Choosing the Best Car Lift

Whether you’re looking to free up a little space in your garage or take your repair jobs to the next level, there’s no better way to do it than with a car lift. These versatile machines can transform a mediocre garage into the garage of your dreams.

But before you make any purchases it’s important to know what you’re getting.

In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about vehicle lifts to help you find the best residential garage car lift.

Types of Car Lifts

When it’s time to install a car lift in your home garage, the first question you need to answer is “what type of lift do I need?”.

While four-post lifts can double your garage space, they don’t allow you to complete some maintenance operations. On the other hand, you shouldn’t leave a vehicle suspended on a two-post lift for an extended period either.

Below we’ll break down everything you need to know about the three most common lift designs to help you make your decision.

Four Post Lifts

Four-post lifts are one of the more popular lift designs out there. With these lifts, you drive directly on the lift, and then you raise your vehicle with the click of a button.

These lifts allow you to double your garage space by parking one vehicle underneath the one you’ve raised. Just make sure that you lower the raised vehicle onto the physical locks instead of relying on the hydraulics before bringing the second vehicle in.

Porsche on Four Post Car Lift

These lifts are perfect for when you need to perform routine maintenance underneath your vehicle, like oil changes or swapping car parts, since you get excellent access.

However, four-post lifts don’t raise your vehicle off the wheels. So, if you’re looking to rotate your tires or replace brake or suspension components, a four-post lift isn’t going to be very useful.

Two Post Lifts

Two-post lifts are a mechanics dream. You drive between the two posts and line up the pads from each post on the frame then raise the vehicle.

This design has a few advantages, primarily that you’re not raising the vehicle by the wheels. Instead, you’re raising it by the frame which allows you to take all four wheels off at once while completing repairs.

However, the most significant drawback is that you can’t leave your vehicle like this for an extended time. That’s because lifting a vehicle like this maxes out the suspension, which can lead to premature wear amongst other damages.

Maintenance using a 2 post car lift can be much easier

While this isn’t a concern if you don’t leave your vehicle like this a lot — if you’re looking to park another vehicle underneath and double your garage space this isn’t what you’re looking for.

Portable Scissor Lifts

The last type of lift we want to highlight are the portable variety of scissor lifts. As the name implies, these lifts are far more portable than the other two options. While you need to drill holes into the ground and mount both two-post and four-post lifts, you don’t need to mount anything for a portable lift.

This has a few perks. First, you can move the lift out of the way after using it instead of having the posts permanently mounted. Second, if you are looking to perform maintenance at a friend’s house or somewhere other than your garage — you can bring your lift with you.

However, just because these lifts are deemed portable doesn’t mean they’re the easiest to move. First off, they’re still heavy — so moving them can take some effort. Second, you still need the power to operate these lifts.

So, if you think you can perform mobile repairs with this lift you’ll need a generator too.

Audi SQ5 on a portable lift in a home garage

Things to Consider Before Buying a Car Lift

When you’re looking at dropping the money on a car lift, you want to get the right one the first time. The last thing you want is to get your new lift only to find out you’re missing what you need to install it or that you overlooked a critical aspect.

To make things easier, we’ll break down all the important things to keep track of here. That way, when you get to the reviews you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for.

Available Garage Space

Before you head out and purchase a car lift, make sure you have the space for it. It’s a great start that your vehicle can fit in your garage without a lift, but that doesn’t always mean your garage has the space for a lift.

For starters, car lifts are a little wider than your vehicle, so if it’s a tight squeeze when you pull in — you probably don’t have enough space. It’s best if you measure out your garage dimensions and ensure that you have space for the lift you’re ordering.

However, just because the dimensions for the lift fit, that doesn’t mean you’re good to go. That’s because you need to verify that your garage has enough height for both your lift and your vehicle.

This is obvious when you picture a low drift car on a lift versus a minivan. The van is going to require a lot of extra height.

The last thing you want is to lift your vehicle and send it through the roof of your garage! Consider your vehicle’s size and the lift’s maximum height when determining if you have enough space.

Low profile home workshop lift
In the Engineered to Slide workshop, cars are low profile. This means height is less of an issue.

Voltage Specs

You’ll need to ensure that you have the proper voltage specs in your garage to operate your lift. Lifts come in two main voltage specs, 110V and 220V.

Make sure that your garage has both the available outlets and that they’re the correct voltage.

Now, if you have the outlets but they’re not the correct voltage you’re not completely out of luck. You can invest in a heavy-duty transformer to get the job done. Just make sure that the transformer has enough wattage to handle your lift.

Finally, keep in mind that while some internet gurus will claim that you can easily convert your 110 voltage to 220 — it’s not that easy. Please don’t start splicing wires together to create circuits your wiring can’t handle.

Setting Up Your Lift

The last thing you want is to spend a ton of money on your lift only to realize you don’t have what you need to set it up. Worse, you might find that your garage is simply incompatible with the lift you purchased.

That’s especially true with two-post and four-post lifts. That’s because you need to bolt both four-post and two-post lifts directly into the floor of your garage.

Not only will you need the correct drill and tools to do this, but you’ll also need a concrete floor in your garage that’s deep enough to handle the entire thread.

Drilling concrete for vehicle lift

Most of the time, this isn’t an issue if you have concrete flooring — but if you or the previous homeowners did the job yourself, then it might not be thick enough.

Finally, if you’re renting a place, you’ll need permission from the homeowners before you start drilling into the garage’s foundation.

If you want to pay for someone to handle installation, a two-post lift will set you back around $500 while a four-post system will cost around $900 to install.

Purpose

There are two main purposes for purchasing a car lift:

  1. for maintenance — you simply can’t perform some jobs without a lift.
  2. space — to add storage space for more cars or other toys to your garage.

This is where four-post lifts excel as you can lift one vehicle and park another underneath — effectively doubling your garage space.

Deciding what you want your lift for is the first step in determining what you need. Because while a four-post lift might double your garage space, they don’t open up a full range of maintenance capabilities.

Weight Capacity

Before you purchase any lift, you need to decide how heavy your vehicles are. It’s going to be a complete bummer if you buy a lift only to find out that it can’t handle your vehicle’s weight.

The good news is that the lifts we reviewed here can handle almost any vehicle. For reference, a Chevy Suburban can weigh up to 6,000-pounds, while a Ford F150 can weigh up to 5,000-pounds.

Heavy Ford F150 Raptor pickup truck on a 2 post lift

Where you might run into some issues is if you drive a vehicle like a fully-loaded F350 which can weigh close to 8,000-pounds. While most of the lifts we recommend can handle that too — a few of our portable lifts can’t.

Safety

When you’re using a car lift in your home garage, there are a few safety tips you need to follow to stay safe.

First, never go underneath your vehicle while lifting it. Instead, fully raise your vehicle and then lower it onto the physical locks before heading underneath.

While the hydraulic pistons should hold your vehicle up, all it takes is for a seal to give out for your vehicle to fall while you’re underneath and crush you. Lowering your vehicle onto the physical safety locks gives you an extra layer of protection to stay safe.

Not only do you need to have your vehicle on the locks before going underneath, but don’t leave your vehicle on hydraulics overnight, and never park another vehicle underneath if the lift isn’t on the locks.

Second, always apply your emergency brake when parking on a four-post lift. This gives you an extra layer of protection to keep your vehicle from accidentally rolling off — especially if it comes down awkward on one of the locks.

Third, when using a two-post lift or scissor lift, always double-check that each pad is firmly pressed against the frame before fully lifting the vehicle. Line them up and raise the lift until the pads press against the frame.

Safely using a 2-post vehicle lift at home

Walk around and double-check that you have every pad centered on the frame before lifting your vehicle.

Finally, triple-check that nobody is underneath your vehicle while you’re lowering it. Kids and pets are notorious for darting around when you’re not looking, so take the time to make sure that no one can get underneath your vehicle at that time.

Best Car Lifts for Your Home Garage

Now that you know a little more about car lifts, let’s take a look at some of your top options when buying a car lifts. We’ve broken them down into different categories — so if you know what type of lift you want you can jump to that section.

This buying guide features the best lifts out there for residential use, and we’ve reviewed each to give some insight before you make a purchase. Read through them all to find the best residential garage car lift for your needs.

Top 4-Post Car Lifts

Four-post car lifts serve a wide array of purposes. Whether you’re looking for a lift to make maintenance tasks a little easier or you’re trying to turn your single car garage into a double — a four-post lift is the way to go.

It’s for this reason that a lot of people simply call these “parking lifts”. Below we’ve highlighted the best four-post lifts to transform your garage into a premium option overnight.

Triumph NSS-8

Triumph NSS-8

Manufacturer: Triumph
Part Number: NSS-8
Lift Capacity: 8,000 lbs
Voltage:
110V
Warranty:
1 Year
Buy On:
Amazon

If you’re looking for a top-notch 4-post lift, it’s hard to beat this Triumph masterpiece. With an 8,000-pound weight capacity, it’s more than large enough to lift anything from an Infiniti G35 to a Suburban.

Not only do you get a comprehensive lift helps to free up some room in your garage, but it also comes with a 1-year warranty that covers every component.

While you might be spending a little bit of money upfront, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your lift is going to last a long time without any issues.

Mayflower Blacksmith 8000

Mayflower Blacksmith 8000

Manufacturer: Mayflower Blacksmith
Part Number: Pro 8000
Lift Capacity: 8,000 lbs
Voltage: 110V
Warranty:
1 Year
Buy On:
Amazon

Another excellent option for an affordable four-post lift is the Mayflower Blacksmith 8000. Featuring an 8,000-pound capacity, this lift is easy to assemble, works smoothly, and comes with a 1-year warranty. Moreover, it has a 110 voltage design, which is perfect for most American garages.

Please keep in mind that while the product images feature an American flag, Mayflower Blacksmith produces this lift in China. It’s still high-quality, but it’s not American-made.

APlusLift HW-8S

APlusLift HW-8S 4 post lift

Manufacturer: Songa Enterprises
Part Number: HW-8S
Lift Capacity: 8,000 lbs
Voltage: 110V
Warranty:
1 Year
Buy On:
Amazon

This 8,000-pound capacity four-post car lift from Songa Enterprises comes with everything you need to use your new car lift for both storage or maintenance purposes.

Not only do you get a top-notch lift with a 1-year warranty, but you also get a caster kit, drip trays, and a jack tray from a reliable brand.

More importantly, it utilizes 110-voltage, so again it’s the perfect fit for most American garages. Not only that, but it’s one of the lowest-priced options, making it the best four-post lift for the money you’ll be spending.

Best 2 Post Car Lift

If you’re looking for a car lift to complete maintenance tasks like tire rotations and suspension work, you’ll need a two-post car lift. While you can’t use these lifts to keep your vehicle suspended overnight, they’re great for maintenance.

We’ve highlighted the best two-post car lifts in our reviews below to help you get one step closer to the garage of your dreams.

APlusLift HW-10KOH

APlusLift HW-10KOH 2 post over head vehicle lift

Manufacturer: Songa Enterprises
Part Number: HW-10KOH
Lift Capacity: 10,000 lbs
Voltage: 220V
Warranty:
2 Year
Buy On:
Amazon

With a 10,000-pound weight capacity, there are few vehicles that this powerful two-post lift from APlusLifts can’t handle. It comes with everything you need to get started and has an impressive 2-year warranty on all of the components.

If you opt for this 5-ton lift, you’ll transform your garage into a maintenance haven and never look back. Keep in mind that this lift, like all the two-post lifts here, runs on a 220V power unit, so you’ll likely need a transformer to get it to run in your garage.

Triumph NT9FP

Triumph NT9FP

Manufacturer: Triumph
Part Number: NT9FP
Lift Capacity: 9,000 lbs
Voltage: 220V
Warranty:
1 Year
Buy On:
Amazon

While this two-post lift from Triumph has a slightly lower lifting capacity than the other two-post jacks we’ve reviewed, it also features a lower price tag and is still large enough to lift just about any vehicle. This gives you a really great two-post lift for the money you’ll be spending.

In fact, unless you’re planning on performing maintenance on a construction vehicle or motorhome, this lift has more than enough power to see you through any project.

XK L1100

XL L1100 2 post lift

Manufacturer: XK
Part Number: Xh-232582123
Lift Capacity: 10,000 lbs
Voltage: 220V
Warranty:
1 Year
Buy On:
Amazon

Another outstanding option that’ll leave you spoiled for choice is this XK L1100 two-post lift. It features an impressive 10,000-pound lifting capacity in addition to a 1-year warranty. This lift utilizes a 220-volt power unit, so keep that in mind when you’re adding it to your cart.

What you should keep in mind with this purchase is that this company requires you to have a forklift or tractor to unload the freight package at the destination.

Best Portable Car Lift

Having a permanent lift in your garage is a huge perk, but if you don’t have the space or if you’re regularly going to other locations to work on cars — a portable car lift would suit your needs better.

Another perk of portable lifts is that you don’t need to drill any holes into your garage floor to use them. This allows you to position them around any other equipment, or a garage car mat.

When you add these factors together, a portable car lift can easily be the best option for the money and the best way to lift a car at home. Below, we’ve listed some great portable options that will transform your garage and maintenance capabilities.

QuickJack BL-7000SLX Portable

QuickJack BL-7000SLX Portable

Manufacturer: Bendpak
Part Number: BL-7000SLX
Lift Capacity: 7,000 lbs
Voltage: 110V
Warranty:
1 Year (2 Year for Hydraulic Cylinders)
Buy On:
Amazon

Bendpak is one of the top names in the world of portable lifts, and this 7,000-pound portable jack highlights why. In addition to its impressive lifting capacity it utilizes 110-voltage, making it easier to hookup no matter where you go.

Furthermore, it comes with two 3-ton jack stands. While the electrical components only have a 1-year warranty, the hydraulic cylinders come with a 2-year warranty, and the lifting structure itself has a 5-year warranty.

Unless you need to lift extremely heavy vehicles, this is probably the best portable car lift on the market today.

STRATUS Mid Rise Scissor

Stratus SAE-MS8000E mid rise portable car scissor lift

Manufacturer: Stratus Auto Equipment
Part Number: SAE-MS8000E
Lift Capacity: 8,000 lbs
Voltage: 220V
Warranty:
2 Year
Buy On:
Amazon

While this Stratus portable scissor lift is a little more expensive than the QuickJack product we reviewed above, it does have a slightly higher lifting capacity at 8,000-pounds.

Moreover, Stratus covers every component on this lift with a 2-year warranty, and the lifting structure itself has a 5-year warranty.

Finally, this lift does utilize 220-voltage, so you’ll want to invest in a high-quality voltage transformer to use this lift wherever you go.

APlusLift HW-SL6600X Mid Rise

APlusLift HW-SL6600X Mid Rise Scissor lift

Manufacturer: Songa Enterprises
Part Number: HW-SL6600X
Lift Capacity: 6,600 lbs
Voltage: 220V
Warranty:
2 Year
Buy On:
Amazon

While this scissor lift has a slightly lower lifting capacity compared to the other portable options that we reviewed, the 6,600-pound limit is still high enough for most vehicles.

You won’t run into problems with it unless you’re trying to lift a larger truck.

This lift does come with a comprehensive 2-year warranty and an additional 5-year structural warranty. Keep in mind that it utilizes 220-voltage.

Our Favorite Car Lifts

If you’re still having trouble picking the right lift for your garage, don’t fret. We’ve highlighted our favorite car lift from each category below.

You can easily make your choice, purchase the best vehicle lift out there, and move on to the fun part or receiving, installing and using it!

Best 4-Post Lift: Triumph NSS-8

Triumph did a spectacular job with this 8,000-pound car lift. It’s easy to set up and offers everything you need to get started. Even better, it comes with a 1-year warranty.

Perfect 2-Post Lift: APlusLift HW-10KOH

Two-post car lifts are maintenance wonders — but they need to handle a ton of weight. That’s why the APlusLift earns our top marks. With a 10,000-pound lifting capacity and a 2-year warranty, it easily earns our nod as the best two-post option.

Our Favorite Portable Car Lift: QuickJack Portable

If you’re looking for a reliable, low hassle portable lift, having one that runs off 110-voltage is a huge perk. That’s exactly what this 3.5-ton lift offers, and is why it’s our top choice.

Did you like what you read, or do you have more questions about car lifts for your home garage? Leave a comment below or check out some of our other guides!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *