Top Vehicle Lifts for Home Garages
- Top Vehicle Lifts for Home Garages
A car lift can be a quite useful acquisition if your garage starts to seem too small for the number of vehicles you own.
While it is a bit of a heavy-duty piece, it is a fantastic car storage device that lets you stack the vehicles vertically.
Furthermore, if you own an auto shop or small a car service business, you’ll learn that a car lift is a must-have for your daily activity. Modern designs are reliable, easy to use, and accommodate the job of a professional mechanic.
But car lifts (or auto lifts) aren’t just for professionals in the vehicles service industry. They’re also useful for body shops, quick lube stations, car dealerships, and even car rental businesses. Not to mention that many car owners prefer installing such a tool in their home garage for repairs and regular maintenance in a DIY system.
If you like building vehicles, reconditioning old ones, or even performing maintenance on your own vehicle, these devices offer a better solution to work under a car, as compared to floor jacks. Because they are more powerful, lifts provide a safer environment and let you work at ease as there is more space to move around.
The car lifts we reviewed are used by real-life mechanics in their professional life, but also make for great tools in a home garage for several reasons, such as affordability and ease of use. Furthermore, even though they may look a bit bulky, most designs are easy to install as they come almost assembled and ready to use.
So, if you’re ready to upgrade your home garage and improve working conditions, have a look at the products we reviewed.
Auto Lift Quick Comparison Chart
The Triumph NT-9 is the way to go if you are looking for an easy to install, two-post lift. It’s both affordable and reliable for use in a home garage, and it doesn’t take too much space (109-inches in height and 132-inches in width).
Furthermore, it’s easy to put together, and you don’t need any specialized help (more money saved!). However, you will need at least two other people to help you install it, so make sure to call your friends.
The lift comes with a set of triple telescoping arms on one side and a set of double telescoping arms on the other side. As a result, you’ll be able to accommodate a wide range of vehicle onto it. It is a chain overdrive, with equalizing cables that keep the arms aligned, so there won’t be any leveling issues as the vehicle raises and lowers.
The Triumph NT-9 can lift vehicles up to 9000lbs (according to the manufacturer), but I would recommend caution if you approach the maximum limit. It’s best to be a few hundred lbs. under than to test its limits and see it fail (just a precaution).
When it comes to safety measures, the NT-9 lift is well-equipped as there are several locking mechanisms to prevent accidents and reduce risks. For instance, in the main column, you’ll find a set of locks that stop the vehicle from falling in case of an emergency. Also, the arms have safety locks (one on each arm) that engage the moment the lift of the vehicle begins. This keeps the arms in place, exactly as you set them while preparing the arms for the lift-off (locks are loos at that stage).
- Less expensive than most lifts in this weight capacity
- Several safety mechanisms
- Easy to assemble and configure
- Comes with all the necessary elements
- lifting capacity
- Requires at least four-inch slab concrete for safe installation
- The lock on the arms are stiff to operate
- On lighter loads, it may not want to lower at full level
- Not recommended to use it for storage
- Lifting Capacity 9000 lbs.
- Overall Height 109
- Overall Width 132
If you want more access underneath the car (when on a lift), then you’ll need a 4-post design, and the best choice for home garage use is the Triumph NSS-8. Due to its 4-post build, it can lift up to 8000lbs, but can also be used to store a vehicle off the ground (to increase your parking space on a vertical plane).
One feature that sets it aside from other similar products is its mobility. Due to the castor kit (delivered with the NSS-8), you can move it around the garage (as long as the floor is flat) by simply pushing it. This means you can work on your vehicle in the middle of the garage and when you’re done, simply push the lift to the side and free up space.
Furthermore, there are three drip trays (to catch any fluids coming from the vehicle and a jack tray – in case you need to use a floor or bottle jack while the vehicle is on the lift.
In terms of safety, the NSS-8 is well-equipped with safety lines that run on all four columns, all the way to the top. In case of a malfunction or damage, these lines will catch the vehicle and lock it in place (so it won’t drop uncontrolled). Also, there are stops on both ends of the tracks, so the vehicle doesn’t slide off accidentally, and approach ramps (both are easily removed).
Overall, the NSS-8 looks like a great 4-post lift (and it is), but there are some aspects you need to consider. First, it is rather big for a small garage (84″ x 175″ x 93″ – H x L x W) and the installation process is a bit more difficult. Some parts come preassembled, but you will have to do most of the work and the instructions are not stellar. Still, with a bit of brainpower and help from friends, you will be able to put it together!
- 8,000 lb. capacity
- Easy to use once installed
- Quiet operation
- It has three drip trays
- One jack tray
- Can be used for storing vehicles
- It can be moved around the garage
- Difficult assembly
- Instructions are poor
- Rather big and bulky
- Overall Height 84"
- Overall Length 175"
- Drive Through Width 93"
- Runway Length 165"
If you’re looking for a portable car lift, the QuickJack BL-5000SLX is a wonderful option! Initially designed to be used for vehicle maintenance on the track, the system is convenient and incredibly easy to use.
It works outdoors and indoors, and it fits in the trunk or the back seat of your vehicle. It’s also reliable and affordable, which is why so many people enjoy it.
To use it, all you need to do is place the jack frames under the vehicle (which are lightweight so anyone can do this). Once everything is set, press the raise button on the remote control and watch the miracle happen! It takes less than a minute for the lift to raise a regular car at about 2 feet from the ground.
As the vehicle raises, there are dual-position automatic safety locks that engage to prevent any mishaps. After all, even a 2-feet fall can be damaging for your vehicle!
Now, to get the car down simply flip the lock bar and the descent will begin.
This device is ideal for changing tires, working on your suspension, or tune the cassis. Basically, it’s great for anything that doesn’t require more access under the vehicle.
- Can be transported in the trunk of most vehicles
- Lightweight and compact
- Easy to install
- Perfect for maintenance work
- Amazing price
- Only lifts a vehicle 2-feet off the ground
- You must use the locking mechanisms for increased reliability
- The instruction manual is outdated
- Local Sales Tax will apply for IL & CA Orders
- 110V AC Motor
- Other motors available: 12V DC, 220V AC, 240V AC - Please see other listings
This is a lift with a compact size (81” x 53” x 40” – L x H x W) and a lot of lifting power (6,000 lbs.) due to the integrated 1-phase 110-220V, electric motor. Furthermore, it works with light-duty trucks and cars and can be moved around the garage as needed. Its portability comes from the fact that the motor cart can be used as a tow handle.
To prevent any mishaps or bad situations, the device is equipped with adjustable arm assemblies and a multi-position safety lock bar that lets you adjust the lift to any secure position. If you also add in the solid build and the free truck adapter package, then you’ll understand why we chose to include on our list of reviews.
Overall, the lift has everything a vehicle owner who likes to do maintenance at home could want. Furthermore, it’s easy to install as it comes almost pre-assembled and has extra parts (which is a nice touch).
- Compact design & solid build
- Lightweight and easy to assemble
- Reliable for home garage use
- Lift capacity is 6,000 lbs.
- Easy to move around the garage
- Premium materials
- Doesn’t work with cars that have lifting pads
- You will need help from a friend for the installation phase
- Ideal for servicing light-duty trucks and cars
- Portable motor cart serves as a tow handle to easily move lift from bay to bay
- Powered by a 1-phase 110-220V, electric motor providing smooth and efficient lifting power
- Raises to full height in just 45 seconds
- Lowers to just 4 3/4in., making the unit able to fit under many vehicles
If you want a lift capable of raising heavy vehicles (trucks or SUVs), this model may be the right choice. This is a 2-post floor plate lift that can work with up to 10,000 lbs. and features a strong double “S” column design made from Q345 steel.
The device has a lifting height of 83 inches and an overall with of 113 inches so that it will fit comfortably in most mid and large garages. It is actioned by a 220V electric motor, and it takes about 50 seconds to reach full height.
Finally, the installation process is quite simple, but you need to be prepared for some heavy lifting. This is a rather bulky piece of machinery! Still, there’s no need for specialized help, and the instructions are quite helpful for a change.
- Easy to install
- Premium & durable materials
- Solid build
- 10,000 lbs. lifting capacity
- It works amazingly well
- It is heavy
- The down speed is quite slow
- 10,000LB with CE Certified Lift Structure and Hydraulic System
- 12 Months Parts Warranty
- 6'9" Lift Height Maximum with Truck Adapters
- Durable Powder Coat Finish on Steel; All Robot Welded Structure
- Strong Double "S" Column Design and 10,000 LB Heavy Duty
2-Post vs. 4-Post Car Lift
As you can see from the reviews above, most car lifts for a home garage come in a 4-post or a 2-post design. So, before we move to the buying guide, let’s do a short comparison between the two types, to make sure you are on the right track.
When it comes to price (which is important considering this is still a major investment), 2-post designs seem to be the best choice because they are more affordable. Also, if you’re only going to use the lift for repairs and short-term storage, a 2-post design makes more sense.
On the other hand, if you’re cramped for space in the garage and want to create room for a second car by lifting the first one, you’ll need a 4-post lift. This design makes it easier to position the car since it’s a drive on and is more reliable for long-term storage because all four wheels are supported.
However, a 4-post design needs more space when you install it in the garage, so make sure to measure everything twice before making a purchase.
Ease of Use
A 4-post lift has a low ground clearance, which makes it more useful if your vehicle is lowered. 2-post designs have rather high ground clearance, which makes them a bit difficult to use with lowered cars. Furthermore, keep in mind that a 2-post lift needs to be bolted to the floor to ensure stability, while this is not necessary for a 4-post design.
Quick note: If you’re looking for a portable car lift design, we recommend trying a scissor lift. This design is lighter and comes ready to use (in most cases). However, it is not as powerful as the other two types.
Auto Lifts Buying Guide
As you can see from our reviews, the offer is quite diverse, in both features and affordability. This means that there are lots of other products you can consider for your home garage, besides the ones we reviewed.
But, before you go shopping for such an important tool, we say it’s best to have some basic knowledge about the characteristics that make a good car lift. In this guide, we’ll give you valuable information starting with the different styles of car lifts, going through certifications to follow when it comes to safety issues, and ending with operation-related features.
The Size is Important
When it comes to car lifts, you first need to consider the space where you want to install it.
After all, it doesn’t help to do the research on the best car lift for your needs, order it, and then realize that it won’t fit in your home garage!
So, before anything, measure the space you have available and consider the space that’s going to be left for maneuvers once the lift is installed. For instance, a 4-post car lift occupies more space than a 2-post lift, meaning that the 2-post lift provides you with more space in a medium to small sized garage. Also, don’t forget to measure the height to the ceiling, to make sure the vehicle can be elevated safely.
Finally, it’s important to know if the lift is going to be installed inside the garage or outside, under a covered space.
Whether you want to change the tires or you want to change the suspensions, the lift must be capable of elevating the vehicle to a comfortable height so you can work on it. This means that the weight capacity of the lift must be equal or higher than the weight of your vehicle.
In fact, as an added safety measure, always get a lift that’s capable of supporting heavier vehicles than yours. This way, if your car weighs 6,000 lbs., the lift should be capable of supporting around 8,000 lbs.
In this case, the 4-post lift design is better suited as it is more stable and has a higher weight capacity than the 2-post.
Height & Width Range
As you probably already imagine, the height range tells you how far up the car will go, while on the lift, and the width range tells you how wide the lift is.
The height range is important because it tells you how much space will be under the vehicle if you set the lift to the highest setting. This way, you’ll know if you can work standing up or if you can put another vehicle underneath (for storage purposes).
The width should accommodate your vehicle(s), but in most cases, one 100-inch wide lift is ideal for home use with a small car. If you own an SUV or you know you’ll be working with bigger vehicles, then it’s best to get a lift that’s at least 132 inches wide.
Here, we’re talking about the material used to build the lift. Considering that this is a tool that can cause serious injuries and damage if it fails, it’s in your best interest to invest in heavy-duty materials designed for durability and safe use.
While it is heavier than other materials, the most recommended material is steel. This material doesn’t corrode, is resistant in time, and doesn’t change in constant contact with various substances used in vehicles maintenance (oils, and others).
Safety Elements & Other Features
Car lifts need to be safe to use, so make sure to check for features such as an electric motor, remote control, or hydraulic arm. Also, it helps to have a lift with an automatic safety lock mechanism. This locks the lift in position while it rises, so, if the electric motor fails (power outage, short circuit, and so on), the vehicle remains in position. Without this mechanism, the vehicle would suddenly drop if the motor doesn’t support the lift anymore.
Another safety element to consider is the lock bar. This one uses a hydraulic system that allows the vehicle to be lowered in a smooth and damage-free motion, without using the electric engine. Such a mechanism ensures full access to the vehicle in case of a power outage or damage to the motor.
Finally, some lifts come with adjustable pads that let you reach the bump stops on low cars without damaging the sill. Also, you may consider getting a lift with door protectors, to avoid scratching the paint by accident.
A car lift is incredibly useful for both professionals and DIY enthusiasts who like to take care of maintenance and small projects at home.
However, you still need to remember that this is a heavy-duty tool that needs to be installed according to the provided instructions! Moreover, always look for a steel build, that fits your space and has the necessary weight capacity to safely lift your vehicles.
Finally, it’s always best to invest a bit more and get a product with top of the line safety elements. The products we reviewed are the best example of such lifts, so make sure to pay attention when reading their description!