Stair Lifts Tips and Resources
Things to know about stair lifts before you buy
- Stair lifts are not ideal for people in wheelchairs. Consider a different type of lift such as a vertical or inclined platform lift.
- Overloading a stair lift can cause the lift to stop working properly. It is important to choose a unit with the appropriate weight capacity for the user.
- It is possible to buy a straight stair lift for a do-it-yourself installation. Like many DIY projects, it is important to know what is involved before you choose this option. You may need to hire an electrician to ensure power is available where you need it. You will also have to be able to lift the rail and the chair and chassis, and you will need to carefully follow installation instructions including proper and safe securement to the stairs.
- Don’t be in the dark! Be sure to have the area well lit at the top and at the bottom of your stairs where you will be getting on and off.
- There are additional power features available for some stair lifts such as a power folding footrest or a power seat swivel. These extra-cost features can be handy, but if you do not need them, you may want to forgo them as they add complexity to the ongoing service of your stair lift and can suffer from breakdowns.
Stair lifts are mechanical devices. They may require service from time to time to keep them running properly. Budget $100–$200 for annual maintenance. The owner’s manual should include a schedule to follow.
- Some dealers offer simple maintenance programs for which you pay an annual fee to have your lift serviced at regular intervals. These programs may also include 24-hour emergency service when needed. Ask your local dealer about service.
- One of the most common service calls occurs when the unit is not being charged properly. Make sure to park the stair lift fully into the charging station that may be located at the top and at the bottom landing.
- Some stair lifts feature a diagnostic display that identifies service issues with a number code or a trouble light. This helps the homeowner identify the problem.
- Stair lifts may stop if one of the safety features triggers it to do so, such as the obstruction sensor or the seat swivel. Check for obstructions under the footrest and make sure that the seat is locked into position and not in the swivel position.
Stair Lift Manufacturers
Many stair lift companies have headquarters in Europe including Stannah, Acorn, Harmar and Handicare. Bruno and Savaria are based in North America. Both Bruno and Savaria also make other accessibility lifts for home and commercial uses.
Stair lift construction does not differ significantly from the major manufacturers, and all these major companies must meet basic safety standards. Pricing for straight stair lifts is generally within the same range, with more expensive models offering power features. Manufacturers also make this product under different brand names for distributors and dealers. See our stair lift comparison chart.
Some companies will rent stair lifts for short-term use. Rental programs usually have a cost to install and remove the unit, but renting is a good option if you only need it for a short time.
If you no longer need your stair lift, you may be able to re-sell it. Some dealers may be interested in buying it back, or you can list it on Craigslist or other similar websites.
Stair Lifts FAQs
What is a continuous charge stair lift?
Most stair lifts are battery powered and are charged on the travel rail. A continuous charge stair lift charges the lift along the full length of the rail, rather than just at the top or bottom of the rail.
I am in a wheelchair, can I use a stair lift?
In many cases, a stair lift is not the right choice if you are a wheelchair user. But if you can transfer to and from the lift easily, you may be able to use it. If you use a wheelchair, your healthcare professional (such as an occupational therapist) can provide you the best answer about your ability to use a stair lift.
How much does a curved stair lift cost?
A simple curved stair lift, including the installation, starts at $7,500 and can cost upwards of $20,000 depending on the complexity of your stairs.
Should I buy a used stair lift?
You may be able to locate a gently used stair lift that can save you money upfront. Reputable dealers selling recycled equipment will sell products they know they can get parts for and may even provide a warranty which reduces the risk of buying used. Contact Silver Cross if you are looking for recycled equipment.
I want to sell my stair lift, where can I go?
If you have a unit for sale that was purchased within the last two or three years, you may find a dealer interested in buying it. The dealer will value the product more if it is a current model with readily available parts.
I need a stair lift for short term, can I rent one?
Some dealers offer short-term rentals or rent-to-own programs. Remember that generally a rental fee will include the installation and removal fee as well as the usage fee.
Will insurance pay for my stair lift?
Private health insurance companies may pay for your stair lift, and you may qualify for full or partial payment from other funding sources (U.S.A., Canada) depending on your personal financial situation or employment status. Your local dealer is the best resource for assistance with what is available in your region.
Can I get a tax deduction for my stair lift?
You may be able to claim the purchase of the stair lift as a medical expense if your health care provider deems the product necessary for your medical condition.
I need service for my stair lift, who can I call?
The best company to service is usually the company that installed your stair lift, so call them first. If your product has a warranty, you likely must use the original installing dealer to service your unit. If you are not sure who installed it, contact the manufacturer to see if they can help you.
What company makes the best stair lift?
The major brands listed on the Silver Cross web site have all been building and selling stair lifts for many years. The major components of this product are very similar among brands. The best stair lift is the one that fits your needs and is sold to you by your local dealer to ensure that the product is properly installed and can be serviced in the future if any problems arise. Check the stair lift comparison chart.