Knucklebooms_TrucksIndividual pieces of utility equipment can be very expensive, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and usually designed to accomplish one single task at a time. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a piece of equipment that performed multiple tasks? This no longer has to be just a wish because there is a type of vehicle that can perform a myriad of roles that is obtainable for the cost of one vehicle and they are called knuckleboom trucks.


Knuckleboom trucks are known for their versatility in handling many types of roles, although their initial design was not quite so flexible. They were developed as an add-on to a standard truck bed. Before this vehicle was better developed, workers had to manually lift loads on and off the cargo bed, a process that was time consuming and labor intensive.

The forklift was a better alternative; however, one had to be available at every loading and drop-off site, which just was not always a viable option. Because of this need, developers thought of a way to automate the process of loading and unloading and developed a crane-like mechanism that was permanently mounted on the truck chassis to automatically lift the load to and from the trucks.


This design proved to be so successful that it was adopted not just for loading and unloading but for various purposes as well. Knuckleboom trucks can be used for various purposes simply by changing the boom attachment. Here are some the popular attachments for these trucks.

  • Grapple – The grapple is a claw–like attachment that can grip objects like timber or brush and other debris. The unit is hydraulically powered and secures a load by clutching it with talon-like claws. Grapples are truck add-ons typically used in the logging and waste disposal industries.
  • Clamshell Bucket – Like the name implies, this type of attachment resembles a clam. The two opposing buckets are designed for digging soil and handling waste water.
  • Pallet Fork – The pallet fork is similar to a fork lift with the exception that it attaches to the tip of the boom. It is suitable for lifting any palletized cargo and is often used for logistics applications.
  • Augers – Augers are a type of drill made for soil. Knuckleboom trucks can be outfitted with auger attachments and used to drill holes in the ground for placing trees, electric poles and fence posts.
  • Worker’s Basket – For aerial jobs, bucket trucks are frequently used to lift workers to heights; however, the knuckleboom truck can be used as such a device. A worker’s basket can be attached to the tip of the boom to serve as a safe platform to handle aerial jobs. Keep in mind though that unlike most bucket trucks, the knuckleboom truck isn’t insulated to handle electric line jobs.
  • Crane – This vehicle can also assume the role of a crane. Knuckleboom trucks have a considerable amount of reach and can be used as an alternative to cranes for low to medium height hoisting.

The unique design of this vehicle is the reason why it can take on so many different types of roles. The boom itself combines the features of an articulating arm and a telescopic arm into one useful device. The construction of the boom is considerably stronger than those used by bucket trucks so it can handle all sorts of attachments and different roles.

In the world of heavy equipment, knuckleboom trucks can be considered as a veritable jack-of-all-trades; for that very reason, it is an important vehicle to consider for jobs that require an all-around vehicle. Hopefully this article has provided helpful information as to the various uses of knuckleboom trucks in different industries!