Best Car Lifts

Detailed Vehicle Lift Comparisons

We know that there are many options out there when it comes to choosing a car lift. It's important to the Best Buy Auto team that we are here to help you make the best decision, no matter what kind of equipment you're looking for. With the many options available for car and vehicle lifts, and the size of the investment, it's incredibly important to know the uses, benefits, and drawbacks of each type.

For this article, we'll be focusing on the most common types of car lifts.

The first type of lift is the four-post car lift. Four-post lifts are often referred to as "drive-on" lifts because they allow vehicles to be driven directly onto the runways that lift the vehicle. They're available in various sizes, styles, and capacities, making them perfect for use in auto shops and home garages. Parking lifts are a type of 4-post lift designed to store a vehicle but rarely designed to allow easy access to the vehicle for repair and maintenance.

Four-Post Car Lift Pros:
• Very versatile when it comes to heavy lifting
• Can hold a higher capacity than two-post lifts
• User-friendly
• Preferred lift for quick-lube stations and muffler shops
• Good for hobbyists because they usually don't require a floor anchor
• Some models can be portable
• Can store two cars where there is only room for one

Four-Post Car Lift Cons:
• Usually more expensive than two-post lifts
• Requires the tires to rest on the runway, so you'll want to invest in rolling or sliding bridge jacks to lift the wheels off the lift.

The next type of lift is the two-post car lift. This is another very common car lift that is equipped to handle many different types of vehicles. Two-post car lifts can either be symmetrical or asymmetrical. If the lift is symmetrical, it means that the posts of the lift directly face each other, and each support arm holds about 50% of the weight. Asymmetrical car lifts have swing arms that are not the same length in the front and the back. They also feature a rotated post design. As a result, asymmetrical car lifts have a shifted center of gravity, which is beneficial for long vehicles like trucks that tend to be unbalanced.

Two-Post Car Lift Pros:
• Most common in professional automotive shops
• Stable enough to hold many different types of vehicles
• Cheaper than four-post lifts
• Save space with the smaller horizontal footprint
• The design allows for complete access to vehicle wheels
• Can be symmetrical or asymmetrical

Two-Post Car Lift Cons:
• Not very common for residential garages because they're taller than other lifts
• Lacks the stacking ability of a four-post lift
• Typically need to be permanently installed and may have complicated installation requirements
• Less convenient access to all parts of the vehicle

Generally, the two most common auto lifts are two-post and four-post, which make up most of the lifts you'll find in workshops and garages. Less commonly used are lifts designed for special situations and use, known as specialty lifts. These can include scissor lifts, mobile lifts, and parking lifts.

Scissor lift is a broad term that covers any car lift that uses an accordion-like mechanism to raise a single vehicle. Scissor lifts can be divided into three different types: X type, parallelogram type, or pantograph type. This distinction depends on the configuration of the cylinders and the raising rods. Scissor lifts are great for both professional use and home garage use because they're available in a wide range of capacities and heights.

Scissor Car Lift Pros:
• Can come in a wide range of capacities
• Great for both professionals and hobbyists
• Can retract into a low profile when not in use

Scissor Car Lift Cons:
• Can be extremely heavy
• Users are unable to stand directly underneath the vehicle when in the lift

Alignment car lifts are unique because they have special features that make it easier to perform alignment services on cars or trucks. Four-post and scissor lifts can also be alignment lifts, as long as they include a runway for the vehicle tires to rest on. These runways include built-in turn plates and slip plates that allow the vehicle's wheels to turn easily and without resistance. Alignment car lifts were originally designed for auto repair shops but can also be used in home garages.

Alignment Car Lift Pros:
• Are equipped with extra features that make performing alignment features easier
• Can be used in auto shops or home garages

Alignment Car Lift Cons:
• Are typically much more expensive than a standard lift
• Additional alignment features require additioinal maintenance.

Finally, we have the mobile column car lifts. Imagine a 2- or 4-post lift, but each post is a powerful lift in its own right. That's the idea behind mobile column car lifts. Mobile column car lifts are typically deployed in pairs, allowing users flexibility in how and where they lift vehicles. These lifts are designed specifically to lift large, heavy vehicles and use lifting forks instead of runways or pads to engage the vehicle. Because of their size, price, and capacity, you will most likely only find these lifts in a professional environment.

Mobile Column Car Lift Pros:
• Mobile and highly configurable
• Some models have wireless communication features
• Offer a wide range of capacities, including very heavy loads.

Mobile Column Car Lift Cons:
• Aren't practical for home garage owners
• Can be very expensive

Remember, the lifts listed above are only the primary kinds of lifts, and other options are available. What type of lift is right for you depends on your needs and how you intend to use it. We hope that this article has helped answer some basic questions you may have had about car lifts. However, should you need any additional information, or have a question about any of our lifts, don't hesitate to reach out to us and let us know!