What is the Difference Between a Lift and an Elevator?

You may find yourself using the terms lift and elevator interchangeably, but actually there are differences between the two. Those differences lie mostly in design and cost.

An elevator and some lifts (depending on the lifting height) requires a shaft, which is a wall enclosure surrounding the cab and the machinery.

Generally, lifts are more basic in their design to become more utilitarian than anything else. That simplicity translates to a lower cost of installation. There are a couple of main types of lifts and elevators we can go over in more detail:

Vertical Platform Lifts
These are designed for wheelchair users who must be transported between the floors of a home or a business. They are comprised of a lift tower, a platform, and a set of controls, with the ability to be installed both indoors and outdoors. These lifts are limited to a certain footage of vertical travel, usually about 12 feet, incorporating a few stops along the way. Many people choose to install lifts — in homes, in schools and in office buildings — instead of using a ramp, which may not be possible due to building constraints.

Platform lifts can assist people in overcoming small architectural barriers, such as stages, stairs, or porches. Unlike elevators, platform lifts can be installed with either permanent or portable configurations.

Residential Elevators
These can be used to access two or more floors within a home. A shaftway must be constructed to accommodate an elevator, which completely encloses the cab and all associated machinery. Generally, residential elevators can carry greater weight and have bigger cabs than lifts. Elevators need some preparation, which involves building a pit at the base level or incorporating a small machine room. Lifts may also need some preparation as well but can be purchased with its own enclosure, if required, or the home owner can build their own. Lifts can be unenclosed if the lifting height is under 48”. This preparation work is not done by the elevator company.

However, with a residential elevator, you get more design and construction options, as well as a faster and more efficient way of accessing many levels of your home. Residential elevators can offer a practical solution in large homes or multi-family homes.

Contact Mowrey Elevator

Contact us today about any repair need you may have with your existing lift or elevator, or to inquire about our lift and elevator installation services. Call us at 800-441-4449.