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Safety in the Home: What Is A Stairlift?

We're starting to see a lot of print and TV advertisements for stairlifts – targeted to the aging-in-place crowd. For that reason, we are publishing a series of posts focused on stairlifts (stair lifts) and the benefits they might have for families in need.

Just what is a stairlift and what considerations do you need to think about when researching them to remain safe in your own home? Let's dive in and look for some answers.

What are the different types of stairlifts?

A stairlift (or stair lift) is a mechanical device used to help lift people up and down the stairs. Stairlifts (stair lifts) are primarily targeted to aging individuals who can no longer navigate stairs because of mobility issues. Stairlifts also provide a great benefit to disabled folks who need assistance in multi-level homes or work sites.

#1. Straight Rail Stairlift

Safety in the Home: What Is A Stairlift?

A straight rail stairlift is the most common of all the stairlift products on the market. They are fairly easy to install and work well for the staircase that is straight (without curves). Straight rail stairlifts can be installed in a matter of hours, and require minimal training for the user(s).

#2. Curved Rail Stairlift

A curved rail stairlift is a custom stairlift that requires a bit more planning than the traditional straight rail stairlift. Because it's custom-made (to the curvature of your staircase), these type stairlifts can take up to 8 weeks to order and install. The curved rail stairlift can wrap around an associated wall so as to tuck-away, out of site.

Have you been thinking about adding a stairlift to your home?  Get a quote from top installers first.

#3. Wheelchair or Platform Chairlift

The wheelchair (or platform) type chairlift is a more industrial apparatus that allows for the heavy lifting of a person and their wheelchair. You'll see many of the wheelchair platform chairlifts in public buildings or larger homes that can accommodate for a larger style chairlift.

#4. Outdoor Chairlift

Outdoor chairlifts are similar to those mentioned above with the exception of weatherproofing to protect them from the elements.

How Much Do Stairlifts Cost?

The average cost of a stairlift consists of a number of factors, but the most influential being the distance (or length) the stairlift has to travel.  BuyerZone, a popular marketplace that matches consumers with service professionals states that the average stairlift installation cost ranges between $2,000 and $10,000 depending on the type of chairlift and length of the chairlift.

Other Considerations for Stairlifts

When considering the purchase of a stairlift, there are many other considerations to think about and plan for.

Some other things to think about include; the price of permitting, the electrical work required, the structural integrity of the staircase, back-up batteries, and more.

We strongly recommend that you hire a professional to install your stairlift so it is safe, up to code, and installed properly the first time around!

11 Comments

  1. My brother plans to build a house that he can live in, but since he’s physically disabled, he has to have a way to lift himself between floors while he’s in a wheelchair. Thanks for saying that there are platform chairlifts that he can have installed in his future house so he won’t need assistance in case he’s alone at home. I think I’ll help him find a company that sells these since this will help him a lot in many situations.
  2. My father is disabled so he might need an in-home stair lift to help him up the stairs. Since the staircase is curved, I might install a curved stairlift for him to use. I might purchase some lifts between $2000 to $10000 as you mentioned since it depends on the length of the staircase how much I need to spend, but I’ll see what I can find.
    1. Hi John, When the lift is not in use, the arms, seat, and footrest will fold up so that others can still use the staircase by foot. There is a folding rail option (manual or power) that will prevent the rail from sticking out at the bottom of the stairs.
  3. Thank you for this article. I am planing to install a stairlift sometime in the future as my mobility has declined in the last few years and I can see the handwritting on the wall. I do not want to leave my home so will be handicap accessorizing in the future.
  4. I was wondering whenever I saw stair lifts in action they appear to go very slowly. Now I understand for safety reasons they must do that but is there a standard that is used on what speed they can go up to?
  5. Thank you for sharing some unbiased and truthful information about stairlifts. It should be noted that there is a company or two that have some really powerful marketing programs. They are very heavily advertised on television and in many print advertising publications. These two well known companies have call centers located in Orlando, Florida; Colordao, and the other in Raleigh, North Carolina. They do not have offices and locations throughout the country. Consumers that are seeking to purchase a stairlift should first consult with a local dealer. A local dealer will be a person that has a local phone number, a local address, and a local community resident that comes out to complete a free in home assessment. Many times they will even have a local store where a consumer can go try a stairlift, although that isn’t necessarily a solid indicator. A local dealer can provide the service after the sale that so many struggle to find when they have purchased a stairlift from a television ad or a national print publication. We provide a free home estimate, free installation, and impeccable service after the sale and warranty support on all the stairlifts that we sell. I appreciate your well written article and your passion for sharing truth with seniors about products that are intended for them. I will be adding a link to your site on mine.
  6. Thanks for this great information. I really happy to read your post. My child is an autism spectrum disorder. So I want to install this stair lift for my house. Have a good day.
  7. I really appreciate you helping me learn more about a stairlift. I believe my mom needs to read this article since my dad has an injury and cannot walk properly. This will help them with their mobility issues at home.

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