2 Post Vs. 4 Post Car Lift – Which One To Buy?

A study carried out by Fact MR has revealed that the automotive lift market in North America will grow at a steady rate of 4.2% between 2019 to 2026. Residential garages are going to be the most desired users contributing to one-third of that growth. 

Although 2 post car lifts are currently the most common type for garages, 4 post lifts are expected to acquire a huge popularity in coming years. According to the report, the market for 4 post lifts will get almost twice the size of 2 post lifts in response to that demand. 

It doesn’t necessarily mean to say that you should follow the trend blindly. Both 2 posts and 4 posts have their benefits and drawbacks. Depending on the type of applications you want to accomplish from your car lift, both of them can be useful. 

2 Post Vs. 4 Post Car Lifts

Primarily we are talking about ‘above-ground’ car lifts here, one that has two supporting columns, whereas the other has four

Four post lifts support the entire weight of a vehicle. The four posts act almost like a bed whereas two posts only provide support at the torso, leaving the wheels to dangle. Four post lifts free up more space to keep another car, but two posts lifts are easier to do underneath maintenance.  

Let’s take a holistic approach and discuss the advantages and limitations of these two particular car lift systems in a bit more detail.

2 post car lift vs 4 post car lift

Pros Of A 2 Post Car Lift

  • At first if we look at the design of a two post lift, we can almost instantly identify that two post lifts are going to take up less space in a garage. Considering that they only have two posts, and a single phase motor (220 V) also means that they will be less expensive than 4 post counterparts. 
  • Because a two post lift does not support a car’s wheel assembly, instead hang them in the air they are going to provide more vertical lift in case you have a low ceiling garage. For instance, if you have a 10 foot ceiling, you might be able to raise your car up to 6 foot off the ground. 
  • However, the most desired benefit of two post lifts are felt when you need access to all parts of your car from below including the wheels. 
  • According to a Wall Street Journal survey, 25% of the 900 homeowners have said that they use their garage for vehicle maintenance purposes besides just storing them. If you are one of them you will enjoy having a two post car lift on a limited budget.  

Check out this guide to learn about the top rated 2 post car lift options and features you should be looking out for. 

Cons Of A 2 Post Car Lift

  • Two posts lift are often criticized for their limitation in storing more than one car. In case you are able to park another one below the lifted vehicle, you will find it a hassle to open the door, making it difficult to get in and out of the car. 
  • Because 2 post lifts do not support the entire weight of a vehicle, there is always a risk of a vehicle falling if the operator isn’t very knowledgeable about the center of gravity and optimal lifting point of a particular car. 
  • Additionally, when installing a 2 post car lift, you need floor anchoring. And you must consider the condition of the floor, identify if it has any cracks or seams and avoid that area. Because of these factors, there is certainly a lot less room for error when using a two post car lift.

Pros Of A 4 Post Car Lift

  • One attractive proposition of a 4 post car lift is that it allows the operator to simply drive onto the runway. You don’t have to think about aligning your car to the arms, or get yourself out of it to be safely lifted.
  • Due to the four posts supporting a vehicle’s weight you don’t have to think about anchor support to keep it stable. That’s why 4 posts are considered a safer option for long term storage especially when it comes to heavier vehicles. 
  • Most 4 post lifts are 110 volts and don’t require any special wiring for installation. 2 post lifts on the other hand generally feature 220 volts motors. In that case you have extra costs upgrading your garage electrical system. 
  • Last but not least, some of the 4 post lifts also come with caster kits, making it easier to move them around the shop. So, in regards to the ease of installation and use, four post car lifts surely comes out ahead. 

Planning about buying a 4 post car lift? Don’t forget to read this guide before you do that. 

Cons Of A 4 Post Car Lift 

  • The biggest disadvantage of a four-post car lift is that it restricts your ability to access the underside of your vehicle for servicing. You’ll need an auxiliary lift support to get the car off the runway, which comes at an extra cost. Therefore, if you are a DIY enthusiast, we don’t recommend a 4 post car lift.  
  • Moreover, when a 4 post car lift is convenient for home parking (allow you to park two cars) they require a bit more (horizontal) space in the garage and are often costlier to buy. 

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Frederick James is an expert mechanic with years of experience under his belt. He excels in diagnosing, troubleshooting, repairing, and modifying everything related to automobiles including but not limited to cars and pickup trucks. Read more...

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