This guide is offered as an introduction to lighting that is sometimes is needed to supplement or substitute for fixed utility sources.
What are Light Towers?
Elevated lighting on trailers — “light towers” — tie electricity-generating powerplants to high-intensity banks of lights atop poles. They illuminate work areas where emergency teams are responding to disasters or doing night-time infrastructure repair work or where public events require illumination for reasons of public safety.
Manufacturers of tow-behind power and lighting units are numerous and established. Global names like Allmand and Wanco immediately come to mind. While start-up brands and niche manufacturers always are worth a look, decades of manufacturing excellence generally are proof of quality. When in the market for tow-behind power or lighting units, remember that reliable performance should trump price when emergency work or uninterrupted production is the goal.
Heed Service Agreements
Almost as important as reputation are manufacturer warranties and dealership support. Lights that fail or generators that inexplicably shut down can bring havoc to a public event or disrupt an emergency response. When machines fail — anything mechanical occasionally does — the written pledge of a dealership or manufacturer to respond immediately with a replacement unit is a value that’s hard to put a price tag on.
Where to Buy
Buyers have several ways to acquire one of these towable machines. Some manufacturers offer direct factory sales, which eliminates costs associated with purchasing through a dealership. On the other hand, the proximity of a dealership can be important for product support. Second-hand light towers can be found at brick-and-mortar stores as well as online. Auctions are yet another source for second-hand equipment, with some auction houses specializing in government surplus units. Caution: Online buyers should pay attention to stipulated limits on the condition of equipment.Back to top ↑
Many reputable rental companies, national and local, carry these portable pieces of equipment in their inventory, usually stocking market-leading brands. Two general rules of thumb:
Shop Size and Capacity
Manufacturers offer auxiliary support equipment in a wide range of outputs. While you know your needs better than anyone, an experienced rental or leasing agent can match your need to a particular piece of equipment. While you may not know how the lighting system wattage to properly illuminate your project, the experts should be able to tell you.
Understand the Agreement
The terms of service in a rental document protect you and the rental company. On the company side, the renter is accountable for any abuse or neglect of a rented machine and for returning the machine to the store by a stipulated date. Essentially, the renter must care for the machine so that it is returned promptly and in the same condition as when it left the lot. For the renter, the agreement ensures that the piece of equipment will function as promised and that, if it doesn’t, a replacement machine will be provided at no additional cost. Read the fine print for peace of mind.Back to top ↑
In a global market, the price for an auxiliary power unit varies by region. The more widely you explore the market, the broader your options are apt to be. Following are some advertised samples of pricing:
New Towable Light Tower
Used Towable Light Towers
Second-hand equipment is a good investment if attention is paid to condition and to a particular model’s track record of performance. Some shine might be gone from the paint, but the underlying mechanics can have years of dependable service in them. Following is a sampling of advertised prices:
Rental Or Leasing Costs
Rental markets vary so widely between rural and urban regions and different economic areas that price generalizations are hardly conclusive. Suggested rental/lease rates are just that — suggestions. With that caveat, following are some ballpark rental prices:
Some Purchase Options
Buying a towable auxiliary power unit can be a substantial investment. When a buyer is a new contractor or a property owner, funding the purchase can be problematic. Equipment dealers and second-hand stores understand this and offer a variety of ways for buyers to finance the needed power units. Some dealers offer lease agreements with an option to buy, sometimes at rates lower than traditional financing. Others charge no interest on a credit card purchase if the full amount is paid off in 18 months. Supply and demand ultimately determine financing costs.Back to top ↑
Whether for work sites or play areas, auxiliary illumination towers can be matched to the needs of a particular site. Standard wattages range from 6 kW on up to 20 kW. Light sources can either be metal halide lamps — which are notably more luminous than traditional incandescent lighting — or LED lighting, which consumes less electricity and generally lasts longer. Get the features you need.
Four-light towers are the standard in the industry, but some six-light masts are available. Typically, masts can be raised up to 30 feet in the air. Carefully situated, two or three light towers can functionally illuminate several acres. Masts on some tow-behind light towers can be extended vertically or horizontally. In addition, the masts can be hand-cranked up or electrically or hydraulically raised.
If illuminating a site is the only consideration, a light tower with a relatively small generator will suffice. However, on a remote site if you wish to power other equipment from the tower’s generator unit — say, small engines or a pump — a larger capacity generator is required. Some towers come with generators capable of producing 20 kW.Back to top ↑
This Nebraska company started building welders in 1938 and introduced the industry’s first self-contained portable light tower 16 years later. It offers a wide-ranging line of light towers, generators and air compressors. Click here to see Light Towers currently for sale from Allmand Bros →
Some Allmand Bros Specs
|Make||Model||Boom||Electrical System||Weight||Overall Width|
|Allmand||MAXI-LITE||26.7 ft (8.14 m)||120/240||3430 lbs (1555.8 kg)||6.4 ft (1.95 m)|
|Allmand||NIGHT-LITE Pro II||29 ft (8.84 m)||120/240||1950 lbs (884.5 kg)||4.2 ft (1.28 m)|
|Allmand||Night-Lite V-Series||24.5 ft (7.47 m)||120/240||1885 lbs (855 kg)||4.4 ft (1.34 m)|
This family-owned company headquartered in Colorado builds generators as well as light towers and related mobile products (highway message boards, radar speed trailers, etc.). The company opened its doors in 1984. Click here to see Light Towers currently for sale from Wanco →
This Wisconsin manufacturer dates from 1959. Its product line ranges from portable generators to huge nine-megawatt plants. It was a global leader in the introduction of telescopic mast towers and LED auxiliary lighting lamps. Click here to see Light Towers currently for sale from Generac →Back to top ↑
Light towers are not acquired on a whim. Genuine need drives the purchase or rental of such equipment — emergencies, urgent maintenance work, and expansion of a work project into a 24/7 operation. The good news is that manufacturers have a full line of equipment for such time-sensitive situations, so a need can be met quickly.Back to top ↑