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Lifting the Confusion: Differences Between Goods and Service Lifts

When it comes to selecting the right elevator for your business, understanding the specific differences between a goods lift and a service lift is essential.

Don't let our categorisation of past projects on our portfolio page confuse you. Yes, there is a difference between a goods lift and a service lift, and it's crucial to recognise these distinctions to ensure optimal functionality and efficiency for your operations.

In this blog post, we'll delve into the core differences between these two types of lifts, their unique design intentions, weight capacities, operational speeds, and space requirements, helping you make an informed decision for your business needs.

Goods Lifts Explained

A goods lift, also known as a freight lift or cargo lift, is a type of elevator specifically designed to transport heavy and large loads vertically.

These lifts are built with heavy-duty steel materials and reinforced doors to ensure they can manage significant weight capacities, sometimes up to 10,000 kg. Unlike passenger elevators, goods lifts are intended solely for the movement of goods, and people are only permitted on them for loading and unloading purposes.

Below are some industries or instances where a goods lift would be utilised.

  1. Warehouses Warehouses often store large quantities of heavy items, such as pallets of products or industrial equipment. Goods lifts are essential in these settings to efficiently move these items between different floors.

  2. Distribution Centers Distribution centers manage the sorting and dispatching of goods, often requiring the rapid and safe movement of heavy packages. Goods lifts enable the efficient transfer of these packages to various levels within the center.

  3. Shopping Malls In shopping malls, goods lifts are used to transport merchandise from storage areas to retail floors. This is particularly useful for large items like furniture or bulk inventory that cannot be moved through standard elevators or escalators.

Service Lifts Explained

On the other hand, a service lift is a passenger lift designed to also carry goods. It's typically found in buildings where it doubles up as a goods lift for occasional use. Sometimes, due to area constraints, a service lift may be installed in place of a goods lift to meet the needs of passenger transportation.

Unlike passenger elevators, which are typically wider to comfortably accommodate people, service lifts tend to be deeper than they are wide. This design accommodates the vertical movement of items that may not fit well in standard passenger elevators.

Below are some businesses or situations where a service lift might be found.

  1. Hospitals In hospitals, service lifts are essential for transporting medical supplies, equipment, and food carts between different floors. They ensure that these items are moved efficiently without interfering with the flow of patients and staff using passenger elevators.

  2. Hotels Service lifts in hotels are used by housekeeping and maintenance staff to move linens, cleaning supplies, and maintenance equipment. This keeps the guest elevators free for passenger use and helps maintain the operational efficiency of hotel services.

  3. Supermarkets In supermarkets, service lifts are employed to move stock from storage areas to the sales floor. This is particularly useful for restocking shelves with heavy or bulky items, allowing staff to transport goods quickly and safely without disrupting customer activity.

Distinguishing Goods & Service Lifts

There are four core differences between a goods lift and a service lift, namely design intention, maximum weight capacity, speed, and installation space requirements.

Goods lifts are primarily designed for transporting heavy and large goods, not intended for carrying passengers except during loading and unloading. In contrast, service lifts are designed for transporting workers, light goods, and utility carts, and can carry passengers, such as staff, alongside light duty carts and supplies.

The maximum weight capacity of goods lifts is significantly higher than that of service lifts, sometimes reaching up to 10,000 kg. This is due to their heavy-duty steel construction, which supports substantial weight. But service lifts have a lower weight capacity of 1,000 kg because they use electric traction for movement, making them suitable for lighter loads.

In terms of speed, goods lifts are typically slower, designed to safely transport heavy loads at speeds of 0.5m/s to 1.00 m/s. Meanwhile, service lifts are generally faster, intended for quick transportation of light goods and personnel at speeds of 1.0 m/s to 1.50 m/s.

The space required for installation also differs between the two types of lifts.

Goods lifts need more space due to their robust construction and larger capacity, often involving reinforced structural components to support heavy loads. Service lifts require less space and are designed to be deeper than wide, fitting into existing building layouts and narrower shafts more easily compared to goods lifts.


Understanding the distinctions between goods lifts and service lifts is crucial for selecting the right type of elevator for your business needs. Goods lifts, with their heavy-duty construction and high weight capacities, are ideal for environments that require the movement of substantial loads, such as warehouses, distribution centers, and shopping malls. Conversely, service lifts are designed for lighter loads and utility tasks, making them suitable for places like hospitals, hotels, and supermarkets where quick and efficient transportation of goods and personnel is essential.

If you have any questions or need further clarification about goods or service lifts, BELIFT is here to help. We can assist you in finding the best vertical transport solution to meet your business needs. Contact us today to discuss your requirements and ensure you have the right lift for your specific application.


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