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"Direct Drive" vs. "Chain Over" Lifting Systems

The car lift industry is filled with unique styles of lifts for every facet of the lifting community: home enthusiast, professional shop, industrial grade etc... Each type of buyer has it's own niche, with a car lift to fit their needs down to the last detail.

There are 4-post lifts, 2-post lifts, alignment lifts, specialty lifts, parking lifts, and a wide variety of accessories to come with. Today we're focusing on the two-post lifts: their styles, and their merits, with all the benefits and differences of each.

Direct-Drive Lifting System

When compared to chain-over roller lifting systems, direct drive cylinders offer a 1:1 lifting ratio, compared to a 2:1. Also, with a chain-over roller lifting system, you have more moving parts, which, in turn, leads to more wear. This is why direct-drive cylinders are preferred for industrial and commercial use.

Less wear means less costs for your lift, which also means higher value. When comparing the cost of a lift to the value of a lift, think about the maintenance costs.

All direct-drive cylinder lifts are fitted with a dual-synchro equalization system that ensures even lifting. Why does it need this? Without a dual-synchro equalization system, one arm may lift significantly higher than the other arm, leading to cars falling off etc. This equalization system provides users with a level vehicle working condition.

"Chain-Over" Lifting System


All this, however, does not mean that the chain-over roller system is inadequate: the chain-over system definitely has its benefits.

Chain-over lifting method is preferred for low ceiling applications, because of the 2:1 lifting ratio it allows for a shorter cylinder to achieve a higher lifting height. Meaning the cylinders don't protrude from the top of the lift.

For example: for every 1 inch the chain pulls, the carriage is lifted 2 inches.

Some may argue that the "chain-over" lifting system is less efficient than the direct drive, which may be true in some aspects; but it is for a different niche entirely.

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