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2-Post Auto Lifts vs. 4-Post Auto Lifts

What are the primary differences between 2-post auto lifts and 4-post auto lifts? One may be tempted to say, “Well, the number of columns, of course,” and leave it at that. However, 2-post and 4-post lifts are designed with specific strengths for differing applications. When considering which to purchase, these strengths are important to understand. While one lift is not objectively superior to the other, choosing the correct lift for your application is absolutely vital. For example, whether you are repairing cars from your garage or from a high-end auto shop will play a role in your decision.

In the content below, we will compare both lifts – hopefully, leaving you with extensive knowledge and a clear decision.

2-Post Auto Lifts

  • Two-post auto lifts are frame-engaging, meaning they lift the vehicle utilizing specifically intended lift points on the vehicle’s undercarriage. Because two-post lifts have four arms, they can accommodate a wide range of lift points.
  • Usually, two-post lifts feature a 220-volt motor.
  • Two-post lifts are commonly found in auto shops, excellent for drive in, fix it, and drive out situations.
  • These lifts are durable yet small, ideal for repair shops with multiple active lifts – or an enthusiast’s own personal garage.
  • Two-post lifts provide a wide range of use. Technicians can easily perform undercarriage repairs – lift height generally allows easy access to the engine, transmission, etc. Furthermore, frame-engaging lifts leave the suspension exposed, making for simple wheel changes and brake repair.
  • Because two-post lifts raise vehicles via lift points, they provide greater access to the undercarriage in low ceiling garages than wheel-engaging lifts.
  • Due to their relatively light load capacity – as compared to four-post lifts – two-post lifts are excellent for small vehicles, such as light trucks, vans, and cars. Most two-post lifts have a maximum load capacity of about 20,000 lbs., important information to keep in mind when considering which lift will be ideal for your desired application.
  • Two-post lifts can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. The primary difference between both lift varieties is the vehicle’s position in relation to the lift columns. Symmetrical lift columns are positioned symmetrically to the vehicle. Asymmetrical lift columns are usually positioned at an angle to the vehicle. Both lifts leave minimal space between the car and the columns, often resulting in car door denting. To avoid destruction, repair shop owners and auto enthusiasts should consider utilizing denting protection, such as DoorJammer car door protection, to eliminate costly damage, reduce stress, and prevent lost revenue.
  • Generally, two-post lifts are less expensive than four-post lifts, making them a good home garage option for any vehicle owner on a budget.
  • Two-post lifts must be anchored to the ground. While this aids in durability, it severely limits mobility. However, if you plan to keep the lift sedentary, the two-post lift is a good option.

4-Post Auto Lifts

  • Four-post auto lifts are wheel-engaging; vehicles can drive directly onto runways before use. Because the height of the tire must be accounted for in wheel-engaging lifts, they are not ideal for low ceiling shops.
  • Usually, four-post lifts feature a 110-volt motor.
  • Four-post lifts are excellent for a wide variety of vehicles, from small cars to trucks.
  • Drive-on lifts are easy to utilize. The operator must drive onto the lift, no meticulous positioning of arms into lift points required.
  • These lifts are a favorite of home repair shops and automotive enthusiasts because they double as storage units. Four-post auto lifts are readily utilized to store multiple cars in a small space, directly over each other.
  • Four-post lifts are also a favorite of automotive repair shops. These units provide easy access for undercarriage work. With the use of rolling jacks, technicians can adjust the vehicle to perform wheel and brake work.
  • Because certain kinds of four-post lifts don’t require permanent anchorage into the floor, they are simple to move if needed. Typically, manufacturer-provided casters are required during moving – and are often provided upon purchase. If you do not plan to move your lift, many four-post lifts can also be permanently anchored to the ground.
  • Four-post lifts are usually more expensive than two-post, due to the complexity of manufacturing mechanics and materials.

Why Do You Need a Lift?

Your requirements for an auto lift will aid in deciding which is best.

  • Are you a vehicle enthusiast, looking to store your cars but hoping to perform little maintenance? Do you have limited space? Are you tired of having more vehicles than garage space? If this is the case, a four-post lift is your ideal option. As mentioned, four-post lifts are durable enough to store your vehicle. Furthermore, these lifts hoist vehicles from their tires, a safer way to suspend vehicles for extended periods of time.
  • Do you plan to complete a wide variety of repairs on your vehicle but have a limited budget? In this case, a two-post lift may be the best option. Provided you are okay with the lift permanently remaining sedentary.
  • Is ease-of-use a crucial factor? Two-post lifts can be more challenging to utilize because correct lifting points must be identified before hoisting. However, any lift must be used with caution.
  • Is cost a deciding factor? Two-posts can cost half as much as four. However, choosing the cheapest lift available is not the best option. Choose a reputable, reliable, time-tested brand. Often, the cheapest units do not adhere to strict safety standards. The extra amount one may spend on a four-post lift – or high-quality two-post lift – is absolutely worth it in the long run.

SVI International, Inc

SVI International, Inc is a leading lift manufacturer and shop equipment parts provider for most vehicle lifts and equipment.

Does your shop or garage have a trustworthy lift that needs replacement parts? Instead of buying new, explore our expansive collection of high-quality repair parts. If you have trouble finding the specific part you require, it is most likely not because we don’t have it. Contact our team at (800) 321-8173 or via our online form!

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