How to Choose a Stair Lift
5 Tips on How to Choose a Stair Lift
1. Know your stairs
If your stairs are a single flight of straight stairs, you can use a straight stair lift. Any other configuration requires a curved stair lift. Some people install two straight stair lifts when there is an intermediate landing, and then they transfer from one unit to the next, but this is not a great solution since you risk falling during the transfer.
2. Consider important features
A seat swivel feature at the top and bottom of the stairs can be handy to have on a straight stair lift because getting on and off the stairs is done facing away from the stairs. Other features might also be on your list, such as an error code display to see any service issues.
3. Find the right fit
Get out your scales and measuring tape to see what chair will fit you best. Choose a stair lift with the appropriate weight capacity. Sit in a normal dining chair to see how much width you may need to fit comfortably on the seat, or look for a unit with an adjustable arm width to give you the room you need. You can also ensure you like the fit by trying chairs out at a store with a showroom.
4. Choose a reputable brand
Choosing a new stair lift from a national brand often means you will receive a parts warranty to cover any defects. Compare using our list. It may be possible to source a previously owned stair lift if you have a limited budget, but be sure to do your research on the unit or buy from a known reseller rather than an individual.
5. Consider your surroundings
If your stair width is less than 30 inches, it may be very difficult to install a stair lift because you may not have enough clearance for your knees. If you have a door at the top or bottom landing, you may want to consider a flip-up or zero clearance rail option that keeps the stair lift from intruding on the door area. Consider a curved stair lift to allow you to park the unit out the way or very close to the bottom of the stairs (drop-nose parking).
You may also want to choose a curved stair lift if you want to “park” the unit around a corner at the top or the bottom of the stairs to give you free access to the stairs when the chair is not in use. Parking the lift away from the stairs also allows you to get on and off well away from the edge of the stairs.