Choosing the right home elevator can be a confusing task. With so many unique products on the market today (not to mention a wide range of prices), it can be difficult to determine which one is right for your unique needs.
To help get you started, you’ll find an overview of the common home elevator types below. Additionally, you’ll find more information about how RAM’s machine room-less home elevators provide an ideal solution for your home mobility needs.
Types of Home Elevators
Winding Drum. Winding drum elevators have been in use since the 1920s, and are still commonly found in homes today. However, they are exceedingly large, requiring a separate machine room, deep pit, and large hoistway for installation and use. With many safer and more technically advanced (and affordable) options available, fewer homeowners are willing to rip up and reconfigure their homes to accommodate these large machines.
Hydraulic. Roped hydraulic elevators were some of the most common early home elevator systems. They use a combination of hydraulic jacks (made up of pistons and cylinders) and cables to lift and lower the car, while the controller and other mechanisms are housed in a cabinet or machine room nearby. While hydraulic elevators are generally reliable (if somewhat more expensive), most homeowners could do without the lost space and harsh smells from hydraulic fluids.
Pneumatic. Pneumatic elevators are powered by air pressure via polycarbonate tubes. Because of their futuristic appearance and design, many people liken them to the human version of what you see at a bank’s drive-through window. While they generally have a small footprint that may be suitable for existing homes, their space-age looks, limited capacity, and extremely high costs make them less appealing to both value-oriented buyers and homeowners favouring traditional decor.
Counterbalanced Traction. Counterbalanced traction elevators use a system of cables, pulleys, and counterweights to lift and lower the car. While some manufacturers install these mechanisms in a separate machine room, it’s now possible to mount everything within the hoistway to create a machine room-less (MRL) design. These designs are among the best on the home elevator market today; they don’t require additional space (high ceilings and pits) for operation, are inexpensive to install, and are extremely power-efficient without sacrificing performance.
Which is Best?
In our opinion, counterbalanced traction elevators (especially those featuring machine room-less designs) are the superior option for most homeowners looking for a reliable, affordable home mobility solution. Between the low installation and maintenance costs, the minimal space requirements, and best-in-class efficiency, traction MRL elevators feature all of the best elements of other elevator designs with virtually none of the drawbacks. Whether you’re looking to retrofit your current home or include accessibility features in a new build, traction MRL elevators are the best choice in most applications.
Superior Home Elevators with RAM
RAM’s line of residential home elevators are engineered to take comfort and convenience to new heights. Our Smart Space Design (featuring a combination of compact, low overhead, pitless, and machine room-less engineering) save space, money, and time, all without sacrificing performance or longevity. RAM’s proprietary electric drive system offers reliable, whisper-quiet power without the maintenance, costs, and inconvenience of a machine room, while self-lubricating engineered polymers on all guiding components keep your ride smooth and quiet for decades to come.
Whether you’re looking for value, comfort, or luxury in your accessibility solution, RAM’s comprehensive product range offers mobility products suitable for any home. With a wide range of sizes, fittings, finishes, and peripherals available, RAM is ready to help you discover the perfect solution for any home, homeowner, or mobility need.