There are a lot of lifts out there. Over time, so many have been developed to suit particular needs that it may seem tough to tell them apart. Let’s take two of the most common major lift types as an example: 2 post and 4 post. What are the differences and why is it important?
A post is essentially a metal column along which the platform is raised. It usually contains much of the hydraulic and mechanical innerworkings that make lifting possible, such as the hydraulic cylinders. Your average 2 post lift will be comprised of a pair of posts and a set of frame-engaging swing arms. Some designs will engage at the wheel or even feature a runway-style platform rather than arms. 4 post lifts, on the other hand, are most commonly found with drive-on platforms. However, mobile column lifts engage at the wheel and operate as four independent columns rather than as integrated posts.
If lifting can be done safely with two posts, why make lifts with four posts at all? Some may assume that it’s a matter of load capacity, but there are many 2 post lifts that have higher capacities than some 4 post lifts. It’s typically a matter of function. 4 post lifts are quite commonly used for storage purposes, as the platform design doesn’t give full access to the underside of the vehicle but does allow for the driver to quickly park and lift the vehicle. A frame-engaging 2 post lift, meanwhile, offers maximum access, and is one of the most common types used for vehicle servicing.
While the above differences can be helpful as starting points in understanding different lift types, it’s also important to remember that where there is a rule, there’s an exception. You may most commonly see 2 post lifts at automotive repair shops, but some homeowners use them in their own garages for both storage and DIY maintenance purposes. You may also commonly see 2 post lifts permanently mounted to the ground, but more portable solutions do exist. 4 post lifts may seem to offer lower lifting height than 2 post models, but some can give you up to 80’’. Whatever your requirements are, there’s a lift out there for you!
The more you know about vehicle lifts, the smarter your purchase will be. We love to offer as much essential knowledge as we can on our site, but you’ll really be in business once you speak with us about your individual needs. Call (403) 283-1020 to find out which lift is right for you!