Differences between Hydraulic and Traction Elevators?

There are two different types of elevators, Hydraulic and Traction, choosing one or the other is a choice based on the building specifications and what's the purpose of the elevator.

Questions to keep in consideration are:

  • How tall is the building?

  • Is the elevator going to handle heavy loads?

  • How much space is available for the elevator machinery?

Traction Elevators

In a traction elevator, the cabin gets lowered and elevated through a system of steel ropes and counterweights driven by electric motors.

The nature of the electric motor makes the Traction Elevator perfect for tall buildings that need to provide fast and smooth rides to the passengers.


  • Smoother and quieter rides with Gearless motors

  • Reaches higher speeds

  • Can reach very high floors easily

  • The motor is more energy efficient


  • More expensive to install and maintenance

  • Can't handle very heavy loads

  • Requires more overhead space

Geared vs Gearless motor?

When looking for a traction elevator is important to know the difference between a Geared and Gearless electric motor.

Geared motors have a lower max speed and are an older technology, they use a gearbox to handle the ropes and motor wheel. They cost less than the Gearless variant but are less energy efficient.

Gearless motors are the more advanced solution, this modern solution uses magnets instead of gears and can provide higher max speed. They have a higher initial cost but less expensive maintenance and are more energy-efficient.

Hydraulic Elevators

This system uses a piston filled with oil to push the elevator from the bottom, this allows the elevator to handle very heavy loads, but won't be able to reach higher floors as it would need a large piston that wouldn't be as efficient as a traction elevator


  • Can handle the heaviest loads

  • Less expensive to install and maintain


  • Not meant for tall buildings

  • Slower speeds

  • Oil has a higher ecological impact

Want to learn more or need consulting for an existing or new elevator?

Contact our expert team, they'll be more than happy to help you!