Which is the best Stair lift?
The better question will include “ for me?” The answer will take into consideration your physical condition, weight, mobility, as well as stairway and home design features like hallways, doors, overheads etc. Most of today’s stair lifts have proven track records for dependability and safety. If you have a narrow staircase you will want a stair lift that folds to 11 inches and fits tight to the wall. If you use a walker and have a narrow hallway perpendicular to the bottom of the stairs you will want a hinged or sliding track to keep the hallway clear.
We carry world class, top manufactures certified by national labs across the globe. Access Done Easy personnel can help you quickly and easily choose from a variety of options and choices. Please feel free to call us and let us help you with a free consultation for the best stair lift solution for your home.
Will a stair lift fit on my stairs?
Most modern stairs will accommodate a stair lift. Most older ones too. The first thing is the width. We can fit treads as narrow as 28 inches. We have lifts that fold back to 11 inches leaving ample room for a 6 foot 6 inch guest to pass by. With special techniques we can install on stairs allowing a door at the top to close and maintain a comfortable seat height. We can install rails that automatically lift or slide out of the way if the rail at the bottom protrudes into a critical area.
We specialize in offering solutions to any challenging situation. We offer free consultations, just give us a call.
Can I install a stair lift myself?
Yes and No. We sell Do it yourself (DIY) Harmar and Summit units that we can ship directly to you, are easy to set up and designed for self-installation. You must be careful though as some municipalities require inspections and installation by certified technicians. You are responsible for compliance with local codes for your area.
Some manufacturers require installation by factory-authorized dealers. Those cannot be installed per manufacturer agreement. The Harmar Pinnacle and all Handicare stair lifts are dealer installation only.
How much does a stair lift cost?
Less than half a month in a nursing home! A new stair lift itself can range from $1800 for a basic DIY straight model to tens of thousands of dollars for multi-level custom curved commercial units with park positions. Industry prices are often affected by code laws that may require inspections, licensed installations, and permit fees. Some of the more restrictive municipalities (mostly cities) can cost the consumer $500 for compliance. The same lift installed in Olathe Kansas will cost $200 more in Kansas City Missouri because of the cost for permits and inspections. Industry sales figures for a high quality professionally installed standard unit run an average of between $2200 to $3700.
Custom units tend to run more than straights and it depends on the complexity of the staircase. While the might be gotten as cheap as $5300 for a simple turn, the average cost is about 3 to 4 times what you might pay is you had multiple straight lifts installed.
Why do custom stair lifts cost so much more than straight stair lifts?
Custom Curved stair lifts are unique to the set of stairs they go on. Each staircase is surveyed and the rail is engineered with a CAD (Computer Aided Design) system to ensure a tight fit with tolerances of 1/32 of an inch. Each rail is then individually bent and fitted to the other sections for a perfect match. The chair and its chassis are a more complex design. As the slope of the rail changes from a flat turn to the angle of the stairs, the chair must adjust to keep the rider straight up and down as in a normal seat. Some seats even automatically swivel to provide space in tight stairways. All of this engineering adds cost. The price advantage becomes narrower as the number of flights increases. It may even be cheaper for a custom stair lift where there are 4 or more straight flights.
Straight rails are relatively inexpensive because they are extruded. Much like those Play dough toys that would form long shapes of dough as you pushed on a lever and chopped them to size, straight rails can be quickly and easily made. And since the rail is at a fixed angle, the chassis angle only needs to be plumbed once for a comfortable ride.
What are the advantages of a Custom stair lift versus a straight stair lift?
Two straight lifts are often less expensive that one curved unit. Straight stair lifts are a stock item and can be installed within a days notice. They are also easier to re-sell when no longer needed.Custom lifts eliminate any mid-flight transitioning. This is especially important for riders who have difficulty getting in and out of seats, or who may lose there balance when they first stand up. The loss of balance can be a cause great anxiety; having one seat that goes all the way up relieves the stress of changing seats between floors.
Custom or curved stair lifts can take up less room on the stairs. There is only one seat to walk around, and if need be it can be parked out of the way for easier traffic flow. This comes in handy for active households, or in stairways where items are carried or moved.Esthetically the rails and seat can be color coordinated to match décor.Custom lifts can take from 3 to 8 weeks depending on model demand and factory backlog. These times change seasonally and everybody tries to be in the 3-week or faster range.
Can the Stair lift be locked out to prevent unauthorized use?
This is often a qualifying question when making a decision on which is the best stair lift for you. Many lifts come with a standard keyed lockout switch. Some are optional. Some you may have to put a little luggage type lock through a bracket. There are still some price leading (inexpensive) models do not have the capability to lock them.
How much weight can a stair lift carry?
The weight capacity of a stair lift can be found in our comparison chart, typical limits are 285 lbs, 302 lbs, 350lbs, 400 lbs and 500lbs. As they weight capacity increases the seats typically get wider and the chair lift itself may take up more room to allow room for the wider chair to swivel at the top of the stairs.
Can kids ride a stair lift?
Of course! But there are considerations. We believe stairlifts are a tool to be celebrated. We often hear stories of happy childhood memories of kids who had a relative with an old stairway elevator or stairglide that gave them years of play. Nowadays there are much more safety features, but this can lead to a false sense of security. There should always be adult supervision. Having an amusement ride in the house requires the same sense of liability as an amusement park ride. For the occasional rider, they should fit well and stay still it is possible they can be too small. The seat belt should be used to help keep them upright and seated. They should travel in the same direction without making stops until the reach the end, and only then change directions.
For children who are the primary user, there are seats sized to accommodate a smaller frame. This should be a key qualifying feature when deciding which is your best stair lift. We can help with this selection process.
Is there a cheap stair lift?
Yes there are cheap stair lifts. It may be semantics for some, but you don’t want a cheap product, you want an inexpensive quality one. There is always a compromise between cost and usability. When the line of cost savings crosses the dependability or durability threshold the unit becomes cheap.
When budgeting you will want to consider the cost of purchase AND the cost of ownership. Some cost little to purchase and install, but there could be an issue of regular maintenance that drives up the cost of ownership. While some may initially cost more, the cost of ownership could be very low because of greaseless operation or smart engineering. Our sales staff is trained to help you understand the details of different designs and features and help choose a budget/feature balance that you are comfortable with.
What’s better? AC/DC, Household current versus Battery operation?
The advantages for AC operation is cost. They are the lowest cost motor and by eliminating batteries there are no replacement costs involved. Often very inexpensive and reliable. The downside is that they are more susceptible to power surges, and they will not work in a power outage. If you want a stair lift to the basement for those pesky tornados or severe thunderstorms, they you may want to consider something that can get you out if you lose power.
Another consideration is that they may have the additional cost of an added 120v circuit. Most AC units will pull 8 amps of peak power. If that is on a shared 15-amp outlet, it is possible to blow a fuse or breaker, leaving you stranded mid flight. By code any device that pulls more than half the rated outlet amperage (usually 15 amps in a house) should be on a dedicated line. A typical basement installation will find minimal outlets in the basement or outlets shared with a de-humidifier, or freezer that could overload if both devices are in use at the same time.
Many manufacturers prefer Battery operation. It offers a little more surge protection in that the AC to DC converter can suffer the brunt of the power surge and often sacrifice itself leaving the motherboard protected. They typically only draw 3 amps max, allowing them to be safely plugged into any outlet or shared circuit. Very quiet operation. Some models have the noise profile of an electric razor! They work in a blackout! If you are using them for storm protection, they will have the power to get you up and out when the lights are out! Almost all standard and upper scale stairlifts are only available with batteries. So if you need certain options, they may only be available on battery operated models.
The downside to stair lift batteries, like all others is that they need periodic replacement. A typical lift will have two 12v 7 amp/hour sealed gel cell batteries that will last 4 to 6 years with normal use (1-8 round trips a day). Stair lifts (ac or dc) should be inspected and scheduled for maintenance once a year or more per manufactures recommendation. In real life many people go 2 years, or wait until something happens. Just like on a car, a little preventative maintenance can save you money. If we are out on a service, or regular maintenance call, and the batteries are 4 or 5 years old we will offer to change the batteries as only an additional parts cost, saving a future service call charge. If you have somebody handy around, you can often find these batteries at a battery store or electrical supply house for around $35 to $50 apiece.
What are some other common names for stair lifts?
Stair glide (stairglide), stairway elevator, stairway lift, chair lift (chairlift) are some common names.
Who knows all of this stuff?
Your local Access Done Easy dealer! 1-855-543-8632! Call toll free today. We’re here to help!