How Do Domestic Hydraulic Lifts Work?

Domestic lifts, or home lifts, can have a variety of systems providing power. One of the main options are domestic hydraulic lifts, which use a hydraulic system to move up and down. Let’s take a look at how this works, and the pros and cons of domestic hydraulic lifts, to help you decide if it is the right system for you.


What is a Domestic Hydraulic Lift?

A domestic hydraulic lift is usually an accessibility focused lift, designed for the home environment. Safety features and controls follow domestic lift regulations and requirements, and will include features such as a backup system and communication device as standard.

Domestic hydraulic lifts sometimes require a small cabinet or cupboard, which houses some of the controls and machinery. This is often separate as it means you can get more lift into the same size space, but some domestic hydraulic lifts will come with this hidden inside the footprint.


How Do Domestic Hydraulic Lifts Work?

A domestic hydraulic lift uses a hydraulic system to power the movement. Hydraulic lift systems are actually much simpler than they sound!

Firstly, the machinery and items within the lift that are part of a hydraulic lift system are:

  • the lift car
  • a ram
  • an oil reservoir (with valve)
  • a pump
  • a motor (to power the pump)

These items link together to create a pressure-based system. The diagram below looks at how domestic hydraulic lifts work.

When the button in the lift is pressed to travel upwards, the motor starts the pump, which begins pumping oil from the reservoir. The oil moves through the piping and up underneath the lift car. A ram or piston is positioned under the lift car, and the pressure of the oil pushes the lift car and ram upwards at a set speed.

To travel back down, the button is pressed and the process is worked backwards. A valve opens to the oil reservoir to allow oil back in at a set rate. The lift car and ram are lowered as gravity pushes against the ram / piston and the oil is pushed back through the pipes into the oil reservoir again at a set speed.

The oil reservoir and pump are contained within a small box which is near to the ground floor of the lift. Gartec’s hydraulic home lift box only takes up 0.4×0.75×1.68m and can easily be tucked into a cupboard or unused space.

Gartec Home - How Do Hydraulic Home Lifts Work


The Pros and Cons of Domestic Hydraulic Lifts

Asking “how do hydraulic home lifts work” is really only half the question – the rest should be “is a hydraulic home lift right for me”!

Looking at the benefits and downsides of different lift types will help you to make a decision for your home. Whilst some people may not want a hydraulic system at home, there are lots of great benefits that make them perfect for some homes. Read on to see if a domestic hydraulic home lift is for you…


Benefits of Domestic Hydraulic Lifts

  • Domestic hydraulic lifts are ideal for smaller spaces – with machinery and running equipment in a separate cabinet, the floor area can be fully used for a standing area.
  • Hydraulic lifts are powerful and can often take a larger load over a greater distance
  • Domestic hydraulic lifts are usually lower cost than other lift systems for the home
  • No dead drops are possible – in an emergency, the fastest the lift can fall is the speed that the valve allows the oil to travel back through the pipe
  • Hydraulic lifts are very durable and often have a longer lifespan other lift types


Downsides to Domestic Hydraulic Lifts

  • There is a very small chance the system could leak oil, but with a domestic hydraulic lift there is minimal oil and it is contained within the cabinet
  • The hydraulic oil system produces a small amount of heat when used
  • When used very frequently (like a hotel lift) a smell can be released from the warm oil
  • Hydraulic systems can be less of a smooth ride than other systems – though this is almost unnoticeable in a domestic setting