2-Post vs. 4-Post Lift: Which is Better?

The car lift is an essential component in both home and commercial garages. They are multipurpose equipment, which comes in handy in cleaning, inspection, and general vehicle repairs. There are many types of car lifts in the market, but our target is the 2-post vs. 4-post lift discussion.  They are among the most common types of lifts that you will find in most garages.

Many people get confused when getting this garage utility, wondering if they should go for the 2-post or 4-post variety. If you are part of this group, you are in the right place as we bring each of them to the discussion table for proper understanding.

2-Post Car Lift

We start our car lift discourse by looking at the 2-post car lift. As its name implies, it has two sturdy posts on either side, with projecting arms that support the vehicle. It is widespread in small garages, mostly personal ones, as it is relatively small in stature. Industry pundits recommend this lift for beginners getting into the auto repair scene.

Beginner friendliness and space economy contribute to its popularity in home garages. Once you understand how this car elevator works, you are good to try out other varieties. An essential thing to learn about this lift is balancing. In this vein, you may ask, why is gravity important when using a twin post lift? Knowing how gravity works will help you use this lift as you will learn how to place the car before lifting it.

If you mess up with the placement, the car may topple over, a hazardous situation. The good thing is that most new-age cars come with markers on the running board. They guide you on how to position a car on the 2-post lift.

Two post lift

Types of 2-Post Lifts

There are other types of lifts under the 2-post category. There are two major subcategories; the symmetrical and asymmetrical two post car lift. The symmetrical lift has the posts parallel to each other, and their arms are equal in length and extend at the same angle. When using the symmetrical lift, you drive halfway into the elevation zone. The major problem with the symmetrical lift is exiting the car once it is in the lifting zone. The post may prevent the opening of the car doors. A solution to this problem is that manufacturers widened the space between the two posts to give more room for opening the door.

The asymmetrical lift has the posts in different angles, same to the arms. One post may assume a 90-degree angle, while the other may take on 45-degrees. The arms vary in size and shape, where the frontal arms are shorter than the back arms. Unlike the symmetrical two-post lift, you drive in a third-way into the elevation zone. The advantage of the loading configuration is that you have ample room to open the car door.  There are also versymmetrical lifts, which combine the properties of symmetrical and asymmetrical types. Many pundits view this type of two-post car elevator as two separate lifts.

Still, under the subcategories, we have the overhead and floor plate lifts. The former has equalization cables and hydraulic hoses contained in a horizontal panel atop the lift. The latter has equalization cables and hoses running on the floor plates, and it lacks the top panel.

Pros of 2-Post Car Lift

The 2-post lift has many advantages, the standout being its small size. The small size makes it ideal for small establishments and home garages. The arms take little space under the car, making the car’s bottom easy to access.  This lift is also ideal for temporary installations; as it is easy to fix and remove when need be.

Despite having a small stature, it can support the weight of larger vehicles like vans, small to medium trucks, and SUVs.

Cons

The major problem you will encounter when using this type of car lift is identifying the lifting points. You need to know the vehicle’s center of gravity to know where to place the arms. Any error in lifting could be problematic if you did not correctly identify the lifting points. There is also the stability issue, which may arise if you fail to erect the posts correctly.

In short, you have to be extra careful with the 2-post car lift as any error can lead to accidents in the garage or workshop.

4-Post Car Lift

The 4-post lifts are popular in the commercial auto repair sector. They have four posts, which boosts their sturdiness and stability. The stability translates to a higher load capacity, which allows them to accommodate larger vehicles. It shows how versatile they are in handling various cars. The flexibility of the 4-post lift is also evident in its multipurpose uses, where you can use it as a parking lift. Due to its relatively high lifting capability, it offers ample room for other vehicles to park.

This lift has plenty of features that you will appreciate once you use it. For example, the drip tray, caster kit, and jack tray for 4-post lift. These accessories improve the efficiency of the lift. The wide area of access allows you to perform many duties. Among them is suspension work on 4-post lift or wheel alignment

A look at the 4-post ramp vs. 2-post ramp reveals that the latter does not have a ramp. The 4-post lifts’ ramp allows for easy entry to the vehicle elevation zone. Placement is easy, and even beginners can quickly grasp its overall use.

For the best service with this type of car elevation kit, you need to get one from renowned brands. For instance, the Bendpak 4-post lift can serve you well, giving you perks, such as durability. However, if you have a tight budget, you may opt for a used 4-post car lift for sale, craigslist or other sites. Be careful when going for second-hand elevation kits as they may have underlying errors, which can be costly to fix.

four post lift

Pros of 4-Post Car Lift

The stability factor is a key selling point of the 4-post car lift. Stability allows for the support of both small and larger vehicles. This lift is also excellent as a parking lift due to its high lifting capacity. The open design allows you to easily exit the car once it is in the elevation zone. It also prevents door bends, which you may notice in two post car lifts, especially in wrong vehicle placement.

It is easy to use, as you drive directly on the ramp until you reach the stop plates. The 4-post lifts come with many accessories that make their use hassle-free. Drip trays, caster kits, and a redundant safety system are some of the accessories you may find in the four-post car lifts.

Cons

A downside you may encounter with the 4-post lift is that it requires a lot of space. For this reason, you will mostly find it in larger establishments. Installation can also be quite a hassle to ensure the best safety degree. They are also pricier compared to other types of vehicle elevation kits.

2-Post vs. 4-Post Lift Price

What’s better, 2 or 4-post lift? This is a question that you may have when you want to pick the best between the two options. There are several parameters you should look at, one of them being the cost. In most cases, the 2-post lift is more affordable than the 4-post lift. Averagely, the 2-post lift will cost around $1500 to $1800. On the flip side, a 4-post lift costs around $2200 to $2800. However, you may get the two lifts at a lower price if you decide to go for second-hand varieties. But still, the two-post will be more affordable than the other type.

2-Post Lift vs. 4-Post Lift Safety

Safety is a crucial aspect to look at when dealing with garage equipment like vehicle elevators. The four-post car lift is the safest due to its stability. It also has minimal room for errors when loading the car for the lift. The 2-post lift is also safe, but not to the 4-post’s degree. For the 2-post lift, loading is quite hectic, and any error may lead to the car falling out of balance, and it may fall.

The four-post variety has many safety features like a secondary safety system, manual deadbolt locks, and stop plates, among many more. These features uphold the lift’s safety, preventing accidents in the garage.

2-Post vs. 4-Post Lift Purpose

What are the purposes of the two lifts? You will realize other than lifting; the lifts can perform different functions. Parking is one of the tasks that the lifts initiate. You can use the 2-post or 4-post lift for parking, though the latter is better at this function. It is stable and has a higher height level, which will create room for another vehicle. The 2-post lift also works fine as a parking lift, though it comes short due to the safety issue and the low height level it achieves.

2-Post vs. 4-Post Lift Differences

The two lifts have many differences, the most evident being their respective statures. The 2-post type appears to be more compact, with a small structure, and has two posts; hence, its name. The 4-post lift is more prominent and has four pillars. When in use, it assumes a cuboidal shape.  It is ideal for heavy-duty and commercial applications as it can support heavier vehicles.

The 2-post lift will also support heavier vehicles, though it is ideal for small-scale settings, such as in-home garages or small garages.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How thick should concrete be for a 2-post car lift?

When installing a car lift, you should pay attention to the concrete thickness for stability, which translates to safety. The ideal thickness of the concrete slab should be at least 4-5 inches. The same limit applies to other types of car elevators like the 4-post lift.

Are 2-Post Lifts Safe?

2-post lifts are safe, though you need to be keen when installing and using them. During its erection, select a firm spot with a concrete thickness of around 4-5 inches. When using the lift, ensure the car is at the loading zone, between the two posts. Make sure you correctly attach the arms according to instructions before lifting them. If you do everything in the right way, there is no need for concern.

How Much Height Do You Need For A 4-Post Lift?

Before bringing in a 4-post lift to your premises, you should ensure that you have enough space. Considering that you may use it as a parking lift, you need ample clearance for its effectiveness. A height of 12-feet is decent for this type of car lift.

How Tall Should A Ceiling Be For A 2-Post Lift?

A 2-post car lift is relatively small, meaning it will take minimal ground clearance. However, you will need sufficient space for height, determined by the vehicle you want to lift. If you’re going to use it on vans and SUVs, you will need more clearance. To be on the safe side, 12-feet in height is perfect for the 2-post hoist limit.

What Is The Best Car Lift For Home Garage?

Typically, the 2-post lift is the best for a home garage, seeing that most of these spaces are small. As such, a little car lift will do, which will be economical on space. However, if you have more space, you can go for a 4-post lift, though it is suitable for a commercial setting. The four-post lift will do an excellent job as a parking lift if you have multiple vehicles in the garage.

Can You Store A Car On A 2-Post Lift?

The 2-post lift can store a car, but you need to be keen when loading the vehicle on the lift to prevent accidental falls. This lift will maximize the little space you have in your garage by offering a parking spot for two cars.

Final Word

2-post or 4-post car lift, which one should I pick? This is a dilemma many people find themselves in when they want to choose a suitable car lift. The good thing is that this article comes to their aid, giving an in-depth look at each of the car lifts. Go through their different aspect and see their selling points. It will help you get the right equipment for your garage.

Tito

Hi There, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanics (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I have been working as a mechanic for over fifteen years. I worked for a long time at Global Rebound Automotive companies (Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others ) as a Mechanic and Mechanics Supervisor.

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