Cranes or Conveyors: Which Is Better?

01st June 2019

Cranes and conveyers are both used to move bulk materials to new locations, but they have very different specifications. Depending on the nature of your worksite, the energy and time needed coupled with finances will define which solution is right for you. This article will explain when you would use one over the other.


Cranes are more flexible than conveyors. Franna cranes or pick and carry cranes are mobile cranes designed to travel on public roads, and they can lift and transport loads on their wheels to the load’s destination. Hiab cranes are also more flexible as they are essentially cranes mounted on the back of trucks that can lift loads on and off the back of it, and they don’t carry their load on the crane arm while in transport. Even stationary, all terrain cranes are more flexible than conveyors because their pick-up and drop-off points can be different with each load they pick up.

Conveyors, on the other hand, are built in place and are only flexible in the loads that they can transport. Both conveyors and cranes are built with specific load limits, or tonnages, that define their maximum capacity.

Energy Consumption

If you are constantly moving items from one place to another, a conveyor is likely to be significantly more energy efficient than a crane. Conveyors have fewer moving parts and consume energy at a relatively constant rate. Cranes, on the other hand, have lots of moving parts that typically run on diesel, and they consume varying amounts of energy depending on the weight of their load and the distance they need to transport it.

On the flipside, constructing and installing a conveyor requires a significant energy expenditure at the outset. Setting up a small to medium sized crane is only a little bit more complicated than driving it where it is going to be deployed.


Crane hire, even with an operator included, for one or a few days is almost always going to be cheaper than installing a permanent conveyor. Even for longer jobs, using a Franna crane or hiab crane is potentially going to be significantly more cost effective than installing a conveyor system. It is only in situations where there is an almost constant need for material handling transport that conveyors will be more cost effective than cranes.

Crane Hire – Gold Coast and Brisbane

Do you need to hire a mobile crane for a domestic or commercial job? Surf City Cranes offer a variety of quality crane trucks for hire on the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Ipswich. Ask our friendly experts about our different cranes and their capabilities and accessories. Call us today on 0421 665 654 or 0402 269 535 or contact us online.