Choose Which Material Lift Type Is Right for You: Hydraulic or Mechanical?

Vertical reciprocating conveyors, often known as material or freight lifts, are used to transport goods vertically from one level to another. The two most common types of VRCs are hydraulic and mechanical.

When selecting which VRC is appropriate for your company and application needs, you’ll need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each configuration.

Hydraulic VRCs



  • Lower initial cost


  • More maintenance required
  • Cycle rates are Limited
  • Hydraulic fluids are toxic and can contaminate work environments

Hydraulic lifts’ reduced initial cost, when compared to mechanical lifts, is one of the reasons why businesses select them. They frequently have lower installation prices, and the hoist way takes up less space.

The lower initial expenditure may be appealing to business owners, but it’s critical to recognize the significant drawbacks of hydraulic lifts.

Hydraulic VRCs have a higher risk of developing worn or damaged parts over time, which means additional maintenance is needed. It’s possible that money spent on the lift now will be wasted on maintenance in the future.

Hydraulic VRCs have a lower cycle rate due to their longer lifespans. This implies that if you want your lift to function at its best, you’ll need to restrict and decrease usage.

However, hydraulic lifts do have their place. If you’re on a tight budget, don’t mind future maintenance expenses, and operate in a tiny area, a hydraulic lift may be worth considering.

Mechanical VRCs



  • Require fewer maintenance costs
  • High duty cycle ratings
  • Longer product life


  • Higher upfront costs compared to hydraulic lifts

Mechanical lifts are powered by cable lifting systems and can lift both little and large items between two or more levels.

Because they operate on a mechanical basis, they require less moving parts and components to function. Because of this, there will be fewer upkeep requirements over the lift’s lifespan, resulting in significant financial savings over time.

Mechanical lifts are also rated at 100% duty-cycle, which implies they can be utilized without interruption. You’ll have the ability to take full advantage of your investment with no restrictions on usage.

The major disadvantage of mechanical VRCs is that they are more expensive than hydraulic elevators to purchase. However, if your company places as much importance on long-term budgets as short-term, you should think about future maintenance and repair expenses when selecting a lift.

Making a Selection

After you’ve decided that a VRC is a right lift for your company, consulting with an expert might assist you in determining which one is ideal. Today, speak to one of our material-lifting specialists and they will assist you in making an informed selection.

VRC Applications