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If you frequently work on your own car, you know how difficult it can be to creep underneath it to swap out a component or check the fuel or brake lines. It’s hard to see what you’re doing, and it can be challenging to get any work done due to a lack of space.
To make things a bit easier, you should consider installing a car lift in your home garage. It allows you to raise and securely hold your vehicle, which makes it so mu—ch easier to work underneath it. While it sounds like a big investment, some are not as expensive as you would think. Check out our buying guide below for some of the best car lifts available.
The Best Car Lift For Home Garage
It’s also excellent quality. The weight capacity of 9,000 pounds is well toward the upper range for a two-post car lift. It provides capacity to spare when raising most family vehicles. The swing arms are very well designed and allow for fast and easy connections to a vehicle’s underside.
They come with extensions, so they can also be used on trucks. The attached motor has the power to raise the vehicle in a matter of seconds, so you don’t have to hang around and wait to get to work.
9,000 lb Lift Capacity
Symmetrical Two Post Design
Swing Arms for Fast and Easy Attachment to Vehicle
- Model NT9FP
This lift can get a vehicle up in the air in a matter of minutes, largely due to its powerful 110V AC motor. Simply lay the two cantilevered lifting platforms on the floor, and drive your vehicle over the top. Turn on the motor and stand back as the welded steel reinforced box frame takes the strain and lifts your vehicle up to two feet into the air. It will stay up due to the dual-position safety locks that automatically engage during the lifting process.
Great for Smaller Shops
Easy to Store
Powerful 110V AC Motor
Lift Capacity of 5,000 Lbs
- Weight215 Lbs
This lift also has electrical power delivered to a motor. That motor is a single-stage, 220-volt model that packs quite a kick. It can raise the lifting platform from floor height to the maximum lift height in around 45 seconds.
6,000 Lbs Lift Capacity
Very Fast Operation
Lifts Up To 53 Inches
- Weight954 pounds
In addition, the product has 10 different locking positions across its arc of movement. This is a helpful feature because you can raise and hold the vehicle to the height that you find most useful. This is also one of the simpler styles of four-post car lifts with an easy to set up and maintain — yet still highly effective — basic hydraulic system with a simple electric motor.
8,000 Lbs Lift Capacity
4 Post Car Lift Design
10 Lockable Positions
APlusLift HW-10KOH 10,000LB Two Post Overhead Auto Hoist
The lift is a heavy-duty option made with durable, robot-welded steel covered in a powder-coated finish. It takes 50 seconds to fully raise a vehicle, which you lift by simply pressing the “up” button. The unit has a maximum lift height between 75 and 81 inches, depending on whether you use the product’s truck adapter, while the drive-through clearance is 100 inches.
10,000-Pound Lift Capacity
Double-S Column Design
Built-In Automatic Safety Locks
- Weight1,450 pounds
It features a weight capacity of 8,000 pounds, so it can handle a huge range of vehicles. Its hydraulic system makes use of aircraft-quality cabling, a standout safety feature that means you can use this lift with little worry. It also includes 18-inch wide runways, which make it easier to drive the vehicle up onto the lift, providing additional safety. The final standout safety feature is a ladder lock safety system that swings into action in the unlikely event of a failure to the cabling or hydraulics.
8,000 Lbs Lift Capacity
Redundant Ladder Lock Safety Feature
Aircraft Quality Cables
18 Inch Wide Runways
- BrandAuto Lift
- Weight1,640 Lbs
The first thing to note is the weight capacity is 10,000 pounds. This is pretty much the maximum you will find on a two-post car lift. If you have a heavier vehicle but would like a two-post lift system, this could be the model for you. It actually has a higher capacity than many four-post models, which is not something that you see very often.
10,000 Lbs Lift Capacity
Asymmetric 30 Degree Column
Padded Overhead Safety Shut Off Bar
- Weight2,562 Lbs
Best Car Lift Buying Guide & FAQ
In our buying guide, we’ll take you through the features that you should keep an eye out for when picking out the best car lift for you. After that, we’ll take a look at how best to use your new tool and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this extremely useful product.
Things to Consider When Buying a Car Lift for a Home Garage
One of the biggest considerations with these types of devices has to be space. Or more specifically the space you have to utilize within your home garage or shop. A 4 post car lift will need a heck of a lot of space, whilst a 2 post car lift you can get away with a little tighter work area. If space is at a real premium, or if you would like to work outside on the drive, a portable car lift or a scissor style model may be the best option for you.
- Weight Capacity
Or more importantly how much does your car weigh? We will mention this below in the safety tip section but it is worth highlighting here – do not lift a car which weighs more than the weight capacity of the lift. Period, full stop, no excuses. It is also a good safety idea to build in artificial capacity. So if your car weighs around 6,000lbs, look for a lift that can handle at least 8,000 lbs so you have a little extra capacity.
- Permanent or Temporary Installation
Would you like to move your car lift to various locations? If you would it would be a good idea to invest in a portable car lift such as a scissor lift. Are you happy for the lift to stay in one place after installation? That opens up the possibility of picking up a 2 or even a 4 post design. Both of them are very heavy and are usually bolted down, meaning they have very little (if any) portability.
Types of Car Lift
There are three styles of car lift, and you will have seen examples of them all in our list of products above. They each come with pros and cons to their respective designs, and they are:
This style represents the simplest style of car lift. Also known as a portable car lift, it is easy to use and install – in fact sometimes it doesn’t need any installation at all! The downside of that though is that it is a little underpowered compared to the two styles below, making for a lower upper weight capacity.
Still, they can be a great option if you need to temporarily raise your vehicle only ever now and then – to repair a damaged wheel or tire for example. They are also almost always the cheapest option.
- 2 Post
These styles of car lift represent a middle ground between a scissor and a 4 post style car lift. To that end they will have a higher weight capacity than a scissor lift, and will also lift the vehicle higher into the air.
On the other hand by using a 2 post design, these kinds of car lifts certainly take up a heck of a lot less space compared to a 4 post model, making them ideal for use in smaller home garages and shops.
- 4 Post
Finally we have the good old 4 post. They are the largest and usually most powerful of the car lift options. They are also very heavy (often over 2,000 lbs) and will be bolted onto the floor. That means they have no portability at all.
On the other hand, if you need to get your vehicle up into the air quickly and efficiently – and keep it up there too – these type of car lift often represent the best option to achieve that.
How to Use a Car Lift
It will differ depending on the style of car lift you have chosen. That said the most important thing is of course to get the vehicle loaded safely onto the lift.
A scissor and a 2 post car lift will see the vehicle frame resting on supports. Always check your vehicle handbook for the safest and strongest parts of the frame to attach the supports to.
If you have invested in a 4 post car lift with floor plates then it is a much simpler operation to the get the vehicle onto the lift. Simply drive onto the floor plates, apply the handbrake to secure the vehicle and… well, that’s actually about it!
Once the car is safely secure on the lift, simply raise it into the air. That really highlights the simplicity of these devices, certainly one of their stand out features.
Car Lift Safety Tips
- As we mentioned above always make sure that the vehicle is securely on the lift before operating. Study the operating manual of the lift to ensure a secure fit.
- Always place the lift on a solid stable and strong floor area. This will allow the car lift to operate safely without any danger of slipping or collapsing on an unsuitable base.
- Follow the installation instructions carefully! They will differ between lifts so it is hard to give firm advice on the installation on a specific lift here. All we can point out is that all the information you need for a safe install will be supplied in the product paperwork.
- The final safety tip, and this is an important one – never lift a vehicle that weighs more than the upper weight limit. In fact, you should not be regularly lifting anything that comes close to upper limit. If your car weighs 6,000lbs, you should look for a lift rated for at least 8,000 lbs, to provide plenty of spare capacity.
Best Car Lift For Home Garage FAQ:
Q: What is a clearfloor car lift?
A: A clear floor style of car lift will employ arms to raise the vehicle. You will mostly see them on a 2 post style of car lift. The benefit here is that they leave the bulk of the bottom of the vehicle free, allowing you more access when working on the vehicle. It also means the wheels hang free, making them easier to work on too.
The other style of car lift will employ floor plates. They are simple strips of metal that the vehicle drives onto before being raised in the air. That makes them very easy to use and also very secure – though they do cut back on the ability to access the bottom of the car, and the wheels, for easy maintenance.
Q: How do car lifts work?
A: Very simply they work to lift the car into the air, usually using hydraulics. There are of course a range of different styles, shapes and designs of car lift. But they use an electrical motor to power hydraulics to lift and hold a vehicle aloft.
Q: What is a post car lift used for?
A: Post car lifts will usually – but not always – be installed in one place with very little portability. That makes them ideal for installation in a home garage or shop where you work on vehicles. They are like buying a good tool bench, they provide a useful service in the shop or garage.
Because of their long-term style of installation, they can also provide an excellent vehicle storage solution. If for example you have a summer vehicle like a soft top (lucky you!), then you can pop that on a 4 post car lift, raise it in the air and store it up there freeing up floor space.
Q: How much does it cost to install a car lift?
A: Actually very little. Yes, they do look like complex machines but don’t let that fool you. The main issue is really the weight, with the largest car lifts weighing in at over 2,000 lbs. To that end you may need to hire a good pump truck or similar device to help move the pieces into place.
A professional electrician will be required to hook the lift up to appropriate circuit breakers for safe operation.
We would also strongly recommend that you bring in a couple of buddies to help with the install. We can’t estimate what that would cost in terms of beers though.
Our Top Pick
While our list includes a number of outstanding products, we recommend the Triumph NT-9 2 post car lift. It features everything you need in a two-post design, including a lifting capacity of 9,000 pounds. It’s also easy to attach a vehicle to the lift arms, and it’s simple to operate. This lift does all this at a respectable price, which is why it earns our top pick designation.
It is a true Triumph of engineering. Oh, right — we did that joke already.
- Do You Actually Know What These Garage Tools Are Used For? - howstuffworks
- How to Prepare Your Car for Long Term Storage - wikiHow