Top Vehicle Lifts for Home Garages Reviewed
- Top Vehicle Lifts for Home Garages Reviewed
- Our Choice
- Auto Lift Quick Comparison Chart
- Best 5 Auto Lifts
- 1. BendPak Portable Mid-Rise Scissor Lift – 6,000lb. Capacity, Model# MD-6XP
- 2. TRIUMPH NSS-8 8000Lbs 4 Post Storage Service Lift
- NSS-8 Discount Alert
- 3. Auto Lift Car-Park-8 Car Storage Lift 8,000 lb 4 Post Parking Lift
- 4. TRIUMPH NT-9 9000Lbs Two Post Floor Plate Lift
- NT-9 Discount Alert
- 5. BendPak Asymmetric Lift – 10,000-Lb. Capacity, Model# XPR-10A
- 2-Post vs. 4-Post Car Lift
- Auto Lifts Buying Guide
- Wrap Up
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
Best 5 Auto Lifts
This portable car lift is a well-crafted tool that earns its keep in the home automotive garage. With a scissor lift design capable of lifting up to 6,000 lbs., a compact layout, and solid construction, this is the only lift you need to get the job done.
The lift is equipped with an adjustable arm and safety lock bar, bringing both practicality and safety together in one product. Included is also a free truck adapter package.
Even though the lift has a small, space-saving design, there may come a time when you need to move it. Moving the unit around the shop is a breeze, because the motor that hoists the car into the air doubles as a dolly. This alone is one of the greatest advantages of this product.
When choosing piece of equipment to raise up the vehicle you are working on, on thing should be more important than anything else: safety. No matter how inexpensive a lift is, you should never compromise for an unreliable machine. If the vehicle lift malfunctions while you or an employee is under it, it will end up costing you way more than what you would have spent on a more reliable lift. Fortunately, the BendPal scissor lift has tons of safety features packed into it, as to keep you and your employees safe, saving you money in the long run.
Besides using quality materials in the construction of the lift, there are numerous safety elements included. For example, the safety lock bar has multiple locking positions, that not only guarantee safety, but versatility. Another nice touch is the commercial grade hydraulic hose.
The dimensions of the BendPak are as follows:
Overall Length: 81 inches
Platform Length: 60.25 inches
Platform Width: 39.5 inches
Lift Height: 48-53 inches
Overall Width: 40 inches
Collapsed Height: 4.75 inches
What Buyers Say:
The general opinion of users of this product is that it is effective, and convenient. They say it is compact and saves space, but at the same time, is able to get the job done.
Pros – Strong steel construction, portable, fast raising and lowering.
Cons – Only holds up to 6,000 lbs., heavy shipping weight.
Overall Rating – 5
Our recommendation is that you choose this lift if you are in need of an inexpensive, portable, space-saving lift. BendPak offers other scissor lifts that have a higher weight capacity, but for the price, this one offers the most value. If you are in need of something with a higher lifting capacity, or do not need a space saving unit, check out some of the other lifts that we recommend.
- 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
Here’s a good user video of the BendPak MD-6XP:
Although the scissor lift design is great for certain applications, its design has limitations. For example, access to certain parts of the exhaust can be hard to reach. As well, you are not able to fully walk underneath the car once it is lifted up. If you need more access underneath the car, then the 4-post lift is going to be the right choice for you. The best choice for a home garage lift in this category is the Triumph NSS-8.
The Triumph 8000-pound lift is the ultimate dual-purpose lift. Not only can you lift any car up to 4 tons up and work on it, you can also use it to store a car up off the ground, so you can park another one under it. One buyer did exactly that. He was able to store two of his corvettes, one on top of the other, in his garage. Other users rave about the functionality of this lift. They claim it operates quietly and easily.
This 4-post lift Really becomes a versatile tool for any automotive garage. Beyond the above noted ability to use to store extra cars, it is completely mobile, coming with a castor kit. Another nice feature is the drip tray, which captures any fluids that are dripping from the top vehicle. Lastly, the Triumph comes with jack trays, which allow the car or truck to be jacked-up while on top of the lift
Most buyers of this product wish that they had made the purchase years ago, as it has saved them lots of time working on their cars.
The downsides of this lift are all related to the installation process. The lift does not come fully assembled. although, the more complicated parts are pre-assembled. Buyers reported that they were usually able to put the auto lift together within one day, and recommended having up to 4 people to help assemble.
Another issue is that clear installation directions are not included. Users had to contact the manufacturer to get these directions.
The dimensions of the Triumph are as follows:
Overall Height: 84 inches
Overall Length: 175 inches
Drive Through Width: 93 inches
Runway Length: 165 inches
What Buyers Say:
Most buyers agree that once fully assembled, the lift more than satisfies their needs. They say it is a time and space saver, although it can be difficult and time consuming to assemble.
Pros – 8,000 lb. capacity, easy to use, quiet.
Cons – Difficult assembly, instructions are poor.
Overall Rating – 4.8
- Overall Height 84"
- Overall Length 175"
- Drive Through Width 93"
- Runway Length 165"
Here’s a video showing what comes with the NSS-8:
The Auto Lift Car-Park-8 is an excellent choice for the home mechanic if they have multiple cars that they need to store in their garage. Built to double as a tool for both storing and working on cars, the quality of design in this unit really shows.
The Car-Park-8 is rated for holding up to 8,000 lbs of weight, which means you will be able to lift up almost any car that you desire. It has decent lifting speed, at 90 seconds to raise all the way up or down.
This auto lift is packed with tons of features. For example, it includes a jack tray, that allows you to jack the car up once on the platform. Another nice touch is the set of three drip trays that are included. These trays catch any fluids dripping off of the car, saving you cleanup and hastle.
Not only is the Car-Park-8 convenient, it is also designed with safety in mind. The manufacturer went above and beyond when creating this lift in regards to safety. One of the safety features is the Redundant Ladder Locking system that locks in case of a cable failure. Although, the cable is not likely to break, as it is aircraft quality and rated for up to 14,500 lbs. As well, there are extra large slider blocks that increases the stability of the overall system.
Overall, this car lift is very similar to the Triumph NSS-8. The basic features and included items are all very similar. The Auto Lift Car-Park-8 is a little bit more expensive, although it is larger in overall size.
The specifications of the lift are as follows:
Overall Length: 207 inches
Overall Width: 103 inches
Overall Height: 86 inches
Lifting Height: 74 inches
Runway Platforms Width: 18 inches
Runway Length: 180 inches
Between Posts width: 94 inches
Capacity: 8,000 lbs.
What Buyers Say:
The general opinion of users of this product is that it solid and works well. Assembly was reported to take six hours for one person, although two or more people are needed at certain points.
Pros – Tons of safety features, relatively quick assembly.
Cons – Bad assembly instructions, poor quality castors.
Overall Rating – 4.7
- Carriages completely enclosed for safety. Redundant ladder lock safety system with "auto engage" locking bar in the event of cable failure. 10 lock positions.
- Aircraft quality cables rated at 14,500 lbs. Easy operation: Lock release handle located near power unit.
- 18" wide runways formed with one-piece 3/16" non-skid diamond plate. Extra-large slider blocks for added stability.
- Large 3" diameter. Many options available!
The Triumph NT-9 is the way to go if you are looking for a two-post auto lift. With a 9000Lb lifting capacity for less than $2000, this lift allows you to get a lot done for not that much money. It is better rated, and less expensive than any two post lift that we found.
Customers rave about this lift, saying that they would definitely buy it again.
The major advantage of this lift over the other high capacity lifts, is the easy assembly. One tester of the product said that even though there were no assembly instructions included, the assembly was simple enough to figure out.
Being the only two-post lift in this review, we should include some of the benefits of this type. Having a two-post lift saves space in comparison to the four-post lifts. Also, they tend to be less expensive, and have easier assembly.
The dimensions of the Triumph are as follows:
Overall Height: 111 inches
Overall Width: 132 inches
What Buyers Say:
The general opinion of users of this product is that it is a good quality lift at a great price. The installation is simple, and the customer service of the company is great.
Pros – Less expensive than most lifts, easy assembly
Cons – requires at least four-inch slab concrete to use.
Overall Rating – 4.5
- Lifting Capacity 9000 lbs.
- Overall Height 109
- Overall Width 132
This Asymmetric two-post lift is both strong and versatile. With a max lift capacity of 10,000 pounds, it is stronger than all other lifts in this review. Although, this lift is also the most expensive. That being said, there are many features that make this lift worthwhile.
The lift has a 30-degree rotated column that allows the car doors to be opened while on the lift. It also has the ability to lift vehicles symmetrically or asymmetrically. Another nice feature that this lift has is the padded safety shutoff bar, that will protect your vehicle from damage.
The dimensions of the BendPak are as follows:
Overall Height: 145 inches
Drive-Thru Clearance: 80-102 inches
Rise Time: 45 seconds
Max Rise Height: 69 inches
Overall Width: 132-145 inches
Weight: 2,562 pounds
What Buyers Say:
The general opinion of users of this product is that it is even though this lift is expensive, it is very strong, reliable, and safe. They also say it is a great lift for a home garage.
Pros – Reliable, Safety features, Strong.
Cons – Heavy, may not work with low profile cars.
Overall Rating – 3.5
- Revolutionary 30deg rotated column offers added door-opening clearance and interior car access
- Exclusive Tru-Metric carriage and arm design combines to give users the ability to load vehicles either symmetrically (centerline of vehicle at column) or asymmetrically (centerline of vehicle behind column) - it's almost like having two lifts in one
- Expandable top beam accommodates wide or narrow drive-thru configuration
- Padded overhead safety shutoff bar
- Single-point safety release
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!