Auto lifts, which are also known as car lifts, are by far a safer option when working under cars, especially compared to using car or truck floor jacks. They also have the added benefit of providing increased garage workspace which makes any other jobs you have easier to complete. The car lifts we have reviewed are ideal for any car enthusiast or professional mechanic’s home garage because of their ease of use and surprising affordability.
Most enthusiasts or professional mechanics who have used a home garage vehicle lift, wish they had bought them sooner, as it would have made their work much easier. I was one of them, live and learn!
- What we Learned from the Group Test
- Best 6 Auto Lifts Reviewed
- 1. BendPak Portable Mid-Rise Scissor Lift – 6,000lb. Capacity, Model# MD-6XP – Best Portable Car Lift
- 2. QuickJack BL-5000 SLX – Portable Mid-Rise Scissor Lift, 5,000lb
- 3. Triumph NSS-8 8000Lbs 4 Post Storage Service Lift
- 4. Auto Lift Car Park, 8 Car Storage Lift – 8,000 pounds
- 5. Triumph NT-9 9000Lbs Two Post Floor Plate Lift
- 6. BendPak Asymmetric Lift – 10,000-Lb. Capacity, Model# XPR-10A
- Home / Residential Garage Fixed and Portable Car Lift Buyers Guide
- Low or Mid Rise Frame
- Single Post Portable
- Two Post Surface Mounted
- Multi Post Runway
- In Ground
- Drive on Parallelogram
- Capacity of the load
- Lift height
- Speed of the lift
- Garage / Workshop Height
- Do You Need a Concrete Floor?
- Operating and Safety
What we Learned from the Group Test
All of the car lifts we tested were excellent, we would be happy to have any of them in our own home garages, but we did have a preference.
The BendPak Portable Mid-Rise Scissor Lift – 6,000lb, is the ideal choice for home garages as it is affordable, portable and extremely easy to use, so rightly so it is our top pick.
With a lift capacity of 3 tons, it is a great choice for light trucks and for most types of cars/vehicles. It is equipped with a 110-220v motor and can quite efficiently lift to its full height in only 45 seconds. With its minimum standing height of just 5 inches, it fits under most vehicles, but we would recommend you check your ground clearance before buying to be on the safe side.
The BendPak comes fully assembled and as such it does not require much work to get started. Even though the lift is quite heavy, weighing around 954 pounds, most people find it easy to move around without any trouble.
Buyers who have used this lift have commented that its operation is pretty quick, meaning you can lift your vehicle and have access to the underside very quickly and without any difficulty. One customer commented that they were able to lift a 5,000lb Ford Flex without issue and many others said the BendPak had a solid build and is a pretty quiet in use.
Any complaints were related to shipping and delivery. They commented that the lift arrives on a pallet and is quite heavy. To be honest, this is kind of expected given the lifts capabilities and build, so this was not a concern for us but something to keep in mind nonetheless.
BendPak is a solid brand and they are known for their great quality lifts so you can buy with confidence knowing you are getting a quality product which will be invaluable to you for years to come.
Best 6 Auto Lifts Reviewed
1. BendPak Portable Mid-Rise Scissor Lift – 6,000lb. Capacity, Model# MD-6XP – Best Portable Car Lift
This is a great portable car lift to have in your home garage and is capable of easily lifting 6,000 lbs. It has a scissor lift design and a compact layout, making it efficient and capable. Moreover, its construction is very solid meaning that this is the only lift you will need to get your job done.
The lift has an adjustable arm as well as a safety lock bar which makes it both safe and practical. It also includes a free truck adapter package so you can use it with trucks as well as cars and other vehicles, which is a superb bonus for us truck owners.
One of the greatest advantages of the BendPak is its portability which makes it really easy to move around. It has a small, compact design which means you can easily store it when needed; perfect if you are looking for car lifts for small garages.
Safety is your number one consideration when choosing a vehicle lift. There should never be a compromise on the safety of such tools, especially as it will be raising up a whole vehicle that you are planning on working on and under, so you need to ensure that it is reliable, safe and easy to use.
You have to be very careful that there is no chance of a malfunction while you or anyone else are under a car lift, as it could be quite dangerous to say the least. However, the BendPak Portable Mid-Rise Scissor Lift is equipped with a lot of safety features which will ensure that you and others working with it are safe and sound.
Apart from being a very safe machine to use, this lift is also made with very solid quality materials including the hydraulic hose which is of a commercial grade so will last for years to come. The BendPak also comes equipped with a lock bar mechanism that has different locking positions which ensures safety and also provides versatility for every job.
Excellent setup guide and first use video to show how easy this lift is to use
This auto lift is highly recommended for anyone looking for a portable and space saving option that is also easy on the pocket. BendPak has a variety of other products in a similar scissor lift design but those are heavier and are relatively expensive as well.
Other models of BendPak should be considered if you are not interested in space saving or portability and are looking for higher weight capacity. But at such a low price for the convenience and capability of this car lift, it really is a great buy! For more options from Bendpak, checkout their best car lift reviews article which will guide you through their 2 and 4 post offerings.
- Extremely portable, easy to move
- Space saving, can be stored easily
- Low cost, compared to other car lifts
- Lots of safety features
- Very quick to use
- Lower lift capacity, 6,000 lbs
Best Car Lift for Home Garages
Yes, we would love a 4 or even a 2 post lift but for the price and portability, we would personally buy this one, every day of the week.
For the majority of people, the Bendpak portable mid-rise scissor lift is the best choice for anyones home garage, mainly because of its portability and weight capacity. Even if you have a larger garage or workshop, being able to store this car lift out of the way when not needed is a real bonus, allowing you to use your space more effectively. As such, it gets our vote!
The QuickJack BL-5000SLX is another very good portable car lift, very similar to the Bendpak above in that its main selling points are that it is lightweight, quick to use, portable and easy to store.
The QuickJack BL-5000 has a very handy trick up its sleeve, in that you can change the height of the lift as you move around your car with its remote pendant control. This is great feature to use as you work on your vehicle, especially if you are on the other side of the car and want to quickly raise it a little more.
You can power this portable car lift from 240v, 110v and a 12v battery if you are planning on taking it to the track with you, which gives you excellent versatility and options for every setup.
With a small overall size, this portable car lift is a great option if you have a small residential garage or want to transport it to use at the race track. The fact it is portable and has a small footprint means that you can easily store it when it is not needed, freeing up space in your workshop or garage when you need it.
One advantage that the QuickJack has over the Bendpak is its low profile. With a starting height of just 3″ compared to Bendpak’s 4 3/4″ it is a great option for sports or race cars as it can easily slide under most vehicles.
The QuickJack 5000 also has decent safety features. Its dual position mid level and full height safety locks automatically engage as you lift your vehicle, ensuring you are safe at all times.
However, it should be noted that as the frames are not connected, if you were to push hard against your car when the lift is at its full height, you are going to get a slight wobble.
This does not happen at the lower lock position and I do not think it is a real problem but worth noting nonetheless.
- 3″ clearance means it will fit under sports and race cars
- Extremely portable, easy to move
- Space saving, can be stored easily
- Low cost, compared to other car lifts
- Good safety features
- Very quick to use
- Handy remote control for added versatility
- Runs off 240v, 110v mains and 12v battery
- Lower lift capacity, 5,000 lbs
- Lower lift height, compared to other car lifts
The QuickJack 5000 is more an automated set of jack stands than a true car lift but it is super quick to use, much quicker than using jack stands or a floor jack and lifts to a much greater height. The speed of use and height allow you to easily work on your transmission, exhaust, suspension, rotate your tires or simply change the oil unencumbered.
It might only have a lift capacity of 5000 lbs so you can not use this model with a truck but it is great for most cars and a worthy inclusion on our top 6 list.
The scissor lift design may be the ideal choice for certain applications, but it does have its shortcomings too. For example, it makes access to particular parts of the exhaust a bit tricky to reach. You are also unable to work under the car once it is lifted up completely. If you require more access under the car, then this four post lift is probably a better choice for you. The Triumph NSS-8 is a perfect choice for those looking for a 4 post lift for their home garage, and one we would be very happy to work under every day of the week!
The Triumph NSS-8 lift is the perfect dual purpose lift capable of lifting vehicles up to 4 tons to work on, and can also be used to store a car off the ground enabling you to park another car underneath. Many users of this lift utilise this space saving feature in their garages and praise its quiet and simple operation.
This lift with its 4 posts is quite a versatile machine to have for any garage. Apart from being able to store multiple cars, it is also mobile and comes equipped with a castor kit. Another nice feature is the drip tray which is able to catch fluids which may drip from an above vehicle, and it also comes with jack trays, which allows you to jack up your car or truck when it is still on top of the lift, for additional height.
The majority of customers commented that they wished they had purchased this car lift years ago, as it would have saved them so much time and effort.
The installation process however is quite tricky as the lift does not come pre-assembled. Even though the complicated parts are already assembled, most buyers said that it took them the whole day to install the lift and they needed the help of four people to do so. Another issue that customers felt was annoying, is that the instructions for the installation are unclear and as such the users had to contact the manufacturer for directions.
- Can be used to store vehicles
- Superb build quality
- Great stability making you feel safe
- Portable for when you want to move it
- Big, so not good for smaller garages
- Instructions are not the easiest to follow for initial assembly
Triumph NSS-8 Installation Manual
To help, please take a look at the installation guide which takes you through step by step of exactly what you will need and how long it will take to complete installation.
This car lift is a great choice for home mechanics especially if they have more than one car that they need to store in their garages. It is designed for two things, to be able to store cars, as well as to make working on cars easier.
The Auto Car Lift can easily lift 8,000lbs in weight which means you can comfortably work on almost any sort of car or truck. The speed of lifting is also pretty decent, taking just 90 seconds raise or lower a vehicle.
Equipped with useful features like a jack tray which allows you to jack up the truck once it is on the platform. It also includes a set of 3 drip trays which can catch fluids dripping on them which saves you the hassle of cleaning up later.
Designed with safety features such as the redundant ladder locking system which locks in case there is a cable failure. Being made from aircraft quality materials and rated for 14,500 pounds, this is one tough cookie and unlikely to break any time soon. There is an also an extra large slider block which increases the stability of this lift.
Overall, the Auto Car Lift is not just very convenient but also has similar features to the Triumph NSS8. This lift, however, is slightly more expensive and larger in size, which is why we have this 3rd in the group test.
- Can be used to store multiple vehicles
- Excellent build quality
- Great stability for vehicle maintenance
- Portable and easy to move
- Superb safety features
- Nice extras like jack and drip trays
- Bigger than the Triumph NSS-8, so not good for smaller garages
- Instructions are not the easiest to follow for initial assembly
The Triumph NT-9 is the ideal choice if you are looking for a lift that has two posts. It is equipped with a capacity of about 9000 pounds for only $2000, which allows you to get your work done easily. It also has a better customer satisfaction rating and is less pricey than any other two post model we could test.
Most people who bought this two post lift, found it really useful and said they would definitely buy it again.
The best thing about this lift is the fact that it is extremely easy to assemble. One customer commented that there were no instructions on how to assemble and yet it was quite easy to figure out.
Benefits of a two post car lift compared to a 4 post lift is the space you can save in your home garage or workshop. Plus they are also less expensive which is handy, and as mentioned before, the assembly process is very simple and easy.
- 9,000lbs lifting capacity
- Great for smaller garages
- Easy assembly with decent instructions
- Cheaper than a 4 post lift
- Truck extension available
- Not portable
Checkout the video below for 5 helpful tips to consider before installing a car lift in your garage
This is quite a bull of a two post lift. It has a maximum lifting capacity of about 10,000 lbs which is more than any other lift we have reviewed, very impressive. This lift is also the most expensive lift in this review but it’s features are quite useful which makes it worth the money.
It has a 30 degrees rotated column which gives you the ability to open the car doors while it is on the lift. It can also lift the cars symmetrically as well as asymmetrically.
It comes equipped with a safety bar that is padded and protects the car from any sort of damages, and can be used in professional garage as well as in the home garages.
With the most advanced engineered technology available in the industry, these Bendpak lifts are built to safety standards well above normal OSHA/ALI/ETL requirements.
- 10,000lbs lifting capacity, great for larger vehicles
- Perfect for smaller garages
- Commercial grade lift with excellent build quality
- Excellent safety features
- Can lift cars asymmetrically as well as symmetrically
- Not portable
Want to see a superb time-lapse of 1 person installing the Bendpak XPR-10A? Checkout the video below.
Home / Residential Garage Fixed and Portable Car Lift Buyers Guide
When you are thinking about buying a car lift, there are certain things you must consider. For example, which lift is best for your home or workshop, do you have enough room for a 4 post lift, or would a 2 post lift be more suitable? How heavy is your truck, car or SUV? Do you have enough space, would a foldable portable car lift be better, so you can store it away easily?
To be honest, there are lots of questions that you need answers to, so hopefully this guide will help in showing you the different types of car lifts for home garages that are available, answer some of your burning questions and get you thinking about anything else you have not considered before you buy your residential or home car lift.
Low or Mid Rise Frame
These are often used for home garages and also by auto enthusiasts. Best described as entry level lifts, they often use the scissor or the parallelogram method of lifting, which are raised and lowered with electric hydraulics or compressed air. These lifts can be used for working on body work or for working on the wheels and do not provide complete access to the underneath of the vehicle.
Single Post Portable
While certainly not designed for large vehicles, the one post on floor car lift does have a place in the line up for those who have small spaces and loads. These lifts are often used for garden tractors, golf carts, ATVs/UTVs, and motorcycles. While they are fine when used with loads they are designed for, their capacities and stability can be easily compromised when not used properly.
Two Post Surface Mounted
The 2 post lift is great for smaller spaces and those with moderate sized vehicles. The fact that it has only two posts means that the weight of the unit and the load are only distributed over the bases of the two posts, and this loads the floor in these areas only. This means that the floor would need to be constructed heavily enough to support this weight without failing. A six inch floor with reinforcing could be required, depending on the load.
This is used in most of the mechanic shops and is the most common kind. It is able to provide the maximum access to the underneath of the vehicle as it lifts the cars by the frame. This way, mechanics are able to have access to all parts of the car and even the hard to reach places. It is the ideal choice for working on the car’s fuel system, the exhaust as well as any of the undersides of the car. These lifts are however, slightly expensive compared to others.
Multi Post Runway
For those who need to lift cars or trucks that are mid to full size, and if they have a bit more room, the 4 post lift may be the way to go. While the unit will require more room than the 2 post car hoist, they spread out the load over twice as many points, and therefore can often be installed on floors that are not as heavily constructed as those required for the smaller automotive lift mentioned earlier.
These units are also generally able to handle larger loads, but as always it is best to check with the manufacturer regarding the capabilities of any unit you may be considering. While they may be similar in appearance, not all lifts are created equal. It is of the utmost importance to be sure you are comparing apples to apples when shopping for any car lift.
A 4 post car lift has many benefits for the homeowner, or your everyday mechanic shop. Like its counterpart, the 2 post car lift, it comes in many different lifting capacities ranging from 7,000 lb. capacity to as much as much as 60,000 lb. capacities for your heavier duty applications. The design of a 4 post lift allows a vehicle to be driven on the runways of the lift which enables the lift to raise the vehicle above ground.
Out of all the different style of lifts, the 4 post lift is the easiest, or fastest lift because there is no set-up required, prior to actually lifting a vehicle. The mechanic simply drives into the bay and 60 to 100 seconds later, the vehicle is at a comfortable working height for maintenance, repairs, or storage. A 4 post lift can be equipped with rolling jacks or alignment kits. These added features allows the lift to engage the vehicle at its axles; which in turn enables the lift to lift the front, rear or all wheels off the runways. The most typical uses of a 4 port lift are to do oil changes, work on long-wheelbase vehicles, exhaust work, alignments, and the suspension.
Other Features and Benefits of 4 Post Lifts
- Available in a variety of lengths, lifting capacities, and adjustable runway track widths to help accommodate most vehicles
- Versatile, and can perform most repair and maintenance tasks including brake, tire, and suspension work with the addition of rolling or swing air jacks
- When properly equipped 4 post lifts can do alignments, and front-end adjustments
- Fast and easy to set-up and use, for enhanced productivity
- Can be setup as drive through models to ease driving vehicles on and off of the lift
- Available with open front to allow easier access to under-vehicle components
- Fast installation with no digging
- Easy to maintain
- Can be moved or relocated to other working bays if necessary
The more you know about car lifts the better. The home hobbyist is now utilizing 4 Post Car Lifts to maximize their garage storage space for their Corvettes, Mustangs, Classic Fords and Chevrolets. Pictured on this page are various 4 Post Lifts with lifting capacities ranging from 7,000 lbs. to 30,000 lbs. With these lifts, you can maximize your garage storage space by having a vehicle on top and one at the bottom. The more heavy duty lifts are designed for commercial use when lifting trucks or various sizes and weights.
The scissor lifts are available in different sizes and shapes and are equipped with different configurations. They can be below the ground as well as above the ground and also body or frame mounted. It is possible to lift up the whole automobile straight up instead of backward or forward with this type of lift.
These lifts are housed under the ground. They have 3 advantages, firstly, ease of use, secondly, environmental safety and last but no means least, saving space. These are quite easy in operation as a whole car can be driven on top of the lift which makes it hassle free to align the car and the car lift. It also helps in saving space since these are underground. When it is not being used, equipment as well as cars can be stored on top. There is also less of a risk of ground contamination by fluids since the hydraulics are enclosed.
Drive on Parallelogram
This is usually a drive on lift with runways. What makes it different from others is that it can move slightly backwards as well as forwards when it is lifting the car in the air.
There are of course also units designed for those doing large lifts. These are typically built with an eye to commercial standards, and can be found in many of the bigger RV and truck shops. While it would be great to have this kind of capacity, the average garage or back yard shop simply is not large enough to house them.
Capacity of the load
You must consider what the maximum weight the lift can carry, as quite often the low rise lifts are rated for less than 3 tons while there are some 2 post lifts that can lift about 9 tons, so be sure to think what you need now and are likely to require in the future.
This is the maximum height that the lift can raise the car. It is important to consider this factor as quite often the low rise lifts can only raise to a few feet which makes it difficult to work under the car or truck. There are some four post lifts which can raise to fourteen feet.
Speed of the lift
The amount of time it takes for the lift to fully lower or to fully raise must also be considered. There are some lifts which may take just a few seconds to reach their maximum height while some may take a few minutes. This is an important factor to consider especially if you have a large number of cars you are working on.
Garage / Workshop Height
The garage or workshop needs to be big enough to handle the lift. This will require not only sufficient length and width, but also height.
Be sure to allow for the height of the vehicle when it is raised unless you are using a lift with a padded shut off bar as this will then be your maximum height requirement.
Also, make sure you keep in mind that light fixtures, overhead doors, and heating components need to be taken in to consideration when the car lift is in the raised position. Ideally you will locate the lift away from any such obstructions to give you the maximum height available.
Mechanics chair option
If you have lower ceilings, you could go for a 2 post lift with no shut off bar, i.e. lower height, and use a mechanics chair to work under the vehicle so as to reduce the actual height needed. Worth considering if you are short on height.
Do You Need a Concrete Floor?
Once you have determined that the building is large enough to handle the dimensions of the lift and load, consider what the weight of the combined units will be.
All that weight is going to be concentrated on a few relatively small points of the floor, and in the perhaps unlikely case of an unfinished earth floor, the feet of the lift will probably require some form of support.
A concrete floor, while much better, should still be checked to make sure it can take this level of loading. If you are not certain of the thickness and amount of reinforcement, you may want to drill a few small (@3/8″ diameter) holes to be sure the floor can take the weight. These holes allow you to probe around and determine the thickness of the slab, and they can be filled once you have done this.
Operating and Safety
As with any object that you would trust your life to, the car lift is an item that requires a bit of attention to detail when operated. There are documented instances where the lift has failed and collapsed. This is of course less than desirable, particularly if you happen to be under it.
Paying attention to how the lift is loaded and operating can make the difference between going home or to the hospital, or worse.
While it probably goes without saying for most experienced in the ways of things mechanical, safely using these lifts is something that should not be left to chance. While the law of averages may allow one to get away with a bit of carelessness in some areas, the law of gravity suggests that this should not be one of them.
Be sure to follow the manufacturers recommendations regarding the load limits of the unit you are working with. Though these lifts generally have a safety factor built into the design and construction of them, ignoring the load limits is one of the surest ways to invite an accident. Load placement should also be considered when setting up for the repair. Once the load has been lifted and the locking mechanisms are in place, the repair and / or maintenance project can be safely started.
The unit should also have periodic maintenance done as per the manufacturers recommendations. It can be easy to overlook this as a person goes about the day to day routine. Depending on the model, simply checking the integrity of the welds, cables, hydraulic hoses and locking mechanisms from time to time will catch most small problems.
Dedicating a set amount of time to go over the unit thoroughly, as per manufacturer’s recommendations, should be done on a regular basis. Use properly specified replacement parts and avoid unnecessary welding of the structure.
The car lift is a tool that just about anyone who works on or under vehicles will truly appreciate. They save time as well as wear and tear on your body. It takes a bit of room and budget, but for those inclined to work on vehicles as a hobby or vocation, it is a great tool. They also offer some flexibility in storage options, and often can be used to double the effective floor space they cover. Considering all of the above it is easy to see why the automotive lift has become the must have dream tool for the equipped garage or shop.