Over the last 50 years, the use of drywall has been on the rise. This is despite the fact that, when compared with some its alternatives like veneer plasters, wahoo walls, and lath, it is more involving to put up, especially when alone. But when you compare the benefits one gets from drywall installation, and the final house look, the sacrifice is worth it. Think of their energy efficiency, fire resistant properties, and how much you will save.
Luckily, there is some relief during installation. It’s now easier and safer to install drywall, courtesy of drywall lifts. Unlike drywall stilts
, which may be challenging to use for the first time, drywall lifts are easier to set up and operate. Now you don’t have to go calling your friends over the weekend to help you hang a drywall. With a good drywall lift, you have the equivalent of a muscled worker!
Typically, a standard drywall weighs up to 110 lbs., making installation a 2 to 3-man job. With a drywall lift, you can do that all by yourself. And you know what? You may end up taking only a fraction of the total time you would have taken. A drywall lift also eliminates the effort used to hold the drywall in position, giving you more control and ultimately better results.
With a drywall lift, not only will you save labor costs, you will also be enhancing your safety and health. With a good pair of safety glasses
, a tool belt
to hold all other necessary tools, and a drywall hoist to take care of the sheetrock, it can even be fun!
The problem, however, comes in choosing the best drywall hoist, since there are hundreds if not thousands of models competing for your attention. But we have made it easier for you. We shall take you through what you need to know when shopping for these tools. After that, we have reviews of the best drywalls on the market today.
Our research to date has informed us that the price of a decent drywall lift is between $150 and $500, depending on what the machine offers. We also noticed that there are cheap drywall lifts going for less than $100. However, despite the advantage of being cheap, we didn’t consider them as we don’t believe they can withstand the test of time while continuing to be safe to use. Considering that a low quality or defective unit can actually harm the user in the case that it breaks down, we carefully selected brands that are known for quality and models that enjoy impressive ratings both online and offline.
On the upper end, there are drywall lifts that will cost you up to $700 (or even more). Among the features that influence the price of drywall lifts include the size of the sheet that the lift can hold, added tools like a foot lift, and extensions and added safety features like a wider pulley and larger handles.
Not every drywall lift on the market will suit your needs. For example, if you are a DIY enthusiast, you don’t need a professional grade drywall lift to get great results. That means you should pick a unit that is built for you. The best yardstick to use is to check its features.
When shopping for a drywall hoist here is a list of important features that you should consider:
- Material: This determines the lift’s strength and how much weight it can support. The material also determines how long the lift can serve. The most commonly used material is steel.
- Height: This refers to how high the lift can reach and if it can be used with an extension.
- Size and weight: if you are a mobile contractor, you’ll be looking for a lift than can easily assemble and disassemble, due to it being lightweight and travel-friendly
- Size of sheet: There are different drywalls sheet sizes. While there are some lifts that can hold all these sizes, some models cannot accommodate the large sizes
- Mobility: Apart from how easy it is to carry the lift, check the casters and determine how easy it is to move the lift around in a room
- Safety features: Check if there are features that enhance the safety of the users and the sheetrock; this can include a brake system and a backstop system
- Ability to tilt: This makes it easy to load the sheets
- Base design: The sturdiness and stability of a lift is also determined by the base designs and casters.
Let’s shift gears and look at the construction and design of a good drywall lift.
Construction and Design
A drywall lift is made with consideration for both drywalls sheets and the user. This means it should be constructed and designed to securely lift drywall sheets, allowing you to fix and fine-tune their positioning. On top of that, it should not compromise the safety of the user. When shopping, here are the construction and design elements that you should consider.
- Material - Almost all drywalls lifts are made from steel or heavy cast metal. This determines their strength and how much they can lift. Ideally, every lift should at least lift the standard drywall sheets. Low-quality material exposes you to the possibility of the drywall falling on you. On top of that, the material determines how long the hoist will serve you. To avoid rust, the top surface of a lift is usually painted. Another feature that adds to the strength of the lift apart from material is the strength of the cable that lifts the drywall.
- Height limit of the lift - The second element of the design is the reach of the lift. Here, there are two lengths to consider, for ceiling and walls. For horizontal ceilings, the maximum reach can be between 11 and 15 feet, which is the standard range of ceilings. For the wall length reach, it can be up to 15 feet. If your ceiling is higher, there are some models that allow you to install an extension to reach up to 19 feet. Most of the times this extension is sold separately.
- The size and weight of supported drywall sheets - This one is one of the key considerations that you should not miss out on. It refers to the sizes that the lift can support. If you are a professional drywall handler, you should go for a unit that supports a wide range of sizes. Most of the lifts on the market support 4 x 16 feet sheets, up to 150 lbs.
- Ability to tilt and lower - If you’re looking for added ease of use and convenience, this is what you should go for. Some lifts tilt up to 75 degrees, allowing you to install even slanting walls with ease. There are also some drywall hoists that get down to 40 inches from the ground. This makes it easy to load and off-load a drywall sheet if need be.
- Size and how much it weighs - The reason why we’ve put size almost to the end is because size isn’t a big deal these days. Today, most drywall lifts break down and assemble in minutes without requiring any tool. This makes it easy to store and to transport it in a truck. There are two types of drywall lifts: foot lifters, which are used to raise the sheets a few inches off the ground, making it easy to raise them without causing damages, and the drywall hoist, which has telescopic arms. Foot lifts are lightweight and can be carried in your pocket.
Performance and Ease of Use
A drywall lift that doesn’t make the lifting and fixing of drywall sheets easier and safer is not worth it. On top of making the work easier, it should also enable you to properly fix the sheets and cut the time you’d have used with human labor alone. It is also worth noting that there are some lifts that have multiple applications. They can be used in cabinet installation, crown molding, deck beam transportation, mantles and metal racks installations.
When assessing the performance and ease of use of a drywall lift, here are the essential elements that you should consider.
- Ease of setting up and using. One thing that makes drywall lifts stand out is the ease of disassembling and assembling them. Most drywall lifts collapse into three parts, making it easy to set up. After setting up, you can just load the lift, extend the support arms and adjust the height. To prevent any movement when installing the sheets, check if the lift has a feature to keep it intact. This can be a backstop which has rubberized feet. To prevent the drywall from sliding during placement, the lift should have support hooks, which also protect the sheet edges from being damaged.
- Base and the casters. A drywall lift is supposed to stand on its own. It goes without saying that it should be a 100 percent stable. The first determinant of stability is the base. The broader the base, the more stable the unit will be. One popular design is the star shaped base. While not all drywall lifts have easy rolling casters and brakes, the majority of them do have. This makes it easier to adjust and move them around until you get the perfect positioning of the drywall sheet.
What defines a good drywall lift, and what is the best drywall hoist for you? There are some few requirements that a good lift must satisfy. First, it should be strong enough to support at least the standard drywall sizes. Additionally, it shouldn’t expose the user to any danger, and it shouldn’t damage the sheets. Finally, it should make drywall lifting easier, in a way that a single person can do the installation. With this in mind and, of course, what you have learnt in our guide let’s now look at the products that we researched. You just have to identify the best one for you. It’s time to meet out top picks!
We are sure that you are now more informed about drywall lifts, the different types and the available options. More importantly, we trust you can confidently and correctly pick the best drywall lift that will meet your demands. Since our list is a mix of prices, styles and features, we are confident that we have something for everyone. Happy shopping!