February 14, 2019

SENNEBOGEN 718 vs. a Crane for Tree Removal

At SENNEBOGEN, we pride ourselves on the mission that our tree care machines are purpose-built for tree cutting, tree removal, and tree service work. In order for us to figure out the challenges and daily struggles faced by tree care specialists, we do our research. We talk to industry experts - real operators and arborists - and with that feedback, we purpose-build our machines to be the solution to those challenges. The SENNEBOGEN 718 is truly built for and by tree care experts! 

While we don't claim to replace every piece of equipment in your tree care removal arsenal, we're proud to say there are many jobs that the SENNEBOGEN 718 is simply better suited for than some of the equipment of yesteryear.

Cranes are popular for tree removal due to their ability to reach great heights. Reach is great, but it's not everything.  Time on the job site with prep work and clean up, plus the work a SENNEBOGEN can do AFTER cutdown, make it better suited for tree removal than a crane. (Yes, it's even better for really tall trees!) 


>>  Download The 718e Technical Spec Sheet  <<

Crane-Assisted Tree Removal vs. SENNEBOGEN 718

Crane Set-up Challenges

The removal of large trees by crane is often demanded when old-growth trees inhabit a congested landscape, for handling large diameter trees, or when a tree is inaccessible by other means. 

Crane-assisted tree removal still requires riggers to safely set up the crane, which involves a number of safety measures to prevent an incident during felling operations. And since each large tree and tree location is different, the course of action must be carefully planned and modified to fit each removal operation, including:

  • proper location and leveling of the crane onsite

  • establishing a safety perimeter according to swing radius

  • setting the finish ballast and erecting the crane

  • establishing crane limits and testing crane operations

The Solution of Setting up a 718: Self-Leveling and Sets Up in Seconds

Traditional rigging operations and time-consuming safety procedures that must be followed with cranes are largely eliminated with a 718 tree-handler.

The SENNEBOGEN automatically levels itself on uneven ground to provide stable footing in seconds.

The SENNEBOGEN 718 tree machine sets up quicker than a crane with its self-leveling outriggers.

The 718 comes standard with rugged forestry tires mounted on reinforced axles, making it nimble in difficult terrains.  The use of swamp or timber mats allows additional versatility in muddy, wet or rough off-road terrains. 

Additionally, in sensitive terrains, such as a golf course, turf tires can be mounted on the 718 to reduce its ground disturbance.

With a working range of 45 feet and 12,000 lbs lifting capacity, the 718 can be called in for heavy duty operations in both urban and forested landscapes, easily cutting and transferring both large diameter tree sections and reaching tall trees (up to about 80 ft trees) with the articulating boom that features a telescopic stick.

The Challenges of Operating a Crane

crane vs sennebogen 718When a crane is set up for tree removal, either a smaller tree is cut from the ground, or a worker will attach rope slings or steel cables to branches and treetops as they dismantle the tree in pieces to avoid overloading or 'shock loading' the crane.

The crane operator must then slowly and skillfully maneuver parts of trees to the ground.

When using a crane to cut trees, removing too big a piece, jerking the load while in the air or moving the load too quickly during the critical period can cause high stress (or shock) on the crane system.

Shock loading or overloading can result in deadly accidents, will drastically reduce the lifetime of the crane, and most importantly, shock loading and overloading can be a silent contributor to catastrophic crane failure - weeks, months, or years later.


Operating a SENNEBOGEN: Setup, Cut, Remove, Cleanup and Move in Record Speed with a 718

After a crane has been positioned for tree removal, it is limited to removals within its defined reach and lifting capabilities, otherwise additional repositioning and set up efforts are required. 

The 718, on the other hand, can quickly deploy its outriggers for a stable platform, remove trees safely, and transition into a new location in a matter of minutes.  This can be especially beneficial in applications where multiple large tree removals are required such as in parks, golf courses, or commercial building complexes. 

"The 718 removed 30 to 40 percent of the trees we had marked for crane removal which dramatically reduced our total time on site and allowed us to get to other jobs quicker.


sennebogen 718 commercial work
Mayer Tree Service makes easy work of removing trees in a commercial parking lot.


Improved Safety: Keep Your Crew out of the Trees with the 718  

The 718 is purpose-built to dismantle trees without putting personnel or equipment in harm's way - removing nearly all manual labor with just one operator and one machine.

Even large tree removal operations are made more efficient as trees are quickly maneuvered with hydraulic-agility and precision-controlled handling - from standing tree to chipper.

Production can increase by 5-10x existing rates, especially when you consider eliminating the time-consuming task of setting up a conventional crane.

Instead of performing the one operation of a crane - lowering cut timber to the ground - the 718 allows operators to perform multiple tasks at each site by switching between attachments from a cutting shear to a grab saw to a collection device, and many more.

If you are combining a climber/bucket tree truck operation with a crane to reach greater heights, the risks to both climber and crane operator are difficult to manage if the limits of radius are neglected. Both must stay in constant communication to make sure the tree or branch does not exceed weight limits, the tree is securely connected at the right spot, and the weight-to-range ratio is not exceeded - which could cause a catastrophic failure.


>>  Download The 718e Technical Spec Sheet  <<


When to Use a SENNEBOGEN vs a Crane

An advantage of a crane is its ability to reach over and take down incredibly large trees exceeding one hundred feet in height.  In fact, cranes can range in size from small, 12-ton trucks with 60 plus feet of reach, to 200 ton machines with 160 plus feet of reach and enough lifting power to pick up the largest of trees!

The 718 is excellent for tackling trees up to about 80 ft.  Thus, its limitation is the size of the tree and access to very confined spaces where a crane would be required.

If the tree service is called on to remove a very tall tree, then a large crane is what is often used.

For something of a greater height that can still have you excel in your overall productivity, we recommend checking out our 728 and 738 machine handlers

Our 738 offers the most reach and lift capacity yet with just about 75 feet of reach at 12,000 lbs. lifting capacity. 


As with any job, evaluating the scope of requirements determines best equipment needed for the job at hand.



2023 Tree Care Workers’ Complete Guide to Machines & Equipment for Tree Removal, Urban Forestry, Storm Cleanup & More

Take an in-depth look at the SENNEBOGEN line of tree care handlers as we compare and contrast common equipment modifications to inform you on the best options for your tree service business.

New Call-to-action  

unnamed (94)

Get our latest content

Subscribe for email updates

Proven North American Parts and Service Network



Downloads printable PDFs

Product Downloads

Have questions we can answer?