Irwin Quick-Lift

By ralph mroz on Tool Reviews

Irwin Quick-Lift: Less Expensive and Eats Less than a Teenager

By now you’ve probably seen the ads for the Irwin Quick Lift (part number IRHT83100).  It holds and raises/lowers items weighing up to 330 pounds in a controlled manner over a 10-inch range.  Whether you’re installing cabinets, windows, pre-fab walls, stairs, drywall, or electrical panels, or leveling a machine…or any number of other tasks involving heavy things, the ability to precisely raise into place a heavy object is a recurring need in the construction trades.  And the Irwin Quick-Lift isn’t useful for only heavy objects; any time you need a third hand or second person to simply hold an item in place, or move it with precision, this tool can fit the bill.

The traditional methods of accomplishing these tasks generally involve shims, a cobbled-together lever and fulcrum, fumbling with your arms or legs or shoulders or feet, or the classic: a spare teenager.  The Irwin Quick-Lift does a better job than any of these, and is both less expensive and eats less than a teenager.

Since the functions of the Irwin Quick-Lift are pretty obvious (the manufacturer’s pictures here show its functions well) I’ll spend my space here describing the characteristics that you have to use the tool to appreciate.

But First the Specs

  • 330-pound capacity
  • 10-inch range
  • No-load quick release
  • Comfort grip
  • Countersunk holes
  • Slim, tapered base
  • 6-pounds weight
  • $99 at Amazon

A Substantial Tool

The first thing that you notice about the Irwin Quick-Lift is how substantial it feels.  It’s beefier size-wise and heavier (but still only 5½-pounds) than many competing units, and that you might expect.  Even the molded plastic body and handle feel substantial.  The toe of the base is 5-inches wide and 2/10 (almost a quarter-inch) thick, and about half that at the tapered leading edge.  The body’s metal side plates certainly add rigidity and strength to the plastic body.

The entire shoe is about 6½-inches long, with countersunk screw holes in each corner.  The shoe that raises and lowers has an additional two countersunk screw holes so that you can increase the effective size of the shoe to any size, or attach the shoe to your work piece for stability.

Precise Controls

The raising and “precision lowering” functions of the Irwin Quick-Lift are indeed precise.  The work piece can be raised and lowered slowly and smoothly for very accurate positioning.  The “no load quick release” provides a smooth but rapid release, and as Irwin indicates, should be used under no load.  With this tool you really can place your work piece exactly where you want it.

While the leading edges of the tool and the shoe aren’t putty-knife thin, they are thin enough that a slight rocking of the work piece will allow them to be inserted beneath it.


The Irwin Quick-Lift has a QR code on the upper rail that when scanned takes you to this 1½-minute YouTube video describing the suggested maintenance on the tool (basically lubrication).  You may think that this would be obvious, but I actually found the information useful.  Because the tool is so beefy, if you if you maintain it I would be amazed if it didn’t give you many years of regular use.  Every type of trades person, from DIYers to production pros, will find a use for it – and every one of them has certainly been in a situation where they wish they had had one!

330 pounds?

Irwin says that this tool can lift 330 pounds.  Of course that’s the first thing that many reviewers tested, and sure enough, they all found that it could.  So did I; I loaded up the Smith machine at the gym with 335 pounds and the Irwin Quick-Lift lifted it without complaint.  I was surprised that even my arthritic hands could lift this weight on the Quick-Lift with one hand operating the lifting lever, although using two hands was easier.  The weight raised smoothly, and the precision lowering trigger lowered the 335 pounds equally smoothly.  I was impressed!

Anything Not to Like?

I had thought that at the max weight of 330 pounds, the lifting lever would require all the strength in two hands — but as I said above, that wasn’t the case at all.  I had also wondered if a thinner leading shoe and base edge might facilitate the ability to tap the tool under a work piece…but then I realized that that would only encourage users to bang on the rear edge of the rail and damage it.  It’s much better to simply rock the work piece a bit to get the tool under it.

There doesn’t appear to be the ability to remove the tool head and reverse it, thereby making a clamp.  But even if the Irwin Quick-Lift did have this capability, I find the function un-necessary and cumbersome given the time that it would take to reconfigure the tool.  Besides, Irwin already makes lots of good clamps, and every trades person almost certainly has a collection of them.

So no, in all honesty I don’t not like anything about this tool.  If you’ve been waiting to buy a lift like this, you now have one available at a good price – it will certainly pay for itself the first time you use it.

Finally, Irwin’s sister company DeWalt has also introduced a similar product which I haven’t tried, but it looks, is priced, and is spec’d very similarly.

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About the author

ralph mroz

Ralph Mroz grew up in an extended family of tradesmen, and worked at the trades summers and weekends through school. He put those skills to good use in renovating the five houses he and his wife have owned. Even while working in the white-collar and law enforcement worlds, he's always had one foot in the construction trades.

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