Buying a car lift for your home garage can be a dream for a dedicated car enthusiast, but sometimes it’s a dream that becomes a nightmare as the details overwhelm us. In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look at how you can start your experience in the right way. Choosing the ideal car lift shouldn’t be a challenge.
We’ve done a lot of research to identify the top car lifts for residential users, adding a comprehensive buying guide for your convenience. Along with tips to get the most out of your new installation, we’ve also provided our top ten picks available on the market.
- Features to Consider in Good Car Lifts for Home Garage
- Top 10 Best Car Lifts for Home Garage 2020
- 1. APlusLift HW-10KBP Home Garage Car Lift
- 2. TRIUMPH NSS-8
- 3. Best Portable Option: BendPak QuickJack BL-5000SLX
- 4. APlusLift HW-10KOH Overhead Auto Hoist Car Lift
- 5. Mayflower Blacksmith BP9000 Car Lift
- 6. Auto Lift Car-Park-8
- 7. TRIUMPH NT-11 Car Lift
- 8. Atlas OH-10X Car Lift
- 9. TRIUMPH NOS9000 4-Post Car Lift
- 10. BendPak Dual-Width 2-Post Asymmetric Car Lift
- Guide to Buying the Best Car Lifts for Home Garage
- Final Thoughts
Features to Consider in Good Car Lifts for Home Garage
What are the main aspects to consider before venturing on your car lift buying journey? Here are some tips on where to begin:
It’s not the first thing you might think of, but it’s a crucial part of the process. You can choose to have the car lift installed professionally, but it’ll cost you somewhere in the region of $600 to $1,000.
We know that’s a lot, but there’s a lot of work involved in the process. You must assemble it correctly. It’s not a DIY project that should be undertaken lightly.
Repair Geek does an excellent job of telling you what you need to think about before installing the lift in the video below.
What Do You Need?
Before you start drooling about the 11,000-pound lift capacity or other cool features, have a think about your requirements. Do you need that much power? How much does your current vehicle weigh?
We recommend choosing a lift that is at least 2,000 pounds heavier than your existing vehicle. Unless your next vehicle is a monster truck, anything more is excessive. You can throw in some tolerance in case you buy a bigger car in the future if you like, but be realistic.
Another area that distracts us is cool features. It’s true; there are some excellent features on the lifts on our list below, but do you need them? If you’re using the lift to hold a vehicle out of the way, do you need an expandable top beam, for example?
Always Choose High-Quality First
Buying a car lift is a massive purchase. It’s tempting to look for the cheapest deal, but that’s a bad move. Stick to a high-quality model, even if it’s plain.
It’s better to choose a reputable company with an excellent track record in this area. It’s not worth the risk of buying cheap when it comes to this type of product. Imagine how foolish you’d feel if you had to pay thousands in car damages because you didn’t want to spring for a few extra bucks upfront.
Keep these tips in mind as we head into our Top Ten Product Reviews below.
Top 10 Best Car Lifts for Home Garage 2020
The APlusLift2 is one of our favorite products for several reasons, including its competitive features and price. It’s durable, performs flawlessly, and is CE-certified. The lift is also easy to use, highly effective and holds the car securely.
The company used Q345 steel for added strength, and several built-in safety features leave us confident about recommending the APlusLift2 to you.
It is your typical two-post design, with some interesting upgrades. The floor plate has been improved, and the columns have a Double-S design for better durability. You can lift up to 10,000 pounds up to 78 inches in height with complete confidence.
The prominent safety features include:
- A double point safety lock release.
- Locks on the arms in case power fails.
- Redundancy measures within the power pump to stop it from overloading.
The price for the AplusLift 2 is possibly the most surprising aspect. It’s an outstanding price considering the quality engineering and high-quality build. This is superb value for what you get and makes it the stand-out product on this list.
- Rated up to 10,000 pounds
- The hydraulic system and lift structure are CE-certified
- Parts warranty of one year after purchase
- Lifts to a height of 6 feet 9 inches when using the truck adapters
- Double-S column for a more robust structural integrity
- Upgraded floor plate
- Q345 steel for additional strength
- Used for trucks, SUVs, and cars
- The installation instructions provided are useless.
The Triumph NSS-8 lift performs exceptionally well in its class. It lifts quickly and smoothly if you stick within its weight range. It is also a reliable model, especially if you need to stack two cars in the garage.
Design-wise, there are no groundbreaking developments. The runway is 165 inches long, and there are four posts to support the car. The maximum lift height is 84 inches, with a width between posts of 93 inches.
You’ll be able to fit in a standard passenger vehicle. If you have a larger car or SUV, check the specifications first. The model may be too narrow.
The tracks have stops on either side to keep the car in place during transit. As another safety measure, each post contains a cable. Should the lift fail, these will prevent the vehicle from crashing down.
You also receive castors, a jack tray, and drip trays.
The only real design flaw that we could identify was that the instructions were as useless as the APlusLift2 manual. The set is also heavy, so it’s wise to have someone help you with it during installation.
If you aren’t sure how to go about it, watch this video on how to install the lift.
- Reasonably priced
- Carries up to 8,000 pounds
- Simple operation
- Easy to use once installed
- Operates quietly
- Comes with a jack tray and three drip trays
- Put on casters for mobility
- Used as a car storage option, too
- Takes up space
- Shoddy installation instructions
3. Best Portable Option: BendPak QuickJack BL-5000SLX
The car lift performs admirably, especially if you have a small space. If you’re looking for a sturdy lift that will hoist your car completely out of the way, this is not the right tool. Instead of having posts on either side, it works on a system of jack frames.
It’ll only lift the car about two feet. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s still useful if you need to check for something under the vehicle. You can also use it to rotate your tires.
Its best quality is that it will fit into the trunk of your car. If you’ve got limited space options, you’ll love this nifty car lift model. It’ll lift up to a maximum of 2.5 tons as high as 2 feet.
The BendPak QuickJack has been designed to be uncomplicated. Slide it under the car until it’s in the right position. Then hit the button and let the jacks do the rest.
These jacks do take up a fair amount of space under the car, so access to some areas will be limited. The company has also included a dual-position safety-locking mechanism. It prevents the car from crashing to the ground if the jacks fail.
It’s not a full car lift, but you don’t always need a comprehensive car lift mechanism. If you don’t, this is a great choice at a reasonable price.
- Fits in your trunk
- Space-saving and compact
- Light enough for one person
- Easy to install and use
- Excellent safety features
- Capacity to lift up to two-and-a-half tons
- Maximum lift height of two feet is limiting
- It’s essential to engage the lock features for better results
- It’s not going to make an enthusiastic car mechanic happy
What’s not to love about this APlusLift? You can raise your car to the full height of the lift in under a minute, but it does take a fair amount longer to lower it.
The lifting capacity of 10,000 pounds is more than enough for the average user, though. The vehicle is elevated to a height of 83 inches in total. That’s plenty of space if you want to work under the car comfortably. You could also easily use this lift as a car storage device.
The model offers similar quality to our top pick. It didn’t quite make the top of our list because of its size—it’s a massive lift.
The design is straightforward. Unlike our top pick, the model has a bar overhead. We liked this feature because it adds extra stability. The company has also spent a lot of time creating a reliable and safe product—it has used Q345 steel and increased the width of the steel in some spots, for example.
- Easy installation with proper instructions
- CE-certified lift system
- Maximum height at 6 feet 9 inches
- Width of 113 inches allows a wider variety of cars
- High-quality materials incorporated, like Q345 steel
- Lifts up to 10,000 pounds
- Extremely reliable auto lift
- Can be used to store a vehicle, as well
- The poles are heavy
- Installation is simple, but because of the weight, you’ll need some assistance
- Take a book with you to the garage—the cars descend slowly
Despite some drawbacks, the Mayflower model is a highly effective lift and a staunch competitor on our list. It’s simple to install, easy to use, and carries up to 9,000 pounds. The maximum lift height is 75 inches, which is a useful height.
It’s plenty of space to work comfortably under the car, but the top models we’ve mentioned provide a good three inches or so more. For that reason, the Mayflower dropped down the ranks. On the positive side, though, it’s priced at slightly less than the top models.
The car rises smoothly in this model, and there’s minimal sway, so that’s to its advantage.
Mayflower opted for a symmetrical design with the arms here. If that’s not to your liking, the arms are adjustable. These arms do include a safety lock that can engage in a range of positions, so you shouldn’t have to worry about the car tumbling to earth.
The company has used high-quality steel to construct this sturdy model. It’s also one of the more affordable options on our list. This model isn’t ALI-certified and that reduces the cost. The ALI-certification is essential for a pro mechanic working on many cars. Since we’re focusing on home users, though, it also adds unnecessary costs.
- Internal width of the poles is 115 inches
- 134-inch overall width makes it ideal for smaller vehicles
- Easy to install
- Easy to use
- Can’t be used in a professional garage
The Auto Lift Car-Park-8 has a lot to offer. It’s cleverly designed and has a strong motor. The lift can also raise a maximum of 8,000 pounds up to 74.75 inches high.
The runways are 18 inches wide to accommodate a larger wheelbase, and the lift operates smoothly and reliably in general.
Your standard design features apply here. What we’re more interested in is the range of security features that have been thoughtfully built into this model. The company has used two failsafe systems, for example.
The cables in place are rated up to 14,500 pounds, close to double the maximum weight. There is also a ladder lock system that will engage if the cables do fail, and you have a choice of ten different locking positions.
The runways are made from diamond plate to prevent slipping. Larger slider blocks are also included for more security.
The price is one of the things that we had to mark down on this item. It’s offering some impressive safety features, but costs significantly more than our premium choices. Are the extra features worth the extra money? We’ll let you decide.
- Potential to be an outstanding space-saving option
- Durable, high-quality structure and materials
- Can hoist up to 8,000 pounds
- Raises the car to a maximum of 74.75 inches
- Simple to use and relatively straightforward to install
- Best safety system overall
- The price is higher than the average
- Uses roller casters, which is not ideal
- Quite heavy–you’ll need help installing it
The performance of this bad boy is impressive. It effortlessly lifts 11,000 pounds to a height of 72 inches—plenty of space if you want to want to work under the car comfortably.
The motor is relatively quiet and operates smoothly. The lift is CE-certified and ISO 9001 compliant.
It is also easy to set up and use. Get some help with the installation as a precaution– this is no lightweight model.
It is a straightforward design, and that’s part of the product’s charm. It’s not a massive lift, and it is easier to fit into a small space than some other models. On the downside, though, it weighs around 2,000 pounds.
You will have to ensure that your garage will be able to take 13,000 pounds of pressure, which is the primary reason this model appears so low on our list. The other reason is that we feel it’s probably more lift than regular home users need.
However, there is a slight premium on the price in order to get the power this model offers.
- Not badly priced
- Strong and durable
- Works flawlessly
- Lifts up to 11,0000 pounds
- Smaller footprint
- Width of 113cm will accommodate most passenger cars
- Lifts up to 72 inches, which is helpful for taller people or if you want to store another vehicle underneath it
- It’s heavy – you need to ensure that your floors can handle the weight of a car or two
- The CE certification is not enough if you want to operate a professional workshop
The Atlas OH-10X is a reliable, strong lift. It can hoist up to 10,000 pounds to a height of over 70 inches. The company has used high-grade steel to provide outstanding structural support for a range of vehicles.
The carriage is longer than average to ensure maximum stability. You can also easily store a second car under the first.
We like that it can accommodate larger cars.
It is a big, heavy car lift. You’ll need at least 13 feet of height to accommodate it adequately. You’ll also need reinforced cement floors that are capable of handling the weight.
Aside from the longer carriage, the design is similar to other lifts on our list.
The company has stayed tight-lipped about the security features that it’s added. Outside of telling us about the reinforced arms and longer carriage length, they’ve not mentioned many other details.
However, you’ll need to dig deep–this is one of the most expensive models we’ve reviewed. Is it worth the price? It is a fine piece of equipment, but we’re not sure that it’s worth the tag, have a look and see what you think. For us, it’s so similar to the other models that we find it hard to justify the extra cost.
- Lifts up to 10,000 pounds
- Roomy enough for larger vehicles
- Simple enough to install and operate
- Designed for taller mechanics
- Stores a second car underneath
- Expensive compared to similar models on the market
- We’re not sure about the safety features
- You need plenty of space in your garage
- Relatively new (untested) model
Triumph always delivers in spades when it comes to performance, and this model is no exception. It raises and lowers the cars flawlessly. It’ll lift up to 9,000 pounds to a maximum height of 77,5 inches, which makes it the model with the highest lift on our list.
Overall width of 113 inches also means it’s more compact than the other products on the list. Driving on and off the aluminum ramps is a pleasure because they’re oversized. They have box tracks to improve strength and reduce the weight (around 29 pounds apiece).
What makes this unit extra special, though, is the number of security features. Not content with one failsafe, Triumph built in a secondary failsafe system. As long as you don’t overload it, and it’s seated correctly, there’s no reason to worry.
It is a good-looking lift; there’s no denying it. The high-grade steel is powder-coated in red and black. The design features clean lines and a careful nod to space conservation.
The price is where the love affair with this Triumph model started to go south. We agree that the build quality and range of features are impressive. The price, however, gives us pause. It’s still not bad for a commercial model, but for home users it might be too much. This is one for the serious car-mechanic enthusiast.
- Lifts up to 9,000 pounds
- Lift height of up to 77,5 inches
- Two full safety systems in place
- Attractive design with useful features
- High-quality materials
- Works flawlessly
- Boxed tracks for extra strength
- 36" aluminum ramps weighing only 29 lbs.
- Costly for the home user
BendPak focused on efficiency with this model. It’s smart column placement, and shape makes it easier to open cars on the lift.
You’re also able to adjust the positions of the arms. Do you prefer a symmetrical or asymmetrical loading pattern? With this model, it doesn’t matter – it can do both.
The cars move smoothly up and down the ramp, and you can lift up to 10,000 pounds to a maximum of 69 inches.
It’s almost as though BendPak threw out the rulebook with this one. It’s a basic car lift, but the added features are impressive (not only the intelligently placed columns). The top beam is expandable, and there’s a padded bar overhead that shuts things down if you’re too close.
The width between columns is just over 100 inches and an excellent choice for a broader vehicle base.
However, we feel it’s slightly over-priced for the regular user. If you have a high-end vehicle, it might be worth spending the cash, but you have to consider how often you’ll need those features.
How important is easy access to the car once it’s in place? Do you need the safety bar or the expandable beam? We’d rather have had more lift height than the expandable beam.
To us, these features are geared towards commercial use rather than home users. That said, if you like the unique blend of features this car lift provides, then this could be the one for you.
- Lifts up to 10, 000 pounds.
- Lift height of 69 inches
- Column design makes car access easier
- Expandable top beam
- Arms can be set symmetrically or asymmetrically
- Safety shut off bar
- Good quality
- Limited range of vehicles that will fit
Guide to Buying the Best Car Lifts for Home Garage
You’ll have noticed from the reviews above that we’re dealing with a diverse range of models here. We’ve covered the reasonably priced to the expensive, so you have plenty to choose from.
The range of choices out there is healthy, but it’s also confusing. How do you know that you’re buying the right model for your needs? In this section, we’ll go through the most important considerations when looking for the best car lift for your home garage.
Essential Considerations When Choosing a Car Lift for Your Home Garage
Size of the Lift
Your first step should always be to measure the space that you have available at home. Car lifts can be bulky, depending on the type. A four-post car lift, for example, has posts that surround your car—it’s a massive piece of equipment.
If you’re barely able to fit your car into the garage as it is, the four-post car lift would be too much.
If you’re excited to buy a car lift, take this opportunity to clean out the garage. Once that’s done, you’ll have a clearer idea of the space that you have available.
Height of the Garage
The next thing to consider is the height of the garage. A bottom plate car lift, for example, can lift a car almost to the top of its reach. The car will extend higher than the posts holding it up. Keep that in consideration when measuring your garage and working out what car lift you can reasonably fit inside.
Weight is one of the most important features when buying a car lift for a home garage. It doesn’t matter if you’re just changing tires or hoisting the car, the lift must have sufficient lifting power to do so safely.
We also recommend buying a lift that’s designed to lift slightly heavier vehicles than your own. For example, if your car weighs 7,000 pounds, you could technically buy a lift to hold 7,000 pounds. It’s tempting because a higher lifting capacity usually costs a bit more.
We’re going to recommend that you choose the higher lifting capacity, though—at least 2,000 pounds higher than what you think you need. Why?
We’re recommending a more powerful machine than you need for two reasons—safety and practicality:
- 1. Safety. A good friend of ours had a lift rated about the same as the weight of his car. He hoisted the car up one day and started working on it. The lift failed, and the vehicle fell.Give yourself a bit of a safety window with more power—it’s safer that way.
- 2. Practicality. Your car lift is going to be with you for a long time. What if you get a bigger car? What if you offer to tinker on someone else’s larger vehicle?Buying a lift slightly more powerful than you need is a savvy investment for the future.
We’ll also add that while a four-post lift takes up more space, it has a higher weight capacity, so the decision is yours.
The Height Range
The range lets you know how high your car will be hoisted. It’s essential to understand how far off the ground it will stop.
Can you stand comfortably to repair something on the undercarriage? Is there enough space to store a second car underneath?
Another thing to consider is how much control you have over the height range. Are you able to stop the lift during operation when it’s at the right height?
The Width Range
The width range will tell you the model of cars the lift can accommodate. You’ll have to make sure that the width between the columns will accommodate your specific vehicle. The bigger the vehicle, the wider the lift.
It is not the time to be miserly in your purchase decision. You need a lift made from heavy-duty, high-quality steel. It is strong, durable, corrosion-resistant, and doesn’t fatigue easily.
The downside is that it’s heavier—another reason to choose a car lift that’s more powerful than you need. Spend a little extra money on a solid, reliable model.
Think about the forces that come into play when a 7,000-pound vehicle is hoisted into the air. Would you feel confident standing under the cheapest lift you could find?
Is there an electric motor? Do you have a standalone remote control? What happens if there’s a power cut? Is there an automatic safety lock?
What is a Safety Lock or Lock Bar?
A safety lock engages as the car rises. The safety feature is distinctly designed for when something goes wrong. For example, if the power goes out, or the engine stops working.
The safety lock will ensure that the arms stay in the last position instead of dropping. A lock bar takes it one step further and allows you to lower the car without using the motor.
There’s also a second kind of safety lock to consider, especially with a two-post lift. There should be restraints that can hold the car in place, which are only released once the vehicle is back on the ground.
Types of Car Lifts
Two-post and four-post lifts are the most common items available.
The two-post lift is one of the more popular options. It works well in a smaller garage and boasts keen lifting strength.
It’s important to get a reputable brand here. The only thing holding your car steady are the arms on the side, so stability can be an issue.
There are two basic types of two-post lifts—floor plate models and overhead models. Floor plate models are common, have no bar at the top, and are useful, but slightly less stable. Overhead models are better for space, have no plate on the floor to get in the way and provide more stability since the upper bar doesn’t lift the car.
You can also choose between a symmetric and an asymmetric lift. Find out the difference here.
A four-post lift is undoubtedly the safer option. A two-post model supports the car by two jacks. If you don’t get the balance right, the vehicle could fall.
A four-post model lifts the vehicle at four points simultaneously. It makes it easier to get it into the right position. It also makes the entire storage aspect more stable.
The four-posts lifts handle a significantly higher load. If you’re planning to store one car on top of the other, a four-post model is your safest bet.
The downside is that these models are significantly more expensive and take up more space. You also need to get a model with an anti-sway block. Without this, the posts might sway while the car is being raised.
Getting the Best Out of Your New Car Lift
Is Your Garage Floor Strong Enough?
We’re talking about lifts that weigh around a thousand to two thousand pounds. Generally, your garage floor should be rated at 3,000 PSI or at least 4 inches thick.
Install it Properly
We know the feeling, those manufacturer’s instructions put us to sleep too. You can’t afford to make mistakes here though. If you’re great at DIY, you can install your car lift, but it is important to go slowly and follow the instructions to the letter.
We’ve linked two YouTube videos for you for an idea of how this will work. In the first video, you’ll learn how to install a four-post lift. In the second video, you’ll learn how to install a two-post lift.
Do you still feel like that’s too complicated? Hire a professional to complete the installation for you.
Once you’ve installed the lift, it’s important to keep it functioning optimally. A lift that’s low on hydraulic fluid, for example, could fail at any time. Schedule regular maintenance checks from the moment you buy your lift..
Do a check every three to six months to make sure that everything is in working order.
- Are there any leaks?
- Is the hydraulic fluid running low?
- Inspect the metalwork for signs of corrosion or fatigue.
- How are the moving parts?
- Are the grooves clear of muck and grime?
- Is the system sticking anywhere?
- Can you hear the grinding of metal?
These are all indications that your lift may need repair. Stop using it until you’ve finished the repairs.
It’s also a good idea to change out the oil every six to twelve months.
A great car lift will allow you to work on your car to your heart’s content in a safe, comfortable and practical way. For any home-mechanic it’s a dream to get your car lift installed and exciting as you hoist your vehicle into the air for the very first time. This guide has given you all you need to know and think about before making your car lift purchase. The ten lifts we’ve provided are failsafe options for the home mechanic to get the car lift they need to enjoy tinkering with their cars for years to come.