• The Difference Between Hydraulic and Electric Lifts

    Home lifts are a fantastic way to add value, style and accessibility to your house. The good news is that homeowners are now spoiled for choice when it comes to elevator options! It’s simple to find installers that work with all types of elevator systems, and they’ll be able to walk you through your options and choose the best equipment for your property. In this article we’re going to look at the two most common types of home lifts and how you can choose between them.

    What Is a Hydraulic Elevator?

    Hydraulic elevators use non-compressible oil to drive a piston up and down in a cylinder, similar to the technology used to power earthmoving equipment. Rather than using overhead lifting machinery, hydraulic elevators are typically mounted beneath the elevator car, with the piston pushing up on the bottom of the elevator.

    When the elevator is called, a powerful pump pressurises the oil in the system and the piston pushes the car up to the correct floor. On the way down, pressure is released from the system and the piston slowly retracts into its cylinder, lowering the elevator car. This simple technology makes hydraulic elevators affordable, but they use significantly more power and are often less smooth to ride in than electric options.

    What Is an Electric Elevator?

    As the name suggests, electric elevators use electric motors to steer and lift the elevator car. Electric elevators come in a variety of different designs, but the most common type is the traction elevator. Traction lifts simply consist of an electric motor with a toothed pulley attached to the output shaft. A cable runs up and over this pulley, with one end attached to the elevator car and the other end attached to a counterweight.

    When the elevator is called to a floor, the motor turns the pulley and it raises or lowers the car. The counterweight reduces the strain on the motor and eliminates the need for complex components like gearboxes. This makes traction elevators simple, effective and power-efficient, but they often cost more to install upfront.

    How to Choose Between Hydraulic and Electric Lifts

    Installing an elevator in your home is a major investment. They’re a great way to add style and function to a space, especially if you’re looking to improve access for disabled or elderly residents. Given the investment, it’s important to choose the right type of elevator system for your home. Your elevator installer will work with you to develop a solution that suits your space, needs and budget. They’ll consider things like:

    • Available space. Home elevators can take up lots of space. Aside from the area required by the elevator shaft, you’ll also need space above and below the shaft for installing motors and drive components. Hydraulic elevators have slightly higher space requirements, but some of the major components can be installed away from the main elevator shaft, making them more convenient for some home layouts. Electric elevators have lower space requirements, but you’ll need plenty of headroom in the ceiling for the overhead motor system.
    • Noise requirements. The pumps that power hydraulic systems are often quite noisy. For this reason, most hydraulic controllers are installed in a separate machine room or cabinet. This allows you to control the noise created by your elevator and is a convenient solution if you don’t have
      overhead room for an electric motor.
    • Number of floors. Hydraulic elevators are limited by the size of the pistons that are used to lift and lower the elevator car. If you need to travel more than 7 storeys, you’ll need to choose an electric-drive elevator.
    • Backup systems. It’s important to consider your backup and safety needs when installing an elevator. One of the major benefits of electric lifts is that they can be operated by a battery in the event of a power outage. On the other hand, hydraulic lifts require significant power to operate, and they often come to a full stop when the power goes out. Pressure can be released from the system to lower the elevator and allow passengers to disembark, but it’s not the ideal solution.
    • Cost. One of the biggest considerations for most home elevators is the cost. Despite offering fewer features, hydraulic elevators are often far more affordable upfront. Their simple technology and low installation requirements make them ideal if you’re working on a budget.

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