Symmetric Vs. Asymmetric Car Lifts – What’s The Difference?

Tons of 2-post lift brands sure are overwhelming, but you learn that’s the least of your worry. As of now, you have to select between Symmetric and Asymmetric lift. For most people who don’t have clues about what they mean and which one is best, this is a good place to start.

Right off the bat both 2-post car lifts look the same. But there are subtle differences that make them what they are. For example, a Symmetrical lift has a fixed arm size, suitable for heavy vehicles. On the other hand, the asymmetrical lift has extendable arms appropriate for lifting the most variety of cars.

Symmetrical lifts come with rotatable swivel arms, but they do not extend from the stock size. It means they are identically the same in the front and rear. Hence the name symmetrical lifts. Not having extendable arms, sure misses out on a lot of advantages over asymmetric lift like easy balancing. But it does well in lifting heavy vehicles like trucks, vans, and SUVs.

Similarly, the Asymmetric lift has 4 swivel arms but two of the rear arms have a fair bit of expansion room built into them.  Roughly it’s 70% on the back and the rest 30% on the front. This is because when you try to lift vehicles like a sports/SUV car the majority of the weight will be on the front.

So it balances out pretty evenly on the two different arms even with a long vehicle. You can’t have this on a symmetrical lift due to a fixed arm’s length. But you can have all the benefits of symmetrical lift in an asymmetrical lift by simply retracting the arms.

Therefore, the best way to select a perfect lift is to determine what type of car you are planning to lift. If it’s a front heavy sedan car, asymmetrical is a good choice. Storing heavy SUVs is different, you need heavy duty arms for which asymmetrical and symmetrical lift both quialifes.

symmetric vs asymmetric car lifts

What is a Symmetric Car lift?

The term symmetric refers to a more aligned, uniformed, or inline structure. When it comes to automotive lift, a Symmetric car lift holds the vehicle from the dead center. It means you will have an equal portion of the car on both sides of the lift post.

It’s a common terminology in a 2-post car lift rather than other lift variants. This is due to the non-expendable same length swivel arm size. The symmetrical car lift is more of an early predecessor of automotive lift that lacks tons of advantages from its latest counterparts.

How much does a Symmetric car lift cost?

Most symmetrical car lifts with an average 9000 pounds capacity with ALI certification will cost around $2,500-$3,000. Again this also depends on other features the lift will have. More features in the lift will cost more in turns of better advantages.

Apart from that some other imported brands on the market tend to charge less due to lower labor/manufacturing costs. In these, you will also find both ALI-certified and non-certified automotive 2-post lifts. Even after these, the price will still linger around $2,000 though.

Symmetric Car Lift – Pros and Cons

It’s a very common question for people when they are in purchasing a new 2-post car lift. But specs alone cannot give an overall picture if it is going to be a great or costly purchase for them. That’s why it’s imperative to know what the equipment is really good for. Pros and Cons of particular equipment expose all the good and bad sides.

Symmetric Car Lift Pros

  • Better drive through space
  • Suitable for backward car lifting
  • Greater distance between columns
  • Easy to open and close the car door on the lift
  • Perfect for vehicles with heavy engines

Symmetric Car Lift Cons

  • Getting weight distribution right is a hassle

What is an Asymmetric car lift?

The Asymmetrical car lift is the latest iteration of a 2-post automotive lift with different swivel arm sizes. Generally, the rear swivel arm in an Asymmetrical car lift is a bit longer than the front one. That’s very useful for front-heavy vehicles. Although, you can adjust the longer arms to make it a Symmetrical lift for rear heavy vehicles.

After seeing the disadvantage that comes with a Symmetrical car lift, the manufacturer finds a clever way to solve this. Making one arm adjustable results in easy-to-lift cars, open doors, even tap into previous symmetrical car lift benefits. In most cases, an Asymmetrical 2-post car lift is the perfect car lift for house garages.

How much does an asymmetric car lift cost?

Like the symmetrical 2-post lift, the Asymmetrical lift also has variations. Some of them will have proper certification; some will be from outside of the USA and so on. But the Price of an ALI certified Asymmetrical 2-post lift is $2,500-$3,000. Price can go lower or higher depending on the other specs.

The above price is for 9,000 pounds capacity car lift, which is practical in the majority of car maintenance and repair scenarios. But if you are planning to lift heavy trucks, large vans in your workshop, you should be looking at a 12,000-pound capacity lift. That extended capacity will cost you another $2,000-$3,000 from a 9,000-pound lift.

Asymmetric Car Lift – Pros and Cons

After learning there are two types of 2-post car lifts, many get confused over whether they should buy the asymmetric lift. Well, the answer lies in the pros and cons of the equipment. If it gives you more edge on the work that you will be doing, by all means, get the asymmetric lift. Here are the major pros and cons of an asymmetric 2 post lift.  

Asymmetric Car Lift Pros

  • Able to lift the front or rear-engine vehicles
  • Adjustable arm for easy weight distribution
  • Angled columns let you access the car door easily
  • Great for long, narrow or short wheelbase vehicle

Asymmetric Car Lift Cons

  • Some rear-heavy vehicles might face difficulties to find the center of gravity.

Which one is the best for house garages between Symmetrical and Asymmetrical lift?

Although both types of 2-post lift work exactly the same, there are differences which make them efficient lifting certain types of car.  In the house garage scenario, people don’t often store heavy vehicles like trucks or large vans but they do store SUVs and similar types of vehicles.

Here, asymmetrical 2-post lift dominates because of the versatility they offer with their extendable arms. You can lift both the front heavy and the rear heavy vehicles effortlessly. Although, gripping on the right point under the car is a stretch if you don’t know what you are doing.

Similarly, the symmetrical 2-post lift is also a capable automotive lift designed for front-rear heavy vehicles. It’s not a bad choice if you have a heavy car in your garage; you can lift the car any time you want. Otherwise symmetrical doesn’t have much use to the house garage owner.

That said either of them is great assuming you have the right type of car to lift. Also keep in mind that each type of lift also comes with a variety of specs like base plates, overhead bar, narrow width, and so on.  Be sure to check them if it is important to you.

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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