Residential elevators provide a great way to add luxury to your home or building, which in turn can also increase the property value. In addition, they can also be installed to assist those with mobility issues.

There are various types of residential elevators ranging from smaller systems, which are great for transporting one or a few passengers, to larger, more spacious systems to accommodate larger loads of up to 450 pounds or more or passengers with large mobility devices.

Elevators can be installed neatly behind walls or exposed in plain view for added beauty. Depending on the model, they can travel just a few floors or a number of stories, such as in taller buildings or larger homes.


Residential elevators vary based on installation type. Some of the most common residential elevator types include:


This type of elevator utilizes a large chain similar to the chain on a bike to transfer rotation power from the motor to a system of gears.

A chain-driven residential elevator typically uses a counterweight, which is basically a stack of blocks that make up approximately 40% of the elevator cab weight, suspended on the other end of the chain opposite the cab itself, which enhances mechanical efficiency and also safeguards against free-falling.

Chains do not stretch as easily as cables; therefore, a well-maintained chain can easily last up to 20 years before needing to be replaced.

Chain drive counterweight elevators provide a number of benefits over other home elevator systems in that they are reliable, quiet, low maintenance, and inexpensive.


A cable winding drum elevator system is the most basic type of home elevator. This system utilizes a simple elevator cab with thick steel cables from a reel at the top of the shaft.

Though, not the smoothest, or quietest home elevator system, due to its cables and large 220V motor, cable winding drum elevators are the most budget-friendly and simplest to install.

Cable winding drum elevators make a great short-term investment. However, because of their roughness and noise, they are not generally recommended as a long-term solution.


A hydraulic residential elevator provides a very smooth experience. This type of elevator utilizes steel cables to increase the travel distance of the cab vs. the piston, for smooth, quiet operation. In fact, a hydraulic elevator is quieter than most other drives, when well-built.

Hydraulic elevators have more consumable elements and require more maintenance than other types of residential elevators, which makes them a costlier choice over its lifetime as compared to other elevator types. However, if ride quality and noise level are of great importance to you, then a hydraulic elevator is the way to go.


A gearless traction elevator system is most likely the type of elevator system you’ve become accustomed to when you ride in a hotel or office building elevator.

This type of drive combines the counterweights of a chain drive with the cables of a winding drum system, for whisper quiet operation. However, gearless traction elevators utilize 2-3 times more cables than comparable winding drum systems, which means they are a bit more difficult to install and remove, and they generate larger maintenance costs.

Due to their high maintenance costs, gearless traction elevators are usually recommended for high-end installation.


Vacuum tube elevators provide a visually stunning focal point. In addition, passengers also enjoy a great view from the cab.

These elevators are smooth and quiet-riding. However, they can cost up to three times more than a hydraulic or chain drive system. Therefore, they are a great choice for projects where price is not a concern.

Vacuum tube elevators are particularly beneficial during new construction where the hoistway can be scheduled before installation in order to accommodate for the wide opening required for the doors.


The inline gear train drive residential elevator system is a step up from the standard chain drive system, which places the motor assembly at the top of the cab. Instead, with the inline gear train system, the motor assembly is positioned on top of the shaft. This allows for less headroom on the shaft, which lowers construction costs and also provides swift access to emergency controls outside the car, for added safety.

Inline gear systems are more energy-efficient than standard chain drives; therefore, they make an excellent choice for property owners who wish to conserve energy.


The main benefit of installing a residential elevator is that it provides ease of traveling from level to level within your home, which adds a bit of opulence to your home or building, and makes transporting heavy loads a cinch.

In return, desirable home improvements, such as a residential elevator, can significantly increase the value of your property. In fact, reports show that many prospective home buyers look to the future accessibility of a home in preparation for their own declining mobility, which makes a home with a residential elevator more attractive.

A residential elevator can greatly improve the quality of life for individuals who require mobility support. The addition of elevators in a home provides a way for them to enjoy maneuvering around their home with ease, and, in return, maintain their independence.

Furthermore, residential elevators also save on space. The shaft housing the elevator takes up just a small amount of room as compared to larger stairwells, and can even be installed on an external wall to provide entry at each level.


Residential elevator costs vary depending on the type and whether it is a new construction or an added component. However, according to reports, the elevator itself typically averages between $15,000-$25,000 and approximately $75-$200 per hour for installation.

When installing a residential elevator, it is important to note that they are subject to national, state, and local code requirements, so make sure to check with your local dealer to ensure code compliance in your area.