Choosing the Best Car Lift for Your Home Garage

Whether you’re looking to free up a little space in your garage or take your repair jobs to the next level, there’s no better way to do it than with a car lift. These versatile machines can transform a mediocre garage into the garage of your dreams.

But before you make any purchases it’s important to know what you’re getting.

In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about vehicle lifts to help you find the best residential garage car lift.

Types of Car Lifts

When it’s time to install a car lift in your home garage, the first question you need to answer is “what type of lift do I need?”.

While four-post lifts can double your garage space, they don’t allow you to complete some maintenance operations. On the other hand, you shouldn’t leave a vehicle suspended on a two-post lift for an extended period either.

Below we’ll break down everything you need to know about the three most common lift designs to help you make your decision.

Four Post Lifts

Four-post lifts are one of the more popular lift designs out there. With these lifts, you drive directly on the lift, and then you raise your vehicle with the click of a button.

These lifts allow you to double your garage space by parking one vehicle underneath the one you’ve raised. Just make sure that you lower the raised vehicle onto the physical locks instead of relying on the hydraulics before bringing the second vehicle in.

These lifts are perfect for when you need to perform routine maintenance underneath your vehicle, like oil changes or swapping car parts, since you get excellent access.

However, four-post lifts don’t raise your vehicle off the wheels. So, if you’re looking to rotate your tires or replace brake or suspension components, a four-post lift isn’t going to be very useful.

Two Post Lifts

Two-post lifts are a mechanics dream. You drive between the two posts and line up the pads from each post on the frame then raise the vehicle.

This design has a few advantages, primarily that you’re not raising the vehicle by the wheels. Instead, you’re raising it by the frame which allows you to take all four wheels off at once while completing repairs.

However, the most significant drawback is that you can’t leave your vehicle like this for an extended time. That’s because lifting a vehicle like this maxes out the suspension, which can lead to premature wear amongst other damages.

While this isn’t a concern if you don’t leave your vehicle like this a lot — if you’re looking to park another vehicle underneath and double your garage space this isn’t what you’re looking for.

Portable Scissor Lifts

The last type of lift we want to highlight are the portable variety of scissor lifts. As the name implies, these lifts are far more portable than the other two options. While you need to drill holes into the ground and mount both two-post and four-post lifts, you don’t need to mount anything for a portable lift.

This has a few perks. First, you can move the lift out of the way after using it instead of having the posts permanently mounted. Second, if you are looking to perform maintenance at a friend’s house or somewhere other than your garage — you can bring your lift with you.

However, just because these lifts are deemed portable doesn’t mean they’re the easiest to move. First off, they’re still heavy — so moving them can take some effort. Second, you still need the power to operate these lifts.

So, if you think you can perform mobile repairs with this lift you’ll need a generator too.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Car Lift

When you’re looking at dropping the money on a car lift, you want to get the right one the first time. The last thing you want is to get your new lift only to find out you’re missing what you need to install it or that you overlooked a critical aspect.

To make things easier, we’ll break down all the important things to keep track of here. That way, when you get to the reviews you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for.

Available Garage Space

Before you head out and purchase a car lift, make sure you have the space for it. It’s a great start that your vehicle can fit in your garage without a lift, but that doesn’t always mean your garage has the space for a lift.

For starters, car lifts are a little wider than your vehicle, so if it’s a tight squeeze when you pull in — you probably don’t have enough space. It’s best if you measure out your garage dimensions and ensure that you have space for the lift you’re ordering.

However, just because the dimensions for the lift fit, that doesn’t mean you’re good to go. That’s because you need to verify that your garage has enough height for both your lift and your vehicle.

This is obvious when you picture a low drift car on a lift versus a minivan. The van is going to require a lot of extra height.

The last thing you want is to lift your vehicle and send it through the roof of your garage! Consider your vehicle’s size and the lift’s maximum height when determining if you have enough space.

Voltage Specs

You’ll need to ensure that you have the proper voltage specs in your garage to operate your lift. Lifts come in two main voltage specs, 110V and 220V.

Make sure that your garage has both the available outlets and that they’re the correct voltage.

Now, if you have the outlets but they’re not the correct voltage you’re not completely out of luck. You can invest in a heavy-duty transformer to get the job done. Just make sure that the transformer has enough wattage to handle your lift.

Finally, keep in mind that while some internet gurus will claim that you can easily convert your 110 voltage to 220 — it’s not that easy. Please don’t start splicing wires together to create circuits your wiring can’t handle.

Setting Up Your Lift

The last thing you want is to spend a ton of money on your lift only to realize you don’t have what you need to set it up. Worse, you might find that your garage is simply incompatible with the lift you purchased.

That’s especially true with two-post and four-post lifts. That’s because you need to bolt both four-post and two-post lifts directly into the floor of your garage.

Not only will you need the correct drill and tools to do this, but you’ll also need a concrete floor in your garage that’s deep enough to handle the entire thread.

Most of the time, this isn’t an issue if you have concrete flooring — but if you or the previous homeowners did the job yourself, then it might not be thick enough.

Finally, if you’re renting a place, you’ll need permission from the homeowners before you start drilling into the garage’s foundation.

If you want to pay for someone to handle installation, a two-post lift will set you back around $500 while a four-post system will cost around $900 to install.


There are two main purposes for purchasing a car lift:

1. for maintenance — you simply can’t perform some jobs without a lift.

2. space — to add storage space for more cars or other toys to your garage.

This is where four-post lifts excel as you can lift one vehicle and park another underneath — effectively doubling your garage space.

Deciding what you want your lift for is the first step in determining what you need. Because while a four-post lift might double your garage space, they don’t open up a full range of maintenance capabilities.


When you’re using a car lift in your home garage, there are a few safety tips you need to follow to stay safe.

First, never go underneath your vehicle while lifting it. Instead, fully raise your vehicle and then lower it onto the physical locks before heading underneath.

While the hydraulic pistons should hold your vehicle up, all it takes is for a seal to give out for your vehicle to fall while you’re underneath and crush you. Lowering your vehicle onto the physical safety locks gives you an extra layer of protection to stay safe.

Not only do you need to have your vehicle on the locks before going underneath, but don’t leave your vehicle on hydraulics overnight, and never park another vehicle underneath if the lift isn’t on the locks.

Second, always apply your emergency brake when parking on a four-post lift. This gives you an extra layer of protection to keep your vehicle from accidentally rolling off — especially if it comes down awkward on one of the locks.

Third, when using a two-post lift or scissor lift, always double-check that each pad is firmly pressed against the frame before fully lifting the vehicle. Line them up and raise the lift until the pads press against the frame.

Walk around and double-check that you have every pad centered on the frame before lifting your vehicle.

Finally, triple-check that nobody is underneath your vehicle while you’re lowering it. Kids and pets are notorious for darting around when you’re not looking, so take the time to make sure that no one can get underneath your vehicle at that time.

Best Car Lifts for Your Home Garage

Now that you know a little more about car lifts, let’s take a look at some of your top options when buying a car lifts. We’ve broken them down into different categories — so if you know what type of lift you want you can jump to that section.

This buying guide features the best lifts out there for residential use, and we’ve reviewed each to give some insight before you make a purchase. Read through them all to find the best car lift for your garage.

Top 4-Post Car Lifts

Four-post car lifts serve a wide array of purposes. Whether you’re looking for a lift to make maintenance tasks a little easier or you’re trying to turn your single car garage into a double — a four-post lift is the way to go.

It’s for this reason that a lot of people simply call these “parking lifts”. Below we’ve highlighted the best four-post lifts to transform your garage into a premium option overnight.

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