This page lists ideas for elevators. An elevator, or lift, in Minecraft is a vertical transport system for carrying players, mobs, and items between the floors of a structure. Some simpler designs require the player to walk or swim, while in other more complex designs, the player can be transported hundreds of blocks higher with just the click of a button or the flick of a lever.
This page deals with contraptions; however, it is worth noting that recent game versions offer considerable competition from basic blocks and plants: Ladders can be placed along the side of a column; regular, crimson, or twisted vines can be seeded on the side, bottom, or top of a block and grow from there. Underwater or underground, bubble columns provide an even faster option. (They do require a column of source blocks, but planting kelp can turn falling water into water sources easily.) A simple fall can be cushioned by water, slime blocks, or a brush with honey blocks.
There are many designs of piston elevators. They all essentially use pistons to move the players either up or down.
This extremely fast elevator uses gravity and water to compress primed TNT into a small area, creating a powerful explosion force. It is hard to use effectively in that TNT is expensive and hard to produce in large quantities, and is dangerous in Survival.
These elevators can ascend and descend and can stop and start at desired floors, but can be complicated and require more resources. These elevators often use characteristics of other designs and apply multi-floor circuitry to make them. They can be practical but can take a very long while to make, and not that useful. Have patience when creating this strenuous build.
Up - Down Elevator
The up and down elevator has a maximum height of 12 units due to the limited amount of blocks a piston can move. This design is also relatively slow, but thanks to its small form factor and simple redstone circuits this can be suited for buildings.
This elevator provides an unlimited blocks piston-elevator but is a bit more complicated.
Zipper elevators feature pairs of pistons stacked vertically. The stair version can be open on two opposite sides and is useful for giving views above ground. The no-stair version can be open only on one side. They have one major drawback, as multiplayer can cause a malfunction in the timing and cause the elevator to cease function. Also, adding a 1×2 piston on the top to push you onto a platform once you have reached the top to prevent the player from falling back down can be beneficial.
Spiral elevators feature a vertically stacked spiral of pistons. Since the pistons and wiring surround the player while they ascend, this type is not good for giving a clear view. However, they are more suitable for multiplayer, as they do not transport the player as quickly and so are less likely to trap the player due to lag.
These elevators operate at a moderate and practical speed. They are designed to provide a more realistic appearance and operation than most other elevators.
Piston-worm designs use a set of alternating pistons to push the player or a carriage up and down a shaft. Often these designs are very resource-friendly and simple to build.
Slime block flying machine elevator
Flying machine designs are fast, efficient and resemble a real-life elevator. They use a two-way vertical flying machine to carry the player up or down. They are special due to their capability to carry many players and mobs at once and their safety.
Bedrock compatible design
Single column elevator
Single column elevators made to reach the top quicker are usually short due to their need for complex redstone wiring methods. It can be simplified by using sand or gravel as a floor and pistons to push sand. However, this elevator is much slower.
Slime block elevators
Slime block elevators come in two main forms, bouncing and conveyor style. These elevators are very fast and range from simple to difficult to build. They use characteristics of the slime block to move the player.
|Conveyor Platform (view on YouTube)|
Using the conveyor method it is possible to create a very fast multi-floor elevator.
These elevators bounce the player up a series of slime blocks.
Water is very useful in elevators as they can carry players up and down, and can transport all mobs but undead mobs upward.
Due to the aquatic update, these elevators are much faster and safer because the player can now swim much faster in water that flows down. It is advised to create multiple of these in a stairway if you want multiple levels as it may be hard to leave the elevator through a midway exit.
- Build a base 4 blocks wide and 6 blocks tall.
- Start to build up to your 2nd Floor.
- If you haven't done so, build 3 blocks up from the 2nd Floor. Then, seal the top of the thing up.
- Smash out a hole on the 1st Floor 3 blocks high and 2 blocks wide. Do the same on the 2nd Floor.
- Smash out the ceiling and put water in all the corners or just lava.
A simple waterfall can be ridden up, or slow a fall to a safe speed. Make a waterfall by placing a source in a one-block gap in a floor, or on a ledge in a box that keeps the flow in a single block space on the way down. If possible make a one-block hole at the bottom of the waterfall to keep the water from spreading out over the floor. Water pouring out from the landing site keeps mobs back allowing for a safer landing in occupied territory.
As the player is rising or falling, a careful motion should be used to move until one is far enough out of the vertical stream that air is available, one can tell because the breath meter disappears. Then, there is no limit on how far up or down one can go in the water. It is also possible to stay centered in the stream but moves sideways far enough that the breath meter is reset once in a while. This, of course, needs careful movement control.
Mobs that fall into the stream ride down safely, but they cannot rise in one of these.
A temporary waterfall can be used to make a safe ride down from any height. If one places a water source close to, or at, the edge of a long fall the water stream needs to be left flowing for only a few seconds to be safe to ride down. One can use the empty bucket to pick the source back up and then immediately walk off the edge in the stream to be carried over the edge and then ride it safely down. This also makes a safe landing site even in lava, but be aware that as soon as one lands on the obsidian that one has to move counter to the flow or risk being carried to the edge of the stream into the lava.
Java breathable water elevator
A basic water elevator that works well in survival mode can be made in any vertical shaft that is 2 blocks by one block.
The shaft for this design is 2 blocks deep and one wide.
Starting at the bottom the entrance to the shaft should be in a wall that is at least one block thick. The entrance should be a 2 block high opening with a door set in the last blocks space before the two deep space for the elevator. The door is to keep the bottom two water sources from leaking out the opening. Now, step into the shaft and place signs in a zigzag up one of the 2 block wide walls as high as you can reach. Then, fill in the gaps between signs with water sources, thus forming a zigzag of water blocks. Reload on water buckets and ride the elevator up as high as you can, place more signs as you bob up and down in the topwater block, and then place more sources. Repeat till you reach the top.
Have at least two full water buckets in inventory when you start this procedure.
Stand on the line between the two blocks that make the top of your elevator shaft. Dig down one block under each foot (note 1). Place a sign on a block on the two-block wide wall in front of you, it does not matter which. Dig down another block depth for both blocks. Place a sign on the same wall as the first, but on the other block, and repeat all this once more so that you have a four-block deep shaft with a zigzag of signs on one of the side walls. Looking up place two water sources besides the first and second signs that you placed. You are now standing in a safe breathing space at the bottom of a working elevator that you can use to return to the top to reload water buckets, get more signs or whatever.
One rises in the elevator by swimming, going down is just falling.
As one rides up or down the breath meter may flash in and out of view unless you can stay perfectly in the middle of the alternating water blocks, but no matter as you are never more than a few ticks from your next "breath".
This kind of elevator is faster than a falling water stream due to the swimming action between water source blocks.
Note 1: the reason you stand between two blocks is that one cannot fall when at least one foot is on a block, meaning when any part of your bounding box is over a solid block. Digging two or three blocks deep on one side, then the other allows the intrepid miner to notice that a ceiling has been breached before falling into empty space.
Fast water bubble (Soul Sand) elevator and drop-shaft
A rapid elevator for any height with no drowning issues, with a fast drop shaft. (1.13+)
- 1 block of Soul Sand
- Bucket(s) and water source
Dig down (or construct upward) a single-block column to the desired depth or height surrounded by the solid block of your choice. Dig a block out at the bottom of the column and place a soul sand block as the 'floor'. To make an entrance, replace the bottom two blocks of two adjacent sides with fence or glass panes creating a diagonal walk-in entrance. Fill up as many buckets as you can with water, and starting with the bottom space above the soul sand, place a source water block at each level (bubbles don't flow past a gap) until your column is full to the top. Once completed, simply step in the diagonal entrance into the (breathable) water column and you shoot to the top.
Note: to complete purely in survival mode, don't place the soul sand until after you've filled the column with water blocks since you can't swim down through a bubble column. Be careful not to drown!
Alternatively, pour a single bucket of water from the top and, starting from the block where soul sand goes, swim-up placing kelp on each block until the top of the elevator is reached; the kelp converts falling water into water sources. Then swim down, remove the bottom kelp block and place the soul sand block in its place.
Dig or construct another 1-block column close to your elevator. Make your entrance two blocks high, and place a sign at the two-block level (eye-level) below the column. Place a water source block two blocks up from that, creating a two-block flowing water column. You can now drop down from the top of the column, and the water slows you to drop safely past the sign to floor level.
Combining the drop shaft with a bubble elevator can be done with them touching at the corners of the shafts for a 2x2 block square vertical up/down the shaft for deep mining. Looking at the 2x2 block from a diagonal, put the drop shaft at the 'front', glass or fence at the two side blocks two blocks high, then the bubble shaft at the 'back'. You can fall through the drop shaft, walk out, then walk through the drop shaft into the bubble column to go back up.
A more expensive alternative is a downward bubble column made using a magma block. This has the downsides of being slower and potentially hurting the player when they reach the bottom if they do not sneak; it does however save space in certain floor situations.
A common issue with bubble elevators is that a player may travel too fast for them to exit at the right floor. Solutions include:
- Making the elevator gates taller. A 3-block gap in the wall is easier than a 2-block gap to get through.
- Replace walls with dyed glass panes on each floor. Glass panes block flowing water, but the gap left by each diagonal pair is just enough for people to walk through. In essence, the entire floor is the gate. (Undyed glass panes arranged in a column is invisible!)
Breathable water elevator
An expensive water elevator that works well in survival mode.
This elevator is a regular tube elevator attached to conduits.
Build your conduit activation frame in a box of water right next to your tube elevator. Depending on the size and number of tubes, multiple frames may be needed. Add to your conduit or add more conduit frames until you can breathe in your entire elevator.
It is dangerous to move between multiple normal elevators without letting your breath meter replenish out of the water. However, conduit elevators can't be built with the current versions of Minecraft.
Alternate Java water elevator
A water-sign elevator can also be made in a one-block shaft, which is cheaper if making it as a freestanding column. The construction notes are written for survival mode.
Enclose a 1×1 vertical shaft with your construction blocks on all four sides, corners are not needed.
This method is more useful when building a freestanding elevator up from a floor. One can tower up from the floor, placing blocks on all four sides at each jump on the way up. Then start placing signs and water back down.
Start by placing your safety net on the ground - make a one-block hole and fill it with a water source. When you fall from high up in the shaft, a single block of water is enough to break your fall so you take no damage.
Once you are at the intended top of your elevator place signs two and four blocks below your feet. You cannot reach down 6 blocks so now you can start with the water sources. Put one on top of each sign, then ready your signs, more full buckets, and jump in. Use the swimming action to stay in the bottom-most water block and place signs further down the shaft, then place another water bucket above this last sign (depending on the size, you may have to keep returning to the top to reload your buckets and repeat until you get down to the bottom).
The last sign can most easily be placed from the opening of the elevator at the bottom of the second block up from the floor. This holds the "entry" water block above the opening in the first block of the shaft proper. It does not matter if you have two water blocks at the bottom of the shaft as players and mobs rise through them fast enough that breathing is not a problem.
At the bottom leave a two-block high opening (from the floor) for the entrance. Start placing signs on the opposite wall of the shaft starting with the second block from the ground. Above it place a water source, then jump up into the water and swim upward. Place signs and water sources alternating until you reach the top. The swimming action you need to use to keep on top of the uppermost water block causes you to bob up and down, but some practice makes it easy to work this way.
If you need to have an opening taller than 2 blocks place ladders up the back wall of the shaft to the highest block of the opening. The bottom-most water block then sits on top of the ladder.
Using glass blocks to encase your water elevator gives it a cool look and is useful for monitoring a mob mover.
The above design works in Java Edition 1.12+, for earlier versions see below.
This boat launcher / elevator tutorial demonstrates the ability to connect two different bodies of water. This design works automatically; simply ride a boat into the contraption to be launched upward to a max height of 11 blocks. Being simple and compact, this build is similar in concept to real-world water locks used across the world (e.g. the Panama Canal).
The main component of this build is a slime block launcher triggered by a tripwire hook that launches the boat and its rider directly upward to another body of water. Different from other boat elevators, this design uses redstone to launch a boat from one water source into another at a higher elevation, giving the rider a quick and easy form of transportation.
Honey block elevator
This elevator design takes advantage of the honey block’s hitbox mechanics to make a two-way elevator. In the schematic below, H is honey, S is soul sand, A is air, W is a water source, and B is any other block.
Any layer above the bottom layer
To go up, you simply go into the corner of the 2 honey blocks, and because the honey block’s hitbox is slightly smaller than the actual texture itself, when you go into the corner, the player’s hitbox touches the stream of bubbles going up, and you rapidly go up, and to go down, just touch anywhere on the honey block that isn’t in the corner.
Simple minecart elevator
To create the elevator, all you need is a 1×1 shaft, down (or up) to the place where you want to go. Once the shaft is finished, you need to divide the number of blocks by either four if you are in singleplayer, or five if you are in multiplayer. This is to figure out how many minecarts and trapdoors you need.
After you have all the needed blocks, continue onto the next set of instructions.
- Fill up the shaft to the top by towering. Make sure that there is room for you to get out of the elevator after the ride is over!
- Slowly go down, placing open trapdoors on the wall, and placing minecarts on top of those. Important! Make sure the minecarts are close enough so you can transfer to the one above you without moving!
- When you reach the bottom of your shaft, put a ladder underneath the last minecart, and you're done!
- OPTIONAL: Instead of putting a ladder underneath the last minecart, place water at the bottom.
To operate, just stand underneath the bottom minecart, look up, and hold the Right Mouse Button. If you did it right, you should go straight up to the top. To descend a minecart elevator, just walk over it; you should fall through the minecarts to the bottom, and the ladder or water breaks your fall.
Boat in a minecart elevator
Use at your own risk.
[Java Edition only]
This elevator works on a recently discovered bug that allows for a minecart to pick up, and be occupied by a boat. Players and certain mobs can also occupy the boat and thus be transported by the minecart.
The design allows for a boat (occupied or empty) to be carried along with a rail system. Due to the way tracks function, one can essentially move a boat in the same manner allowing for more flexibility in transportation. Because of the way entities work, a boat in a minecart has infinite momentum. An example would be when two different bodies of water are at different elevations. The design from the above video can transport the player and their boat between the two bodies of water without exiting the boat, creating a type of elevator.
Elytra launchers do not resemble any real-life elevator but can transport the player hundreds of blocks in the air instantly. They are a late-game method of transportation since you need elytra to use one. To use one the player equips the elytra and jumps into the elytra launcher. The player must press space on the way down. The player hits a large number of boats, which all push the player, causing them to travel high up.
Command block elevators
Besides from the minecart elevator, command block elevators can be made with some special effects, and are the quickest of all the elevators. The principle is that you can hit a button wired up to a command block with the
/teleport @p <x> <y> <z> command. (Alternatively, you can replace
@p with your username, creating a player-specific elevator.) The most basic design is to have the command block behind the button. To get a little more complex, you need a bit more room or use repeaters. The basic objective is to have a command block with the
/tell @p Going to [floor name] command, then a few moments later, having a command block with the previously mentioned
/teleport command to do the main part of going to a floor. Note that if you are using this with a high-rise building, you may need to create more than one elevator cab for serving more than a few floors, since this type of elevator may get a little large, trying to serve 35 floors in one cab.
Another technique is to have two command blocks per floor, one sending the user one floor up, the other sending them one floor down. Align all the x and z coordinates, so that the player stays on one spot relative to the two columns, and can simply click repeatedly to ascend or descend multiple floors.
Scaffolding can be used to make space-efficient elevators you can move up and down on. Placing doors around a tower of scaffolding can make it look like a real-world elevator. Use the sneak key to go down and jump to go up.