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Types of Stairway Lifts

There are three main types of stair lifts available, although variations of each, depending on a user's needs.

  • Straight staircase lifts - Straight stair lifts are used on normal household stairs that go straight up.

Each type of stair way lift has its own drive. The "drive" is what powers the chair portion of the lift to the next floor.

There are four types of drives currently on the market. They are:

  • Cable Drives - Cable drives use a cable system, similar to those used on elevators.

  • Screw Drives - Screw drives use an actuator driven by a screw and powered by a rechargeable battery.

  • Chain Drives - Chain drives operate on a chain system, similar to cable drives. Chain drives are rarely used. They are found in the heavy-duty models.

  • Rack and Pinion Drives - Rack and pinion drives are the most popular types of drives. They operate as gear-and-teeth drives.

Who Needs Stairway Lifts?

Stairway lifts can be used by anyone with mobility issues that make it
difficult to climb stairs. This technology allows the user to freely navigate
all levels of the home. The elderly may need it to reach upper-level
bedrooms and bathrooms.

Anyone suffering from arthritis, broken or sprained limbs, or back and hip
problems can benefit from them. Women who are pregnant may also
need the use of a stairway lift.

Best Features

If choosing to install a stairway lift in your current home, research
the particular features that are especially important in your situation.

First, decide what type of stairway lift is needed. Does the staircase need a straight or curved stairway lift?

Then, investigate the the weight requirements. How much weight do you want your lift to accommodate? Do you want it to operate by remote control?

Other important features available in various systems include:

  • Obstruction sensors - Some lifts for staircases come with an obstruction sensor that stops the mechanism if an item or object is on the stairway or rail.

  • Seatbelts - Most units come equipped with seatbelts.

  • Swivel seats - Swivel seats allow the user to get in and out of the chair safely.

  • Customization - Choosing a stair case lift that allows you to paint, change chair fabrics or fold the chair down when not in use makes it easy to be incorporated into any home decor style.

Advantages and Disadvantages to Stairway Lifts

There are many advantages to installing the proper stair glide system in a home. The main advantage is that it allows those who cannot access the upper levels of a house to gain access quite easily and safely. An outdoor stair lift provides the advantage of allowing the user to gain access into their home also safely and easily, when there is a stair case entrance to a home.

The only real disadvantage to stairway lifts is the cost. Chair lifts can range in price from a few thousand to much more. The price generally increases in direct relation to additional features and accessories. Medicare does not cover the cost of stairway lifts.

Typical Stairway Lift Prices

Stairway lift prices start at around $3,000.00 and increase from there. They can cost as much as $15,000.00, depending on the staircase requirement within the home, as well as the accessories added. However, this cost generally includes the cost of professional installation.

Some cities and towns do require a permit to install a stairway lift, which also increases the price in certain locales.

Although Medicare does not cover the cost of stair gliders, there are many agencies that can help with loans and grants. You can find further financial information about lifts at these agencies:

  • Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD

  • Federal Housing Administration, FHA

  • Private Health Insurance

  • Area Agency on Aging

  • Department of Family and Children Services

  • Rural Housing Services

  • Veterans Administration

The IRS also offers tax rebates on certain home modifications, including the installation of stair lifts. For more information, consult a professional tax preparer.

You may also want to consider purchasing a used stair lift that is under warranty by a reputable dealer. This can provide huge savings when compared to the cost of a new lift system. If you don't want to purchase a system at all, some dealers offer stair lift rentals that may suit your needs, without the added expense of buying the complete home mobility product.

Installation Requirements

While many people love a good DIY project, who will install your stairway lift should be carefully considered. Many states do not allow for self-installation. In addition, warranties may be voided if this home modification product is self-installed.

The installation of staircase lifts falls under state building codes, as well as local county and city building codes. It is recommended that you check with a reputable dealer or with your local building inspector about the particular restrictions in your area.

A professional installation is generally the wisest choice because the work is performed by an experienced installer and the work is guaranteed under the accompanying warranty.

However, there are certain circumstances when a DIY stair lift makes perfect sense. If so, dealers such as Ameriglide actually sell stairlift systems for the home installer.

Where to Buy Stair Gliders

A home lift system can be purchased online, from a professional national dealer, or in some larger home improvement stores in your area. Research carefully before buying a stairway lift.

Always make sure that the installation and product itself are guaranteed under a solid warranty. Also, be informed about who will perform any necessary repairs should you have any problems in the future.

Top Stairway Lift Companies

There are a variety of stairway lift companies from which to choose. However, there are several companies have risen to the top of the heap, when it comes to providing a quality product and outstanding service.

These companies have been generally rated the highest by consumers, as well as by the Better Business Bureau. Their installations meet the requirements of both state and city levels in just about any area of the country. They also provide outstanding customer service and quality.

  • Acorn
  • Bruno
  • AmeriGlide
  • ThyssenKrupp Access

Payment Options

Don't let the high price of this advanced mobility aid for the home discourage you. Talk to a dealer about the payment plans and grant options that they recommend. Also, it's possible to receive an even lower price if you decide to rent a stair lift.

Leasing or renting is a good idea because the cost is typically lower, plus if you even want to sell it, there is definitely a market for used stair lifts. Additionally, the warranty stays in effect for the entire period the unit is used.

Additional Tips

When choosing a residential lift system for your home or for the home of a loved one, make sure that the chair is comfortable, sturdy, and offers the appropriate weight limit for your needs. Look for a warranty on all parts of stairway lift, including the chair, drive and rails.

For More Information:

Stairway Lifts: What You Need
to Know About Stair Lifts

Stairway lifts offer the perfect mobility solution for accessing staircases both indoors and out.  If you're interested in installing a stair lift system, here's what you need to know.

Stairway lifts make it easier for the elderly
and the disabled to easily navigate various
types of stair cases to reach the upper
levels of their homes.

The first home stair lifts were installed in
homes during the 1930s. They were
developed by the Inclinator Company of
America and sold to those who suffered
from the crippling effects of polio.

What are Stairway Lifts?

Stairway lifts are transportation devices, in a chair form, that glides along an installed track system in a home or outdoors. The track is connected to the wall along a staircase or to the staircase itself.

While a staircase lift is designed for carrying a person up and down the stairs, it can also be used to transport groceries, medical supplies, laundry and luggage.

Stairway lifts are also referred to as:

  • chair lifts
  • stair gliders
  • stair lifts
  • stair case lifts

Most stair lifts operate on battery power, so there is no need for electrical cords or cables.

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