Patriot Mobility Inc

The Ultimate Stair Lift Buying Guide

Buying a stair lift can be quite the investment to make and knowing which one is right for you is crucial to your safety and independence. There is a wide selection of units from many different brands that each have their own unique styles and features. There are also 3 main types of units that are categorized as straight units, curved units, and outdoor units. With this guide, we aim to help you make a wise decision based on you or your loved ones needs, your budget, and your home. Keep in mind that while this guide aims to help you narrow your choice, you should also listen to what your local installer or vendor has to say, especially if they do a home consultation.

Understanding The 3 Types of Chair Lifts

Stair Lifts can come in all shapes and sizes, and because of that they can vary in price depending on type and modifications. Stairlift elevator costs do differ, however there is an average price for each type that you can use as a base for your budget.

  • Straight Unit Starting Price – $1200
  • Curved Unit Starting Price – $8000
  • Outdoor Unit Starting Prices – $2500/$9000
Straight lift units can start at $1200, but this is typically without installation or maintenance included. Add-ons can increase the price. While curved chair lifts usually start at $8000 due to the lift and rails being custom fit for your home. Add-ons can also increase the price of the lift. Outdoor units are slightly different since they can come in both straight and curved models. For straight outdoor units the price can be $2500, while the curved lifts can start at $9000. The prices are higher for outdoor types due to their weather resistance and waterproof material. Modifications increase price for both types.

Its important to understand how each type of stairlift elevator functions and how they best perform. Each stair lift type can share similar traits regardless of brand or type, they do have different functions and features. Here are some common features that each stair has depending on their type.

Straight Stair Lifts – can come with manual or power footrest folds and chair swivels, obstruction sensors and internal batteries. 

Curved Stair Lifts – have all of the features of a straight stair lift in addition can have covered railings and multiple charge stations for their battery units. 

Outdoor Stair Lifts – can be a straight or curved model while also having innate weather resistance and water proof covers.

These are certainly not all of the features that these units have and some brands have specialized traits for their units. For example Bruno has handcrafted railings for their curved units while Harmar is known for having compact units for tight spaces. Knowing which brand of stairlift you want also affects your shopping choice.

What Are the Most Popular Brands?

Some of the most popular brands in the US are Bruno, Harmar, Handicare and Ameriglide. While they also sell their products themselves, they mainly focus on building and crafting chair lift units. Each brand has their own special twist on their units, different pricing tiers, manufacturer warranties, and services. Some brands may offer the product, installation, and even maintenance as a total package, while others may simply sell you the unit for you to install yourself. Here are some of the aspects of each brand: 

Bruno – This stairway lift brand focuses on high quality and custom made units that can come with multiple features and modifications. 

Harmar –  Harmar’s line of stairlift elevators are some of the most narrow and lightweight units in the industry making them very useful in tight spaces and small homes.

Handicare – Chair lifts by Handicare are cost effective and safe for all riders to use. These units also have color options to choose from for almost all of their devices.

Ameriglide Ameriglide offers units at some of the lowest prices and give the option to purchase the device itself without any installation services.

Get a Home Evaluation

Once you decide on a brand or type of stair lift you want, the next step is speaking with a vendor or manufacturer. While it is possible to simply buy and install yourself, it is much better to have an expert handle the process. Most sellers will offer a home evaluation for you at no cost. This evaluation process is critical because of the amount of trouble it saves down the line. The point of this is to correctly measure the space needed, document any potential obstacles, and see if the stair lift you want can work in your home. If you are unsure of or choosing between 2 products, an evaluator can help narrow your decision. 

Buying a Straight Stair Lift

These types of stair chair lifts are perfect for any straight staircase in or out of your home. If you have a tight budget to work with, then you are in luck. Straight chair lifts start at the lowest prices and come with all the basic necessities like a seat belt, manual seat swivels, obstruction sensors and footrests. You can purchase more features for your lift if you need extra security or an internal power source to prevent accidents during a power outage. If you are planning to install a unit yourself, this is one of the easiest to mount onto your staircase or railing. You won’t have as many challenges to tackle as the other units as well. The benefits of a straight unit is in its simplicity. You don’t need to worry about how many flights of stairs to cover, a high budget ceiling, or having enough space in/out of your home to cover. 

The buying process is also much more simple. An evaluator will come into your home to see which straight lift device is right for you and measure your home usually at no cost. Once the evaluation is done, they will recommend a stair lift based on their data and your needs/wants. Afterwards an installer will come to your home and mount the unit onto the stairway for a fee. You can opt to DIY as well. If you want maintenance or warranty on your lift, then you need to speak with your vendor for plans or services they may offer.

Buying a Curved Stair Lift

Custom curved chair lifts are top quality mobility devices, designed around your specific accessibility needs. They can go on any staircase, including spiral staircases. These lifts also have the most customization and can be highly personalized ranging from color patterns, safety features, automatic functions, remote controls, and even weight limits. If you want a product that will last you for years to come while matching the style of your home or providing you with that extra sense of security, go with a curved stair lift. Keep in mind that these units cost much more than their standard counterparts, however the price is well worth the comfort, safety, and accessibility.  

Curved stair lifts have a slightly different buying process since the installation part is more complex. A professional installer must go to your home to secure your product. The reason for this is because the railings are specifically tailored to your home and need to be mounted properly for a safe ride. Not only that, but problems can still arise even with a prior in-home evaluation. Having someone with the right skills and tools is essential in having a sturdy device. Also the base price previously mentioned is only an average. Each and every curved unit will have a different price because of the customization aspect of the lift. 

Buying an Outdoor Stair Lift

Outdoor stairlift elevators enable your mobility in the front, back, or side of your home. Thanks to its adaptability, these units can work on any terrain and provide you with a safe and comfortable ride. Outdoor chair lifts benefit from both types of home elevator features and are strong against all sorts rain and snow. Some devices come with an internal battery source that keeps the lift working even during a power outage. You can go in and out of your home with ease on an outdoor lift.

While these lifts can go on any terrain, it isn’t without problems. More obstacles are present during the installation process where the environment is harder to change compared to the inside of your home. The same can be said for the evaluation process as well. Your budget must also be higher than the indoor versions of stair lifts. 

DIY Installation or Hire a Professional?

You can purchase a stair lift and install it in your own home if you have the knowledge and tools needed to do the job. However, it is recommended to have a professional handle the installation. A trained technician is well equipped to handle most situations regarding your product and if a mistake happens, the vendor will most likely not charge you. However, if you make a mistake in your DIY installation, then it is less likely the seller will cover it. 

Trained installers can set up your new product quickly as well. Most straight stair lifts can be installed in a couple of hours and be ready for use as soon as possible. When it comes to a custom curved chair lift, these can take longer depending on the amount of distance it needs to cover. One of the benefits of a stair lift is that you can use it as soon as it is safely mounted onto the stairs. A technician from a reputable company can achieve that goal.

Warranties and Maintenance

Manufacturers usually include a warranty that covers major parts/components with a timeframe ranging from 1 year to a lifetime. However, you can also ask your vendor if they offer additional warranties or maintenance plans. Each company takes a different approach and have a wide variety of plans that cover minor parts and accidents. Maintenance plans ensure your stair lift runs smoothly regardless of how old it is. 

While a protection plan is usually a smart move for a product that will be with you for years, these mobility devices are crafted to last a long time with very little maintenance. As long as you take care of your unit and use it properly, you shouldn’t need to worry. 

Your Newfound Mobility

Your stairlift elevator is the key to independence in your home. It is what allows you to go up and down flights of stairs without the worry of slipping, tripping, or falling. Thats why you should know which one is best for you and your loved ones needs. Knowing which device is which and why you should use one over the other is how you can enable your new independent life. Plan a budget, research your product, and follow the advice of your installer for a wonderful product that will last for years.