Hydraulic Vs Traction Lift

Hydraulic and Traction lifts are among the main types of elevators recommended for residential and commercial properties. The lifts are ideal for facilitating movements around the building and also improving the general appeal of the space. They are available in various models and designs to choose from when thinking of buying one. As a result of this, making the right choice can sometimes be challenging, especially when you have never had an experience with these elevators.

Before making any decision, you should first determine the particular type of lift that can suit your needs and building, between hydraulic and traction elevators. To make it much easier for you, below are comparisons of the two types of lifts that you can use to make an informed choice.

How Hydraulic and Traction Lifts Work

Generally, both hydraulic and traction lifts can ensure upward and downward movement across different floors of a building. However, the way in which they operate differs slightly. A hydraulic elevator is powered by an electronic pump that further passes on hydraulic fluid to facilitate the ascension and decent of the lift.

Unlike the hydraulic machine, a traction elevator is piloted by ropes and sheaves that direct the up and down travel of the lift along a shaft. The elevator is also designed with a counterweight to strike a balance, thereby reducing cases of injury and accidents.

Energy Consumption

This is also another important factor of comparison between hydraulic and traction lifts since it has a greater bearing to the overall operational costs of the elevator. Traction lifts are considered to consume less energy than hydraulic systems, mainly because of the differences in the way they operate. In hydraulic lifts, the pump operates against gravitational pull, thereby pushing the car and passengers to an upper floor. But, when the lift rolls down, energy is not used since it relies on its weight. Traction elevators use just little energy since they can counterbalance the weight of the car, thereby cutting down the amount of weight to be moved upwards.

Required Space for the lift and its components

All lifts require some space in order to be installed in a building but, this varies from one type to another. Many homeowners have installed hydraulic lifts compared to traction lifts, especially because traction systems usually have bulky parts and components that take up more space. However, the latest innovations in lifts have seen the introduction of the Machine Room-Less (MRL) lifts that fall under the category of traction systems. MRLs are space-efficient since the machine is installed above the elevator, which also ensures less installation work.

Lift Travel Speed

It is also important to check the travel speeds of hydraulic and traction lifts when shopping just to be sure that you do not end up with an elevator that will take so long to get to designated floors. Traction lifts are generally faster than hydraulic machines. Although there are various models of hydraulic lifts, they tend to travel at an average speed of about one meter per second. On the other hand, traction lifts can move up to speeds of 2.5 meters per second. As a result of this, hydraulic lifts are suitable for low rise buildings while traction elevators can work perfectly on medium to high-rise property of six floors and above.


Elevators are investments that can cost you so much money to acquire and maintain in the best working condition. However, the latest innovations have made it easier for people to obtain efficient, safe and comfortable lifts at more affordable prices. Therefore, you need to always find a lift that is offered at a cost within your budget. Hydraulic elevators are generally cheaper compared to traction lifts.

Other factors to Consider when Shopping for Hydraulic and Traction Lifts

Apart from the factors discussed above, there are other elements that you may also need to look into when shopping in order to get the best deal. The following are other key points to consider;

  • Quality of the lift
  • Design and style
  • Number of occupants it can accommodate
  • Operational costs with regards to maintenance and other requirements

Owing to the differences in the way hydraulic lifts and traction lifts work, the features also vary. Therefore, it is also important to also check the various safety, reliability and comfort features installed on each of the elevators in order to know the most suitable one for your mobility needs and building.

In case you may still have a problem in choosing whether to acquire a hydraulic or traction lift for your home, get in touch with us for professional assistance.