How Long Does an Elevator Last? Elevator Useful Life Calculator

how long does an elevator last?

The average life of an elevator is 20 – 25 years,  but what about your specific unit? Estimate how long your elevator will last with our Useful Life Calculator.

Elevators are a significant investment, and it only makes sense to get as much use out of it as possible. In general, an elevator’s useful life lasts 20 to 25 years, but depending on the type of unit and other contributing factors, that estimate can be highly variable.  However, how can you plan and estimate the amount of time left on your specific elevator?

Well, that’s easier than you think.  

ElevatorLab’s Elevator Useful Life Calculator takes decades worth of elevator data from hundreds of elevator types, different building populations, building types, public permit data, and more to estimate the amount of time left on your unit.  

Elevator Useful Life Calculator

Knowing how much time you have left will help you plan for an elevator modernization.  It will also help you prepare for the correct level of elevator maintenance until you upgrade. ​

Factors That Affect Elevator Useful Life

Many events can reduce the useful life of an elevator, including:

– Poor elevator maintenance practices

– Failure to upgrade components to new technology

– Improper elevator installation procedures

– High usage

– Elevator loads above maximum capacity

– Improper usage, such as using a passenger elevator as a freight

– Exposure to weather,  specifically in salty or corrosive environments, such as coastal areas

– No longer manufactured, or obsolete, replacement parts

Of these, poor elevator maintenance is the most detrimental. A lack of elevator maintenance can lead to accelerated component wear and a dramatically shorter lifespan. Make sure you select the best maintenance contract for your needs.

Elevator Useful Life with Poor Maintennace

An Elevator’s Individual Component Life Cycles

The service life of an elevator system will also depend on its pieces of equipment. Here are the typical lifespans for major elevator components:

  • Door Equipment and Door Operators – With proper maintenance, door operators can last 20 to 25 years, or even longer. Usually, door rollers are replaced when cracks or flattened rollers appear, as it is one of the most critical and highest failure components. Door operator systems that are poorly maintained or of questionable quality may last as little as 15 years. 


  • Controller – Elevator controllers often last slightly longer than door operators, with an average lifespan of 20 to 30 years. Usually, they are replaced when a failure occurs in more frequent intervals or when parts are obsolete.


  • Hoist Machines – Most hoist machines will last 30 to 40 years, though some last up to 100.  A good maintenance program, a motor refurbishment, and the right elevator drive can extend the life past 50 years or more.


  • Hydraulic Cylinders and Piston–  Hydraulic elevator jacks may fail from underground conditions and may require a full replacement.  If the correct jack protection is in place, the jack can outlast many other components of the elevator.  With proper maintenance, protecting the piston from scores, the elevator jack can last through three or four full elevator life cycles.


  • Power Unit – With the right protection, like an elevator soft starter, and quality maintenance the elevator power unit can last 20 to 30 years.
    ​ 

  • Traveling cable:  As the main flow of power and information, replacing a damaged traveling cable can eliminate intermittent electrical failures.  A traveling cable can last 25 – 30 years with correct installation.
How long does an elevator last

A Detailed Evaluation of Elevator Condition

If, after using our Elevator Useful Life Calculator, you are still worried about the health and remaining life of your elevator, our team at ElevatorLab can help. We can perform a full assessment of your system and estimate the remaining elevator useful life.

As an elevator consulting firm, we offer system evaluation services (in all 50 states) and help with creating your plan for modernization or your plan for the best maintenance to extend the elevator life cycle further.  

When was your elevator installed and how well does it run?  Comment below. 

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