Here are the different types, available from garage equipment supply dealers:
This type of vehicle lift is assembled below the garage floor. It consists of one or more pistons, depending on the maximum weight capacity. Lifts with one or two pistons are used for compact, mid-sized and full-sized cars. Lifts with three or more pistons are used for larger vehicles, such as buses and RV’s.
Two Post Surface Mounted
The most common vehicle lift utilized today is called a Two Post Surface Mounted lift. On each column, there are lift arms. These are controlled mechanically, electronically or hydraulically.
Multi-Post Runway Automotive Lift
The most common type is the four-post mounted lift, which is extensively used by oil change, transmission, and muffler service shops. You’ll find this type of auto lift in wheel alignment service stations as well. The car is driven onto the two runways and raised, exposing its underside.
Low/Mid Rise Frame Engaging Lift
This type of vehicle lift engages the vehicle’s frame in lifting. There are two ways this type may operate. One way is scissors-style, moving straight up. Another is parallelogram-style, moving forward or backward, while raising or lowering. This type is commonly used for brake, tire, and wheel services as well as auto body repair.
The Drive-On Parallelogram is a surface-mounted vehicle lift. It has two runways where the wheels of the car should be placed. It has a lifting mechanism that moves the vehicle a short distance forward or backward while raising or lowering. The direction depends on the way the lift is mounted.
The Scissor Lift can either be of a fixed pad type or a roll-on frame/underbody engaging type. It has a lifting mechanism that’s similar to the parallelogram lift. Their main difference is that the scissors lift goes up and down on a straight vertical path.