The Best Drywall Lifts of 2018

Drywall lifts are a pretty essential part of the whole process. If you’re getting serious about your work you need a lift.

A lift can make the often arduous procedure of installing a ceiling a snap, and if you’re working with ceilings higher than the standard eight feet, there’s no real way around making sure that you have one.

Harry , Homethods Author


Best Drywall Lifts

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Troy DPH11 Professional Series 11

4.9/5 Rating

The Troy DPH11 is a fantastic, budget priced lift that’s perfect for the home DIY specialist. The welded-steel frame lends it an impressive lift capacity of 150lbs and it can handle sheets of up to 4’x16’.

This is a standard, cranking lift which will help you make pretty short work of most tasks within the home. It can easily place ceiling panels up to eleven feet and if you’re working in a high room you’ll be able to get a maximum of fifteen feet out of this one.

All of this is done with a simple winch system with a brake which will make things quite easy for you, but not as easy as some of the more advanced lifts on the market.

Overall, the Troy DPH11 is probably the best drywall lift for the novice drywall worker on a budget.

  • Large Lift Capacity
  • Telescoping Hooks
  • Budget Priced
  • Not Powered

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Best Choice Products SKY640

4.6/5 Rating

The Sky640 is an affordable option for home construction, with tool less assembly and the ability to make any paneling you might need to do at home a snap.

It has a load capacity of 150lbs and will easily handle 4’x16’ drywall without any difficulties. You’ll find that it can also take care of most residential roofs and with an optional extension can reach up to fifteen feet.

The lift itself easily tilts to allow you to get things done at any height it can handle.

The only problem is that the casters are thin plastic, so it might not be suitable for running in particularly rough environments like you might find on some jobsites.

  • Respectable lift capacity
  • Reliable winch mechanism
  • Optional extension
  • Low quality casters 

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GypTool Heavy Duty Drywall Lifter

4.6/5 Rating

GypTool has out done themselves with this lift. It’s super affordable and offers 65° of tilt and 360° of rotation.

The locking tripod base is small enough, when folded, to fit through most residential doors and you’ll be able to set it up in a matter of minutes.

Unfortunately, despite the name it’s really not extra-heavy duty and you’ll still be fairly limited in case you do decide to go over ½” drywall, but when using standard sheets you’ll be happy to know it fully supports 4’x16’ pieces.

You get what you pay for, of course, but this is one of the most affordable lifts around and should work quite well for most home improvement projects.

  • High quality casters
  • Tool less assembly
  • Super cheap
  • Not as heavy duty as it’s claimed to be
NameMax WeightMax Size SupportedRating 
Troy DPH11150lbs4’x16’4.9
Best Choice Products SKY640150lbs4’x16’4.6
GypTool Panel Lift 150lbs4’x16’4.6
ARKSEN© Drywall Lift150lbs4’x8’4.5
Red Line Professional150lbs4’x16’4.2

What is a Drywall Lift?

Drywall lifts are a device which raise panels through a hydraulic or mechanical process, allowing a single person to do a ceiling. In most cases, you’ll need another person to help you with the process, which can make a drywall lift one of the most important pieces of equipment you own if you’re planning on doing a truly massive DIY project by yourself.

Most home owners are best off investing in a mechanical lift, which can make all the difference when it comes to ease of installation. They’re actually quite affordable as well, running no more than a good screw gun or saw.

Frankly, if you’re working with very heavy sheetrock panels, there’s no way to do it without a lift or a bunch of friends. Normally ceilings are lined with at least 5/8” panels, and they end up weighing quite a bit at the end of the day. More than a couple of people could hold and safely place anyways.

In addition, many lifts can also help you with hanging panels on the wall by allowing a tilt and then holding it in place.

Essentially if you’re hanging drywall a lift is designed to help you get it done with minimal effort.

What Kind Are Out There?

There’s a few different varieties of lift you’ll want to be acquainted with before you decide which one is right for you.

Hand lifts are one of the most common types. They use a simple, mechanical crank to allow you to get the sheetrock you’re working with into position. They tend to be the least expensive, and you’ll find that they’re definitely the easiest to use for most applications.

Pay close attention to the weight rating if you decide to go with one of these, as there is only minimal mechanical assistance available.

You’ll also find that hand lifts don’t have much vertical movement for the most part. While you can quite easily install single panels along the length of the room, you might be out of luck for ceilings or if you’re forced to place multiple panels in vertical succession.

Hydraulic lifts are commonly used for more intensive applications. They use a hydraulic system to lift the board, and this can allow you to lift a lot more than you’ll be able to with a simpler lift.

They also tend to be rather expensive and you’ll find quickly that they still take a good amount of effort to utilize. That said, they’re the go-to method for many who work with drywall.

Battery operated lifts take the cranking out of the equation and use an electric motor and a couple of buttons to position the drywall. Naturally they’re more expensive than the other types, but you’ll be able to rather easily maneuver things without having to worry about the amount of effort you’ll be expending.

Battery powered lifts, despite their ease of use, can require some button-finesse to be able to handle properly for larger jobs, but with a little bit of practice you’ll find yourself having no issues at all.

Overall, for most at home jobs a standard lift is adequate, but the other two are definitely a good, time-saving option if you’re looking at completely reworking a room and not just replacing a couple of panels.

What Kind of Advantages Does a Lift Offer?

A standard sheet of 4’x8’ ½” drywall weighs roughly 52lbs.

That should give you some idea of just how important it can be to utilize a lift when you’re working with multiple panels. While most people could handle one without too much trouble, you’re also faced with the difficulty inherent to moving the panel into position and in most cases you’ll have to bring someone else into the job.

If you’re careful about what type of lift you choose you can handle a multiple person job effortlessly with a single person. Installing drywall is actually fairly easy, it’s handling the sheetrock itself that you’ll find takes the most time and effort.

Installing a decently sized sheet with just one person can range from hard to nearly impossible depending on the location. With a lift, you’ll have solved the problem.

That’s not to say that they’re only useful if you’re working alone. Two guys with a screw gun can make short work of hanging a whole room with a lift, as opposed to it being a couple day’s worth of labor.

It’s certainly possible to do a room without a drywall lift in a lot of cases, but why spend all the extra time and effort when you can easily afford one of your own?

There are also situations where lifts become essential, and can’t be replaced by ladders, stilts or just throwing more people at the wall. Any room with a ceiling over eight feet is pretty much going to require a lift to get the job done properly, for instance.

They’re also extremely useful for angled ceilings, you can just match the pitch of the roof and you’ll find yourself sitting pretty once you have it pressed up. From there it’s just the basics of hanging it and you’ve got yourself a brand new ceiling.

Basically, if you’re doing more than a single panel a lift is a time and labor saving solution you should make an investment in.

If you’re looking to do some ultra-heavy renovations, you may want to look into renting a battery powered or hydraulic lift, since their cost can be quite prohibitive and without frequent use it will be hard to justify having not just hired a contractor.

Features to Compare

If you’re serious about getting a lift, then making sure that you get the right one on the first shot is an essential part of the process. A poorly thought out choice is almost never going to be worse than not having one, but if you can only use it on a couple of panels per room then you’ve made an extraneous purchase.

The first thing to do is to get a rough measure of the amount of work you plan on carrying out. Measure the walls and ceilings you plan on working with. If you’re only going to go with a single panel, you might actually be best served without one and just grabbing a friend to come along for the ride.

If you’re installing a new ceiling, then make sure you get a lift which can tilt the panel to a fully horizontal position. If you can’t, then you’re going to have to use the old method of overwhelming force and ladders.

For tall rooms, you’ll need to make sure that you can actually stack the tiles properly with the jack. Basically, you’re going to want to take a look at the vertical capabilities of the lift.

You’ll also have to figure out what type of lift you’re going for. This will most likely be determined by your budget. A standard lift is adequate for most residential jobs, but a battery operated one might be something to look into if you have the room in your wallet.

Battery operated lifts can also take a large amount of the manual effort out of setting a piece of drywall, offering a huge advantage to the person who opts to use one.

Hydraulic and battery powered lifts tend to be large, and that means that you’ll need to take measurements before you make the investment in one. If it can’t get in the door, it’s not going to help you out much.

There’s also a litany of technical specifications to keep in mind, but a quick overview should be more than sufficient to help you pick out the one that’s best suited for you if you keep in mind the size of your project and the following:

  • Wheels- Good wheels are essential. A caster or wheel cracking or seizing up will disable your lift until you can get it fixed.
  • Base- Take the size of the base into account before you make a purchase, for most residential jobs you’ll still need to be able to get it through the door of course.
  • Weight capacity- Some lifts won’t be able to handle truly large sheets of drywall simply due to the weight.
  • Single sheet capacity- The single sheet capacity should be able to hold the size of panels you want to work with. Standard drywall comes in 4’x8’ and 4’x12’ sections, but your project may vary.

As long as you have all of these sorted out in your head, then you’re going to be good to go when the time to deploy your lift comes around.