The debate is out there. Which type of Two Post Lift is the best choice? Customers are always asking us this question. Some people argue that the chain drive is the best. Others that cable drive is the best. But when it comes to two post lifts, the best option is a direct drive model.
The reason for it is fairly simple. A chain drive lift is safer, and in the long run, will save you money on expensive wear parts, such as cables, chains and pulleys.
The safeties typically engage every three inches or so on most two post lifts out there. If a chain or cable were to break during the lifting or lowering process, the lift arms would rapidly drop to the next sequential safety. So no problem, right? Wrong. Think about it. Dropping 3 inches rapidly with a 4,000, 5,000, or 6,000 lb. vehicle perched precariously on four little lift pads and then abruptly and suddenly and instantly stopping. there is a potential that the vehicle could shift, and subsequently fall off the pads.
With a direct-drive lift, the worst case scenario is a massive hydraulic failure, in which case, the lift lowers to the next sequential safety in a controlled, slower pace. Much less potential for a catastrophic failure.
You can get clear-floor models with the direct drive feature, however most floor-plate two post lifts are of the chain drive variety, because the posts are not tall enough to allow for the full stroke of the cylinder that would be required on a direct drive lift.
You can view more very informative reference materials on this subject matter at the ALI Web site (Automotive Lift Institute).