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Traditional Home Elevators

Geared, gearless and hydraulic residential elevators

There are several different drive systems available for home elevators. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Geared Traction

A popular choice that is moderately priced. The geared traction home elevator uses a chain with a motor and counterweights to move the elevator up and down. It is generally regarded as a good quality ride, low maintenance and not difficult to install (by a professionally trained elevator contractor).

MRL (Machine-Roomless)

This option (on a geared traction drive) means that a separate machine room is not required for the elevator drive system. Instead, the drive is integrated into the elevator itself. This means less space is needed for installation, so an ideal choice when you do not have space nearby for a dedicated machine room.

Hydraulic Drive

The elevator moves using power generated by moving pressurized hydraulic fluid through a cylinder. It is a very quiet and smooth ride in comparison to a chain drive elevator; however, typically more expensive than chain drives and more complex to install with a machine room required to house the drive system.


Gearless Traditiona Home Elevator Savaria | Silver Cross

Home elevator with gearless traction system

Today’s commercial elevators are fast, smooth and quiet thanks to gearless traction systems. Because of their more complex drive systems, they are more expensive but gearless home elevators offer the smoothest, quietest rides. A machine room is not required. These are the ultimate home elevators.

Winding Drum

Less popular today, a winding drum elevator is the least expensive option with its simple technology of winding cable from years past. They tend to be more noisy and less smooth than most people want. A very small cab size may be possible with this type of drive.