Car lifts are all about convenience. Whether they’re for gearheads who can’t stand the thought of anyone else touching their pride and joy or those who simply need a little more floor space in their garages, these helpful devices can provide safe storage or help turn a garage into a home mechanic shop. By lifting your vehicles in the air, you can work on your cars more comfortably and ergonomically, or simply stack two cars where only one would fit normally.
But the act of choosing the best car lift for home garage use is a bit less convenient. Knowing what to look for, which types to choose, and a host of other factors go into choosing the right one among the best home car lifts. There’s good news, though: This guide explains the top features to consider.
- BEST OVERALL: APlusLift HW-10KOH 10,000 LB 2-Post Overhead Car Lift
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: XK L2900 2-Post Lift
- UPGRADE PICK: Triumph NT-11 11,000 LB 2-Post Auto Lift Floor Plate
- BEST 2-POST: APlusLift HW-10KBP 10,000 LB 2-Post Floor Plate Lift
- BEST 4-POST: Tuxedo 4-Post Automotive Deluxe Storage Lift
- BEST PORTABLE: QuickJack 7000TL 7,000 LB Portable Car Lift
- BEST SCISSOR: APlusLift HW-SL6600X Mid-Rise 6,600 LB Scissor Lift
How We Chose the Best Car Lifts for Home Garages
Despite being lifelong gearheads, putting together a list of the best car lifts for home garages was no small task. We had to put together all of our experience wrenching on project vehicles and repairing daily drivers to come up with some of the most important features to look for in a car lift.
Once we knew what to look for, we performed extensive product research to find models that met our criteria. We compared these models based on their capacities, abilities, and prices, ensuring that we suggest car lifts that provide real value despite their cost. The models that didn’t make it were tossed to the side while those that passed were given awards based on their strengths.
Our Top Picks
The following are some of the best car lifts on the market organized by category and they’ll be at home in nearly any home repair shop.
- Type: 2-post
- Capacity: 10,000 pounds
- Symmetry: Symmetrical and asymmetrical
- Durable S-style frame holds up to 10,000 pounds
- Symmetrical or asymmetrical design for user-friendliness
- Automatic locks for safety while working on cars or other machinery
- Delivery parameters are a bit complicated and require a forklift
Anyone who wants to turn a normal garage into a DIY vehicle maintenance haven may want to check out this lift from APlusLift. The HW-10KOH is a two-post lift with a 10,000-pound maximum capacity. It’s also both symmetrical and asymmetrical, allowing the user to decide how to position the arms for proper access.
This car lift has a double-S-style frame to provide improved strength over other models. Also, the frame, arms, and other components are powder-coated, giving this lift a durable finish. The HW-10KOH also features a safety lock release and arm-lock restraints to ensure the vehicle and user are safe when it’s in the air.
Do keep in mind that APlusLift has very strict delivery parameters, which require a forklift on-site, and it may not deliver to remote or “high-cost areas.”
Get the APlusLift HW-10KOH car lift at Amazon or APlusLift.
- Type: 2-post
- Capacity: 9,000 pounds
- Symmetry: Symmetrical
- Self-lubricating sliders for long-term use and reliability
- Automatic locks and restraints for safety while in use
- Maximum weight capacity of 9,000 pounds; can be used for cars and other machinery
- Symmetrical design makes getting in and out of the vehicle difficult
Folks who want to lift their vehicles but still have enough money left to actually fix them may appreciate the XK L2900 Car Lift. This two-post lift model features a maximum weight of 9,000 pounds, making it more than suitable for lifting most cars and trucks for repairs and modifications. And with a considerably lower price point compared with similar models, it’s less likely to break the bank.
Despite its lower price point, the L2900 has some big-time features. For example, this model features self-lubricating nylon sliders meant to provide smooth lifting and lowering. Also, this lift has standard two-post safety features such as automatic safety lock releases and automatic arm restraints to keep the vehicle lifted safely in the air. The downside to this model is that it’s only symmetrical, so users will have to pay attention when opening and closing doors.
Get the XK car lift at Amazon or XK Auto Tools.
- Type: 2-post
- Capacity: 11,000 pounds
- Symmetry: Symmetrical and asymmetrical
- High weight capacity of more than 11,000 pounds for larger vehicles
- Symmetrical and asymmetrical design for ease of use and versatility
- Standard safety equipment, including locking mechanisms and arm restraints
- Requires heavy-duty concrete for proper use
If nothing but the best will do for that classic roadster or weekend race car, check out the NT-11 from Triumph. This two-post lift has a maximum weight capacity of more than 11,000 pounds, which means it’s capable of lifting not just the muscle machine but also the truck that hauls it from the car show to the track.
This car lift for home garages features standard safety equipment, such as auto-lock and automatic arm restraints, making this model both heavy duty and safe. It also functions as both symmetrical and asymmetrical, allowing users to position the vehicle as needed before lifting. While the floor thickness isn’t specified, Triumph does state the floor should be 4,000-psi concrete for mounting this heavy-duty lift safely in a garage.
Get the Triumph car lift at Amazon or National Auto Tools.
- Type: 2-post
- Capacity: 10,000 pounds
- Symmetry: Symmetrical and asymmetrical
- Symmetrical and asymmetrical for ease of use and versatility
- S-style frame material for durability and long-term use
- Powder-coated frame and arms for extended durability
- Floor plate to allow for higher lift; suitable for garages with high ceilings
- Shipping can be an issue; may take some time to arrive
Those looking for a two-post lift that is limited only by the height of their home garage ceiling may want to consider the APlusLift HW-10KBP car lift. This car lift has a 10,000-pound capacity, yet it features a floor-mounted plate rather than overhead like most heavy-duty models. This allows the lift to function with vehicles of any height, including low cars and tall trucks or vans.
This car lift features a symmetrical and asymmetrical design thanks to its arm designs. Also, it has the same S-type frame as most of APlusLift’s other models, complete with a powder-coated finish. The downside, as is the case with all APlusLifts, is the company won’t ship to remote or high-cost areas.
Get the APlusLift HW-10KBP car lift at Amazon or APlusLift.
- Type: 4-post
- Capacity: 8,000 pounds
- Symmetry: N/A
- Comes with drip trays and casters for protecting the garage’s flooring
- Holds up to 8,000 pounds for extended periods of time
- Durable heavy-duty steel construction provides long-term use
- Limited chassis access; may not be ideal for some users’ preferences
Homeowners hunting for one of the best four-post car lifts for home garage storage may find that this model from Tuxedo is what they need. With its four-post lift design, it’s capable of lifting and holding 8,000 pounds for extended periods of time. This makes it a feasible option for storing everything from a sports car to a full-size pickup truck suspended in the air, allowing for another vehicle to sit underneath.
This four-post lift features a heavy-duty steel frame with equally durable steel ramps. It also comes with a caster kit, allowing users to roll this empty four-post jack around when needed (never with a vehicle suspended, however). Drip trays extend from ramp to ramp, allowing users to protect the vehicle underneath from oil, coolant, or condensation, as well. But, as with all four-post lifts, there is limited access to the chassis.
Get the Tuxedo four-post lift at The Home Depot or Northern Tool + Equipment.
- Type: Portable
- Capacity: 7,000 pounds
- Symmetry: N/A
- Portable lift allows for easy storage and transportation if necessary
- 7,000-pound weight capacity is ideal for most standard-size cars and other machinery
- 3½ inches at its lowest height makes it suitable for low-profile cars
- Can increase lift height for trucks and SUVs if required
- Requires stable, even ground for safe lifting and proper use
For folks who would prefer to avoid two posts permanently attached to their home garage floors, check out the QuickJack 7000TL. This portable car lift slides underneath the vehicle and then extends to lift it by its frame, giving the user access to wheels, tires, brakes, and even some access to the chassis.
With a lowered height of 3½ inches, this portable car lift can slide under low-profile cars. It also has an extended lift height of 24 inches for trucks and SUVs. There are additional blocks that shoppers can purchase to lift the maximum height to 27 inches.
This portable car lift also comes with a hydraulic pump to operate the system, and each of the two lifts features automatic safety locks. Keep in mind that regardless of safety features, these lifts must be on flat, solid, even ground to be safe.
Get the QuickJack portable car lift at The Home Depot.
- Type: Scissor
- Capacity: 6,600 pounds
- Symmetry: N/A
- Low profile allows for floor storage if required; ideal for small garages
- Maximum lift height of 55 inches (with adjustable screw pads) for trucks or SUVs
- Weight capacity can handle most passenger vehicles
- Limited chassis access; may not be ideal for some users
Having a home garage car lift that stores away underneath the vehicle is convenient and saves space, and APlusLift’s HW-SL6600X Mid-Rise Scissor Lift does both. This scissor-style lift has a minimum height of 6⅛ inches, allowing it to sit on a garage floor underneath a vehicle for regular storage. However, when lifted, it gives the user 51 inches of lift height, allowing them to work on tires, brakes, and other parts at a comfortable height.
This model has a 6,600-pound weight capacity. It’s able to lift cars of all sizes as well as most SUVs and trucks. The adjustable arms make positioning them on the frame or subframe easy, providing a safe, secure method for lifting.
There is also a manual release safety lock to ensure that this scissor lift doesn’t flatten out accidentally. The one downside that applies to all scissor lifts is that access to the chassis is minimal.
Get the APlusLift HW-SL6600X car lift at Amazon or APlusLift.
What to Consider When Choosing a Car Lift for Home Garages
Even if you understand the different types of car lifts for home garages, there are some other important factors to know and consider. The following are some of the most critical aspects of car lifts for home garages that well-informed shoppers should consider when choosing a model for a home repair shop.
Types of Car Lifts for Home Garages
When it comes to choosing a car lift, you need to know which type will best suit your needs. Plus, with four types to consider, they need to do their research. The following are the four most common types of car lifts for home garages.
Four-post lifts are some of the most common types of lifts in both professional garage settings and homeowner shops. These car lifts feature one post at each corner, providing a stable and heavy-duty method of lifting a vehicle in the air. The user simply drives up on the ramps, secures the vehicle in park, and then activates the lift.
These car lifts can typically carry more weight in a safer way than other types. This makes them ideal for storage situations when a homeowner may want to park a vehicle underneath another for storage. However, because these lifts have large ramps and crossbars or drip trays, they tend to obstruct the user’s access to the undercarriage and chassis.
When it comes to servicing, fixing, or modifying a vehicle, two-post lifts are typically the best option. As the name suggests, these lifts have two posts, one on each side, and arms that extend out from the posts. These arms then sit on the frame under the vehicle, at which point the lift is able to raise the car off the ground without hindering access to underneath.
Two-post lifts come in symmetrical and asymmetrical designs. With the symmetrical designs, the posts are directly across from each other, and the arms are equal length. With asymmetrical designs, the posts are offset, helping to balance large, naturally unbalanced vehicles while also allowing access to the vehicle’s doors. Note that some models are both symmetrical and asymmetrical due to their arm design, despite the posts being directly across from each other.
Another popular tool for lifting vehicles in the air is the scissor lift. Scissor lifts feature crisscross frames that create a scissor action as they operate (this may even be referred to as accordion style). They have large platforms that rest on the vehicle’s chassis, providing a secure, low-height lifting method.
These lifts are typically affordable and offer relatively heavy-duty lifting capacities, though capacities vary by model. These lifts are convenient because they collapse to just a few inches tall, allowing the user to drive over top of the lift. However, they obstruct almost all access under the vehicle.
Portable lifts are great for home garages. They’re easy to set up, use, break down, and store—something many DIY garage keepers appreciate. These car lifts generally require two different sets of platforms that lift together in unison. Although the lift height is minimal, the convenience is certainly a factor.
Portable lifts are typically best for light service work, as they tend to crowd the underside of the vehicle. They’re best for oil changes, brake jobs, and wheel and tire rotations, but they also can be helpful for some repairs.
Before choosing a model, DIYers need to ask themselves why they need a car lift and what purpose it will serve. By choosing the right type of lift based on needs, DIYers will have a much easier time narrowing down to one or two specific models.
For instance, homeowners who need a reliable storage system for their classic car often desire a four-post lift. However, those who plan to restore their classic SUV will usually need a two-post lift that provides plenty of working room underneath. Those who have garages that are compact or have low ceilings may find that scissor lifts or portable lifts are best suited for their needs.
One of the most important considerations to keep in mind when choosing a car lift for a home garage is the lift’s capacity. And, as one might guess, this has a lot to do with the vehicle or vehicles the lift will be raising.
For example, if someone is a fan of vintage British sports cars, the lift might need to handle only 3,000 or 4,000 pounds. However, if that same person hauls those little roadsters from track to track with a 1-ton pickup truck, the lift might need to handle 9,000 or 10,000 pounds.
And remember that it’s always better to go with a lift that offers slightly more lifting ability than needed to prevent the chance of a failure.
Not all garages are eligible or good candidates for car lifts. Garages with low ceilings or dirt floors are not compatible, as the lifted vehicle may hit the ceiling or the posts may start to sink into the floor. For those garages with limited space, DIYers are usually best-served by a scissor or portable lift.
The garage floor’s condition and thickness also play a factor. Most manufacturers recommend that the commercial or home garage floor be no less than 4 inches thick. However, for some larger, heavier-duty models, 6-inch slabs are the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Someone getting trapped or crushed underneath a lifted vehicle would be a tragedy. For that reason, car lift manufacturers build certain safety devices or measures into the lifts to avoid potential dangers when lifting or lowering.
Consider a model that features an auto-lock function on the way up. This device locks into detents as the vehicle is rising, allowing it to slip only a few inches at a time in an emergency.
Arm restraints can also be helpful, as they lock the arms in position so the vehicle can’t move forward or backward on the lift. Also, for four-post lifts, look for safety chains and anti-sway devices to ensure the lift doesn’t drop on top of anyone.
That’s a lot of information on the best car lift for home garages, but there might still be some questions weighing you down. We’re aiming to lift that weight off your shoulders by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about car lifts designed for home garages.
Q. What is the best car lift to get?
The best type of car lift to get depends on many factors, but the APlusLift HW-10KOH, with its 10,000-pound capacity and flexible symmetry, is a great option for many home users.
Q. Should I pick a 4-post or a 2-post lift?
If the lift is primarily for servicing, repairing, or restoring a vehicle, the two-post lift is often the best option. However, for storage, four-post lifts are usually best because they’re more stable.
Q. How tall does my garage need to be for a car lift?
In most cases, garages should be at least 9 feet tall for a lift to fit. However, for smaller garages, scissor and portable lifts can work. Just be sure not to lift the vehicle so high that the roof hits the ceiling.
Q. Can I use the space under a car lift for additional storage?
Lift owners can store other vehicles and items underneath four-post lifts, but these are the only models that are safe for this purpose.
Q. Are home car lifts safe?
Yes, modern car lifts are safe as long as they are installed and used properly. They have built-in safety features and devices to prevent accidents.
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