10 Best Stairlift Companies of 2018 [Buyer's Guide]
Reviews and comparisson of the Best Stair Lifts. We give you the Top Stair Lifts that promotes mobility and independence for seniors and people with disabilities.
Stairlifts are motorized lifts in the shape of a chair, designed to be raised or lowered on a rail system at the edge of both curved and straight staircases, to carry passenger between floors. Stairlifts are usually either AC-powered, by connecting to a home’s electrical grid, or battery-operated. While the former only requires routine maintenance, the latter need periodic battery changes as well. Some manufacturers offer a third option, with stairlifts that run off the property’s electricity, but include a backup battery system as well, so that a power outage doesn’t leave users stranded mid-stairwell.
Stairlifts can be purchased and installed permanently for people with limited mobility due to age or certain medical conditions, or rented and installed temporarily for those who have had an accident or for some other reason cannot navigate stairs. Essentially, stairlifts allow users to remain in their multi-level homes, without being relegated to one level, despite mobility issues. Individuals who simply have difficulties climbing stairs, need crutches, or have balance problems, can all benefit from the convenience of a stairlift.
When comparing different stairlifts, the first thing is to determine whether it will be needed permanently or simply responds to a temporary mobility issue. Next, it’s important to set a budget, and decide whether the best choice is a refurbished or new lift. In any case, consumers should be aware that straight stair lifts are always less expensive than curved (new stairlifts usually cost between $2,500 and $5,000 for straight stairs, while prices can reach as much as $9,000 for curved ones). Finally, it’s important to consider the stairlift’s seat and safety features, call and send controls, and the service included in the company’s contract, including the warranty. An educated consumer is an empowered one, so we urge prospective stairlift buyers to thoroughly research the companies they’re looking at, and see whether they offer 24/7 customer care, repairs, servicing and maintenance, removals, and refittings.
Often, consumers will put off the purchase of a stairlift until they have become too frail to use one without assistance, thinking that it will be out of their budget. However, many vendors and manufacturers also sell refurbished or reconditioned lifts, which are held to the same high quality standards as their new products, with many of the same guarantees. Other possible pitfalls can occur when buying stairlifts online (which means consumers will still have to pay shipping and installation costs, as well as any repairs, negating possible savings). On top of it all, as the lift wasn’t purchased directly from a dealer or manufacturer, the installation will usually be done by a handyman, who may not have prior experience in lifts and may therefore make a mistake or install a part incorrectly.
Top 10 Companies
- Narrowest and lightest stairlift in the industry
- Ergonomically designed seat features
- Customizable stairlifts
- Heavy duty stairlift option has up to 600 lbs. weight capacity
- 3-Year warranty on components, 10-Year on gear rack, 1-Year on batteries
- Operable in a power outage, up to 60 trips
- Heavy-duty stairlifts with up to 500 lbs. capacity
- Prices start at $1,054
- Nationwide professional installation available
- DIY-Installation stairlifts
- Factory reconditioned and used units available
- Get exclusive deals and daily tips
- No obligation to purchase
- Find local contractors in your area
- Wide network of stair lift contractors to choose from
- Fast and easy online search
- Foldable Stairlifts
- A proud sponsor of ASPHP
- Stairlift visualization program
- Large array of customizable options
- Free, zero obligation quote
- Fully customizable stairlifts
- Free, zero obligation stairlift sssessment
- BBB-accredited, with an A+ rating
- Offers both rental and short-term use stairlifts
- Provides broad range of stairlifts
- Extended guarantee offered
- Over 200 dealers nationwide
- Free in-home evaluation
- Factory-Certified technicians
- Full array of accessibility products and installations for the home
- 1-Year Limited Service Warranty
- Rental and pre-owned equipment options
- Indoor and outdoor solutions
- 65 locations nationwide
- Bruno, Handicare, & Harmar dealer
- Maid in USA
- BBB Accredited with an A+ grade
- Patented swivel technology
- 5-year warranty on major components
- Continuous charging stairlifts
- ISO certified stairlift manufacturer
- Offices in 40 states
- 24-hour technical support available
- Provider of stairlifts from Brooks, Acorn, and Harmar
- Reconditioned stairlifts available
- 90-day limited warranty
- Indoor and outdoor models
- Online install estimator
- Division of Ascent Mobility
- View average home project quotes using the True Cost Guide
- Book appointments instantly through their mobile app
- On-demand platform
- Pre-screened licensed service professionals
- Full access to ratings
- Real-live support
- Exclusive deals from highly rated companies
- Join for free
- Detailed, verified reviews on local companies
How We Compare Stair Lifts
Stairlifts come in a variety of models and types, designed for both comfort and ease of operation. Manufacturers offer an assortment of models for consumers to choose from, for both curved and straight rail options. Though the prospect of picking a stairlfit may seem daunting at first, customers can take a number of steps to make the process easier. Users should thoroughly consider their home's layout and their specific needs. Some important considerations include whether the stairlift should be on the inside or outside of the home, what weight capacity it needs to handle, which type of rail system will be necessary, and how the stairlift will be powered. Consumers can then focus on the type of switch that's most convenient (buttons, joysticks, remote controls, ect), upholstery colors and fabrics, and even the type of trim the chair may have. In any case, it's always a good idea to do some research before beginning comparison shopping, and to have a list of requirements that need checking off, so consumers can purchase or rent the stairlift best suited to their needs.
There are different stairlift models, which are suitable for every type of staircase and patient. For instance, aside from the more traditional straight and curved rail models, some manufacturers also offer models specifically for children, heavy-duty models for people who require a higher weight capacity, and standing models to accommodate users with back problems. Outdoor models are another option, which usually feature weather-proofing that allows them to withstand the elements.
When considering the different features they'd like for their stairlift, it's best to begin with the most basic settings, such as the way the lift will be powered (whether electrically or via a rechargeable battery). This is particularly important in areas where there are frequent power outages or shortages, as a battery-run lift would be a better option, so as to never leave a user stranded mid-trip. Equally important at this initial point is deciding the type of control that's most convenient for the user, whether in button form, switches, or joysticks.
Other features, on the other hand, are standard on most stairlift models, such as armrests, padded seats and backrests, or adjustable seat heights. However, some manufacturers go the extra mile, and provide users with a large range of customization options, including upholstery fabric and color, or different trims and finishings.
Though operating a stairlift is fairly easy and straightforward, models usually have an assortment of safety features meant to ensure their proper functioning. For instance, footrest sensors stop the stairlift if they meet an obstruction, sending the chair back to its point of origin. Other features have to do with powering and moving the lift itself, such as its braking systems, switch or joystick controls, remote controls for calling the chair, or sensors which prevent the lift from working if the user isn't seated correctly. Though all stairlifts have seat belts, some also offer the option of body harnesses, which are particularly useful for epileptic users. Finally, most stairlifts also include child-proof safety features, to keep out not just children, but other unauthorized users.
Additional services are the solutions the installer may offer beyond the standard support over the phone or email. Online chat, 24-hour repair or 24/7 customer support can all offer a greater level of comfort and security, ensuring that consumers are well taken care of. Finally, it's a good idea to consider whether stairlift maintenance or removal are also offered by the installer, manufacturer, or dealer.
Contract and Plan Details25%
When shopping for stairlifts, customers should first decide whether they should purchase a stairlift outright, or can simply rent. If the need for the lift is due to a temporary condition which will probably last less than eighteen months, then rental may be a more cost-effective option. However, consumers should be aware that the type of stairs they have will also be a deciding factor in rental vs purchase options. Curved stairwells, or those with a landing, are often (if not always) custom-designed, making it extremely difficult to find refurbished or used stairlifts that can be repurposed for a new installation. Another option with similar constraints is purchasing a refurbished or reconditioned lift, which is held to the same exacting standards as new products, and often come with the same or similar warranties as new lifts.
Another important consideration is the lenght and coverage of any available warranty. Ideally, the warranty should cover any issue that affects normal operation of the stairlift, and should last a minimum of one year from the moment of installation. Knowledgeable customers will inquire whether any maintenance visits are included with the purchase of the stairlift, and the cost of each subsequent visit (if it isn't included, or when the warranty has expired). If the lift is battery-operated, it's important to know how often it will need to be replaced, and how much that will cost. Finally, if the stairlift is a used product, purchased directly from a private party and not a dealership, consumers should be aware that neither the parts nor the installation will be under a manufacturer's warranty, and any maintenance, replacements, or repairs will have to come completely out of their own pocket.
As mentioned above, choosing a contract type may seem simple, but the decision between purchase of a new stairlift, a used product, or renting does respond to a number of factors and should not be taken lightly. Before making any final determination, consumers should make sure that the stairlift they pick will be well-suited to their needs and specifications, and that it is also cost-effective.
Financing Options Available
Stairlifts are a large purchase, and most dealerships or manufacturers who sell directly to consumers understand that many users may find the expenditure exorbitant or out of their budget. For this reason, many companies offer financing deals or rental options (useful and cost-effective if the lift will be used for 18 months or late). However, even if the stairlift seller doesn't itself offer financing, consumers may be able to fund their lift in other ways, such as the United States Veteran's Administration, private insurance, grants, or even a loan from a financial institution.
Customer Service and Reputation25%
Installing a stairlift is a major home improvement project which comes at a considerable cost, and involves transporting a loved one on a mechanized chair, hopefully for many years to come, making it vitally important that the process is performed correctly, ensuring the user's safety. This is work that should only be done by a company that has experience successfully installing quality chairlift brands, as there are many moving parts which, if installed incorrectly, can cause the lift to either malfunction or work improperly.
Therefore, the twin considerations of quality products and excellent service are even more vital than the cost, though this is also an essential factor. When evaluating a company's reputation, first determine whether it is a manufacturer who sells directly to the consumer or through a licensed dealership model, as this will influence your subsequent research. For instance, some manufacturers sell directly, but only in their home country, preferring to work internationally through dealerships. The warranty and customer service will therefore be different, according to the dealership you purchase from. Installation and maintenance service may also vary, as they may be performed by in-house technicians or outsourced to independent contractors. Remember to keep this in mind when researching a company's reputation, as it may mean you might have to look into the manufacturer (to learn about the stairlift's reviews), the dealership (to find out about customer satisfaction with the sales representatives and warranty coverage), and the installer (to determine whether consumers are pleased with the installation process and subsequent maintenance service).
What's important to know about Stair Lifts?
- What is a stairlift?
- Who needs a stairlift?
- What's the difference between a stairlift and a wheelchair lift?
- Does Medicare cover the cost of a stairlift?
- Can I claim my stairlift as a tax deduction?
- What is the average cost of buying a stairlift?
- How much does it cost to rent a stairlift?
- How is a stairlift powered?
- How will my stairlift be installed?
- Are my stairs suitable for a stair lift?
- Can I install my own stairlift?
- How can I remove or de-install my stair lift?
- Should I buy a secondhand stair lift?
- Can I try the stair lift chair before I buy it?
What is a stairlift?
A stairlift, (also called a chairlift), is a motorized lift in the shape of a chair that's designed to be raised or lowered on a rail system at the edge of a staircase, carrying passengers between floors. These cane be either a permanent or temporary addition to a home.
Who needs a stairlift?
Stairlifts are designed to assist people who cannot go up or down the stairs in their home. They can provide continued mobility, independence, and comfort for many people, including the elderly, disabled, or those suffering from a long-term injury or sickness. People with mobility conditions such as Parkinson's or Huntington's may also benefit.
What's the difference between a stairlift and a wheelchair lift?
Wheel chair lifts are essentially just a platform for getting a wheelchair from one level to another. Though they are very similar to stairlifts, and also run alongside tracks on an existing staircase, wheelchair lifts are substantially larger and sturdier than a stairlift. Wheelchair lifts require a staircase a minimum of 36 inches wide, though some systems may need even more space.
Does Medicare cover the cost of a stairlift?
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers stairlifts as durable medical equipment, when prescribed by your doctor. However, most people will find that their coverage does not actually qualify, and Medicare's own website states that it will only offer coverage if your doctor and supplier are enrolled in Medicare. Otherwise, patients may be required to either rent or buy the lift.
Can I claim my stairlift as a tax deduction?
Stairlifts can be claimed as tax deductions with the IRS, when purchased at the request of a physician, via a prescription for health reasons. Just as other medical devices, equipment, home additions or supplements, stairlifts can be filed under deductions and credits, as a necessary medical expense. The cost of permanent improvements that increase a property's value may be partly included as a medical expense. The cost of the improvement is reduced by the increase in property value.
What is the average cost of buying a stairlift?
The average cost of buying a new stairlift system is approximately between $2,500 and $5,500 in the United States, for a straight staircase. Curved stairlifts are more expensive, however, as the system must navigate corners, bends, and changes in direction. Used stairlifts are usually around half of new ones.
How much does it cost to rent a stairlift?
The cost of renting a stairlift is usually composed of various different steps. First off, there is an installation, typically between $350-$600. Once the lift is installed, customers must pay a rental fee for a certain period, usually 3 months, at $180 to $300 per month. Finally, there is also a de-install fee of $300-$500. Customers must also pay a refundable deposit, which can vary ($200 - $800) depending on the equipment and home ownership situation. While they can be an excellent option, consumers should be aware that stairlift rentals are quite often limited to straight staircases, since curved lifts require custom rail construction.
How is a stairlift powered?
Stairlifts can be either battery- or AC-powered. Both types have pros and cons. Battery-operated stairlifts offer the advantage of working even if there's a power outage, though the batteries will need to be replaced periodically, creating an ongoing cost. In the event that the battery runs out mid-stairwell, the user might be stranded. Conversely, AC-powered stairlifts are wired into the home's electrical system, so there are no batteries which need replacing. In fact, apart from routine maintenance, upkeep is simple. However, in the event of a power outage, users run the risk of remaining stranded mid-lift. The best bet is an electric-powered stairlift with a rechargeable backup battery.
How will my stairlift be installed?
The first step of a stairlift installation is a preliminary in-home assessment visit, during which a sales consultant determines the future user's needs and wants, measures the staircase, and helps decide which type of stairlift is best suited for situation. Once this is set, customers will receive a quote and must pay a deposit. Finally, the stairlift arrives at the home, and is installed. Since stairlift rails attach to the stairs themselves, and not the wall, there is very little mess, and the whole process usually takes just a few hours.
Are my stairs suitable for a stair lift?
Most types of stairs can have a stairlift installed. Though straight staircases are usually easier to install, there are options for curved stairs. There are even companies who can install stairlifts on spiral staircases, though this is often a more involved process than for a straight stair, taking more time and requiring significantly more investment.
Can I install my own stairlift?
Though there are a proliferation of videos and websites that claim that any competent handyman can install a stairlift themselves in a matter of hours, do-it-yourself installations are not recommended. Stairlifts are designed to make life easier and active for people with limited mobility, and there are many safety features to consider which you may not take into account unless you are a trained fitter. Since an incorrectly installed stairlift can potentially cause a serious injury or harm, is it really worth the risk?
How can I remove or de-install my stair lift?
Attempting to remove or de-install a stairlift yourself can easily damage it, if you haven't received the correct training, or if you don't have the proper tools or relevant experience. Stairlifts have many sensitive safety features which can stop the lift from working properly, if at all, if they are damaged or moved incorrectly. On top of that, should you then need replacement parts, most major manufacturers will only sell these to professional engineers who have undergone their house training programs.
Should I buy a secondhand stair lift?
Secondhand stairlifts can be an excellent, less expensive choice for people with limited mobility who must keep within a budget. However, consumers should always check that these used stairlifts are marked as refurbished or reconditioned. Essentially, this means that they offer the same quality assurance as a new stairlift, as they must pass the same rigorous tests and standards as a completely new product. Refurbished stairlifts often come with a comprehensive guarantee, any necessary upgrades included, full product documentation, and support services. Consumers should be wary of offers that sound to good to be true from private vendors, since these are not necessarily submitted to the same standards as company-backed used stairlifts.
Can I try the stair lift chair before I buy it?
It may be possible to try out a stairlift before purchasing, but this depends on the manufacturer, as not all have showrooms in the United States. Some stairlift makers also have visualization apps, helping potential customers imagine what the finished product may look like on their stairs and in their home.
Our Stair Lifts Review: Summed Up
|Improvement Center Stair Lifts||Best for their ample selection of contractors|
|Harmar Stair Lifts||Features the narrowest and lightest stairlift in the industry|
|Stannah Stair Lifts||Known for excellent customer service at over 200 locations across the U.S.|
|AmeriGlide Stair Lifts||Best for heavy-duty stairlifts with over 500 lbs. capacity|
|Handicare Stair Lifts||Known for their commitment to sustainability, and responsibility for the environment, societal and economic issues|
- Get exclusive deals and daily tips
- No obligation to purchase
- Find local contractors in your area
- Wide network of stair lift contractors to choose from
- Fast and easy online search