Comparing Drive System Options for Your Home Elevator

It’s true that Elevette® home elevators have more standard features and custom options than any other home elevator brand, and that’s why we’re so proud of our banner product here at Inclinator. We also know that navigating all of the customization possibilities for your new home elevator can be overwhelming. While choosing design features and finishes for your elevator’s cab and exterior may be fun, there are also numerous mechanical and operating system-type elements to consider, as well. And for those of us “non-techy” people, making decisions about how a new home elevator will work mechanically doesn’t seem all that exciting, though it is important.

To make the process easier, today we’re taking a closer look at one of the primary “behind the scenes” options you’ll need to select before installation of your new Elevette home elevator can begin – the drive system. There are three distinct drive system options to choose among, and while each offers similar travel speeds and can be used with all Inclinator Elevette cab styles factors of your existing home or planned new construction project may affect the choices that are available to you, or you may simply prefer one style over the others once you have all of the information.

Cable Drum Drive System

Compact is the name of the game with our popular cable drum drive system (pictured at left in the main image above). This system is built around a patented, space-saving monorail guide for movement of the cab for up to 6 landings and 50 vertical feet in your home. Powered by a proprietary controller with a high tech self-diagnostic microprocessor, the cable drum drive system does require additional machine room space to house the hoisting machinery and equipment outside of the elevator’s shaftway.

Many customers ask why a machine room is needed for equipment, and the main reason is that it provides easy access to components for repairs and maintenance by professional technicians.  By housing the machine outside of the hoistway, you also get the quietest elevator ride. Don’t worry – a machine room does not have to be very large (~4 ft. x 4 ft.). Obviously, this is easier to plan for if your home is being designed for initial construction than retrofitted with an elevator, but you might be surprised where a machine room can fit within your existing floor plan.

The cable drum drive system is extremely flexible and allows for smaller capacity configurations of up to 500 pounds with a 12 sq. ft. cab, or larger cab sizes of up to 15 sq. ft. with a 1,000-lb. capacity. Planning guides, specification sheets, and drawings are available for download to help you and your building contractor and/or architect include an Elevette with a cable drum drive system (or any of our drive systems) in your home.

Hydraulic Drive System

Like our cable drum drive system, the Elevette® hydraulic system utilizes a space-saving monorail guide for movement of the cab for up to 6 landings and 50 vertical feet in your home. It also requires a machine room space to house the drive system, including the hydraulic fluid tank, which is lightweight and corrosion-resistant.

Some people prefer a hydraulic drive system due to its smooth and quiet ride. Depending on specific aspects of your home’s construction, a hydraulic drive system may be desired. These systems have a strong 1,000-lb. capacity with up to a 15 sq. ft. cab size.

MRL Overhead Cable Drum Drive System

Take many of the facts about our standard cable drum drive system and eliminate the need for a machine room to house mechanicals – MRL stands for “machine roomless” design. With this drive system, all mechanicals are housed above the elevator cab directly in the shaftway. This does require that over 8 feet of space be available for “overhead distance,” but this is slightly flexible depending upon your individual elevator’s top speed capabilities. Additionally, this drive system incorporates a dual guide rail setup for increased stability and a smoother ride.

The most significant advantage of the MRL overhead cable drum drive system is the elimination of the space required for a separate machine room.  This is especially important for smaller homes including townhouses. It can accommodate up to 6 landings within a travel distance of up to 40 ft.

Home Elevator Benefits with All Drive Systems

All of our home elevators come standard with a variety of safety features and devices including emergency lighting and battery-powered lowering that will come to the rescue if you happen to be using your elevator at the time of a power outage. There are also cab gate and door safety devices built in, as well. With a 2-year limited warranty on all of our Elevette models no matter how you choose to customize or configure them, you can feel confident that your home elevator is worth the investment.

Here at Inclinator, we believe that every customer and every home is unique. Working closely with your local Inclinator dealer, as well as coordinating with architects and building contractors, is the best way to make informed choices and assure that you get the most out of your investment with expert advice through the entire journey of purchasing, installing, and living with a home elevator. As we touched on, our Elevette home elevators are almost infinitely customizable, and we encourage you to find your local dealer to help guide your decision-making process.