Toyota Power Liftgates vs Hands-Free Liftgates

There are three different kinds of liftgates:

  1. Manual liftgates
  2. Power liftgates
  3. Hands-free liftgates

Do you want a motorized liftgate on your Toyota? You need to choose between a power liftgate and a hands-free liftgate. In this guide, we’ll go over the similarities and differences between both parts. This guide may help you reach an educated decision.

The Similarities Between A Power Liftgate And A Hands-Free Liftgate


Power liftgates and hands-free liftgates have pretty much the same design. They’re both connected to the vehicle’s electrical system. They also have:

  • A liftgate motor
  • Electrical wiring

Both liftgates function the same. Once activated, the liftgate motor opens or closes the liftgate. These liftgates don’t need any physical intervention from you. All you need to do is activate the liftgate.

The Only Difference Between A Power Liftgate And A Hands-Free Liftgate

Handsfree open

The difference between both tailgates is not always clear. If you compare power liftgates to manual liftgates (like we have), you’ll notice some obvious differences. That’s not the case when you compare power liftgates to hands-free liftgates.

The only difference between both types of liftgates is how you open and close them.

Both types of liftgates come with a smart fob. That means you don't need to lock or unlock your liftgate before opening or closing it. If you come near the vehicle with the smart fob in your pocket, the fob will automatically unlock the liftgate. The same goes for when you leave the vehicle. The fob will lock the liftgate without any action on your part.

There are several ways to open and close a power liftgate and a hands-free liftgate:

  • Pressing a button inside the vehicle near the driver's seat
  • Pressing a button on the key fob from far away
  • Pressing a button on the liftgate (on most Toyota models, the button is underneath the Toyota emblem on the liftgate)

What if you have your hands full, though? What if you can't press a button? That's where the hands-free liftgate comes in.

You can activate a hands-free liftgate by waving your foot underneath the bumper. There's a sensor underneath the bumper. It opens or closes the liftgate when you activate it with your foot. You can't do that with a power liftgate. That's why hands-free liftgates are called hands-free liftgates.

Do You Have Your Hands Full Often?

Hands full

Do you usually find yourself next to the liftgate with your hands full? Maybe you have lots of sports equipment to haul, or perhaps you shop for groceries often. If your hands are usually full when approaching your liftgate, a hands-free liftgate would be quite helpful. Otherwise, you'd do just fine with a power liftgate.

Like any part, problems do arise. We talk about liftgate problems in this article.