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
- 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 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 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.
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, 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, these devices offer the best solution to work under a car, in comparison to floor jacks. Because they can develop more power, lifts provide a safer 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 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 best auto lift reviews!
Best Car Lift Quick Comparison Chart
The Triumph NT-9 unit 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 (the lift height is 109 inches and it measures 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 mount it, so make sure to call your best 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 that must be fitted on the car’s frame. As a result, you’ll be able to accommodate a wide range of vehicles 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. Everything is operated by an electrical power unit that houses a 3 horse motor and can develop 220 Volts.
The Triumph NT-9 has a lifting capacity of 9, 000 lbs (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 features, 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 (like in the case of a power outage). Also, the arms have safety blocking mechanisms (one on each arm) that engage the moment the lift of the vehicle begins. This keeps them in place, according to your settings, while preparing the vehicle for lift-off (the blocking systems are loose at this stage).
- It has a weight capacity of 9,000 lbs
- 109 inches lift height and 132 inches lift width
- It has a lifting height of 72 inches
- Due to its two-post lift build, it doesn’t occupy that much space
- Designed with swing arm handles that make it easier and faster to place each arm on the frame
- 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
- Weight: 1,300 pounds
- Weight capacity: 9,000 lbs
- This unit is less expensive than most lifts in this weight capacity
- Several safety features
- Easy to assemble and configure
- Comes with all the necessary elements
- Good lifting capacity
- Requires at least four-inch slab concrete for safe installation
- The arm safety mechanisms are stiff to operate
- On lighter loads, it may not want to lower at full level
- Not recommended to use it for storage
If you want more access underneath the car (when up in the air), then you’ll need a 4 post lift, and the best option for at-home use is the Triumph NSS-8. Due to its 4-post build, it can raise up to 8,000 lbs, but can also be used to store two vehicles one on top of the other (to increase your parking space on a vertical plane).
This lift comes equipped with a solid 110 power unit that needs to be vetted by an electrician (the process is extremely simple). The unit allows the entire system to move up and down smoothly, without any effort from your side.
One feature that sets it aside from other similar models is its mobility. Due to the castor kit (delivered with the NSS-8), you 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 you need to use a floor or bottle jack while the vehicle is on the lift.
In terms of safety features, 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 car lift (and it is), but there are some aspects you need to consider. First, it is rather big for a small garage (84 inches x 175 inches x 93 inches – 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 guidelines are not stellar. Still, with a bit of brainpower and help from friends, you will be able to put it together!
- 4 post 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 locking system that can be set in 10 different positions
- The unit comes with a caster kit, jack tray, and three drip trays
- Easy to set up and move around
- Brand: Triumph
- Model: NSS-8
- Weight capacity: 8,000 lbs
- Other Features: 2 vehicle stop plates & 2 vehicle loading ramps
- 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
If you’re looking for the best car lift that’s also portable, 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 equipment 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 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 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.
BendPak QuickJack 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
- Equipped with automatic dual-position safety mechanisms
- Controlled via a remote
- Maximum lifting height is 2 feet
- 2.5-ton lifting power
- Brand: BendPak
- Model: BL-5000SLX
- Motor voltage: 110V AC
- Weight: 215 pounds
- Weight capacity: 2.5 tons
- Can be transported in the trunk of most vehicles
- Lightweight and compact
- Easy to install
- This unit is perfect for at-home work
- Amazing price
- Lifting height is only 2-feet
- You must use the locking mechanisms for increased reliability
- The instruction manual is outdated
This is a car lift with a compact size (81 inches x 53 inches x 40 inches – L x H x W) and a lot of lifting power (6,000 lbs.) due to the integrated 1-phase electric motor with a voltage of110-220V (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, the auto lift 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 it on our list of best auto lift reviews.
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 light trucks and cars
- 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 wide array of vehicles
- Brand: BendPak
- Model: MD-6XP
- 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.
- Easy to move around the garage
- Premium materials
- 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
If you want an auto lift capable of raising heavy vehicles (trucks or SUVs), 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 it comfortably) and an overall width of 113 inches so that it will fit comfortably in most mid and large spaces. It 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 is quite simple, but you need to be prepared for some heavy lifting. This is a rather bulky piece of equipment! Still, there’s no need for specialized help, and the instructions are quite helpful for a change.
- It 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 lift is quite powerful due to the durable double “S” design
- The floor plate is made from Q345 steel
- Brand: APlusLift
- Model: HW-10KBP
- Weight: 1,350 pounds
- Weight capacity: 10,000 lbs
- Easy to install
- Premium & durable materials
- Solid and quality build
- 10,000 lbs. lifting power
- It works amazingly well
- It is heavy
- The down speed is quite slow
2-Post vs. 4 Post Car Lift
After you read the auto garage lift reviews 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 designs seem to be the best choice 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 too much space underneath the car, you may get a low-profile model like the one we discussed in the above reviews.
On the other hand, if you’re cramped for space 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 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 needs to be bolted to the floor to ensure stability, while this is not necessary for a four-post design.
Quick note: If you’re looking for a portable car lift design, we recommend trying a mid-rise scissor lift. This model is lighter and comes ready to use (in most cases). However, it is not as powerful as the other two types.
Auto Lift Buying Guide
As you can see from our reviews, when it comes to the best car lift, 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 features, 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 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 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 room. Also, don’t forget to measure the height to the ceiling, to make sure the vehicle can be elevated safely.
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 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 two-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 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 do a repair job while standing up (especially important for tall people) or if you can store another vehicle underneath.
The width should accommodate your vehicle(s), but in most cases, one 100-inch wide product is the ideal car lift 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, quality materials designed to be durable in time and safe use.
While it is heavier than other materials if, given the option, we recommend choosing steel as the main build material. It 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.
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 place while it rises, so, if the engine 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 when looking for the best car lift for home garage 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 engine. Such a mechanism ensures full access to the vehicle in case of a power outage or damage to the lifting engine.
Finally, some 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 it needs safety mechanisms 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 vehicle.
Still, before you start thinking about savings and preserving your current budget, you need to consider the fact that this is a long-term investment. A high quality garage lift will be of service for years to come and gives you 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 much space when not in use, and it’s quite affordable for most people. It’s also the ideal choice when you want to do a quick repair and some tinkering from time-to-time.
A 4 post car lift, on the other hand, provides a safer 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 system doesn’t need to have its posts permanently anchored in a slab of concrete, while all 2-post lifts require it.
Lastly, if you have a low-ceiling garage, you may find a 2-post product more convenient since it can lift a vehicle a few inches higher than a 4-post. 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 the lack of space of 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 can also be stored inside at a safe temperature and away from natural elements.
How much does a 2 post car lift weight?
The total weight of the 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 our reviews) 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 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 car lifts are equipped with several safety mechanisms 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 that keep the arms in raised position should something happen with the lifting mechanism or the power is cut off.
However, the efficiency of these safety mechanisms is highly dependent on how the equipment is installed and the overall quality of the materials used. For instance, the lift must be mounted on a solid and stable floor area where there is no risk of slipping or collapsing. Also, it’s crucial that you follow the installation guidelines 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 guides, 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-inch (around 100mm) of concrete at 3,000 PSI. 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 the garage lift you want, the type of vehicles you want to lift with it, and the type of ceiling clearance you have on your garage. Most 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 lift, make sure to measure the height of your garage!
The best car lift that fits your specific needs is incredibly useful for both professionals and DIY enthusiasts who like to take care of repairs 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 guidelines! 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 in the auto lift reviews discussed in this article).
Finally, it’s always best to invest a bit more and get the option with top of the line safety elements. The models we reviewed are the best example of such lifts, so make sure to pay attention and read each description carefully!