Adding accessibility features to an existing commercial property is a significant investment for building owners. In addition to equipment costs, owners must also consider renovations and the potential time and money associated with them. While making your property accessible to everybody is always worthwhile, choosing the right product for your building’s needs is essential to ensuring you get the most out of your investment.
For most property owners, “elevator” is the first term they think of when thinking of accessibility features for their property. In contrast, when the term “commercial lift” comes up, they often think of a no-frills, industrial-looking lift that is far from aesthetically pleasing (and more than likely the wrong fit for their building). But is this really the case? Are commercial elevators, which can be notoriously expensive, really worth the extra money?
As a North American leader in commercial accessibility, RAM Elevators + Lifts proudly offers affordable, dependable mobility solutions for a wide variety of commercial applications. From the value-adding reliability of our Trus-T-Lift platform lifts to the opulent luxury of our Crystal Series, RAM delivers reliable accessibility products at a highly competitive price point, helping property owners get the most for their money. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between commercial elevators and lifts, including functions, costs, and which is right for you.
Elevators vs. Lifts: What’s the Difference?
The difference between an elevator and a lift is harder to spot than you may think. In the past, most people have assumed that lifts are exclusively open-air products built for function, while elevators are closed units with a full car and shaft. In today’s industry, this isn’t necessarily the case, and many lifts are now offered as enclosed cars with shafts with the look and feel of a traditional elevator. Our commercial Stratus and Crystal series are prime examples of commercial lifts designed to complement the space and provide an enjoyable riding experience for customers.
Rather than mere aesthetics, the critical difference between commercial elevators and lifts lies in how they operate. A commercial elevator is operated using automatic one-touch controls; passengers push the floor selection button, and the car automatically starts moving. In contrast, a lift requires constant pressure operation, requiring passengers to maintain pressure on the floor selection and call buttons to continue moving. This typically makes lifts better suited for shorter travel distances.
Although commercial elevators and lifts are extremely similar in function, their costs vary significantly. In total, a two-storey commercial elevator can cost as much as $150,000, including installation and labour. In stark contrast, commercial lifts available today can be bought and installed for nearly a third of the price.
When weighing the pros and cons of elevators versus lifts, property owners must consider what they’re actually paying for if they choose an elevator. With high-quality finishes available on even the most basic commercial lifts, aesthetics are virtually a non-factor; in effect, property owners are effectively paying three times the price for automatic one-touch controls. While these are certainly essential in high-rise applications, it can be difficult for building owners to justify the expense in two-storey or smaller buildings.
Which is Right For Your Property?
Ultimately, every commercial property is different; every building (and building owner) will have unique needs. However, in low-rise applications, it’s almost impossible to beat the value provided by a commercial lift. Capable of emulating the look and feel of a traditional elevator at nearly a third of the price, today’s current generation of commercial lifts offer building owners an affordable option for adding accessibility to their property without sacrificing performance and reliability for their guests.
Nonetheless, it’s important to note that, even today, not all commercial lifts are created equal. Only the right commercial lifts will provide your guest with the experience they deserve, ensuring they remain happy and you get the most out of your investment.
RAM’s Industry-Leading Commercial Lifts
For over three decades, RAM Elevators + Lifts has been engineering and manufacturing innovative mobility products for customers across North America. Today, our commercial lifts adhere to the strictest building codes while raising the bar for contemporary function and form. Every RAM product is thoughtfully designed to address specific accessibility and mobility needs in public spaces, providing passengers with a barrier-free experience. Optimized for low-rise structures, our units can travel up to 25 vertical feet (approximately three stories) and offer a clean, quiet, and comfortable ride in both indoor and outdoor applications.
RAM products also feature exclusive Smart Space Design elements, making them some of the most compact, easy-to-install commercial lifts on the market today. Our shallow-pit, machine room-less, low overhead design requires virtually no modification to existing structures, while our modular assemblies allow for easy installation in practically any space. RAM products are designed to add value through minimal installation and maintenance costs while providing your building’s guests with dependable mobility solutions.
Whether your property can benefit from Trus-T-Lift’s utility and value, the comfort and convenience of the Stratus, or the Crystal series’ unparalleled luxury, RAM delivers innovative engineering, performance, and peace of mind for customers across North America.