by Joshua Thomas
A car liftprovides an easy way to deal with home garage parking problems and also ensures working under your vehicle is less stressful. However, many homeowners tend to have difficulties deciding whether to go a 2-post or 4-post model.
Professional car service bays have both types as their budget and space allow them. But, most home users can only pick one and hence the need to know how they stack up against each other to ensure you make an informed choice.
The first element you need to consider when deciding whether to go for a 2 or 4-post lift is why you are buying it in the first place. Given the difference in design and other things like load capacity and operation, these lifts are ideal for different applications.
Homeowners will buy a lift to either store a vehicle they rarely use or use during repairs. If you want a lift to store a vehicle for an extended time, the 4-post is ideal as it supports the entire car and ensures greater stability and safety.
The 2-post lift covers little of the vehicle’s under and allows you to access most parts, including the entire wheel assembly. Hence, if you are buying a lift for vehicle repairs, the 2-post is perfect.
Installing a lift should not be a DIY project unless you are technically capable of doing the job and have enough experience. Failing to set it up properly puts everyone that uses the garage at significant risk.
The good news is that many manufactures make their 2 and 4-post lifts with ease of setup in mind, and a majority are reasonably simple to set up or install.
However, 2-post lifts tend to be a little more hectic, given they need anchoring for stability. Also, with the 2-post models, extra precaution is required as you need to check things like floor condition and location of floor seams and cracks.
4-post lifts do not require anchoring since they are supported from 4 different locations, making them highly stable. Therefore, these lifts will give you an easier time when it comes to setup.
Your budget should also guide you when deciding which lift to get between 2 and 4-post models. Overall the 2-post tends to be relatively more affordable than the 4-post model.
Prices for a 9,000-pound capacity 2-post car lift average between $1,500 and $2,000, while the cost of a 4-post lift with the same capacity starts at over $2,000 for the basic models from less known brands.
But even as you consider your budget, it is essential to remember that the cheaper lift might sometimes not conform to some of the stricter safety rules. Also, these inexpensive models tend to be louder and take a longer time to lift and lower vehicles.
Any lift you choose needs to be convenient and easy to operate to work well for you. Although ease of operation largely depends on the model, it also differs significantly between the 2 and 4-post models.
With 2-post lifts, there is more room for error during operation as you need to identify the right lifting points, which largely depends on the vehicle type you are lifting. Therefore, extra care and precision are necessary when operating a 2-post lift.
For the 4-posts lift, you only need to drive the vehicle onto the platform and press a button to lift it. You do not need to pay as much attention to the lifting points since all the wheels are supported.
There are several other factors to consider when deciding between these two lift types. They include the voltage requirement as it determines whether you will need extra wiring to use the lift or not.
Most 4-post run on 110-volt motors, meaning they can work well on most homes, while some 2-post modes have 220-volt motors that may need special wiring.
Also, your garage space matters. 4-post lifts take up more room than the 2-post models and will hence be ideal for spacious garages.
The ease of loading the vehicle also matters, and here 4-post lifts have an advantage as you only need to drive the car onto the lift without too much alignment. With the 2-post lift, the vehicle needs to be at a particular spot. Hence, the alignment takes more effort and skill.
The right lift for you depends on your specific situation. Considering your garage space and other things like your budget, ease of setup and operation, and why you need a lift, it should be easy to make an informed decision.
That said, the 2-post lift is the best choice for those shopping on a tight budget and who have limited garage space. On the other hand, 4-post lifts are ideal if you want a lift for extra car storage space and something stable and easier to operate.
About Joshua Thomas
Joshua Thomas just simply loves cars and willing to work on them whenever there's chance... sometimes for free.
He started CarCareTotal back in 2017 from the advices of total strangers who witnessed his amazing skills in car repairs here and there.
His goal with this creation is to help car owners better learn how to maintain and repair their cars; as such, the site would cover alot of areas: troubleshooting, product recommendations, tips & tricks.
Joshua received Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University.