Tower Cranes vs. Mobile Cranes

When it comes to choosing the right crane for your project, there are many factors to take into consideration. Both tower and mobile cranes come with their own unique set of advantages. From size to budget, the ideal crane for you will differ from project to project. 

In this blog, we look at the benefits of tower cranes vs mobile cranes, from set-up times to flexibility. 

At Emerson Cranes, we’re pleased to offer our customers superior mobile crane hire in London. If you’d like to find out more about our vast range of crane hire options, please get in touch. Call us on 020 8059 2567 and speak to one of our friendly team members today. 


What is the Difference Between Tower Cranes and Mobile Cranes?

Tower Cranes

Tower cranes are predominantly used in the construction of tall buildings, such as skyscrapers. The basic components of a tower crane are a vertical tower and an outstretched projecting arm – also known as a jib. 

There are three types of tower cranes available, these are: 

  • Hammerhead cranes
  • Luffing tower cranes 
  • Self-erecting cranes

In terms of the advantages of mobile and tower cranes, this piece of lifting equipment offers maximum height capacity. Tower cranes are also incredibly stable and can bear extremely heavy loads. 

If you’re working on a large-scale industrial construction project, the loading and lifting capacity of a tower crane cannot be matched. 


Mobile Cranes 

A mobile crane is a self-propelled vehicle, attached to either a cable-controlled or hydraulic-powered telescopic boom. 

A mobile crane features stabilisers which extend from the side of the crane to allow a larger surface area. 

Types of mobile cranes include: 

  • Crawler cranes
  • Rough terrain cranes
  • Truck mounted cranes 
  • Floating cranes 

Mobile cranes provide a variety of advantages to users, including superior versatility and mobility. Mobile cranes are ideal for transporting materials, as well as conducting complex lifting operations. If you’re working on a busy site in an urban area, mobile cranes are ideal for you. 


Tower Crane vs. Mobile Crane


When it comes to flexibility, as the name suggests, mobile cranes are the superior choice. Tower cranes are fixed to the ground, meaning they can’t be moved once set up. In contrast, mobile cranes can be transported to wherever you need them on-site, at any given time.

 In addition, because most mobile cranes are also road worthy, they can be used to transport heavy loads between sites, saving you money on additional hires for different sites. 

If you’re looking for flexibility in regard to the lifting capacity of your crane, tower cranes are the ideal choice for you. Thanks to their large surface area, tower cranes surpass the lifting capabilities of all other cranes. 



In the battle of the tower crane vs. mobile crane, when it comes to strength, the outcome might surprise you. Although mobile cranes are the smaller option, they do not compromise on strength.

 If you’re looking for a tall, sturdy crane, then a tower crane is certainly the best option for you. But, when it comes to strength, don’t always assume that bigger means better. 


Lifting Capacity

Due to their larger size, tower cranes are unmatched when it comes to lifting capacity. If you’re in need of a crane that can carry heavy loads effectively, tower cranes are the best option for you. 


Set-Up Time

One of the major differences between tower cranes and mobile cranes is the set-up time of each. A mobile crane can be assembled in a few hours, however, a tower crane usually takes up to 3-4 days. 

If you’re wanting to get your project up and running as quickly as possible, it’s worth thinking ahead if you’re planning on using a tower crane as you may need to factor in considerable set-up time. 



In terms of cost-efficiency, in most cases, hiring a mobile crane is more cost-efficient than a tower crane. This conclusion factors in both set-up time and manpower. 

Mobile cranes require little set-up and don’t require multiple operators. If you’re planning a short-term project with a small team, mobile cranes may be the better option to suit your needs. 

The differences between tower cranes and mobile cranes might be considerable, however, both pieces of construction machinery are equally valuable assets to any site.

 Before deciding on the right crane hire for you, take the time to consider which option might work best in enhancing efficiency on your site. Ask yourself – does my project require manoeuvring large, heavy loads? Will I be transporting loads between sites? And how quickly do I want my project to start? 

Once you’ve come to a logical conclusion, you can then make an accurate decision on the best crane hire option for you. 


Tower Crane vs. Mobile Crane – Still Can’t Decide?

Still can’t decide which team to join? To find out more about the benefits of both tower and mobile cranes, or to enquire about our superior crane hire services, please get in touch. Call us on 020 8059 2567 and speak to one of our knowledgeable team members today.