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So you’re thinking about getting a car lift. Good for you. If you’re halfway serious about tuning, rebuilding, or general servicing, a full-size hoist will be one of those things you’ll wonder how you ever lived without. And of course, you’re going to need an awful lot of garage space to fit one of these lifts.
That being said, it’s quite obvious that the best 2 and 4 post car lifts are serious investments – just a tad different than, say, going out and picking up a new impact driver or set of socket wrenches.
This is going to be a purchase you can expect to set you back well over a thousand bucks, and thus it ought to be a purchase in which a considerable amount of time is spent researching and comparing options.
So take your time and evaluate what you need this lift for, your potential budget, and which lift would make your future jobs easier and faster.
Best 2 and 4 Post Car Lifts – Our Top Picks Compared
What’s the difference between a 2 post and 4 post car lift? What are some things I need to look for when buying a car lift? What are the best brand name car lifts?
If these are the kinds of questions you’ve been asking yourself, you’ve certainly come to the right place. In this article, we’ll dish out our selections for the best two and four post car lifts currently on the market – which are the top brands, which are the best performers and most reliable, and which ones will be the best all-around buys for your money.
And of course, here at Garage Chief we’ll do what we can to help you make that all-important decision of whether to go with a two or four post lift, ‘cause heaven knows that choice can be a tough one. Be sure to keep your individual needs in mind when reading our choices, as those are truly the most important factor in making the right choice.
Best 2 and 4 Post Car Lift Car Lift Reviews – Our Recommendations
So naturally, two main considerations are going to come into play when shopping for the best car lifts: price, and space availability.
Four post lifts can be fantastic for storage purposes (i.e. you can store 2 cars in one space), but they’re monstrous things and not always the best option when it comes to actually getting under the car and doing some wrenching (we’ll talk much more about this in detail later on).
Also, we’ve made it a point to highlight several key things that you’ll want to look out for when comparing lifts: What are the dimensions and what is the weight capacities? What power source does it require? How easy is it to install and use? What kind of locking/safety features does it have?
These are all important factors in purchasing a lift and will also be evaluated more in depth later on.
We’ll discuss all of these things, and more, in the following reviews of the best car lifts currently on the market.
BendPak XPR-10 10,000 Lb. Capacity – Best 2 Post Car Lift
This isn’t the cheapest option (see below for that), but it earns our overall “Best Product” pick because of the incredible amount of rave reviews it’s gotten in recent years, both from DIY’ers and professional technicians – the best 2 post car lift out there in terms of performance and durability, for sure.
BendPak XPR-10Two Post Lift is a 10,000 lb lift that’ll be sufficient for even the burliest of full-size SUV’s and pickup trucks, and is powered by a direct drive 220-volt hydraulic pump that’s proven to be incredibly durable – most people we’ve know that’ve used this lift say it’s virtually maintenance free.
Also, a set of 63mm stacking adapters come included with the lift to all but guarantee “functionality” with any vehicle frame – even the most oddball, exotic, or vintage (that ‘51 Chevy 3100?) ones out there.
An incredibly durable, functional, and easy to use lift at a pretty remarkable price, considering the machine that you’re getting. So if you are looking to make an investment in the best lift, this is one to consider.
Spec-wise, it’s got a full rise time of 45 seconds, a max rise of 69”, a total height of 145”, and a total width of between 132” and 145” (the top beam is adjustable to account for space availability), so make sure you’ve got sufficient shop space to install it.
TRIUMPH NT-9 9,000 Lb. Two Post Floor Plate Lift – Best Value 2 Post Lift
This is the most popular hobbyist/DIY’er/weekender 2 post car lift out there by a long shot – we couldn’t tell you how many people we know – or know of – that’ve bought one of these things and been completely satisfied with it.
If you’d have told us 20 years ago that an average joe would be able to by a full size car hoist at a price comparable to an average month’s rent, we’d have told you you were nuts. But lo and behold, TRIUMPH NT-9 Two Post Floor Plate Lift has managed to offer just that, without making any noticeable sacrifices in terms of quality, performance, or construction.
The only reason it got our “Best Value” pick instead of the “Best Product” pick is because it seems the hydraulic pump is not quite as durable as the BendPak XPR-10s. Not that it’s faulty, it just seems to ask for a little more routine maintenance. Also, the telescoping platform pads seem to wear a bit more quickly, so depending on how much you end up using it, you’ll go through those quicker than you would the ones on the BendPak.
It’s got virtually the same hydraulic direct-drive system, though, and a capacity of 9,000 lbs rather than the 10,000 on the BendPak – a minor difference unless you’re lifting a Cummins Diesel with an attached 5th wheel.
It’s also a fair bit smaller (which is another reason why it’s the most popular on the market), with a total height of 111” and a total width of 128”. Overall, the absolute best bang for your buck that you’ll get with any 2-post lift out there, no questions asked.
BendPak HD-9 4-Post Wide/Standard Lift 9,000-Lb. Capacity – Best 4 Post Lift
The BendPak HD-9 offers pretty much the same weight and power specifications as the XPR-10s, but it is a four-post lift. It’s more or less the same exact price, and the only reason we’d recommend this one over the 2-post is for folks wanting the storage capabilities of a 4-post (i.e. you can hoist a car up and and park another one underneath it).
So even though these four-post car lifts do take up a lot of space on their own, they can also save you space by providing a vertical level of car storage.
As far as doing actual tuning and service, though, you’ll find the 2-post XPR to be more functional, as it offers a lot more space and access potential to the underside of the car for things like tranny and suspension work. Because a four-post lift has the car sitting on a platform, it is obviously much harder to access the underside of the car.
One thing we do really like about it is it’s got automatic safety locking devices every 4”. This means you can park your car way up high, and rest assured knowing that that sucker’s not going anywhere for as long as you want it to.
As far as size, it measures in with a total width of 88” (narrower than the 2 post), and will work easily in shops or garages with a standard 8’ ceiling.
And lastly, another HUGE bonus about this one is it offers optional rolling casters to make it (semi) portable if you don’t want a permanent structure in your garage.
All of these features, along with the fact that it works just as intended to, means that this is definitely the best four post car lift currently out there, in our book.
Dannmar MaxJax Portable 6,000-lbs. Capacity Portable 2-Post Lift
Dannmar MaxJax Portable 2-Post Lift is another really great, reliable two post car lift that we’ve heard nothing but good things about. At roughly the same exact price, it’s a direct competitor to the 9,000 lb Triumph, but with a capacity of 6,000 lbs it’s got its obvious disadvantages.
That being said, some people like this one better because it’s a far lighter (only 880 lbs compared to Triumph’s 1,300 lbs), which make it a more portable option. (Though bear in mind that the term ‘portable’ is relative when talking about any car lift…)
Also, the 6,000 lb capacity compared to 9,000 is not as significant as it might seem; most standard sedans and midsize SUV’s weigh between 3,000 and 4,500 lbs, so you should be fine using it on just about any car.
This lift, like the Triumph, also has a really great automatic safety locking mechanism, but one major disadvantage about it is it uses two separate hydraulic pumps rather than one. This means that, over time, it will tend to lift cars (slightly) unevenly.
And lastly, though we said we’d heard nothing but great things about this lift, we might’ve spoken just a bit too quickly, as it’s been known to require factory service and warranty repairs more frequently than either than 2 post BendPak or the Triumph.
The only reason at all that we’d recommend this one over either two of those is if you’re really concerned about moving 1,200+ lbs. (Though in our minds, the heavier the car lift is the better). Also, it can operate off of a standard 110-volt outlet if your garage or shop doesn’t have a 220-volt, or you don’t want to get a new one installed.
So while this lift does have the added benefit of being a more portable car lift, that is really all it has going for it over its competitors. And while it is not a bad lift by any means, we do believe that other lifts will probably meets your needs better.
Atlas Garage Pro 8000 Portable Heavy Duty 9,000 Lb Capacity 4 Post Lift (EXTRA TALL, EXTRA WIDE)
Atlas Garage Pro 9000 Portable Heavy Duty 4 Post Lift is a really great option for those folks who need to store a BIG vehicle, or store a BIG vehicle underneath another BIG vehicle.
So yes, this is a great lift four-post lift, but it will only be a good lift for you if you have a very specific set of needs.
It’s got an extra tall and wide capacity, with a total length of 227.5” with the approach ramps that are included, (or 204” without the ramps), and a total lifting height of 85” to the top of the runway.
You’ll need a lot more space for this one than the other options, but if you’re looking at a big old vehicle that you’re needing to hoist up, it might be your only option.
BendPak HDS-40 Lift – 4 Post, 40,000-lb. Capacity (Requires 297 in. L x 154 in. W Floor Space)
Need to lift a semi truck or a school bus? The BendPak 40,000 lb HDS-40 four post lift is probably going to be your only option.
This thing is a BEAST, though, to be sure – it packs a 220 VAC single hydraulic motor (so you can assure both runways will always lift at the same exact height), and a total length of 297” and total width of 154”.
We can’t imagine too many folks out there that’ll need the monstrous size of this thing (or that will have the monstrous space available to install it), but if you’re one of the ones who do, you won’t find a better 30,000+ lb lift out there.
Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know When Shopping for the Best 2 and 4 post Car Lifts
In this section, we’re going to go over everything you want to know about owning and using a 2 or four-post lift. In this section, you’ll find out everything you ever wanted to know about car hoists, and how they work:
- Will I be able to install it on my own?
- How do I operate it?
- How safe/reliable are they?
- How much room will I need?
- Which ones are better for doing what kinds of jobs?
- What are the differences between two and four post car lifts?
- How do I install them?
- Are they moveable/portable once installed?
- What kind of maintenance do they need?
For the answers to all of these questions and more, go ahead and treat yourself to our dizzying array of car hoist information below.
What is a Clearfloor Car Lift, and How Do Car Lifts Work?
Naturally, a clearfloor lift is a tool that completely lifts a car off the ground, letting you freely move about it and wrench around on it underneath – entirely eliminating the foul, curse-word-fueled prospect of crawling around on the floor or scooting back and forth out from underneath the thing on a glorified skateboard (yes, we’re talking about garage creepers and how terrible they are).
Basically, most modern car lifts work on a simple 220 volt hydraulic pump: two low-pressure cylinders are mounted on each post with a heavy-duty steel platform welded to them that moves up and down the post along with the cylinder.
These hydraulic lifts are more commonly called direct-drive lifts, and are generally more user-friendly, reliable, and maintenance-free than the old school cable or belt-driven lifts. Though, take that with a big grain of salt because it really all comes down to manufacturing quality; while a direct drive lift is preferable in most cases to an equally well-built cable or chain lift, we’d take a quality old school lift over a junky direct-drive lift any day of the week. (Though that should go without saying).
Just recognize that garage lifts are truly a case of “you get what you pay for”. If you are willing to make the investment, you can make your life so much easier for doing work on your car, or even for car storage.
What is a Post Car Lift Used For?
Here’s where things can get complicated, and where you really need to consider what it is that you’re wanting (and expecting) to get out of your lift.
First, you need to consider weight capacities. If you’ve got a big, honking, full-size pickup truck, you might not be able to get away with using something like Triumph’s 9,000 lb 2-post lift (though likely you will, because even a full-size truck like Ford’s F-350 only weighs between about 6,000 and 7,500 lbs).
For reference, the average mid-size sedan weighs about 4,000 lbs, so a 9,000 lb lift will be more than sufficient in the vast majority of instances.
In any regard, make sure you know how much your car (and the cars you plan on working on) weighs, as well as the weight capacity of your lift.
That being said, post car lifts differ from scissor lifts in that they allow full-accessibility to the underside of the car. While scissor lifts are useful for things like tire rotations and brake service (because they get all 4 wheels off the ground), they all but block the entire under side of the vehicle, making things like transmission work (and even oil changes on some cars) out of the question. Even though they’re usually a bit cheaper than post lifts, we’re still not quite sure why someone would want to make a hefty investment in a scissor lift, unless they are using it purely for car storage.
Should I buy a Two Post or Four Post Car Lift?
OK so here’s the real meat and bones of the 2 post vs 4 post car lift issue: which one do you need?
The general consensus is that 4 post lifts are not that much useful other than for getting additional storage space – that is, you can hoist one car way up in the air and park another one underneath it. (Though you could also do this with a 2 post lift, depending on how high it goes).
The vast majority of people looking for the best car lifts end up buying a 2 post lift; they’re usually far cheaper, they don’t require as much floor space, and they allow for more accessibility in terms of being able to get to brakes, transmissions, and the like.
With 4 post lifts you simply drive the car onto the platform and lift it right up – while this is definitely simple and convenient, it also means that all 4 wheels are still in contact, so jobs like wheel, tire, and brake work are pretty much out of the question.
That being said, some super high-end four post lifts will have accessories called “rack jacks”. These are attachments that span the platform and lift the car up in the air as it’s already raised up on the lift. These are really, really nice because you can then use the lift itself as a scaffolding of sorts to walk around on, or importantly to set tools and car parts on. However, a 4 post lift with rack jacks will set you back a pretty penny, hence they’re typically found in professional shops rather than home garages.
With 2 post lifts, on the other hand, after pulling the car up into position you will have to get down on the ground and manually position the lift arms into place on the frame underneath. A lot of people moan and complain about this in terms of the ease-of-use that you get with a 4 post, but in reality the 2-post allows for way more freedom and accessibility in terms of what you can reach and access on the underside of the car. Since the lift only has four small points of contact with the underside of the frame, pretty much any kind of work is possible: transmissions, suspensions, brakes, subframes, etc.
Basically, the main advantage of a 4-post lift over a 2-post is that it is generally easier to drive the car onto and get it lifted up. So if that convenience means a lot to you, and you are just looking for storage of your car, then a 4-post might be what you want. However, the 2-post has many advantages, including the ability to work on a car much more easily. So depending what this convenience means to you, we suspect a 2-post lift will more closely meet your needs.
However, like we said, 2-post lifts in the majority of cases are much more popular and much more suited to the needs of the average DIY’er or hobbyist rebuilder.
How Do You Use a Car Lift?
We’ve pretty much gone over this part in its basic form: with four post lifts you simply drive the vehicle right up onto the platform, press a button, and voila – there goes your car skyrocketing up in the air. (Actually they move really slowly).
2 post lifts on the other hand, like we just explained you do have to drive the car up into place, then get down and manually swing the lift arms into place so that they’re in contact with the vehicle’s frame. Yes it’s a bit of work, but it takes like 3 minutes and it’s a small price to pay for the added accessibility you get.
So depending how much you really value this small bit of convenience, you probably will enjoy the additional functionality of a 2-post lift more.
How Do You Install a Car Lift?
In case you haven’t realized by now, full size car lifts are heavy, monstrous machines – even the “lighter” ones come in at around 1,200 lbs. (Yeah, steel is heavy…).
Also, the posts usually come shipped bolted together as one piece in a big-arse wooden box, so you’ll have to figure out the logistics of removing the thing from the delivery truck and manhandling it into your garage. And be advised – the delivery guy sure as hell isn’t going to help you.
Most people will need to rent a front-loader or forklift, or at the very least have a few good furniture dollies and several strong helping hands to get the thing off the truck and where it needs to go.
Once you’ve got it in the garage, you can assemble most of the working parts while the columns are laying on the ground (i.e. the powerhead, oil reservoir tank, and equalizing cables that make sure each platform is at the same exact height), but be sure to read all the instructions. Installing a full-size car lift is not something that you want to “figure out as you go” — a potential error or complication could easily lead to fatal consequences.
Once you’ve got (mostly) everything hooked up and in place according to the instructions, then you can have your group of big-biceped buddies over again to help push the columns upright, at which point you can bolt the sucker into place, plug ‘er in, and start having some fun.
This is certainly a large task, and there is always the option of paying a professional to install the lift for you as well. This will add an additional price-tag onto your already pricy investment. But it may be worth it just for peace of mind.
Who Makes Good Car Lifts?
Ammco used to be the go-to name in car lifts. However, as with most things these days, competition and outsourcing has led to a handful of super reliable manufacturers sprouting up that have proven able to offer great quality, reliable lifts at a fraction of the cost of the old days.
Brands like BendPak, Triumph, Dannmar, and Atlas are leading the way in terms of DIY’er popularity, hence their inclusion on our list of top recommendations. These are all great brands, just be sure that they offer the type of lift with the functionality that you are looking for.
After all, if you are serious about an investment of this nature, you want to be sure to shop somewhere that offers the maximum amount of options. This way, you can shop and compare and choose a lift that best meets your needs. Amazon is a great place to do all of this.
Best Car Lifts for Sale: Prices and Where to Buy Online
The best 2 post car lift, as you’ve likely already seen on our list of top recommendations, is an investment that’ll set you back between about $1,200 and, say, $1,600. A handsome number, to be sure, but definitely in the realm of affordability for those that are serious about auto service and rebuilding.
And surprisingly enough, Amazon has proven by far to be the most convenient source for buying, with free insured shipping and consistently the best prices out of any other supplier or distributor that we keep tabs on.
If you are a serious DIYer, it’s time to invest in a garage car lift. The prices have never been lower, the range of manufacturers and model choices has never been greater, and the installation has never been easier.
The Bottom Line: The Best 2 and 4 post Car Lifts on the Market
Shopping for the best 2 post car lift (or 4 post lift) can certainly be a daunting task – trust us, we’ve been there, done that.
Hopefully, though, we’ve been able to offer some sort of guidance and/or help along with away that’ll come in handy if (and when) you get ready to pull that trigger and provide the HUGE upgrade that your home shop or garage has been asking for.
When all’s said and done, though, you simply can’t go wrong with the BendPak XPR-10s as the best two post lift on the market. While it’s incredibly hard to pass up on the price and value of the Triumph NT-9 (another can’t-go-wrong pick), we just can’t overlook the performance and overall quality of the XPR.
At the end of the day though, it really comes down to what you are looking for and which lift best fits with your situation. So evaluate what you want, how much you want to spend, and the amount of space you are working with, and then compare that to our list. We are confident that you won’t make the wrong choice with one of our options. In any situation, though, thanks for tuning in, and happy lift shopping!
Last update on 2020-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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