Hydraulic Lifts vs. Traction Lifts

Hydraulic Lifts vs. Traction Lifts

Is a Hydraulic Lift or Traction Lift Best for your Building?

When installing a new lift there are many things to consider. As well as deciding on the colour scheme, whether to have a full or half height mirror, whether you would like it to serve passengers or goods etc, one main consideration is which type of lift you should have. Read on for more information on hydraulic lifts and traction lifts.

Remember: a site survey is free – to arrange a survey to see which option is best for your building then contact us and we’ll arrange a survey at your convenience.

How They Work

A hydraulic lift is a lift that gets power through an electronic pump which then transmits hydraulic fluid to a jack. The piston at the base of the lift pushes the lift up and down.

A traction lift, on the other hand, moves up and down the shaft using ropes and sheaves with a counterweight to balance the load.

Although both types of lifts achieve the same result – moving goods and/or people from one floor to another – there are a number of factors which must be considered when choosing which type of lift is most suitable for a particular building.


One way in which the two types of lifts differ is in price; hydraulic lifts are typically cheaper than traction which is often a deciding factor in which type of lift to choose.


In terms of energy usage, traction lifts are generally more energy efficient. This is due to differences in the way the two types of lifts work.  In hydraulic lifts the pump works against gravity to push the car and its contents upwards; this energy is lost when the car descends on its own weight. Traction lifts, on the other hand, do not use as much energy due to the counterweight. It counterbalances the load of the car, reducing the amount of weight that needs to be lifted.


Traditionally, a differing factor between the two types of lifts is the space required for installation. This made hydraulic lifts more suitable in some applications as traction lifts components tend to be bulky. Over recent years there has been the introduction of machine room-less lifts (MRL’s). These tend to be traction, with the machine on top of the lift instead of in its own separate motor room.


Hydraulic lifts are not able to go as fast as traction.

Hydraulic lift speeds tend to peak at around 1 metre per second, whereas traction lifts can go up to 2.5 metres per second. This is partly why traction lifts are more suitable for the use in high-rise buildings of more than 6 floors.

If you would like any further information, or a site survey to see which option is best for your building then please contact us.

Get in touch with ACE Lifts to find out which type of lift would suit your needs best. You can also arrange a site survey for an engineer to attend site and ensure that you are getting what is best.

By | 2017-04-07T10:21:09+01:00 May 2nd, 2013|News|