Residential Lifts Vs. Elevator

Residential lifts and public elevators have similar features, but there are many characteristics that set them apart.

State codes

There are many differences between residential lifts and public elevators.There are many differences between residential lifts and public elevators.
Although both carry people and goods from one level to another, public elevators must follow specific rules.

Commercial elevators must follow state codes set by each individual state. Some states, like Iowa, don't require residential lifts to follow state codes, according to elevator service technician Mark Dahlstrom.


Elevators built for use in a public setting require permits before construction. They also require yearly state inspections, where residential lifts do not.


Although residential lifts can be any size the homeowner wants, typically they only carry one or two people and have a weight limit of 500 to 1,000 lbs. Typically, commercial elevators can hold at least 2,000 lbs., says Dahlstrom.


Most commercial elevators must have automatic doors, with the exception of limited use limited access (LULAs) elevators. Residential elevators usually have manual doors resembling a closet.

Fire service

Public elevators must have a fire service option where the elevator only goes to floors without smoke. Residential elevators don't need this feature, and rarely have it.