewing radius.


Key features – a blow by blow comparison

We have compiled some of the more common crane considerations that should be addressed during the planning stages of a project so you can have a better idea of how each crane type stacks up.


Lift load

At first glance you may assume that the tower crane’s haul capacity far exceeds that of a mobile crane. But you’d be surprised to find that their lifting capabilities can pack quite a punch.

Mobile cranes may be smaller, but with the use of advanced technologies and interchangeable crane attachments, mobile cranes can easily match their towering rivals. At Action Cranes, our all-terrain mobile crane can haul an impressive 130tn with a maximum hoist height of 91 metres.



One the most striking and obvious differences between the two crane types is their size. Modern urban construction sites can sometimes leave a lot to be desired when it comes to the operational working space. A tower crane assumes a permanent position for its tenure on a site and understandably in some instances, there is not enough allowable room on site to physically erect a tower crane.

Accounting for a fraction of the space of a tower crane, a mobile crane can not only operate within a smaller radius, but its maneuverability also makes it an ideal choice for project managers with multiple sites. With a mobile crane hire from Action Cranes, you could potentially use a single crane to perform works across multiple sites, saving on your overall project costs.



When it comes to set-up times required to get each crane type operational, there is a rather large difference between the two. Tower cranes, once delivered to a site, can take anywhere from hours to potentially days to be made operational. Aside from the labour required to assemble the rig, any delays could be the difference between delivering a project on time and running over.

Mobile cranes on the other hand require minimal set-up. As their design is all inclusive, they can be made operational in a fraction of the time as a tower crane. At Action Cranes our expert operators know their equipment inside and out and can have one of our mobile cranes for hire hard at work on your project site in no time at all.

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Tower cranes, whilst able to lift heavy loads to great heights on large scale construction projects, are very limited in their usable applications across the rest of the industry. The need for additional labour and a fixed operational area makes it unsuitable for smaller civil and commercial ventures and it holds no application potential for the residential sector.

Not only are mobile cranes effective in heavy-duty construction sites, but they can seamlessly be enlisted to successfully undertake a variety of additional project types including tight access or precision lifts, residential works, and small scale civil and commercial builds. Actions Cranes have an extensive fleet ranging from a 10t city crane through to a 130t all-terrain crane and are confident that we have the right mobile crane for your next project.

Mobile Cranes – the undisputed champion

When it comes to a great all-rounder, you can’t go past the mobile crane. Not only can it lift a heavy load and reach great heights like its tower crane offsider, but it has the versatility, time saving efficiency, and cost-effective operational capacity to suit any project. There’s no wonder that mobile cranes are the popular choice throughout Australia.

When it comes to Sydney’s ever-growing landscape, Actions Cranes are proud to have been fulfilling the city’s mobile crane hire needs for over 40 years. Let our expert team and top-of-the-line fleet of mobile cranes prove to you why they are the winning choice for your next project. Contact us today on (02) 9159 6708 for more information on how we can meet all your crane hire requirements.


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