Going up or down the stairs is not as normal to some people as you would imagine. A stair lift system is a safety power-tool that empowers people who are unable to use the stairs because of disability, age, or ailment. This tool helps them to use the stairs like others but with an added touch of ease and comfort.
|AmeriGlide Horizon Standard Stair Lift
|Nautilus Stair Lift
|Harmar Stair lift
|Chariot-Vantage Stair Lift
Also known as a stair assist chair or a chair lift, a stair lift is made up of a seat with back, arm, and footrest which is mounted on the wall or steps of the staircase to transport users up and down the stairs with the stair railing as its track.
There are two main types of stair lifts
- Straight stair lift. The straight stair lift is the more popular and the cheaper of the two with prices ranging between $2,000 and $4,000. It is designed to go up a straight staircase and is mounted on the steps. It is the best stair lift for home use.
- Curved stair lift. Curved stair lifts are usually more complicated owing to the fact that they are designed for more sophisticated staircases with bends or turns. This makes them an expensive option with prices going up to $15,000 or more. They are installed on a track near the wall.
What should you consider before the purchase of a stair lift?
- Stair lifts can either be battery powered or electric powered. Battery powered stair lifts are charged when parked before they can be operated while the electric powered ones are operated when plugged into a standard AC outlet. The Battery powered stair lift has the advantage of continuing to operate even when there is a power outage.
- For most lifts, the control panel is positioned conveniently on the armrest. While some are designed with a switch or control lever, others are controlled digitally. In addition, most will come with one or two remote controls to ease operation.
- Most straight residential stair lifts come with speed ranging between 0.07 MPs and 0.15 MPs. However, some come with fixed speed and others an adjustable speed, the latter being the more preferred. Curved stairlifts come with varying speed depending on their application.
- Weight rating. Each lift comes with a maximum weight rating, commonly between 300 lb and 400 lb, indicated on it. It is important to match this weight against your weight or against other applications you may want to put the lift.
- The extras. Additional features differ from lift brand to lift brand. For instance, you may get a stair lift for sale with a motor sensor that detects an obstacle and automatically stops the lift and another with a footplate to rest your foot on. Other additional features include seat and lap belts, folding rail at the bottom to prevent tripping, a covered motor, seats that rotate, and a safety key lock.
Best Stair Lifts for Seniors and Disabled 2024
Below we analyze four best stair lifts. These units are designed with incredible features to deliver maximum comfort along with easy and convenient operation.
#1 AmeriGlide Horizon Standard Stair Lift
This stair lift by Ameriglide is a great option if you are looking for a suitable unit for a steep staircase. It is designed to mount on staircases with angles as steep as 55°. This lift is operated using a leaver and features a cozy swivel seat along with arm and footrests that fold. Once folded compact, the lift locks in place which doubles up as a safety measure especially with kids around. Another safety feature is the lap belt attached to the seat to keep one secured as the lift moves.
It is custom cut to fit the specific dimensions of your staircase and so it is vital to give your supplier the right measurements. It is powered by electricity through a standard AC outlet connection. Its controller is located conveniently on the armrest where you’ll have no challenge with access and
Because it is a standard model, it moves on a maximum rail length of 14.75 feet and has a weight rating of 300 lb. Additionally, it is designed with a digital diagnostic display and comes with two remotes placed at the top and bottom of the stairs.
- Flexible armrests
- Good for staircases with up to 55° steep angle
- Digital diagnostic display
- Controlled with a lever which is good for people with a challenge using their hands, for instance, those with arthritis
- May not work in case of a blackout
#2 Nautilus Stair Lift
Naulitus stair lift elevator, measuring 19 inches in length and 17 inches in depth, features a worm drive system and therefore needs no greasing. This eliminates the likelihood of your carpet and floor getting smudged with grease. It is also powered by a rechargeable battery whose charger needs the standard AC connection and will charge when the lift is parked either at the top or bottom of the stairs.
A unique feature about this lift is that rather than being installed on the wall like most others, it mounts onto the steps. It is custom cut to fit the specific dimensions of your staircase to maximize its utility and is operated by remote control.
Another impressive feature is that both the armrests and the stair lift chair fold compact to 10.5 inches which should be convenient when not in use or when using it for other tasks such as transporting your laundry or luggage up or downstairs. Finally, this lift is designed with an alarm that beeps to indicate that you have secured it in position.
- Mounted on steps
- Worm drive eliminates the use of grease
- Designed with a safety alarm
- Produces some humming noise during operation but not enough to distract
#3 Harmar Stair lift
Hamar’s AC 350 straight stair lift is an excellent option if you are looking for high adjustability and comfort. It is designed with a 3-position backrest, a seat that folds up and footrests that adjust to two height settings to accommodate the user’s different needs. Its seat is wider at 22 inches compared to those of other ordinary lifts and features maximum comfort thanks to its thick padding and upholstery. However, the standard model comes with a 19 inches wide seat.
It is electrically powered. It is compatible with a standard 115 VAC connection available in most if not all households. It is designed with Rocker control which moves the lift when pressed and stops it when released. This doubles as a safety function.
This lift is custom cut to fit your staircase specific dimensions and comes with an extruded aluminum track, also custom cut, on which the lift’s carriage is mounted. It is mounted on to your steps and comes with separate controls positioned at the top and bottom of the staircase.
The AC 350 stairlift comes with a weight rating of 350 lb.
- Can mount on the left or right side of the staircase
- 3-position backrest
- Extra wide seat
- Will not operate without power
- Plugs only at the top of the stairs
#4 Chariot-Vantage Stair Lift
The Vantage stair lift by Chariot is a great option for those who are looking for a simplistic design in a lift. It features a rack and pinion drive system and has a speed regulator integrated into its design allowing the user to set a comfortable speed as needed. Because its drive system uses grease, the gear rack comes with a cover to prevent the grease from messing your floor or carpet. It is battery powered and will keep you going a while during power-outs.
This lift is mounted on an anodized rail and will sit well on a staircase with up to 45° angle. It folds compact to 13.6 inches and comes with a weight rating of 300 lb. Its package includes two wireless remotes for operating the lift from the top or bottom of the staircase. It is designed with a comfortable upholstered stair lift chair.
- Easy to install
- Designed with a speed regulator which allows the user to set a comfortable speed
- Uses grease which can mess your carpet or floor
A stair rail is definitely important if it facilitates you to use the stairs. During purchase, it is important to consult an occupational therapist for recommendations. Secondly, there is no shortcut to doing your research. Checking stair lift reviews, comparing different models, and consulting different professionals in the field helps you to make the right choice. Because most stairlifts are custom made, it may not be possible to return once installed. For this reason, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and provide accurate information for you to get the right fitting.