You are currently viewing Hydraulic Lift VS Traction Elevator
cable car with open trailers in the mountains. transport for the movement of passengers and goods by traction rope between the supports on the ground. mountain landscape. summer tourism.

Hydraulic Lift VS Traction Elevator

Hydraulic and traction lifts are the two most commonly used lifts in both residential as well as commercial buildings. The results provided by both versions of elevators are the same. The choice between the two depends on many factors such as cost, maintenance, and the types of buildings within which the elevator is to be installed.

Here, I will discuss both kinds of elevators- Hydraulic lifts and the Traction elevator in detail.

What Is Hydraulic Elevator Lift?

A hydraulic apparatus is used by this machine known as the hydraulic lift elevator to lift or move objects using the force which is created when pressure is exerted on liquid in a piston. Force results in the production of ‘lift’ as ‘work’.

Hydraulic lift technology has several very useful industrial applications, like construction and transportation. It is often used for operating heavy machinery or to move and lift heavy and large objects like cars, dirt, and shipping containers.

Working Principle Of Hydraulic Lift

The hydraulic lift elevator works on the simple principle of Pascal’s law. This law simply states that if any kind of force is applied to any point of a confined fluid, then this pressure is equally and undiminished transmitted throughout the whole liquid.

That property is utilized here in this hydraulic lift.

Advantages Of Hydraulic Lift

  • Hydraulic lifts are cheaper compared to other types of elevators.
  • They occupy much lesser space in a building, requiring almost 10% less area for the lift shaft.
  • These lifts are highly effective with heavy loads mainly because the hydraulic power provides very great lifting strength.
  • There is no need for an overhead machine room or overhead structures. The load of the elevator is distributed evenly to load-bearing walls.
  • A remote machine room can also be used.

Disadvantages Of Hydraulic Lift

  • They have a relatively slow speed. It cannot move faster than 150 feet in a minute.
  • Oil in the piston system can overheat quite quickly. This is the reason why efficient machine-room control is really important.
  • Hydraulic oil can leak out of the system which does all the pumping and into the ground at the base of the elevator. This can result in the pollution of groundwater.
  • Hydraulic lifts are a little noisier than other elevator systems.
  • The hydraulic oil can emit an unpleasant smell when it becomes too hot due to more usage.
  • The lift movement is generally not as smooth as compared to other lift systems.

What Are Traction Elevators?

These are the most common type of elevators used daily. The most commonly seen example is that the Elevator cars are pulled up with the help of rolling steel ropes over a deeply grooved pulley, known as a sheave in the industry. The weight of the car is balanced by some counterweight.

Some traction elevators use flat steel belts in place of conventional steel ropes these days. Flat steel belts are very light due to their carbon fiber core and a high-friction coating, and they also do not require any oil or lubricant. These qualities help to cut the elevator energy consumption in high-rise buildings significantly.

Working Principle Of Traction Elevators

Traction lifts are very simple. A motor is attached to a sheave which is a toothed pulley, with a rope or a cable looped over it. The rope is attached at one end to the lift car, and on the other end to any counterweight.

When the lift is called to the floor, the motor makes the sheave turn. This motor can move in two directions – the first is moving the lift car up and the second is moving it down. As the lift car rises, the counterweight lowers down and the opposite keeps on happening.  This can be thought similar to a see-saw where the balance between two people makes it work.

Advantages Of Traction Elevators

  • The main advantage of a traction lift is its high speed as compared to all other elevation systems.
  • This kind of elevation system can be easily used in tall high rises and modern buildings.
  • The ride is smooth and comfortable.
  • The traction system is more energy efficient

Disadvantages Of Traction Elevators

  • Installation costs are higher as compared to other elevation systems.
  • Maintenance is not easy because the machine is located in the headroom of the shaft and going to it can be a challenge many times.
  • There is a high probability of Serious accidents during the construction and servicing of the elevator.
    If the car is stuck, we cannot service the machine from the top of the car, and some insecure methods may then be needed.
  • Obtaining the spare parts for traction elevators can be a nightmare.

Hydraulic Lift VS Traction Elevator

Both, traction vs hydraulic elevators may lift passengers and cargo, but this is done in very different ways. A hydraulic lift elevator takes the help of an electronic pump that pushes the oil into a cylinder where the pressure gets increased which pushes a piston and causes the elevator to rise. A traction elevator, however, uses a system of cables, pulleys, and counterweights to lift things.

Several hydraulic lifts can be installed with the machine room being situated at the top of the shaft. Traction elevators require comparatively more space. A traction elevator is more expensive to install but once installed, it is more energy-efficient than hydraulic elevators. A hydraulic lift, however, costs less initially and is often cheap to maintain.

Though hydraulic elevators do not provide as smooth a ride however these can be used to carry much heavier loads than a traction elevator. The traction elevators are often used in mid-to high-rise buildings where speed and smooth ride are more important.

1. What Is The Difference Between A Hydraulic And Traction Elevator?

A hydraulic elevator uses an electronic pump that pushes oil into a cylinder where the pressure is increased, pushing a piston and causing the elevator to rise. A traction elevator, on the other hand, uses a system of cables, pulleys, and counterweights to lift the cab.

2. What Are The Advantages And Uses Of A Traction Elevator Versus A Hydraulic Elevator?

Traction elevator advantages
Because traction elevators use a counterweight to offset the weight of the cab and occupants, the motor doesn’t have to move as much weight. This makes traction elevators more energy efficient than hydraulic elevators in higher-rise, heavy-use applications.

3. What Is The Best Type Of Elevator?

The main reason hydraulic elevators are popular is that they are more affordable to set up and still have relatively lower maintenance costs when compared to other elevators. Hydraulic elevators utilize more energy because they use an electric motor that works against gravity.


So after comparing the Hydraulic vs Traction elevators, we can say both have some pros but cons too. So, choosing one over the other mainly depends on the choice of an individual and the needs of that person largely.

I hope this article on the difference between the traction vs hydraulic elevator was useful in understanding.