The primary reason why homeowners can’t park inside their garage is due to the mess inside. However, another factor is the shortage of garage parking spots compared to the number of family vehicles they own.
It can be frustrating for families to continuously move their vehicles around when there isn’t enough parking space available.
Additionally, some homeowners may have a seasonal vehicle taking up a valuable garage parking spot for an extended period, even if it’s not in use.
If you don’t want to pay for expensive yearly remote vehicle storage or undertake costly garage expansions, installing a car lift at home can be an excellent solution to simplify your parking issues.
If you’re looking for the best car lift for your garage, you’ll discover that there are three primary types of lifts available for sale: 4 post car lift, 2 post car lift, and scissor car lift. However, scissor lifts are not a practical option for garage parking since you can’t park underneath them. Additionally, they typically have lower lifting capacities and are better suited for temporarily raising vehicles for maintenance purposes, rather than for long-term storage.
This narrows down the choice to the two most popular home car lift options: 4 post and 2 post car lifts. However, the 4 post car lift vs 2 post lift debate can be confusing. Therefore, to simplify things, here are seven crucial factors that you must consider to determine which type of home car lift will work best for your family’s needs.
1.For Home Parking
When it comes to purchasing a car lift for their garage, many people are primarily interested in creating more home parking space. Being able to park a car underneath another vehicle elevated on a car lift is an attractive proposition for those who have more vehicles than their garage can accommodate.
For this type of usage, a 4 post lift is the ideal option. Almost all 4 post car lifts are specifically designed for this purpose, whereas only some 2 post models are recommended for use as a parking lift.
The support posts for a 2 post lift are located at the center where the vehicle is lifted. This can make it challenging to open the doors and get in and out of a car parked underneath the lift. On the other hand, the posts for a 4 post lift are situated at the four outer corners of the vehicle parked underneath it, so there are no obstructions on the sides.One advantage of 4 post car lifts over 2 post lifts is that it’s easier to get in and out of the vehicle parked under the lift.
2.Easy and convenient to use
The 2 post car lift is a “frame engaging” lift that uses two metal arms to support the weight of a vehicle.
However, a significant drawback of the 2 post lift is that there’s less margin for error when it comes to using it properly. You need to identify the correct lifting points, which can vary from one vehicle to another. In other words, 2 post car lifts demand more attention and precision when being used.
In terms of convenience and ease of use, the 4 post car lift is undeniably superior when compared to the 2 post lift. While safety should always be a top priority when using any car lift, a 4 post lift essentially requires you to drive your vehicle onto the lift platform.
Since all four wheels of the vehicle support its weight, there’s no guesswork or additional time required to ensure that your vehicle is precisely aligned for a safe lift.
3.Be sure to consider safety
Using a car lift can be a daunting task for those who have never used one before. Given that vehicles weigh thousands of pounds, it’s understandable to be a little apprehensive about parking an expensive vehicle above another expensive vehicle.
When using a 2 post lift, it’s essential to identify the correct lifting points to ensure that your vehicle is stored safely. Failing to do so could result in a hoisted vehicle with an unbalanced center of gravity, increasing the risk of it falling.
It’s easy to understand that a 4 post car lift, which has twice as many posts as a 2 post lift, provides more stability. This, along with the relative ease of using a 4 post lift, is a significant reason why it may be a more appealing option for some homeowners. It simply gives them greater peace of mind. Additionally, 4 post lifts are considered to be a safer choice for heavier vehicles and long-term storage.
It’s important to note that any car lift produced by a reputable manufacturer should adhere to the strictest safety standards, be ALI-certified, and be installed by a professional. Regular maintenance of the car lift is also essential.
All 2 post and 4 post car lifts should include some sort of safety lock feature, as well as a hydraulic flow restrictor feature. Furthermore, all 4 post lifts should come equipped with front and rear wheel chocks to prevent vehicles from rolling off the front or back of the lifting platform.
4. Equipment and Workshop Space
When considering a car lift for your garage, it’s essential to factor in the amount of space it will occupy. Both 4 post car lifts and 2 post lifts utilize the vertical space in your garage, and you’ll need to ensure that there is adequate overhead clearance for your lift to operate.
To do this, you need to consider the location of your garage door opener, how high your garage doors open, and the placement of storage racks and lighting. You may need to modify your garage by using a high lift conversion to create more space for the lift.
In terms of 4 post car lift vs 2 post lift pros and cons, it’s true that 2 post lifts take up less space in a garage, making them a viable option for those with smaller garages or budgets. However, if you have enough room and budget to work with, a 4 post car lift may be the better choice for you.
5.Easy for Installing
Installing a car lift should not be attempted as a DIY project, due to safety concerns. Car lifts are also challenging to install because of their weight, which can range from 1,800-2,500 pounds for a typical 4 post lift.
A professional installer will examine your garage floor to ensure that it can support the weight of the lift. A concrete slab that is 4-5 inches thick is usually recommended.
All 2 post lifts need to be anchored, and the installer must consider the condition of the floor, along with the locations of floor cracks and seams before installing the anchors. Most 4 post lifts do not require anchors because of their greater stability.
Additionally, electrical work is necessary when installing a car lift. While many lifts use a 110V motor that is compatible with most garage electrical systems, some models require a 220V motor. In this case, you will likely need an electrician to upgrade your garage’s electrical system to handle the higher voltage.
6. Additional Features of Car Lifts
While some people want a car lift solely for additional storage space, others prioritize it for vehicle maintenance. In fact, 25% of homeowners surveyed by the Wall Street Journal use their garages for this purpose.
When it comes to the debate between 4 post car lifts and 2 post lifts as home service lifts, opinions are varied. Some auto enthusiasts prefer the 2 post lift because it offers easier access to wheels and more areas of a vehicle’s underside.
However, 4 post lift owners argue that a jack tray attachment can be used to raise the vehicle off the platform, making it just as easy to access these areas.
In terms of versatility, a 4 post lift provides more storage options. With the right attachment, it can hold bulky items like a motorcycle, riding lawn mower, or snowblower.
Another advantage of a 4 post lift is its mobility. Unlike an anchored 2 post lift, a 4 post lift can be moved around the garage with the use of a caster kit.
2 post car lifts are generally cheaper than 4 post lifts due to their lower lifting capacities and the materials used in their construction. However, it’s important to keep a few things in mind when setting your car lift budget. Firstly, do your research and choose a reputable and reliable car lift brand, as cheaper brands may not adhere to strict safety standards. Secondly, investing in a 4 post car lift may be worth the extra cost for the added convenience and versatility. Cheaper car lifts may take longer to raise and lower your vehicle and operate louder when doing so. Additionally, the weight of the vehicle you’ll be lifting will impact how much you pay for a car lift.
Regardless of which type of lift you choose, consider the long-term cost savings of having your seasonal vehicle stored at home and the added convenience and peace of mind that comes with it. Furthermore, installing a car lift is often a more cost-effective solution than undergoing a messy garage expansion.