blue and white title graphic "Does My Building Need a Freight or Service Elevator?"

Does My Building Need a Freight or Service Elevator?

March 13, 2024

A commercial building should always have an elevator to help carry both passengers and goods. However, there are different types of elevators for different kinds of functions. Between freight and service elevators, you’ll find benefits and limitations for each. Discover which kind you should choose for your next elevator. 

What is a Freight Elevator?

A freight elevator moves heavy loads, like cars or cargo. They’re often used in industrial-style buildings which typically are used for manufacturing or storing raw materials, goods, or services. 

They move at slower speeds to move things safely. 

These elevators are located in the following buildings:

  • Warehouses 
  • Oil, mining, and shipbuilding businesses
  • Textile, furniture, and household electronic product businesses 
  • Refrigeration and cold storage facilities (specific to food products)
  • Telecom and data housing centers
  • Flex buildings (a wide variety of manufacturing businesses) 
  • Showrooms
  • Research and development hubs
  • Biotechnology buildings 

What is a Service Elevator? 

Service elevators also transport goods from place to place. However, these elevators are made for humans to fit inside to help carry these items. Aren’t these elevators just like passenger-styled ones? Not quite. Passenger elevators solely carry people from place to place. Service elevators carry both stock and individuals. Like in hospital shows such as ER or Grey’s Anatomy, the elevators you see transporting patients and doctors to the trauma room are most likely service elevators.

Here are some examples where you would find these kinds of elevators:

  • Hospitals
  • Hotels

How to Decide if You Need a Freight or Service Elevator

blue and white blog graphic "Freight Elevator vs. Service Elevator"

When deciding between elevators, first, you need to determine the services of your building. Does your building need to have passengers moving different items? If you answered yes, then service elevators are the best choice. 

For instance, let’s say you work in a hospital setting where patients are transported to emergency, trauma, or regular check-up rooms. In this case, a service elevator will be the best option; they are deeper versus wider and provide an additional set of bumper rails on the floor. Hotels also use service elevators. These businesses need elevators closed off for their housekeeping staff so they can bring all of their cleaning tools from floor to floor. 

Maybe your particular commercial building doesn’t need passengers to carry loads from floor to floor. When a building requires transporting vehicles, cargo, or other heavy objects, a freight elevator is the right decision. 

What if You Need Both?

Sometimes, your commercial or industrial buildings may need both service and freight elevators. 

Picture a retail store that sells clothing. Somewhere in this store, your building might use heavy loads that only a freight elevator can transport. Simultaneously, there could be smaller objects, like coat racks, boxes of clothes, or other smaller objects that need a human hand. In this case, it could be beneficial to include both kinds of elevators in different locations. 

Always make sure when implementing these elevators that you’re labeling their restrictions or blocking off their entrances. This will prevent customers, or any other individual not allowed, from riding the elevator. 

Contact us with any questions about installing your next freight or service elevator.