Outfitting a backyard pool for easy accessibility is no small task. Today’s pool lifts come in a huge variety of styles, sizes, and capacities, with a whole slew of feature sets to match. This gives you more opportunity to find the model that suits your lifestyle but it can make the shopping process a little more confusing than it needs to be.
The first thing most pool owners want to know, the difference between portable and fixed lifts, seems like it should have a simple answer but obtaining that answer requires a little bit of pre-purchase investigation. Both portable and fixed lifts come in all the same familiar configurations but the functionality of each lift will differ accordingly.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Fixed Lifts
The primary advantage of a fixed lift is the straightforward operation. When you buy a pool lift and opt for a fixed installation, that’s it – your machine is ready to use any time you need it. Your installation professionals will take care of all the deck clearance measurements and all you have to do is avoid placing any deck furniture within the safe operation range.
The installation concerns are, however, well worth considering. Fixed lifts require very sturdy anchor points, often set several inches into your pool deck. This makes fixed lifts ideal for new pool construction but their usefulness in existing pools depends on the condition and style of the deck.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Portable Lifts
The main advantage of portable lifts is apparent right in the name. Though the machines are extremely heavy, they are mounted on a wheeled cart to make transportation easy as can be. The main attraction is that portable lifts are easy to store between uses and during the off-season. Portable lifts do not require anchors, eliminating the cost of installation.
This portability is the highest standard of convenience for the occasional pool user, but setting up and stowing away the lift can become too much work for the daily diver. You have to make sure to consider proper positioning and deck clearance each time you set it up.
The Power of Compromise
Are you looking for the best of both worlds? Seek out pool lifts marketed as “portable between anchor points”. These lifts are convenient and ready to use when you need them, but built with a lighter weight for easier storage than the lift unit of fixed lifts. You can leave them out or put them away as necessary.
Take the time to examine all of your options. Fixed and portable lifts both have their strong and weak points but overall, the best lift for the job is the one that motivates you to get out into the water as often as possible. Whether you decide to go portable, stick with fixed, or explore the options in between, you’ll have plenty of options at your disposal.
Make sure to demo before you buy! You might even decide that the portable versus fixed debate isn’t a deal breaker – watching the lift in action is, hands down, the best way to screen your purchases.