When you’re shopping for the best portable car lifts for your home garage, it won’t take you long to discover that 4-post car lifts and scissor lifts are both exceptional options.
But just like with any other significant home purchase, there are several priorities to weigh based on your personal preferences and unique needs. There’s no single model that will satisfy the requirements of every home user.
Use and Maintenance Needs
Four-post car lifts are better for storage since they’re extremely stable and designed to help you create more space in your garage. They can also function well as an alignment rack, but these types of lifts aren’t the best for more intensive maintenance without purchasing additional equipment.
In order to access the wheel assemblies and other major components of the vehicle, you’ll need a separate sliding jack that allows you to lift and tilt the car as needed.
Some 4-post lifts come with a cutout in the front that allows for better access to the vehicle’s suspension system. A 4-post lift intended for home use can accommodate vehicles up to 14,000 pounds, which is more than enough for even heavy-duty pickup trucks.
Portable Scissor Lifts
Scissor lifts, on the other hand, are not designed for long-term storage, but they provide easy access to wheel assemblies and the undercarriage. Unlike 4-post lifts that can store a car in the overhead space of a garage, scissor lifts remain relatively close to the ground. They often come in low-rise and mid-rise versions.
Mid-rise models are more expensive, but they can lift vehicles higher for a better view and easier maintenance. This can be important for longer jobs to minimize stooping and bending. The most powerful versions can lift vehicles that weigh up to 9,000 pounds, which is enough to work on large vans and pickup trucks.
Portability and Stability
It’s possible to move 4-post lifts with just one person as long as you have the caster kit. This can be included with some models or sold separately. The caster wheels attach to the lift using a simple bolt-and-pin system, and the wheels are on a canted platform that will lift the legs as weight is shifted to the wheels. You simply lower the lift until the weight settles onto the wheels and then push the lift to move it.
Some scissor lifts come with built-in wheels that don’t require a supplemental kit or installation. When you want to move the lift, you tilt it onto the wheels and push it to its new location. Scissor lifts are much lighter than 4-post models, but they can be unwieldy, so you may need a second person to steady the lift while you push.
Ceiling and Ground Requirements
Given that 4-post car lifts are excellent for storing a vehicle in the air while leaving enough room for another underneath, it’s unsurprising that they require more ceiling clearance than scissor lifts.
Most 4-post lifts need a minimum of 11 or 12 feet of clearance to store a car of average height. This may be prohibitive for some homeowners since the majority of residential garages have an 8-foot ceiling.
Scissor lifts don’t need nearly as much vertical clearance since they’re not meant to lift a car high enough to “stack.” Low-rise lifts reach to a height of roughly 24 to 28 inches, while a mid-rise version can get as high as 39 to 48 inches.
The ground requirements also vary by the type of lift you select. Although a 4-post lift doesn’t need to be bolted into the ground like a 2-post car lift, the option is there if you prefer more stability and peace of mind. Scissor lifts don’t have this option since they’re supposed to be lightweight, portable, and put away when not in use.
Best 4 Post Portable Home Lifts
If you’ve decided on a 4-post car lift, we’ll highlight a few options that meet different needs in this category. All are designed for home use, but each lift has its own specifications and requirements.
Garage Pro 8000
The Atlas® Garage Pro 8000 includes an impressive list of free extras, including a steel jack tray, caster kit, drip trays, approach ramps, wheel stops, and chocks.
With an 8,000-pound capacity, it has the power to support most non-commercial vehicles and operates off of 110-volt power with a 30-amp breaker. This model also comes with a 2-year warranty on structural components and a 1-year warranty on hydraulics.
Garage Pro 9000
As its name suggests, the Garage Pro 9000 is even larger, longer, and wider to accommodate everything from a compact car to a diesel dually.
It features the same free additions and warranties as the Garage Pro 8000 while increasing the functionality of the lift by ensuring you won’t be limited by long wheel bases or heavy vehicles. It also pairs perfectly with the Atlas® RJ6BK rolling jack.
Apex 8 and Apex 9
The Atlas® Apex 8 and Apex 9 are the ALI-certified versions of the Garage Pro 8000 and Garage Pro 9000, respectively. ALI certification confirms that the lifts satisfy independent testing requirements according to the ANSI/ALI/ALCTV standards for safety and performance.
From homeowners to small restoration shops, these models are appropriate for anyone who wants reassurance about the structural integrity of their lifts. The Apex8 and Apex9 are not intended for use in commercial or high-tempo repair facilities.
Best Portable Scissor Lifts
When it comes to choosing the best scissor lift, don’t forget to think about whether a low-rise or mid-rise model seems like a better fit for your needs. We’ll review a few top-notch choices to help you figure out which scissor lift will get the job done all from the comfort of your home garage.
The Atlas® LR06 lift can accommodate vehicles up to 6,000 pounds. This low-rise lift features rubber pads and blocks to protect your vehicle, manual safety locks, and a self-actuating lock bar that allows you to work on your wheels at a reasonable, comfortable height.
With rubber blocks, the maximum lifting height is 25.5 inches. The LR06 comes with a 2-year structural and 1-year hydraulic warranty.
The 6MR is a mid-rise model that’s cleverly designed to allow improved access to the undercarriage compared to other lifts in this class. It includes a set of adapters for both trucks and cars for added versatility with a maximum lift height of 53 inches.
The 6MR features dual hydraulic cylinders, seven lock positions, and an included separate motor stand. It’s rated to 6,000 pounds and comes with the standard Atlas® warranty.
7K Kwik-Bay Mid-Rise Lift
The 7K-Kwik-Bay can support vehicles of up to 7,000 pounds while remaining steady and stable. There’s no need to position the arms underneath the car’s lifting points. Simply drive the car onto the lift and adjust the rubber blocks to the proper locations.
With an open configuration that allows superior access and dependable lock bars for safety, the 7K-Kwik-Bay is a popular model for home use and commercial express service shops. This model includes drive-on ramps, lifting blocks, and an extended 2-year warranty on structural and hydraulic components.
For more information, see how to choose a car lift.