The Dumbwaiter Installation Process

Dumbwaiter InstallationConsidering the installation of a dumbwaiter (or lift) at your private residence or commercial/industrial property? 

The installation process for a dumbwaiter or lift cannot begin until design and manufacturing is complete. Only once that phase is finished, of course, can the installation process start. 

While each project a dumbwaiter manufacturer like Matot works on is unique, the installation steps are generally identical from project to project. Discover some of the key parts of the process for dumbwaiter installation below and contact a Matot representative to discuss your project.

Build the Dumbwaiter Shaft 

Dumbwaiters operate within a shaft (a vertical – up and down – tunnel). Architects designing new homes can dedicate space to these systems but those rehabbing properties must create the shaft out of existing space (once again, requiring an architect or engineer). Once the shaft is complete (or its specifications determined in conjunction with a dumbwaiter and lift manufacturer like Matot, it’s time to actually start the installation process. 

Install the Dumbwaiter Motor/Actuator

Manual dumbwaiters were the only option a century ago when Matot first began building these systems, but much has changed in that time. Today, the majority of dumbwaiters are electric (automatic) and as a result are much safer than in any time in history (when used correctly of course). 

When the shaft build-out is complete, the next step is to install the dumbwaiter motor or actuator –  the component responsible for moving and controlling the system. Motors are most often located at the top of the shaft and located within the system frame or rails.

Anchor the Dumbwaiter System

When the motor has been installed, it’s time to anchor the whole system to prevent it from moving out of place (even slight errors in this phase can result in long term damage to your dumbwaiter system). The frame is what the dumbwaiter actually travels upon, pulled by the force exerted by the motor. Once the frame or assembly has been fastened correctly to the floor or ground, the next step is to connect the system to the grid (the power). 

Connect Electricity

The dumbwaiters of yesteryear required manual operation, but today all that’s required is the push of a button to move things from one floor to the next. The next to final step in the dumbwaiter installation process is to connect the electrical components built custom for each project by Matot. Licensed electricians must play a central role in connecting the electricity to dumbwaiter systems (mandated by state and local laws).  

Test and Create Maintenance Plan

Once the electricity is connected to the dumbwaiter system, testing can begin. What the Matot installation team looks for is consistent movement, low noise and vibration, and in general, proper operation. Once fully tested however, consider setting up a regular maintenance plan to ensure that your dumbwaiter or lift system continues. 

Request a Quote for a Matot Dumbwaiter

Matot has been designing, engineering, manufacturing and installing dumbwaiters for well over a century and we can do the same for your project. Request a quote today or contact a Matot representative to learn more.  



Dumbwaiters can be valuable additions to any home or business, increasing the resale value of residential and commercial properties and dramatically improving personal and organizational efficiency and safety. 

These are essential systems in many residences and commercial buildings and in high demand, but…

What does a dumbwaiter cost?

To understand the cost of a dumbwaiter it is important to understand its ultimate purpose or how it will be used.

While many dumbwaiter manufacturers will provide a flat rate for their products, smarter buyers understand that many decisions will need to be made in the process (from design to installation) that will impact the final price.

Let’s explore some of those variables now and what you can expect from a Matot dumbwaiter. 

Materials: If a dumbwaiter is going to last and perform as designed through regular use, it’s important to use the best possible materials. At Matot, we use only the highest grade steel, and it is custom fabricated to the exact engineering specifications developed by our team to ensure these systems stand the test of time.  

Dumbwaiter Size: The reason most of our competitors can provide a “flat-rate” for their dumbwaiter products is because their offerings are not unique or customized to your property – they have one solution and one set of specifications regardless of the unique characteristics of your home or property – but your residence or building is likely very unique with specific construction parameters (or building codes) that must be addressed.  

Weight Capacity: While commercial and industrial lifts can move thousands of pounds of materials or product, residential dumbwaiters can be much smaller and designed and engineered to carry less weight (lighter grade steel, more refined actuators, etc.). By knowing how you intend to use your Matot dumbwaiter system and what it will carry, you will have a clear understanding at the outset of the project of the estimated manufacturing and installation costs. 

Travel Distance/Stops: The distance that the dumbwaiter or lift needs to travel is one of the most significant determinants of cost. How many floors will the dumbwaiter need to travel (i.e. distance) and how many stops will it need to make? Are you moving items from the basement to the second floor or from a main floor to a second floor? Answers to these questions (and others) about travel distance and number of stops for your dumbwaiter are essential.

System Configuration: Unlike many of our competitors, Matot designs, manufactures and installs custom dumbwaiters and lifts. The more sophisticated the design, the greater the cost. For example, will your dumbwaiter need to open on both sides or just one? What is the optimal depth, width and length? There are many different possible configurations available for a custom dumbwaiter, and the cost is dependent on the finished design specifications.  

How much will your dumbwaiter cost?

These are just some of the variables that go into a custom dumbwaiter build. If you lack confidence in the bids you have received from other dumbwaiter manufacturers, request a custom quote from Matot – the leader in dumbwaiters and lifts.



Even the most sophisticated, highly-engineered, and well-designed dumbwaiters can break down (often the result of misuse). If that happens to you, and you have a Matot dumbwaiter, there are a few things that you’ll need to know to get your system back up and running quickly. 

Where should you begin? 

Diagnostic Evaluation

Why is your dumbwaiter making that sound? Why is it running so slowly? Determining the reason that your lift system is not working in your home or business is the first step in determining how to return it to its normal high-functioning state as soon as possible.

Dumbwaiter Repair

Dumbwaiter and lifts are essential parts of homes and businesses and downtime means a lack of efficiency. With parts always in stock and a team dedicated to ensuring that Matot lives up to its tagline of “Timeless Functionality” you can rest assured that your dumbwaiter or lift system will be back in action in no time at all. 

Dumbwaiter Maintenance

While repairing a Matot dumbwaiter with custom Matot parts will get your system back up and running as designed, a regular maintenance plan can ensure it keeps operating when needed. 
Matot recommends, at the minimum, a quarterly maintenance contract with the installation company or another qualified local maintenance provider. The same providers should be used for required repairs. Matot can recommend local providers of maintenance and / or repairs.

Matot Dumbwaiter RepairNeed Support? Get in Touch with Matot. 

Does your dumbwaiter need maintenance or repair? Consult a Matot representative to learn more about our expertise in modernizing and renovating any operating or non-operating dumbwaiter and the lift and dumbwaiter parts we carry to ensure that your property or facility operates at peak efficiency.


Dumbwaiters are small freight elevators that move goods and materials. Also known as lifts in some parts of the country and world, dumbwaiters are used within many industries – including residential, food services, and healthcare.

What makes dumbwaiters so critical to business operations is the efficiencies they bring. Dumbwaiters can be designed to serve in a variety of challenging instances and unique scenarios (read through our dumbwaiter and lift case studies for examples) including in restaurants where space is limited or at hospitals when moving supplies quickly between floors is critical.

Regardless of how they are used however, the basic form and function (the principles and components of dumbwaiter operation) of these systems has not changed in over 100 years.

Dumbwaiter Form & Function

A dumbwaiter is a movable frame in a shaft, powered by a motor that guides that shaft on a set of rails. Think of it as a “micro-elevator” that is designed to move things, rather than people.

DID YOU KNOW? The first dumbwaiter brake system was patented by New York City inventor George W. Cannon in 1883. Canon later filed for the patent on the mechanical dumbwaiter in 1887.

Matot Dumbwaiter from the 1940's

Matot Dumbwaiter from the 1940’s

In the distant past, dumbwaiter frames were often made of wood (see the image of a Matot dumbwaiter from the 1940’s) and required rope and pulley systems to move. Today’s dumbwaiters, such as those designed and manufactured by Matot, are built with the highest quality steel and powered by highly-engineered electrical motors that make it possible to move hundreds of pounds of materials and do so safely and reliably.

Dumbwaiters of the 21st Century & Beyond

Today’s dumbwaiters have numerous electrical components that enable users to control movement, temperature, humidity and a range of other environmental factors that may influence the integrity of the goods or materials being delivered.

Dumbwaiters and lifts are very common in commercial and industrial settings, active parts of many buildings and facilities. As a result, there are many building regulations and codes that dumbwaiters must be in compliance with including those that require these systems to be fireproof.

Matot dumbwaiters and lifts for example, can be designed and manufactured with fireproof walls and self-closing gates. When moving precious cargo and important or sensitive material, that’s an important feature to possess in a dumbwaiter but today’s lift systems can go even further to protect goods being moved. There are many instances where Matot has worked on dumbwaiter and lift systems for moving hazardous materials.

How Will Your Dumbwaiter Work?

There are many considerations to make when it comes to designing and manufacturing a dumbwaiter for a specific use in a commercial building or industrial facility. Working with a trusted, experienced manufacturer like Matot will give you the confidence in knowing that these critical systems will work as intended when needed.

Get in touch with a Matot representative to discuss how to make our dumbwaiters and lifts integrate seamlessly with your project.


Matot has been designing, engineering, manufacturing and installing dumbwaiters and lifts for residential and commercial clients for over 130 years. 

In that time, we’ve seen new technologies emerge and old ones fade away. With well over a century of experience, Matot has become the most experienced and respected vendor for commercial lifts and dumbwaiters in the world. With that prominent position in the industry, our competitors look for any opportunity to compare themselves to our company, our process and our products. Inevitably, they fall short. 

As an individual or company seeking out a solution to lift materials and goods in specific environments, from oil rigs to restaurants, you need to compare the available offerings and those vendors capable of delivering on your dumbwaiter or lift plans.

What criteria should be used when selecting the company that will design and manufacture your industrial dumbwaiter or commercial lift?

Learn more about how to select the right partner for your dumbwaiter or lift project.