Hydraulic vs. Traction Elevators: Pros & Cons of Each

There are many ways to get people to their destinations at a building, one such way is through the use of elevators. Two of the most commonly used elevators are hydraulic and traction elevators. This article feeds you what you need to know about how they work, how they’re different, and how to maintain them.

Hydraulic Elevators

How do hydraulic elevators work?

Hydraulic elevators are powered by a piston that pushes fluid through a cylinder. The force of the fluid moving through the cylinder is what moves the elevator up and down. These types of elevators are typically used in low-rise buildings, like homes or office buildings with fewer than five stories.


1. One of the biggest pros of hydraulic elevators is that they require less space than traction elevators. This makes them ideal for buildings with limited space or narrow shafts.

2. Hydraulic elevators are much cheaper to install than other types of elevators, like traction elevators.

3. They’re also much simpler to maintain and repair.

4. They’re very quiet and smooth-running, so passengers are less likely to feel nauseous or uncomfortable.


1. One of the main drawbacks of hydraulic elevators is their limited speed capabilities. The slow speed often makes them less desirable than other types of elevators, and they can be prone to breakdowns due to their reliance on pistons and motors.

2. Additionally, hydraulic elevators are limited to smaller travel distances and are slower than traction elevators.

3. Finally, hydraulic elevators are not as safe as traction ones due to their reliance on oil tanks that can potentially leak or rupture, leading to hazardous conditions.

Traction Elavators: how they work

How do traction elevators work?

Traction elevators are the standard method used in high-rise buildings, and they’re based on a counterweight system. They use ropes or chains to pull the car up and down along the guide rails. Traction elevators are powered by electric motors which drive a sheave (a pulley wheel with a grooved rim). This sheave is connected to drive cables that wrap around the grooved rim and then attach to the elevator car. The tension of the cables helps keep the car stable as it travels up and down. As the motor turns, it pulls the car up or lets it down depending on its direction.

The safety features of traction elevators include an overspeed governor, which monitors the speed of the elevator car and will turn off power if it exceeds a certain limit, plus a brake that will stop and hold the elevator in place if it loses power or pressure from its hydraulic system. Additionally, traction elevators have an emergency stop button located in each cab that will bring them to an immediate halt, should an emergency arise.


1. Traction elevators can travel much longer distances than hydraulic ones and offer faster speeds. This makes them ideal for large commercial buildings or skyscrapers

2. They can also be more reliable than hydraulic elevators.

3. Traction elevators also provide better safety features than hydraulic elevators, as they feature counterweight systems that help prevent the cab from falling if one of the ropes should break.


1. Traction elevators are more expensive to install and maintain.

2. They require more installation space than hydraulic elevators.

Hydraulic elevators vs. Traction elevators: Which should you choose?

Choosing between hydraulic and traction elevators is ultimately a matter of balancing cost, speed, ride quality, and safety features. If you need an elevator with a high travel speed and good safety features, a traction elevator might be the right choice. However, if you’re looking for an elevator that’s less expensive and requires less installation space, a hydraulic model could be a better option. No matter what type of elevator you choose, make sure to consult with an experienced elevator technician before making your decision.

Maintenance procedures for both types of elavators

To maintain a hydraulic elevator, it is important to check the oil levels regularly and keep them topped off. Additionally, you should inspect the piston and cylinder for signs of wear and tear, as well as any other parts such as the brakes and pulleys.

Traction elevators use steel ropes to lift and lower the elevator cab. To keep traction elevators running smoothly, it is important to lubricate the ropes on a regular basis and inspect them for wear and tear. Additionally, check all the gears, motors, and pulleys to ensure they are working properly.

Both types of elevators require regular inspections by a professional technician. The technician will be able to spot any potential problems before they become serious and dangerous. In addition, they will make sure that all the parts are working properly and that the elevator is safe for use.

Finally, it is important to practice good elevator etiquette to help maintain your elevator. This means not overcrowding the cab, pressing all the buttons at once, or pressing buttons before the elevator has arrived at the desired floor. All these small things can help to prolong the life of your elevator and keep it running safely for years to come.

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