Installing an elevator is an important decision that will impact the aesthetics and functionality of the building. Further, the size of the elevator, the lift capacity, and the type of elevator you choose will also impact your overall budget. This is why having an overview of the different types of lifts will help you take an informed decision.
Hydraulic elevators are commonly used in low rise buildings of 1-3 stories only. The elevator car is placed on top of a piston that is powered by a hydraulic mechanism. The pump pushes the hydraulic fluid into the cylinder, which causes the piston and the elevator car located on top of the piston to climb higher. The machine room of such elevator is located at ground level or in the basement near the elevator shaft.
You can opt for the conventional hydraulic elevator or opt for hole-less elevators with conventional piston, telescoping piston, or a combination of rope and piston mechanism. These elevators are also known as push elevators as the car is pushed by the piston from below.
These pull elevators are commonly found in midrise and high rise buildings. The lift mechanism consists of a motor located on top of the elevator shaft, the elevator cage, a counterweight, and a rope mechanism connecting the cage and the counterweight through a wheel attached to the motor.
Geared traction elevators have a speed of around 500 feet per minute are commonly used in mid-rise buildings. Gearless traction elevators can travel up to 2000 feet per minute, which makes it suitable for high-rise buildings.
The Machine-Room-less elevator is a gearless traction elevator that does away with the motor or machine room commonly located at the top of the elevator shaft. The compact machine is located at the very top of the shaft and control mechanisms are located adjacent to the shaft.
Pneumatic elevators are fitted in vacuum tubes with the cage being pushed up or brought down by varying the air pressure of the elevator shaft. Creating low air pressure above the cage combined with use of turbines causes the cage to rise. The lift comes down through controlled release of air.
These elevators are particularly useful in compact spaces in homes or offices where excavating a shaft and creating a pit for the lift may not be practically possible or economically viable.
Though not of the same design as that of a conventional elevator, the stairway elevator, which consists of a rail attached over the stairway and a chair or a seat that runs up and down on the rail. This is ideal for homes with aged individuals who require assistance only for negotiating the stairs.
Apart from classification based on the type of the hoist mechanism, lifts can also be classified based on its purpose—residential, hospital, industrial, freight, service, or parking building elevators.
The dimensions of the lift, the capacity of the cage, and cost of the elevator may vary based on the purpose for which it is being installed. Consider the best hoisting mechanism and the purpose of the installation when comparing different options of elevators.