Skip to main content

Comparing Commercial Elevators and Residential Elevators

residential elevators compared to commercial elevators

The differences between commercial elevators vs. residential elevators may seem straightforward, but in this article, we explain some similarities and differences to help you set expectations for how an elevator will work in your home.

In addition, many of the same features are available in both commercial and residential elevators, just with different requirements for each application. For example, both residential and commercial elevators can be either hydraulic or traction elevators, and both residential and commercial elevators can have a machine room or be machine room-less elevators.

Number of Levels Served

For both residential and commercial elevators, the number of floors of a building that an elevator can serve is largely dependent on type, brand, and building architecture. Commercial elevators in skyscrapers can cover large vertical distances, up to the ~1500 foot limitation imposed by the laws of physics.

Home elevators’ vertical distances and number of stops, depending on brand and technology, can travel up to 50′ to 60′ with 5 or 6 stops. This includes our PVE vacuum elevators that can travel up to 50′ vertically with up to 5 stops.

Elevator Travel Speed

It’s probably no surprise that affordable home elevators travel slower (about 6 feet per second) than commercial elevators (varying widely but an average 23 feet per second). That sounds like a substantial difference, and it is, but in commercial elevators people are traveling multiple floors sometimes dozens of floors but in homes, usually only 1-2 floors.

But, the perception of the speed of the elevator is not as important as you might think. We invite you to visit our Houston elevator showroom to ride hydraulic, traction, and vacuum elevators to see for yourself.


This is an area that is changing with residential elevators have quite similar automation features to commercial elevators.

In recent history, most traditional hydraulic or traction home elevators utilized swing doors and locks versus automated sliding doors on a commercial elevator.

But our home elevator brands offer doors that look and operate very similarly to their commercial cousins. Or you may select a door that looks very much like the standard paneled doors used in most home construction today.

Our vacuum elevators are shaftless, so they do not need a elevator car door and a landing door, they have a simple swing door that unlocks upon landing arrival.

Cabin Ambiance

Much like automation, home elevators increasingly have interior features that have an appearance and function similar to commercial elevators.

Push button floor selectors with professional-looking plates as well as interior lighting make your home elevator appear quite similar to commercial elevators.

Interiors of our traditional elevators are highly customizable based on your design preferences and budget so that you may use a wide variety of finishes from wood to glass to mirror.

Travel Comfort

Our traditional elevators and vacuum elevators offer smooth starts and stops and features such as handrails for safe, secure vertical transportation.

Our home elevators come in models that offer sizes and elevator installation possibilities that can accommodate most families’ needs including the use of a wheelchair though residential elevators are not always required to meet ADA standards like commercial elevators must.

Our PVE 37 even has a convenient fold-down seat that can increase safety for those that may find remaining stable while standing a challenge.

Home Elevator Installation Process
young woman sitting on an elevator seat with bags of groceries inside a pve37 home elevator

Elevator Mechanicals

Just like commercial elevators, home elevator mechanicals configurations have many options. We offer machine-roomless (MRL) elevators as well as those with machine rooms.

Our shaftless elevators using vacuum technology also have many options for installing the pump machinery:

  • atop unit
  • atop unit with acoustic separation
  • split mount with equipment mounted indoors or outdoors

We have a home elevator that will fit every home’s architecture.

Vacuum elevators are always pushing the innovation envelope.

Check out the video of a solar-powered home elevator model.

We look forward to seeing you in our showroom to experience our home elevator technology for yourself or an invitation to your home to provide you with a free, no-obligation quote. Our certified aging-in-place specialists will answer all your questions about costs of home elevators and which will fit your needs and your home best. Call (713) 360 7353.

Free, No-Obligation In-Home Estimates

Contact Us

Leave a Reply