Best Drywall Lifts

Updated October 2020
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Bottom Line

Buying guide for best drywall lifts

Drywall panels are heavy, bulky, awkward, and fragile. You have to be careful when you’re handling them, but you also need to have some sheer brute strength to move them around. If you’ve ever stood in place holding a sheet of drywall while someone tries your patience and stamina by fumbling around trying to nail or screw it in place, you know what we mean. Fortunately, a drywall lift can make the process much less painful and tedious.

A wheeled drywall lift can tilt, roll, raise, and hold large sheets of drywall for you. They can maneuver them to the correct spot, press them up against the ceiling, and keep them motionless while you take your time securing them. Drywall lifts vary in their lift height, materials, and other factors, so choosing the right tool for the job is crucial.

Our buying guide will walk you through everything you need to know to find the ideal drywall lift. We’ve also included a list of other items to equip you with everything you need to get to work.

Before cranking a sheet of drywall into position, ensure that it is evenly balanced, so it doesn’t fall on you. Drywall is very heavy, and a sheet of it falling on your head can cause serious injuries.

Key considerations

Lift height

The lift height on a drywall lifts to the maximum height above the floor that a panel can be raised. Most drywall lifts have a maximum height of 11 feet, but a few of them go up to 15 feet. If the ceiling is higher than that, you’ll have to resort to using scaffolding.

Weight limit

The weight limit is simply how much weight the lift can support. The average capacity is around 150 pounds, but some drywall lifts can hold more than that. A higher weight limit is only necessary if you are lifting multiple panels of drywall to people who are on a scaffold.



Drywall lifts are made from steel pieces, which should be welded together for maximum strength. They’ll also have rubberized backstops to protect the panels of drywall and hard wheels.

Rotating head

All drywall lifts have locking casters. The lift can be rolled into position then the casters locked so it can’t roll away. But oftentimes, you need some extra play to get the panel properly in place. Some lifts have a head under the arms that can rotate 360º to position the panel just right. Check the description to determine which ones have a rotating head and which ones don’t.

Arm extension

Drywall lifters can typically handle a sheet of drywall or plywood that are 8 or 12 feet long. Some of them have arms that extend further so they can lift a 16-foot sheet. Check the description to be sure the model you are considering is the right fit for the job.

Essential accessories

You will need a lot more than just drywall and a drywall lift when you are ready to get to work. Here are most of the items you will need to get started:

Knee pads: NoCry Professional Knee Pads with Heavy Duty Foam Padding
When you’re hanging drywall or doing any type of construction work, you’re going to wind up on your knees on hard, uncomfortable surfaces. These rugged knee pads will save yourself from a lot of pain and discomfort.

Dust mask: Dust Mask by Fightech
Dust and grit are constantly falling on you when you’re hanging drywall. Stay healthy by keeping it out of your mouth and nose with this professional dust mask.

Drywall stilts: SurPro Dual Legs Support Magnesium Drywall Stilts
When you’re using a drywall lift to put a panel up in the air, you need to be able to get up there yourself. Strap on these drywall stilts and a two-man job suddenly becomes easy for you to do solo.

Drywall cart: Troll 112 Deluxe Panel Handler
Moving drywall panels around by yourself is a heavy and tiresome work. Take some of the effort out of it by using a drywall cart that can hold up to two panels at a time, like this easy-to-use model from Troll.

Drywall handle: Stanley 93-301 14-Inch Yellow Panel Carry Handle
This drywall panel handle can help you carry a panel of drywall or plywood without stretching and contorting your upper body. Hook the base under the center of the panel then lift it in one hand like you’re carrying a suitcase, using your other hand to stabilize the panel.

Drywall support: BoardMate Drywall Fitting Tool
When you’re hanging drywall on a vertical wall, use some drywall fitting tools to help hold it place evenly and squarely. These little tools from BoardMate make a two-person job much easier for one person to do.

Drywall lift prices

Inexpensive: Low-priced drywall lifts cost between $100 and $150. These will be basic lifts for regular 4’ x 8’ and 4’ x 12’ sheets of drywall and plywood.

Mid-range: For $150 to $180 is a variety of drywall lifts that will work for most home jobs. The quality is typically better and some of the lifts may be able to handle 4’ x 16’ sheets of drywall.

Expensive: Above $180 is where most high-end lifts fall. These lifts often have rotating heads and 15-foot height limits, which may be more than you need for your home.


  • Protect your eyes with safety glasses and keep your lungs safe with a dust mask. Some drywall may be made of materials that can become harmful if they are ingested or make contact with your eyes.
  • When you’re putting a panel of drywall on the lift, lower the arms to their lowest point and rotate them until they are in the vertical position. If you try to put the drywall on the lift by yourself while the arms are laying flat, you’ll break the panel almost every time. Even with someone helping you, laying it flat on the hoist runs the risk of breaking the drywall.
  • Once the sheet is securely in place on the vertical arms of the hoist, tilt the arms back until they are lying flat.
  • Remember to lay the face of the drywall panel (the side you want facing out) against the arms of the lift.
  • Make sure the arms are equally extended on both sides of the lift to keep it balanced.
  • Raise the hoist until the drywall is about 1 inch from the ceiling. Then maneuver the lift until the panel is in the correct position. Lock the casters in place and raise the panel until it is flush against the ceiling. Note that the ends of the panel may droop a little.
Before storing a drywall lift, use canned air to blow all the dust and grit out of the crank wheel and other moving parts. Don’t use much oil on it or it may stain the sheets of drywall with future uses.


Q. Will a drywall lift hold a panel of drywall securely against a vertical wall?
No. The drywall lift can raise the panel to the correct height, but you’ll need some drywall supports to hold it in place.

Q. How much drywall will a lift pick up?
A 4' x 8' panel of 1/2-inch drywall weighs about 52 pounds. A 4’ x 12’ panel weighs around 76 pounds. Most drywall lifts will handle about 150 pounds.

Q. Can I use a drywall lift and scaffolding together?
No. The drywall lift has to be directly under the drywall panel, and the scaffolding usually does too. Use drywall stilts so you can get high enough to secure the panel against the ceiling.

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