4-Post Car Lift vs. 2-Post Car Lift: Which Should You Buy?

Many benefits come with buying a car lift – the perfect solution for all garage owners who don’t seem to have enough parking space. A vehicle lift offers the practicality and convenience of turning your garage’s unused vertical space to good use. By elevating your car, a lift allows you to have another vehicle parked underneath. It means even if you only have a 1-car garage, you can park two cars in there once you buy a car lift.

There are lots of reasons to consider getting one for your garage.

  • It protects your investment – the cars. Having all your vehicles parked inside the garage instead of outdoors makes it safer against theft and vandalism.
  • Off-season storage for your prized car. Do you have a high-end sports car, or perhaps a classic? You can store it on the car lift for safety until the warmer weather arrives—no need to keep it in a pricey off-site storage facility.
  • It keeps car maintenance a breeze. Working underside your vehicle is much easier with the versatility afforded by a car lift.
  • A car lift is not just for storing cars. It’s a useful mechanism for storing all sorts of things: lawn machinery, snowblowers, motorcycles, and many more. 

Double your garage parking space in one day – no need to spend on pricey renovation and extension either. 

Now that we’ve established all the benefits of getting a vehicle lift, it’s time to choose the best car lift that works best for your garage needs. Should you get a 4-post or a 2-post car lift?

How to Choose the Ideal Car Lift for Your Garage Needs?

Before we start the 4-post car lift vs. the 2-post car lift debate, let’s first find out the important things you should consider when choosing the car lift ideal for your garage needs. 

You need to look for several factors before you set your mind to a particular vehicle lift. 

1. Purpose

All car lifts serve one purpose – lifting a vehicle from the ground up. But different types of car lifts, like 4-post or 2-post car lifts, elevates cars in different ways. Some car lifts provide access to the underside of a car for ease of maintenance, while other’s only purpose is to offer a quick vertical parking spot. 

2. Size

Vehicle lifting solutions come in a range of sizes with varying weight capacities. Some auto lifts are only suitable for lifting small and compact cars like sedans and small to mid-sized SUVs. Other options can support a broader range of vehicles and weight capacities, like vans and trucks. 

3. Cost

Generally, car lifts for smaller to mid-sized vehicles are cheaper, and elaborate systems for lifting bigger and heavier cars will be a considerable investment. Determine what vehicle you need to lift and choose which car lift you can afford.

4. Ease of Installation

Safety is of critical importance when choosing a car lift. After all, you wouldn’t want the lifting system to break down while another car or, worse, someone else, is underneath it. Typically, it’s not a DIY project you can do during the weekend unless you 100% absolutely know what you’re doing. Car lifts can either use a 110V or 220V motor to operate and if you choose a 220V lifting system, you’ll have to work with an electrician to upgrade the garage’s electrical system.

4-Post Car Lift vs. 2-Post Car Lift – a Closer Look

Sometimes, it’s garage clutter that is the big factor why you can’t park your vehicle inside the garage. Other times, it’s simply not having enough parking space for all the vehicles you have. Usually, it means you need to have a bigger garage, a pricey expansion. Not anymore. 

Car lifts can simplify your parking problems, but which car lift solution is best for you?

2-Post Car Lift

2 post car lift

Advantages: 

  • Cost-effective car lift solution
  • It takes up very little horizontal garage space
  • Ease of car maintenance

Disadvantages: 

  • Can be time-consuming to set up the four lift points for some cars

This is considered the most common auto lift type available, with two remarkably sturdy posts and a pair of supportive stabilization arms. 2-post lifts are the most cost-effective vehicle lift option, a good choice for homeowners on a budget or amateurs and small car shops just starting in the repair industry. If you’re keen on saving as much space in your garage, a 2-post car lift is also a fantastic choice for its small footprint. 

A 2-post car lift will elevate your vehicle in a way where the wheels hang fee over the lift’s arm edges. This setup makes it easier to work on your car, especially for brake and suspension servicing, since the wheel assembly and the chassis are free. If you have a lower garage ceiling, a 2-post car lift is also advantageous since it will lift the vehicle from the chassis, not the wheels. 

This type of car lift is mostly used for professional and busy auto-repair garages where vehicles are being elevated and lowered throughout the day. It’s also only suitable for small to medium-heavy cars. A 2-post car lift also typically uses a 220V motor to operate, and you’re most likely going to need an electrician when installing this system in your garage. 

If you decide on a 2-post car lift, there are a couple of different types available for choosing: asymmetrical or symmetrical. It’s important to get to know each of their features, functions, and differences to choose one that fits your garage needs. 

1. Symmetrical Car Lift

This type of 2-post car lift is the easiest to identify – two armed posts facing each other. The posts are situated right at the car’s gravity center, with each arm assembly identical in length, holding 50% of the load. One arm extends frontward while the other reaches to the car’s back. 

2. Asymmetrical Car Lift

Unlike the first type, an asymmetrical car lift takes an angled position, placed just in front of the vehicle’s gravity center. It has two arms of different sizes: the short arm extends frontward while the longer arm holds the back of the vehicle’s underside. 

4-Post Car Lift

4 post car lift

Advantages: 

  • Only requires 115-volts to operate
  • Broader weight support
  • Suitable for a wider range of weight capacities

Disadvantages: 

  • A tad more expensive
  • Takes up more space, depending on the type

This type of vehicle lift has four posts with two lifting cross rails. Cross rail will support two drive-on runways, and those two rails are synchronized as they lift the car upwards. Thanks to the additional pair of support columns, a 4-pot vehicle lift is the larger and more heavy-duty version of the 2-post lift.

This type of auto lift is built for heavier and bigger vehicles. If a 2-car lift can only handle a sedan or a small to mid-size SUV or any compact car, a 4-post lift is strong enough to handle anything from a pick-up truck to a van with ease. 

4-post auto lifts are incredibly user-friendly, ideal for most home garages since they don’t need to be attached to floor anchors. However, since it lifts vehicles by the wheels, wheel servicing is impossible unless you also invest in sliding bridge jacks to lift the wheels from the on-ramps. It’s an extra expense to the already pricy 4-post car lift. 

But if you decide on a 4-post car lift, here are different types available for your choosing.

1. Open Front

This one has a gap in the front-horizontal crossbar, giving a clearer amount of space to access the car’s suspension system. It makes it easier and trouble-free to make front-end adjustments since there is no horizontal beam at the front. 

2. Closed Front

This type features a closed front crossbar, meaning all four ends of the horizontal beams are closed. There is no cutaway to easily access and adjust the wheel suspension system. With a little bit of ducking under the beams, you can still easily reach and work on the underside of the vehicle.

3. 9,000 Pounds Lift Capacity

If you’re looking for a 4-post car lift, you can also get one with a specific weight capacity option. For instance, a 9,000-pound car lift, a lighter-weight 4-post lift design best-suited for smaller to mid-sized vehicles. 

4. 40,000 Pounds Lift Capacity

If you’re dealing with heavier and bulkier types of cars, a 40,000-pound car lift makes more sense. It’s strong enough to lift vans and trucks with ease, the best options for auto maintenance facilities working on a wide range of car sizes and types.

Bottom Line – Which Car Lift is Perfect for You?

The brand you decide on is always open for discussion, but two types of lifts you can go for to transform your garage parking space: a 4-post car lift and a 2-post car lift. Each has its advantages and drawbacks, so choose according to your garage needs. 

Overall, 

  • Get a 2-post car garage for small and compact cars or if budget is of most importance to you.
  • Get a 4-post car garage for bigger and heavier vehicles or if mobility and capacity are of most importance to your garage needs. 
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