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Best-Rated 2-Post Auto Lifts

Two-post lifts are equipped with one set of evenly situated posts that support the weight of a vehicle. The amount of vehicular weight a lift will support depends on the width between the two posts.

The two posts work in tandem at matching speeds to lift each vehicle off the ground. It is crucial both posts move at the same speed at matching heights — otherwise, they could lift the vehicle awkwardly and run the risk of tilting it sideways.

To ensure an even lift each time, the best two-post auto lifts have hydraulic systems that offer maximum strength and equalizing stability to raise and lower vehicles from the ground. The lifting process relies on the combination of an electric motor and hydraulic pump, which are located in one of the two posts — the power column. From there, the upward/downward force is distributed in even measures to the other post, which is called the slave column.

Types of Two-Post Auto Lifts



There are two basic types of two-post lifts — baseplate and overhead. In both types, the lift arms are attached to vehicular supports that move up and down along with the posts. To ensure maximum safety, the arms can be extended to keep each vehicle correctly balanced from front to back along the length of the two-post assembly. Essentially, the design and overall function of both post-lift types are roughly the same.

Despite their similarities, baseplate and overhead posts each come with different advantages. The main difference between the two is in the way they connect to their respective assemblies.

On the baseplate two-post lift, the assembly includes a plate that joins the two columns along the bottom. Essentially, the baseplate lift is akin to the outline of a large fish tank, with lines that run across the bottom and up each end at 90-degree angles. By contrast, the overhead two-post lift includes a piece that connects the two columns across the top, therefore boasting a shape more akin to one of the Stonehenge structures.

Whether you have a baseplate or overhead lift, along that plate is where the hydraulic power passes between the power and slave columns. In each type of auto lift, the internalized hydraulic system frees users from the hassle of entangled and possibly dangerous external cords.

2-Post Lift With Baseplate

Installation of a two-post baseplate lift requires only a few simple steps. The plate that conceals the hydraulic mechanisms rests one inch above the floor. Externally, the only requirement is a flat, concrete floor on which to bolt the lift.

The main advantage of the baseplate lift is that it frees overhead space above the vehicle because it doesn't require an overhead component. Therefore, auto mechanics can use this lift with medium-height ceilings. The main drawback of the baseplate lift is that the plate can get in your way if you do transmission work. Consequently, the baseplate is not the best choice for auto-repair specialists who frequently perform transmission repairs.

2-Post Lift Overhead Lift

When comparing a baseplate and overhead lift of the same carrying capacity side by side, the overhead tends to be the more stable of the two. This stability is due to the support of the overhead arch, which holds the columns together at the top instead of the bottom.

With a baseplate two-lift, the columns are inclined to cave inward due to the weight, and the pressure is only offset by the anchor bolts that keep the assembly mounted to the floor. By contrast, the overhead lift offers a natural stability akin to the Arc de Triomphe.

The overhead two-post lift also frees up ground space, which mechanics can instead use to park a vehicle or perform other tasks when the lift is not in use. However, you must ensure any overhead lift you choose has sufficient height for the vehicles you intend to service. If you work on larger vehicles, you'll need a higher overhead.

Maintenance work on the hydraulic component of an overhead two-post lift will generally require a ladder, whereas such components are easier to access on a baseplate lift.

Asymmetric vs. Symmetric

There are two additional variances to the range of two-post lifts on today's market — asymmetric and symmetric. The latter type of lift has two matching arms at the front and back. An asymmetrical lift uses differing arms at each end. The purpose of the asymmetrical lift is to allow access to the vehicle doors when necessary.

Symmetrical lifts are most suitable for work on longer vehicles, such as trucks and SUVs. To ensure door access, the posts should be aligned to the center of the vehicle. Since the majority of symmetrical lifts are overhead models, you must take height clearance into account if you operate in a smaller, low-ceiling work area.


Even though the lift arms are symmetrical, each includes extension components that allow you to adjust for the dimensional requirements of various vehicles. Long vehicles that are either unloaded at the rear or contain less back-weight generally require adjusted positioning on a symmetrical lift.

With asymmetrical lifts, the length of a vehicle needs to be placed roughly 30 percent beyond the front post and 70 percent beyond the rear, since 70 percent of vehicular weight centers on the engine sink of most cars, vans and trucks. As such, the shorter arms on an asymmetrical lift are at the front, while the longer arms are at the rear.

Top Two-Post Lifts

Lifts Baseplate or Overhead Asymmetric or Symmetric Price
Universalift 2 Portable Symmetric $2,599.00
Bison 9KAF Baseplate Symmetric $1,399.00
Universalift 11KAC-D Overhead Aysemmetric and Symmetric $2,315.00
Atlas ALI/ETL Certified Apex-10 Lift Overhead Asymmetric $2,485.00
Atlas PV-12P Overhead Symmetric $3,345.00

Top-Rated Two-Post Lifts

Two-post auto lifts are designed with varying load capacities and height-adjustment options. If you primarily do maintenance work on smaller vehicles, a narrow two-post could best serve your needs, especially if your workspace is a relatively small area. However, if you typically work with larger, heavier vehicles such as trucks and vans, you will need a two-post lift with more space between the posts.

The following models are among the top-rated two-post car lifts on the market today.

1. Universalift 2

One of the best-rated two-post auto lifts is the Universalift 2. Unlike competing models, which dictate the amount the space required to accommodate the lift, the Universalift 2 can mount to any width of 120 inches or less. As such, the Universalift 2 is ideal for use in smaller working spaces.

The Universalift 2 is easy to assemble and disassemble in under 10 minutes by a single skilled technician. With total lifting heights that never exceed 100 inches, the Universalift 2 makes few demands regarding workspace height requirements. Specs of the Universalift 2 include the following:

  • Capacity — 7,000 pounds
  • Overall height — 95 inches
  • Width between columns — max 120 inches, adjustable
  • Lift speed — 45 seconds
  • Symmetric lift

Learn more about the acclaimed Universalift 2, one of the best two-post car lifts on the market.

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2. Bison 9KAF

The Bison 9KAF is a two-post floor plate, low-clearance car lift with a 9,000-pound carrying capacity. The dual-cylinder lift operates with minimal friction, and is excellent for use in workspaces with ceiling heights as low as 9.5 feet. Features of the Bison 9KAF include auto-arm restraints and stackable height adapters. Specs of the Bison 9KAF include the following:

  • Capacity — 9,000 pounds
  • Overall height — 111.5 inches
  • Overall width, with power unit — 141 inches
  • Max lift height — 72 inches
  • Lifting speed — 50 seconds

The Bison 9KAF is widely considered to be one of the best two-post car lifts available today. Get more information on the Bison 9KAF.

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3. Universalift 11KAC-D

The Universalift 11KAC-D Auto Lift is one of the best-rated two-post car lifts due to its reliability, adjustability and incredible ease of use. Easy to assemble in minimal time, the Universalift 11KAC-D Auto Lift allows you to get to work whenever necessary.

The Universalift 11KAC-D comes with direct-drive hydraulic cylinders, which allow the lift to support vehicular loads as high as 11,000 pounds evenly. Suitable for cars and light trucks, the lift is good for medium and larger work areas. Specs of the Universalift 11KAC-D include the following:

  • Capacity — 11,000 pounds
  • Overall height — 145 inches
  • Overall width, with power unit — 146.5 inches
  • Max lift height — 69-1/8 / 71.5 inches, with the tallest adapter — 77 inches
  • Width between columns — 118 inches
  • Lifting speed — 50 seconds

Read more about the Universalift 11KAC-D — which some mechanics consider to be the best-rated two-post lift available

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4. Atlas ALI/ETL Certified Apex-10 Overhead Lift

As an ALI/ETL certified commercial-grade lift, the Atlas Apex 10 is one of the top-rated two-post auto lifts available on today's market. Capable of supporting vehicle loads as high as 10,000 pounds, the Atlas Apex 10 is suitable for small and mid-sized vehicles.

Equipped with a double-S column design, the lift can support vehicle sizes from tiny Smart Car® vehicles up to extended-cab trucks. Specs of the Atlas Apex 10 include the following:

  • Capacity — 10,000 pounds
  • Three-stage telescoping front arms
  • Adjustable height
  • Asymmetric columns and arms
  • Door guards

With single-point lock release, both columns of the Atlas Apex 10 lock and unlock simultaneously. Learn more about the Atlas Apex 10

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5. Atlas PV-12P

The top-rated two-post lift of all is the Atlas® PV-12P, which is acclaimed for its strength and efficiency. Able to support heavy vehicles, the PV-12P makes it possible to raise long trucks with utmost safety. The symmetrical columns have ample distance to support the lifting of wider vehicles. With a width of 123 inches, the columns provide sufficient space to drive under and operate within. Specs of the Atlas® PV-12P include the following:

  • Capacity — 12,000 pounds
  • Direct drive cylinders
  • Single-point lock release
  • Overhead configuration
  • Symmetric arm design
  • Three heights: 12' 4 1/2", 13' 7 1/2" and 14' 7 1/2"

Learn more about the commercial-grade Atlas® PV-12P

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Factors to Consider When Buying a 2-Post Lift

  • Service Work: Work Need for Lift
  • Weight Limit Need
  • Available Space

The addition of a vehicle lift into your auto workspace can give you numerous advantages. With a two-post lift, you can elevate a car, truck or van whenever you need to perform maintenance under the engine or chassis. A vehicle lift also makes it easier to change out tires and add leaf springs. To determine the best two-post lift, you must consider your reasons for such a purchase.

Service Work

People buy auto lifts for a variety of reasons. Some people purchase lifts so they can work on their vehicles at home. Other people purchase lifts so they can offer auto repair out of their garages. There are also people who use auto lifts to fit two vehicles into single-space garages, or even just to free up floor space under a parked vehicle.

If you purchase an auto lift for personal use — whether for car maintenance and extra parking space — you will only need to concern yourself with the height restrictions and weight requirements of your vehicle.

If you intend to use an auto lift to service vehicles professionally, you will need to consider the range of vehicles you'd be willing and able to service. Your ultimate choice in an auto lift will need to have the capacity for that full range, whether you limit your service to cars or extend your service to vans and trucks.

Weight Limit Need

The weight capacity of an auto lift will largely determine the range of vehicles you will be capable of servicing. If you choose a lift in the 7,000 to 8,000-pound capacity, you will only be able to lift smaller vehicles. If you intend to work on passenger trucks and vans, you will need an auto lift with a capacity of at least 10,000 to 11,000 pounds.

Workshop Space

While it can help to have a large area in which to place a two-post lift, there are a variety of lifts available on the market to suit different needs and space requirements. Before you settle on the purchase of a particular auto lift, consider the following workspace factors.

  • Overhead clearance: No matter how much space you have available across the width and length of your work area, your ability to use an auto lift will be seriously limited if the space lacks sufficient height. In a regular-sized garage, for example, you won't be able to lift a car more than a couple of feet above the ground. With trucks and vans, a low ceiling is even more confining, especially if you use an overhead lift.
  • Floor area: Just as the height of a workspace can determine the use-potential of an auto lift, so too can the width and length of the floor area. Whether you opt for a fixed auto lift or one you assemble and disassemble with each use, you will need to have enough area to accommodate the width of the lift, and also to physically maneuver around the vehicle whenever it is suspended above the ground.
  • Placement: A further factor to consider is your preferred alignment of an auto lift within your workspace. Do you wish to place the lift in a corner or have it situated diagonally? Would you mind if the auto lift consumes the central dimensions of your workspace, or do you wish to have it confined to one area? Depending on your dimensional preferences, you might need to purchase a secondary garage.

Shop Online With NAAE and Save

At North American Auto Equipment, our team has specialized in the industry's top-rated two-post car lifts for more than 30 years. Financing is available, and we offer a one-year warranty on parts, plus a five-year warranty on structure. You can always count on NAAE to provide the perfect auto lift for your vehicular and workspace requirements. Check out our catalog of auto lifts today, then call and explore financing options.