Vertical Storage Blog

Mechanical Lift Versus Hydraulic Lift

Posted by Martin Vertical Storage on Mar 3, 2021 3:42:00 PM

Martin Vertical Storage only sells lifts manufactured by our trusted partner, Custom Industrial Products (CIP). Furthermore, every VRC lift we sell is a mechanical lift.

Why is this so significant? Because mechanical lifts are the superior choice when it comes to meeting your vertical storage and intra-facility vertical transport needs. Another bonus? Every CIP-manufactured lift is made in the USA. 

Read on to learn more about the benefits of opting for a mechanical VRC lift. 

CIP_2021Cspecsheet-E-1-1What types of VRC lifts are there? What’s the main difference?

There are two types of VRC lifts: the mechanical lift and the hydraulic lift. They differ in several ways, but the main difference lies in what powers their ability to facilitate the lifting action.

How does a mechanical lift work?

A mechanical lift is powered by an electric motor which rotates a drum. Steel cables attached to a platform are looped around the drum. When the motor turns, the drum also turns, rolling or unrolling the cables, causing the platform to move up or down. (Some mechanical lifts use a gear and chains instead of a drum and cables.)

How do hydraulic lifts work?

Hydraulic lifts function by pumping hydraulic fluid into a cylinder containing a piston. As fluid is added or removed, the pressure inside the cylinder increases or decreases, in turn, causing the piston to move. The lift platform goes up or down according to the movement of the piston.

What are the advantages that mechanical lifts have over hydraulic lifts?

Overall, a mechanical VRC lift is the better choice for many reasons:


Using a mechanical lift allows for more exact positioning and smoother overall movement than you'll get with a hydraulic lift, as hydraulic lifts can sometimes be jerky.


There is a duty cycle advantage to choosing a mechanical VRC lift. With mechanical lifts, there is no lift-usage limit, whereas hydraulic lifts require downtime.


Hydraulic lifts will eventually leak toxic hydraulic fluid. A mechanical lift, on the other hand, doesn’t use hydraulic fluid, making it the more environmentally-friendly choice.


A mechanical lift won’t produce the volume of noise associated with hydraulic lifts.

Less maintenance

Though the cable that helps drive a mechanical VRC lift will stretch and need to be replaced eventually, hydraulic lifts contain far more components that will wear out over time.

Lower lifetime cost

A mechanical lift gives you a better ROI, as it will require less maintenance over the life of the machine.

Martin Vertical Storage Has the Solution for You

Reach out to the VRC lift experts at Martin Vertical Storage. We can help you find the ideal lift solution for your facility and get it installed for you with minimal downtime. 

Call us at 800.635.4363 or email us at You can also request a quote online. We're constantly striving to be the partner you rely on

Topics: VRC Lifts, Vertical Storage, Mechanical Lift, VRC Lift