A Stair lift is a wonderful solution for people with mobility issues who have trouble with steps. Stair lifts are designed to carry you up and down the stairs in a safe seated position, giving easy access to the second story or basement level of your home.
A stair lift can help keep your independence and more importantly allow you to stay in your home if stairs become an obstacle. It is good to plan ahead and get a stair lift in place before getting up and down the stairs gets too difficult. Many serious injuries are caused each year by people falling down the steps, when a stair lift may have prevented the accident. The cost of a stair lift is far less expensive than moving or having a serious injury!
The basic types of stair lifts that are sold today are:
straight or curved / indoor or outdoor / standard duty or heavy duty / battery powered or AC powered
Lets review each type individually. A straight stair lift is one that travels in a straight line up a flight of stairs uninterrupted by landings, bends or curves, and typically costs between $2000 and $5,000. Straight stair lifts can be installed by the home-owner or a contractor, but it is recommended that a professional stair lift contractor do the install, and some states require permits or licensed installers.
Curved stair lifts are much more elaborate and will go around corners, bends across landings and changes in direction. Curved lifts are also much more expensive typically running between $10,000 and $15,000 or more depending on the complexity of the installation. Curved stair lifts are complicated and precise installations and would have to be measured and installed by a professional.
Outdoor stair lifts can be straight or curved. Outdoor stair lifts are weatherproof and can be installed in any environment.
Heavy duty stair lifts can have weight capacities of up to 500 lbs, and heavy duty stair lifts are typically only for straight stairs only. The heavy duty models come with wider seats and heavier duty components.
You also have the option of choosing between an electric (AC) and a battery powered (DC) stair lift. Battery powered units charge automatically when they are not in use. They are quieter and smoother than electric lifts, and will work even if there’s a power failure in the home.
Stair lifts mount to the stairs, not to the wall, so they are very sturdy and can be installed in or outside almost any home or building, on wooden or cement stairs. Most stair lifts available today have folding seats, armrests and footplates that fold up out of the way to allow more room in the staircase and swivel seats that make getting on and off the lift easier. They also come with standard safety features like seatbelts, braking systems and footrest sensors that will stop the stairlift if there is an obstruction on the steps like clothing, a small pet, or if your foot would happen to slip off the footrest, the footrest safety would stop the lift. Push-button or rocker-switch controls are located on the armrest for easy operation, and “call / send” remote controls allow you to call or send the unit to the other end of the stairs.