Which is the Best Car Lift for Home Garages?
- Which is the Best Car Lift for Home Garages?
- Best Car Lift Quick Comparison Chart
- 1. TRIUMPH NT-9 – Best 2 Post Lift
- 2. TRIUMPH NSS-8 – Best 4 Post Lift
- 3. BendPak QuickJack BL-5000SLX – Best Portable Car Lift
- 4. BendPak MD 6XP – Best Mid-Rise Scissor Lift
- 5. APlusLift HW-10KBP 10000LB
- Quick Guide for Car Lift Types
- 2 Post vs. 4 Post Car Lift
- Auto Lift Buying Guide
- FAQ about the Best Car Lift for Use at Home
- Wrap Up
A car lift can be a quite useful acquisition if your garage is at capacity or starts to seem too small for the number of vehicles you own.
While it is a bit of a heavy-duty piece, a car lift is a fantastic product that lets you store your cars vertically (in a home garage). Furthermore, if you own an auto shop or a small car service business, you’ll learn that an auto lift is a must-have for your daily activity. Modern designs are reliable, easy to use and accommodate the job of a professional mechanic in a service.
But car lifts (also known as auto lifts) aren’t just for professionals in the automotive service industry. They’re also useful for body shops, quick lube stations, car dealerships, service owners, and even car rental businesses. Not to mention that many car owners prefer installing such a tool in their home garages for repairs and regular DIY jobs.
If you like building vehicles, reconditioning old ones, or even performing regular upgrades and updates on your own vehicle, car lift products provide the best solution to work under a car, in comparison to floor jacks.
Because they have the capacity to develop more power, lifts provide a safe environment and let you work at ease as there is more space to move around.
The best car lift products we reviewed are used by real-life mechanics in their professional life (usually in a service), but also make for great tools for homeowners for several reasons, such as affordability and ease of use. Furthermore, even though they may look a bit bulky, most car lift 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, read our list of best auto lift reviews!
Best Car Lift Quick Comparison Chart
The Triumph NT-9 car lift 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 a lot of space (the lift height is 109 inches and it measures 132 inches in width).
Furthermore, the car lift is easy to put together, and users don’t need any specialized help (cheaper price – more money saved!). However, you will need at least two other people to help you mount this car lift (due to its weight), so make sure to call your best friends.
This car lift comes with a set of triple telescoping arms on one side and a set of double telescoping arms on the other side that must be fitted on the frame of the car. As a result, users will be able to accommodate a large range of vehicles onto it. This car lift 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. Everything is operated by an electrical power unit that houses a 3 horse motor and has a capacity of 220 Volts.
The Triumph NT-9 car lift has a lifting capacity of 9, 000 lbs (according to the manufacturer), but I would recommend caution if you approach the maximum weight capacity. 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 features, the NT-9 car 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 car from falling in case of an emergency (like in the case of a power outage). Also, this car lift has safety lock mechanisms (one locking system on each arm) that engage the moment the lift of the vehicle begins. This keeps the car in place, according to your settings, while preparing the vehicle for lift-off (the lock systems are loose at this stage).
- Triumph NT-9 car lift has a weight capacity of 9,000 lbs
- 109 inches lift height and 132 inches lift width
- The car lift has a lifting height of 72 inches
- Due to its two post lift build, this car lift doesn’t occupy that much space
- Designed with swing arm handles that make it easier and faster to place each arm on the frame of the car
- The front arms have three stages so they can reach different types of vehicles
- There is a floor plate that covers the cables and hose
- Brand: Triumph
- Model: NT-9
- Material: Steel
- Height Range: 4.5 inches to 72 inches
- Weight: 1,300 pounds
- Weight capacity: 9,000 lbs
- This car lift is less expensive than most car lifts in this weight capacity
- Several safety features (like locking systems)
- Easy to assemble and configure
- Comes with all the necessary elements
- Good lifting weight capacity
- Worth the price
- Requires a height of at least four inches for the concrete slab for safe installation
- The arm safety mechanisms are stiff to operate
- On lighter loads, it may not want to lower at maximum capacity
- This car lift is not recommended to use for car storage
For users who want more access underneath the car (when the car is up in the air), the best option for at-home use is the Triumph NSS-8 4 post lift. Due to its 4 post build, it has a raise capacity of up to 8,000 lbs, but can also be used to store two vehicles one on top of the other (to increase your parking capacity on a vertical plane) if the garage height allows it.
This car lift comes equipped with a solid 110 power unit that needs to be vetted by an electrician (the process is extremely simple). The power unit has a built-in motor that allows the entire system to move up and down smoothly, without any effort from your side.
One feature that sets this car lift aside from other similar models is its mobility. Due to the castor kit (delivered with the NSS-8), users can move it around the available space (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 special tray, in case users need to use a floor or bottle jack while the car is on the lift.
In terms of safety features, the NSS-8 car lift is well-equipped with safety lines that run on all four columns, all the way to the maximum height. In case of a malfunction or damage, these lines will catch the car and lock it in place (so it won’t drop uncontrollably). Also, there are stops on both ends of the tracks, so the vehicles don’t slide off accidentally, and approach ramps (both are easily removed).
Overall, the NSS-8 looks like a great 4 post car lift (and it is), but there are some aspects you need to consider. First, the car lift is rather big for a small garage (84 inches x 175 inches x 93 inches – Height x Length x Width) 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 instruction guide is not stellar. Still, with a bit of brainpower and help from friends (the weight of the lift is not just for one or two people), you will be able to put this car lift together!
- 4 post car lift design
- It has a weight capacity of 8,000 lbs
- The lift height is 84 inches and measures 175 inches in length
- Drive through width is 93 inches
- Automatic lock system that can be set in 10 different positions
- The unit comes with a caster kit, jack tray, and three drip trays
- This car lift is easy to set up and move around
- Brand: Triumph
- Model: NSS-8
- Material: Steel
- Height Range: 5 inches to 84 inches
- Weight capacity: 8,000 lbs
- Other Features: 2 vehicle stop plates & 2 vehicle loading ramps
- 8,000 lb. weight capacity
- Easy to use once installed
- Quiet operation
- It has three drip trays
- One jack tray
- This car lift can be used for storing vehicles
- It can be moved around the garage
- Difficult assembly
- The instructions guide is poorly designed
- Rather big and bulky car lift
If you’re looking for the best car lift that’s also portable and easy to store, the Bendpak QuickJack BL-5000SLX is a wonderful option! Initially designed to be used for automotive maintenance on the track and the occasional repair, the BendPak QuickJack BL-5000SLX car lift is convenient and incredibly easy to use.
This product works outdoors and indoors, and it fits in the trunk or the back seat of your vehicle. This BendPak lift is also reliable and affordable, which is why a lot of people enjoy it. Moreover, you get the BendPak guarantee of quality which is extremely valued in the car lifting world.
To use this BendPak lift, 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 that connects to the power unit 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 car 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.
The BendPak QuickJack car lift is best 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.
- Extremely portable car lift
- Easy to store when not in use
- Equipped with automatic dual-position locking safety features
- Controlled via a remote
- Maximum lifting height is 2 feet
- 2.5-ton lifting capacity
- The BendPak quality guarantee
- Brand: BendPak
- Model: BL-5000SLX
- Material: Steel
- Height Range: 3 inches to 17.6 inches
- Motor voltage: 110V AC
- Weight: 215 pounds
- Weight capacity: 2.5 tons
- An automatic safety lock bar
- Can be transported in the trunk of most vehicles
- Lightweight and compact
- The car lift is easy to install in the garage
- This unit is perfect for at-home work on your car
- Amazing price for a BendPak design
- Lifting height is only 2-feet
- Users must use the lock features for increased reliability
- The instruction guide is outdated
- It’s a portable car lift, so it’s weight capacity is relatively small.
BendPak is a well-known brand on the car lift market, so you shouldn’t wonder seeing two of their products on our list of best designs. They have a wide range of lift types in production, and both professional mechanics and amateurs trust the BendPak expertise.
This BendPak car lift has a compact size (81 inches x 53 inches x 40 inches – Length x Height x Width) and a lot of lifting capacity (6,000 lbs.) due to the integrated 1-phase electric motor with a voltage of110-220V. The motor is housed in the power unit that’s exterior to the lift. Furthermore, it works with light-duty trucks and cars and can be moved around the available space 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, BendPak fitted this auto lift with adjustable arm assemblies and a multi-position safety lock bar that lets you adjust the car 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 it on our list of the best auto lifts for your car.
Overall, BendPak MD 6XP has everything a vehicle owner who likes to tinker at home could want. Furthermore, it’s easy to put together as it comes almost pre-assembled and has extra parts (which is a nice touch).
- The mid-rise scissor lift design makes it best for working on a light truck or car (of a certain height)
- A solid build with a frame made from thick quality steel
- The auto lift can be moved easily due to the portable motor cart that serves as a tow handle
- Lifting height is around 48-53 inches
- The lifting action is smooth and efficient
- It only takes 45 seconds to fully raise a vehicle
- Since it lowers to 4 3/4 inches it fits under a large array of vehicles
- Brand: BendPak
- Model: MD-6XP
- Material: Steel
- Height Range: 4.75 inches to 53 inches
- Motor: 1-phase 110-220V
- Weight capacity: 6,000 lbs
- The unit features a compact design & solid build
- Lightweight and easy to assemble
- Reliable for home garage use
- Its lifting power is 6,000 lbs.
- This car lift is easy to move around the garage due to the motor cart
- Premium materials & BendPak quality build
- This auto lift doesn’t work with cars that have lifting pads
- It’s a rather complicated unit, so you will need help from a friend for the installation phase
For users who want an auto lift capable of raising heavy vehicles of a certain height (a truck or an SUV), this product may be the right option. This is a 2 post floor plate lift with a weight capacity of 10,000 lbs. that features a strong double “S” column construct made from Q345 steel.
The product has a lifting height of 83 inches (so even tall people can work underneath your car comfortably) and an overall width of 113 inches so that it will fit comfortably in most mid and large spaces. The car lift is actioned by the attached power unit that has a 220V engine, and it only takes about 50 seconds to reach full height.
Finally, the installation process of this vehicle lift is quite simple, but you need to be prepared for some heavy lifting. This is a rather bulky piece of car lift! Still, there’s no need for specialized help, and the instructions guide is quite helpful for a change.
- The product has a lifting power of 10,000 lbs
- Equipped with CE Certified lift structure and a quality hydraulic system
- It comes with truck adapters and has a 6’9″ max lifting height
- The durable double “S” column design provides this lift with plenty fo power
- The floor plate is made from Q345 steel
- Brand: APlusLift
- Model: HW-10KBP
- Height Range: 4.5 inches to 83 inches
- Material: Steel
- Weight: 1,350 pounds
- Weight capacity: 10,000 lbs
- Easy to install in the garage
- Premium & durable materials
- Solid and quality build
- 10,000 lbs. lifting power & weight capacity
- This auto lift works amazingly well
- It is a heavy car lift
- The down speed is quite slow
Quick Guide for Car Lift Types
According to the guide released by BendPak (one of the best car lift producers on the market), there are two main categories of car lifts:
- Wheel engaging (basically a car lift that grabs the car by the wheels like a 4 post design)
- Frame engaging (a car lift that grabs the car by the frame, the way a 2 post design does)
However, these are not the only styles the market has to offer, so BendPak mentions a third category, the so-called specialty lifts. These include models such as the scissor car lift we reviewed on our list, the portable auto lift (also available on our list of best products), but also mobile column car lifts, parking lifts, and in-ground car lift models (not all available on our list).
In this quick guide, we’ll have a look at each of these car lift models and explain, in summary, what they do and how they can serve your business or hobby.
4 Post Car Lift
This type of car lift we’ll discuss in more detail a bit later in the article, but for now, it’s important to know that these are the most versatile designs. This is due to the fact that 4 post car lifts have a high capacity when it comes to weight since they are equipped with four columns. As a result, a 4 post lift is more reliable for both working on your vehicles and storing them (respecting the capacity limit).
Since this is a wheel engaging lift, users can drive all sorts of vehicles (respecting the weight limit) right on the platform without wasting time with fixating the arms to the frameof the car. As such, there’s no wonder that a lot of muffler shops and quick-lube stations favor these in front of 2 post car lift designs.
However, there is one disadvantage when it comes to the overall height to which you can lift a car. When it comes to the height of your garage, you lose good inches at the top since the lifting happens from the wheels up and not from the frame. So, if you have a low ceiling, this may be a serious problem that you need to consider.
Lastly, a 4 post car lift is the most expensive of the bunch due to the extra material required for all the columns and trays. For the best 4 post car lift, check Triumph offer.
2 Post Car Lift
A 2 post car lift is a frame-engaging design and they are wildly popular among hobbyists who already filled their garage at capacity. Of course, you’ll also see them in a professional service, since it’s easier to move around them. Moreover, due to the sturdiness of the posts and the stabilization arms, these car lifts have the capacity to hold all sorts of vehicles (even sports cars that have a low ground clearance) at a height that’s comfortable for everyone.
In short, the 2 post car lift costs less than a 4 post car lift, has a lower floor footprint, and gives you unobstructed access to the wheels. Also, it does a great job when you need those few extra inches in height.
Now, you should know there are two types of 2 post lifts: symmetrical and asymmetrical. On the symmetrical 2 post car lift, each post is facing the other one, and the arms hold about half of the weight of the vehicle.
On the other hand, an asymmetrical car lift is equipped with swing arms, unequal in length, and has a rotated post design. This means that the center of gravity is not at the half of the vehicle, as it happens with the symmetrical ones. As a result, you have better clearance to the doors and direct access to the inside of the car while it is up.
As you probably noticed, the 2 post lifts we reviewed for this guide are symmetrical. However, the difference only shows when you work with heavy, unbalanced vehicles. If you work with regular vehicles, the experience is quite similar. For the best 2 post car lift model, check the TRIUMPH offer.
Scissor Car Lift
This version of car lift needs to be installed beneath the runways and uses an accordion-like mechanism to lift a wide range of vehicles on all sorts of garages. While it’s true that the height can’t compare to the height of a 2 post lift or a 4 post lift, this system is quite useful.
The configuration of the lifting rods that do the heavy lifting can be in an X, like with the BendPak MD 6XP – the product we reviewed for this best car lifts guide. But there are other configurations such as a pantograph or a parallelogram (considered some of the heaviest lifts in this category).
The weight capacity and maximum height vary widely with this type of car lift, so you must read the specifications carefully before making a purchase. For instance, the BendPak lift on our list is considered a mid-rise car lift (from 36 inches to 48 inches full height). But there are also low-rise car lifts, where the maximum height is 36 inches and full-rise designs where the height is above 48 inches full height (for such models, check the BendPak offer).
A scissor car lift can be either wheel or frame engaging and has a low profile. This makes these car lift models easy to mount and store when not in use. However, you don’t have too much room beneath the car since the lifting mechanism takes up all the space.
Portable Car Lift
Designed for hobbyists and professional mechanics who don’t have a lot of room in their garage or service, or want something portable, a portable car lift is the best option. True, some consider a 4 post car lift with casters as portable, but you can’t pack one of those and put it in your trunk for transportation.
While they have low weight capacity and the maximum height is not that high, such a lift is useful in a wide range of situations. If you want to see a great example of a portable car lift, check the BendPak offer in our list of lift reviews.
In-Ground Car Lift
As the name says, this is a car lift installed in the ground, or in this case, in the floor of your garage, and you can just drive the car over it (as long as it respects the weight limit of the lift). These used to be the best car lift designs for car and truck professional shops, but nowadays they are popular among hobbyists as well.
The good news is that such a car lift won’t occupy any space in your garage. When you need it, it will pop out from the floor, and when not in use, it’s easy to store it away and use the floor as intended. However, an in-ground lift is quite expensive, sometimes reaching double the price of a 2 post lift design with the same weight capacity.
Furthermore, depending on the type of car lift you choose, it can limit the type of vehicles you can drive on it. Lastly, if the in-ground lift doesn’t use a hydraulic system, it requires users to install leak safeguards to avoid oil and other car fluids leaking into the water supply (which is not safe for the neighborhood).
Alignment Car Lift
This type of lcar ift is a bit more special as professional mechanics use it (usually in a service) to perform alignments on various vehicles. They are wheel engaging and can be found as a 4 post, a scissor lift, or an in-ground mechanism. So, the BendPak scissor lift model on our list (the BendPak MD 6XP) can also be used for alignments.
While they are more common in car and truck shops and services, they’re also quite popular among hobbyists who want to perform their own alignments.
Still, users should keep in mind that such a lift comes with special turn and slip plates so the wheels can be turned without effort.
Mobile Column Car Lift
If you want to lift a truck or a bus and not just a simple car, you’ll need a mobile column vehicle lift. This is very similar to a 4 post design, only it lets users add or subtract posts from the structure as needed. Some car lifts can get up to eight independent post or column structures that are wirelessly controlled by an operator.
As you can imagine, these car lifts are not usually found in the garage of a hobbyist, because of their size, cost, height, and difficulty of operation. Moreover, if you don’t own a truck or other heavy vehicle, there’s no point in investing in such a car lift.
Parking Car Lift
Just like a 4 post lift has the capacity to store two vehicles at a time, a parking car lift has the capacity to help private garage owners and public parking structures to save space. Now, since they are not used for any maintenance work, a parking vehicle lift has a smaller footprint than a 4 post lift, but the concept is similar.
The best parking car lift will be able to hold two or three vehicles in one parking spot, which is a lot of saved up space. In addition, you can just drive a car onto the lift (respecting the weight limit), without worrying each time about the right position.
As you can see, there is a large range of car lift types on the market. However, on our list of best car lifts, we only reviewed the types that are most popular. Still, if you need one of the special designs, there is a wide range of high-quality car lifts as well.
Now that we know a bit more about the different types of car lifts, let’s talk about the two most popular models for hobbyists: the 4 posts and the 2 posts.
2 Post vs. 4 Post Car Lift
After you read the auto garage lift information above, you’ll notice that 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 lift designs seem to be the best car lift option because they are more affordable. Also, if you’re only going to use the car lift for tinkering and short-term storage, a 2 post design makes more sense. On the other hand, if you don’t need a lot of space underneath the car, you may get a low-profile model like the one we discussed in the reviews on our list above.
On the other hand, in garages small in size where you 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 drive the car on the lift (since it’s a drive on) and is more reliable for long-term storage because all four wheels are supported.
However, a 4 post car lift needs more space when you mount it in the garage, so make sure to measure everything twice before making a purchase.
Ease of Use
A 4 post car 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 car lift only works in garages where you can bolt the lift to the floor to ensure stability, while this is not necessary for a four post design.
Quick note: For users who are looking for a portable car lift design, we recommend the mid-rise scissor lift as an option. This model is lighter and comes ready to use (in most cases). However, it doesn’t develop as much power as the other two types. So consider it before buying and not just take the best offer cause it’s cheap.
Auto Lift Buying Guide
As you can see from the reviews on our list, when it comes to the best car lifts, the offer is quite diverse, in both features and affordability. This means that there are lots of other products in a different price range you can consider for your home garage, besides the ones on our list of reviews.
But, before you go shopping for such an important tool, we say it’s best to have some basic knowledge about the features that make a good car lift. In this guide, we’ll provide you with valuable information starting with the different styles of car lifts, going through certifications to follow when it comes to safety features (such as a locking system), and ending with operation-related features.
The Size is Important
When it comes to the best car lifts, you first need to consider the space where you want to have it installed.
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 floor space you have available and consider the space that’s going to be left for maneuvers once the auto lift is installed. For instance, a 4 post car lift occupies more space than a 2 post lift, meaning that 2 post lifts provide you with more space in medium to garages small in size. Also, don’t forget to measure the height to the ceiling, to make sure the vehicles can be elevated safely.
The weight capacity is one of the important features needed to be checked before buying an auto lift for home garage. 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 (also known as lifting power) must be equal or higher than the weight of your vehicle.
In fact, as an added safety measure, always get an auto lift that’s designed to support heavier vehicles than the one you drive (it has the capacity to develop more power). This way, if your car weighs 6,000 lbs., the lift should be capable of supporting around 8,000 lbs. of lifting power.
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 lift design.
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 auto lift is.
The height range is important because it tells you how much space will be under the vehicle if you set the car lift to the maximum height setting. This way, you’ll know if you can do a repair job while standing up (especially important for tall people) or if it has the capacity to store another vehicle underneath.
The width should accommodate your vehicle(s), but in most cases, one 100 inches wide product is the ideal car lift for home use with a small car. If you drive an SUV or you know you’ll be working with bigger vehicles, then it’s best to get an auto lift that’s at least 132 inches wide.
Here, we’re talking about the material used to build the car lift. Considering that this is a tool that has the capacity to cause serious injuries and damage if it fails (power outage or other problems), it’s in your best interest to invest in heavy duty, quality materials designed to be durable in time and safe use. This is even more important if you plan on using the auto lift with vehicles of different capacity, height, and weight.
While it may be heavier than other materials if you have the option, we recommend steel as the best option for the main build material. Steel doesn’t corrode, it is resistant in time, and doesn’t change in constant contact with various substances used in automotive maintenance and repair (oils, and others). Moreover, steel is more resistant when it comes to lifting heavy weights such as a car or a truck (it supports the increase in power).
Lastly, steel is a cost-effective material for a car lift, since it’s easily mass-produced and doesn’t have any special maintenance needs.
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.
Safety Lock Guide
Whether you use your car lift for storage or maintenance work, you must be familiar with all the safety features the producer will provide.
For instance, it helps to have an auto lift with an automatic safety lock mechanism. This locks the lift in place while it rises, so, if the engine fails (power outage, short circuit of the motor, and so on), the vehicle remains in position. Without this mechanism, the vehicle would suddenly drop if the motor doesn’t support the auto lift anymore.
Moreover, a two post car lift should have arm restraints that provide a safe way to keep them in place once the car is up on the lift, at the desired height. These restraints are automatic and lock in place every time the raising process begins. They’ll only disengage when the car is lowered and inches away from the ground. You usually find such safety elements on high-quality products, like the ones produced by BendPak.
On the other hand, if you drive several vehicles and your garage is at capacity, it may be the time to think about a four post car lift. If you do, check the installation guide and make sure the lift has anti-sway blocks (like most BendPak designs do). These elements minimize the sway of the arms while the car reaches the desired height. This happens because the four post lift is not a rigid structure, so it needs something to guide everything in the right position.
Another safety element to consider when looking for the best car lifts for home garage is the lock bar. This one uses a hydraulic system that allows the vehicles to be lowered in a smooth and damage-free motion, without using the engine. Such a bar ensures full access to the vehicle in case of a power outage or damage to the lifting motor.
If you get a car lift that uses a hydraulic system to easily reach the maximum height when loaded, you must consider scheduling regular inspections of the entire system. While a hydraulic lift is one of the safest in the bunch, it is best to check for leaks or corrosion. Also, make sure to inspect the hydraulic fluid reservoir and if the level is low, top it up. If this keeps happening and your hydraulic fluid is low every time you’re using the car lift, ask a professional to look at it.
Warning: Don’t use a hydraulic car lift that’s low on fluid because this has the capacity to damage the mechanism and can lead to accidents and injuries!
Some car lifts come with pads that can be adjusted so you can 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.
FAQ about the Best Car Lift for Use at Home
How much does a vehicle lift cost?
Given the complexity of the equipment and the fact that the lift needs safety features and protections for the vehicles it handles, you need to expect a rather significant investment. As you can see from our auto lift reviews, the price range starts at around $1,000 and can go as high as several thousand. In addition, a 4 post car lift is more expensive than a 2 post system, which is pricier than a lift you can pack in the trunk of your car.
Still, before you start thinking about savings and going for the cheapest price or the best offer, you need to consider the fact that buying a car lift is a long-term investment. A high quality garage lift will be of service for years to come and can provide you with the option to save on small jobs that can be handled at home.
Which is better: a 2 post or a 4 post lift?
It depends on your needs. For instance, if your garage is small and you don’t want to use the lift for storage, a 2 post car lift makes a lot more sense. This design is compact, doesn’t take a lot of space when not in use, and it’s quite affordable for most people. It’s also the ideal car lift when you want to do a quick repair and some tinkering from time-to-time.
A 4 post car lift, on the other hand, is designed to provide a safe work environment and room for storing cars vertically. In addition, most 4 post lifts come with a caster kit, which makes the lift easy to move within the garage space. Also, a 4 post car lift system doesn’t need to have its posts permanently anchored in a slab of concrete, while all 2 post lifts require it (for a safe installation).
Lastly, if you have a low-ceiling garage, you may find a 2 post car lift more convenient since it can lift a vehicle a few inches higher than a 4 post car lift. This happens because, with a 2-post, the vehicle is lifted by the frame, while a four post has a platform on each side that lifts the vehicle from the wheels up. Of course, the same design makes it easier to load the vehicle on a 4 post than it is to load on a 2-post.
Can a car lift be installed outside?
There are lots of reasons why one may think about installing a car lift outside, like small garages or low ceiling clearance. However, 2 post and 4 post car lifts are not meant to be used outdoors. Technically, you can install either one outside, but he temperature variations and exposure to natural elements (water in particular) will reduce its durability and can have a damaging effect on the safety mechanisms.
If you really need to use a lift outside, you should consider a portable car lift design that can be used anywhere, but you can also store it inside at a safe temperature and away from natural elements.
How much does a 2 post car lift weight?
The total weight of the car lift is important when you mount it. As such, a standard 2 post lift weight should be around 1,000+ lbs (as you can see from the reviews on our list) but the actual number varies from model to model according to the number of elements and the type of material used to build the entire structure. Now, most modern auto lift designs are made from steel and come almost ready to install, but some parts are delivered separately to ease up the installation work. Still, you should be prepared with a few buddies to help carry everything in the garage and handle each piece safely.
Are car lifts safe?
Modern best car lifts are equipped with several safety features that protect both the vehicle and the people who work on it. For instance, all car lifts should have an emergency brake and several lock mechanisms (like a lock bar) that keep the car in raised position should something happen with the lifting motor or the power is cut off.
However, the efficiency of these safety mechanisms is highly dependent on how the car lifts are installed and the overall quality of the materials used. For instance, the auto lift must be mounted on a safe, solid and stable floor area where there is no risk of slipping or collapsing. Also, it’s crucial (for a safe installation) that you follow the car lift installation guide and respect the lifting power mentioned by the producer! Lastly, before using the car lift, you must make sure to check the posts and all the mechanisms that keep the operation smooth and safe. This way, if something is loose or unattached, it will be discovered during this inspection and you can avoid an accident.
How thick should the concrete be for a car lift?
After you read our reviews and buying guide, you’ll know that a car lift requires to be installed on a thick slab of concrete. Now, the thickness of this slab differs depending on the type of lift you want to purchase and its overall weight capacity. Still, any car lift that’s not portable and can’t be folded up and stored away must be installed on at least 4 inches (around 100mm) of concrete at 3,000 PSI (for a safe use). Of course, if you have a thicker concrete floor, it’s even better!
How high should a garage car lift be?
This depends on the type of garage lift you want, the type of vehicles you drive and want to lift with it, and the type of ceiling clearance you have on your garage. Most car lifts will require a ceiling that’s at least 11 to 12 feet high, but you can work with lower ceilings as well (if you make sure to measure the height correctly). You should also consider other elements that may inconvenience the lift or the car while being elevated such as door openers, door tracks, and even the door.
So, before you go shopping for the best car lifts, make sure to measure the height of your garage!
Which is the Best Car Lift for Beginners?
First of all, a car lift should be easily operated even by an absolute beginner. After all, once the lift is installed, all you have to do is load the car, push a button, and watch the mechanism at work in a smooth and safe manner.
However, some car lifts have designs that require a bit of experience, especially when it comes to the installation guide. Also, you must learn how to determine the best maximum lifting height that will easily fit your garage, the best weight capacity for your vehicles, the maximum width and length the car lift can accommodate, and more.
So, the best car lift for beginners is the one the offers clear details even before you decide on the purchase. Also, it should provide a clear installation guide and should not request professional help (besides the electrician who must hook up the power unit and the motor).
As such, the best vehicle lift for beginners on our list is the BendPak QuickJack BL-5000SLX. It is a portable car lift, smooth and safe to install, easy to store away, and doesn’t require any professional help. While the lifting height is not that great, the lift still lets you handle the wheels and some components underneath the car.
At the opposite end, the car lift best not purchased by beginners stands the TRIUMPH NSS-8 (the second item on our list of best car lift products reviewed). This 4 post lift is difficult to install on your own and a beginner just couldn’t handle the installation guide without professional help. Still, this doesn’t mean this lift is difficult to use.
The best car lift that fits your specific needs is incredibly useful for both professionals (in a service) and DIY enthusiasts who like to take care of repairs and small projects at home.
However, you still need to remember that a lift is a heavy-duty tool that needs to be installed according to the guide that the manufacturer will provide! In addition, always look for a quality steel build, that fits your space and has the necessary weight capacity to safely lift your vehicles (just like most of the products we included on our list of reviews).
Finally, it’s always best to invest a bit more and get the lift with top of the line safety elements. The car lifts models we reviewed are the best example of such lifts, so make sure to pay attention and read each description carefully!