A platform wheelchair lift typically has a drive mast, passenger platform, door or gate, and walls to enclose the device. Some models also require a shaftway and others, depending on building codes, do not need a full door. Most lifts can have either a hydraulic or lead-screw drive system, except for elevator-like models that only use hydraulics. Most can handle up to 750 pounds.
The self-contained platform link is usually installed adjacent to a wall or other solid structure. The all-in-one design usually has an aluminum frame to prevent rust and steel, acrylic or safety glass panels. The entry and exit portal may be adjusted to allow 90-, 180- and 360-degree entrances. It may be configured for up to three stops and seven lifting heights.
A shaftway model makes use of an existing shaft or a newly constructed one. The specifications are similar to the self-contained model, but it only allows a 90-degree entrance and exit. For the sake of safety and privacy, the upper landing may need to be fully enclosed, or at least have taller doors and walls.
The elevator-type platform lift needs to be installed in a vertical runway. Configurable for up to six stops, this lift is popular for commercial buildings. It also has a 90-degree exit and entrance configuration. The unenclosed version is only used for lifts of up to five feet and may be programmed for two stops. Unenclosed lifts are not permitted in all areas. The elevator-like model can be reinforced to handle up to 1,400 pounds if building codes allow it.