Wheelchair and Scooter Lifts - Weight & Lifting Capacity
Choosing a wheelchair or scooter lift that is right size for your vehicle can be confusing. If you'd like to learn more about the difference between a trailer hitch's "Weight Capacity" and a lift's "Lifting Capacity" please read below. However, whether you order online or call us on the phone, we'll gladly check that the wheelchair lift you select is right for both your vehicle and for your wheelchair or scooter.
"Lifting Capacity": This refers to how much weight the wheelchair lift itself can lift. It does not take into account how the lift is being attached to the vehicle. Every wheelchair lift we sell includes the lifting capacity in the name of the lift. For example, the "Tilt-N-Go 350" has a lifting capacity of 350 pounds. The "Universal 400" has a lifting capacity of 400 pounds.
"Weight Capacity": We use this term when referring to the amount of weight a vehicle's trailer hitch can support. This is also know as "tongue weight capacity". Many wheelchair lifts will not be able to lift to their maximum lifting capacity unless they are attached to larger trailer hitches.
How can differences in lifting capacity and weight capacity affect you?
For wheelchair and scooter lifts that attach to the rear end of your vehicle using the trailer hitch (this includes all external lifts and a small number of internal lifts): Although a wheelchair lift may have a lifting capacity of 500 pounds, if you attach it to a Class II hitch (350 pound weight capacity) and try to lift that much weight your vehicle's hitch will be damaged. Many wheelchair lifts can only lift to their full lifting capacity when they are attached to Class III hitches.
On the other hand, attaching a wheelchair lift with a lifting capacity of 135 pounds to a Class III hitch (500 pound weight capacity) does not mean that the lift can now lift 500 pounds. If you try to lift this much weight your lift will be damaged. This is why we ask what kind of wheelchair or scooter you will be using with your lift when you make a purchase.
For wheelchair lifts that are installed inside your vehicle (this includes most internal lifts): You only have to worry about the wheelchair lift's lifting capacity. If you have a lift with a 400 pound lifting capacity then you can safely lift any wheelchair or scooter that weighs less than 400 pounds.