Different Types of Lifts Explained

Different Types of Lifts
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Lifts are essential to transportation and daily life, but not everyone knows the different types of lifts or how they work.


They are objects that can move people or things from one location to another, vertically and horizontally (such as from one floor of a building to another). 

There are many different types of lifts, each with its specific purpose and attributes, so if you’re considering using lift services in your business or home.

Knowing about the various types and what they offer you is essential. This guide will cover some of the most common lifts and what each one does best.

Component of Lift

Lifts are composed of several parts, all working together to move people or objects from one place to another. The main components are the base, mast, carriage, and winch. 

The base provides stability for the rest of the lift, while the mast supports the carriage and allows it to move up and down.

The carriage is where people or objects are placed and is attached to the mast via chains or cables.

The winch is responsible for moving the carriage up and down by winding or unwinding the chain or rope around a drum. Read on to learn the different types of lifts.

Platform Lifts

Platform lifts are among the different types of lifts that are used to raise or lower a platform. Depending on the user’s needs, the platform can be raised or dropped to different levels.

Platform lifts can be used for various purposes, including raising or lowering a person in a wheelchair, lifting heavy objects, or providing access to an elevated area.

Platform lifts are typically powered by hydraulics or motors and can be operated manually or automatically. The manual operation of a platform lift requires the assistance of someone who will operate it.

The automatic process is controlled with the push of a button, but this also means that there may not always be someone present who can handle it if there’s an emergency. 

Platform lifts use electric traction drives (ETDs) as their power source, rotating around three axes while they rise and fall vertically.

In addition to platforms, these types of lifts may also be used for stairways and ramps.

Passenger Lifts

Passenger lifts are one of the different types of lifts, and they can be found in various settings, from office buildings to shopping malls.

These lifts typically have doors on both sides and move vertically between floors. Passenger lifts can also transport goods, but they are not as common for this purpose.

Often, these elevators have an attached side shaft connected to an outside building entrance. The lift is manually operated with a pulley system that uses ropes or chains attached to its roof (depending on the size). 

A freight elevator is much larger than a passenger lift and has an opening at the top that can accommodate large objects.

They usually only go up or down with no stops in between, which means you may need to use more than one if you’re going up multiple flights of stairs. 

It’s also important to note that these lifts must have their power source as opposed to being powered by electricity like passenger lifts are–usually either hydraulics or air pressure–because there’s too much weight for them to rely solely on electricity alone.

Glass Lifts

Glass lifts are a type of lift that uses a system of pulleys and weights to move people or objects vertically. They are commonly used in office buildings and hotels as they provide a sleek and modern look.

Glass lifts typically have a weight limit of around 500 pounds, making them ideal for lighter loads. These lifts usually run on electric power but can also be powered by hydraulic or pneumatic pumps.

This is among the different types of lifts that are popular because they are less expensive than other types, such as hydraulic elevators.

Service Lift

Service lifts are a type of lift used to transport goods or materials between different floors in a building. They are typically large and have a platform that can be raised or lowered to different levels.

Service lifts can be used in both commercial and residential settings. In homes, they may be installed in the basement, where residents might use them to move heavy items like furniture upstairs without having to haul them up the stairs. 

Businesses might install service lifts near their loading docks for the same purpose. Service lifts may serve as an additional access point for wheelchairs and mobility devices in buildings with an elevator.

Regardless of their use, all service lifts require professional installation by a licensed contractor to ensure safety. There are two types of service lift: dumb waiter and trolley lift.

Dumb Waiters

Dumb waiters are small; enclosed lifts transport food and other light items between floors. They typically have a weight limit of around 100-200 pounds.

Dumb waiters are often found in restaurants but can also be used in offices and homes. These types of service lifts are sometimes called dumbwaiters.

There is usually no control panel inside the elevator. Instead, customers must call the dumbwaiter company or building management to send their orders.

Trolley Lifts

A trolley lift is a type of service lift that consists of a platform or cage suspended from a beam. The beam is mounted on an overhead track, which allows the trolley to move back and forth along the length of the track.

Trolley lifts are commonly used in industrial and commercial settings to move heavy loads, such as equipment or inventory, from one level to another.

Firefighting Lift

A firefighting lift is also among the different types of lifts used to transport firefighters and their equipment to the scene of a fire.

Firefighting lifts are typically large and powerful, with unique features that allow them to navigate through smoke and debris. 

Firefighting lifts can be used to reach heights inaccessible by a ladder. They can also transport firefighters safely out of a burning building.

The ladder on the side of the lift may also swing down to facilitate access from inside buildings. 

Aerial Lifts

Aerial lifts are another popular type of lifting device. These devices were originally developed for construction projects but have since been adopted in many other industries such as power generation, shipbuilding, telecommunications installation, etc. 

Construction Hoist

Construction hoists consist mainly of two cranes or pulleys at each end.

This transfer materials up or down between the ground level and upper levels on construction sites where traditional elevators cannot be installed due to weight restrictions or because they require too much space in cramped areas such as basements or high-rise towers.

Evacuation Lift

An evacuation lift is also among the different types of lifts used to evacuate people from a building in an emergency. These lifts are typically larger than regular lifts and have a capacity of at least 25 people.

Evacuation lifts are equipped with an emergency power supply that kicks in when the main power goes out, ensuring that the lift can still operate even in a power outage. 

Emergency power supplies for these lifts also often come in generator backups or large batteries. The latter is especially useful for buildings that may not be equipped with an emergency power system, such as residential high-rises.  

Disabled access Lifts

Disabled access lifts are a type of lift that helps people with disabilities get around. These lifts can be installed in homes or businesses and come in various sizes and styles. Some disabled access lifts are hydraulic, while others are pneumatic. 

There are also different types of lifts control, such as joystick or buttons. It’s important to know the differences between all these different types of lifts to find the one that best suits your needs.

Vertical Lift (elevator)

An elevator is among the different types of lift that uses a pulley system to move a cabin or platform vertically. The first recorded use of an elevator was in the Palace of Versailles in 16th century France. 

Today, elevators are used in residential and commercial buildings to move people and goods between floors. There are several different elevators, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Vertical Platform Lift (or Stairlift)

A vertical platform lift, also called a stairlift, helps people with mobility issues get up and down stairs.

It consists of a platform that goes up and down on a set of tracks and can be operated manually or via a remote control.

Vertical platform lifts are typically used in residential settings but can also be found in commercial buildings.

Inclined Platform Lift (or Inclined Stairlift)

An inclined platform lift, also called an inclined stairlift, helps people with mobility issues get up and down stairs.

It consists of a platform that goes up and down the stairs on an incline and a chair or seat that the person sits in.

A motor operates the platform, and the person uses a control panel to move the platform up and down.

Inclined platform lifts can be used indoors and outdoors and can be installed in homes, businesses, and public buildings.

Horizontal Platform Lift (or Cross-over Lift)

A horizontal platform lift, also called a cross-over lift, is a type of lift used to move people or objects horizontally.

The platform can be fixed or portable and raised and lowered using a hydraulic or pneumatic system.

This is one of the different types of lifts that are often used in industrial or commercial settings but can also be found in some homes.

How Has the Law Influenced the Usage of Elevators?

The law has had a profound influence on the usage of elevators. In 1852, Elisha Otis invented the safety elevator, which prevented the elevator from falling if the cable broke.

This invention led to the widespread use of elevators in office buildings, hotels, and other tall structures.

The law has also regulated the use of elevators in public places such as schools and hospitals. 

For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires all newly constructed or renovated school facilities to be wheelchair accessible.

These provisions are important because people with disabilities or older adults who cannot climb stairs need an alternate way to reach different building levels. 

Tips for Choosing the Right Lift

When it comes to choosing a lift, there are a few things you need to take into account.

First, what is the lifting capacity that you need? Second, what is the type of terrain that you’ll be using the lift on? And third, what is your budget?

Here are a few tips to help you choose the right lift for your needs. 

  • Decide on the lifting capacity that you need. 
  • Consider the terrain you’ll be using the lift on. 
  • Choose a lift that fits your budget. 
  • Keep in mind the size and weight of the objects you’ll be lifting. 
  • Make sure the lift has enough power to handle the load. 
  • Check if the lift will fit through doorways and past obstructions. 
  • Determine how quickly you need the object moved from one place to another before selecting a lift with an appropriate operating speed (you don’t want to wait too much time around). 
  • Lastly, ensure that the company that made the product offers service agreements so you know they stand behind their product. And that they will be available should something go wrong during use or if anything else needs replacement after purchase (just because it’s brand new doesn’t mean it won’t break down).


Lifts are essential to many buildings, from office blocks to hospitals. They help people move around quickly and safely and can be used for passengers and goods.

There are many different types of lifts, each with advantages and disadvantages. Be sure to follow the above-listed tips when purchasing yours.

Frequently Asked Questions on Different Types of Lifts

What Type of Lift is the Fastest?

The answer to this question may depend on who you ask. Some people might say that an express or non-stop lift is the fastest type of lift, while others might say that a high-speed lift is the quickest type. However, the answer may also depend on what you mean by fast. If you’re talking about the speed at which the lift moves, then an express or non-stop lift is probably the fastest. However, if you’re talking about the rate at which the doors open and close, then a high-speed lift is perhaps the most immediate.

What Are Old Elevators Called?

Old elevators, also called traction elevators, are the most common type of elevator. They use a cable and pulley system to move the elevator car up and down. The cable is attached to a counterweight, which balances the car. When the car moves up, the counterweight moves down.

What is the Most Common Type of Lift?

The most common type of lift is the hydraulic lift. This lift uses a hydraulic system to raise and lower the platform. The platform is usually made of steel or aluminum and rests on two or more hydraulic cylinders. Cylinders are connected to a pump controlled by a valve. When the valve is opened, the fluid flows into the cylinders, raising the platform. When the valve is closed, the fluid flows back into the pump, lowering the platform.

What Motor is Used in an Elevator?

There are many different types of motors used in elevators, each with its unique purpose. The most common type of motor is the traction motor, which is used to move the elevator car up and down the shaft. Other types of engines include counterweight motors, door operator motors, and safety brake motors.

1 comment
  1. It helped when you said that parts that are working together are why lifts are functioning properly. My friend mentioned a couple of days ago that he and his business associate were looking for industrial material floor lifts to enhance the efficiency of their up and downstairs packaging production. He asked if I had thoughts on the best option for an effective solution. I love this informative lift equipment article. I’ll tell him he can consult a trusted power lift company in town as they can provide details about floor lifts.

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