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    by Shelley Webb Senior Products Contributing Editor

    Stair lifts let users sit comfortably and receive assistance moving up and down steps. Our research team vetted 13 stair lift companies that are rated by more than 2,640 customers. Read our guide to choose the best stair lift company by comparing features, costs and customer experiences.

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      What is a stair lift?

      A stair lift is a motorized device that rides along a staircase to carry users up and down the stairs securely. These devices let people with limited mobility navigate their homes safely and avoid dangerous falls.

      There are different types of stair lifts available, including indoor, outdoor, straight, curved, seated and standing options. Some stair lifts also have optional add-ons, like footrests, armrests or foldable seats.

      How much does a stair lift cost?

      A stair lift can cost you anywhere from $2,000 to over $10,000, depending on what type of staircase you have and what add-ons you want to include. A simple straight stair lift for about 12 to 14 steps will be the least expensive, coming in around $2,000 before installation. If you have a curved staircase, expect to spend at least $10,000. Keep in mind that the cost of a stair lift, no matter what type of staircase you have, will pay for itself if it means you can stay in your home instead of moving or going to an assisted living facility.

      Compare stair lift costs

      Here’s a comparison of some popular stair lift manufacturers based on their product offerings, maximum weight limits, warranty lengths and starting costs at the time of publishing. Keep in mind that the add-ons and features you choose have a significant effect on the final price of your stair lift, though.

      stannah logohandicare logohamar logobruno logo
      Types of stair liftsIndoor, outdoor, straight and curvedIndoor, outdoor, straight and curvedIndoor, outdoor, straight and curvedIndoor, outdoor, straight and curved
      Weight limitsUp to 350 poundsUp to 440 poundsUp to 600 poundsUp to 400 pounds
      WarrantyVaries2-year to lifetimeVaries2-year to lifetime
      Starting price$2,800$2,000$2,000$2,000
      Authorized Partner
      ReviewsRead reviewsRead reviewsRead reviewsRead reviews
      stannah logoIndoor, outdoor, straight and curvedUp to 350 poundsVaries$2,800Read reviews
      handicare logoIndoor, outdoor, straight and curvedUp to 440 pounds2-year to lifetime$2,000Read reviews
      harmar logoIndoor, outdoor, straight and curvedUp to 600 poundsVaries$2,000Read reviews
      bruno logoIndoor, outdoor, straight and curvedUp to 400 pounds2-year to lifetime$2,000Read reviews

      Types of stair lifts

      Stair lifts come in multiple styles and configurations to match your staircase and mobility needs. Not all of these types are mutually exclusive, though. Here are a few of the more popular home stair lift variations.

      Straight stair lift

      Straight stair lifts go straight up and down steps. They are designed for traditional flights of stairs and can be installed on either side of the staircase. Straight stair lifts tend to be the least expensive type of stair lift.

      Curved stair lift

      Curved stair lifts are for any staircase that has a spiral or goes around a corner. Since this type of stair lift requires more customization, it will cost considerably more than a straight stair lift.

      Choosing the right stair lift is
      dependent on your staircase,
      mobility and required features.

      Outdoor stair lift

      Some stair lifts are specifically made for the outdoors and can withstand extreme temperatures and weather conditions. These lifts are attached to a deck or patio staircase so that the user can access their entryway.

      Seated stair lifts

      Most people think of seated stair lifts when they think of a stair lift. These lifts contain a seat with a back and a footrest, both of which are usually adjustable. The user sits down and presses a button on the lift to raise or lower it.

      Standing stair lifts

      Users who have difficulty sitting, can't bend their knees easily or prefer to stand may want to use a standing stair lift. This type of platform allows the user to stand up and hold on to the sides of the lift. These lifts are often narrower than full seated lifts.

      Stair lift features to consider

      Stair lifts also frequently come with additional features to make them safer, more convenient and more comfortable. Check with your stair lift provider to see what features come with a given model and which you can add on for an extra fee.

      Stair lift safety

      Most stair lifts are equipped with a variety of safety features to ensure users don't fall or injure themselves, including:

      • Safety sensors: Most stair lifts contain sensors that search for obstacles in the device's path, such as items left on the steps. The sensors automatically turn off the device and don't allow movement until the obstacles are removed.
      • Aircraft or other strong cables: Cables are designed to hold up to 4,200 pounds so that they won't snap or break while people are using the device.
      • Pressure-sensitive controls: Controls on the device itself are sensitive to pressure; if the user stops pressing the button, the lift immediately stops moving.
      • Backup batteries: These batteries keep stair lifts operational when the power supply is inconsistent, like during power outages.

      The stair lift you choose should contain as many of these safety features as possible. It is also critical to ensure that your stair lift is properly installed and that your staircase is sturdy and large enough to fit the stair lift you desire.

      Remote control

      Many stair lifts offer a remote control to access the stair lift from far away and provide the following benefits:

      • Calling the lift to your location: If a user is on one floor and the stair lift is on the other, the user can call the lift to where it is needed by pressing a button on the remote control.
      • Saving power: Users can save the stair lift's power by turning it off via remote control when not in use.
      • Working in conjunction with device control: The device itself may have a joystick or button that controls the lift. The remote will not override this control and can only be used when the stair lift is not in operation.

      Swivel ability

      Most stair lifts allow the seat to swivel so that it can be turned by hand or while a person is sitting in it. There are several benefits to a stair lift that swivels:

      • Users can get in without turning around: Users can simply sit down in the seat and turn it in the direction they want to go.
      • The device can turn at the top/bottom of steps: The stair lift can very easily be turned around so that it can go in the other direction.
      • Allows for conversation while on the device: Users can turn slightly to talk to caregivers or others while riding the device.

      Adjustability

      Most stair lifts allow users to quickly and easily adjust the seat. Look for the following features to customize your comfort level:

      • Lever operated: Users might be able to raise or lower the seat by pressing a lever with their foot or hand.
      • Adjustable back and footrests: Users can adjust both the back of the device and the footrest for maximum comfort.
      • Folding seat: The seat can be folded back on some units to create a standing platform or a perch seat.

      Platform stair lift options

      Many stair lifts offer a variety of platform options to make them useful and enjoyable to a wide range of customers.

      • Sit/stand option: Users can fold the seat back to make a standing platform for those who would rather stand up while being transported up and down steps.
      • Perch seat: Those who have difficulty with their knees may find it easier to get into a perch seat than into a standard seat.
      • Hinged platform: Hinged platforms allow the device to attach to stairs that are located inside a doorway or other narrow space.

      How to choose a stair lift

      It can be difficult to know where to start when buying a stair lift for yourself or a loved one. There are a number of different types of stair lifts available, and there are even more options and features to consider. Here are some steps to get started choosing the right stair lift for your needs.

      Step 1: Understand mobility needs

      The first step is to understand the current needs of the person who will be using the stair lift. Ask yourself some questions:

      • Are you or your loved one finding it difficult to climb stairs?
      • Are these mobility issues long- or short-term?
      • How much can you afford to spend on a stair lift?
      • Is the staircase able to hold a stair lift?
      • What is the user’s height and weight?
      • Is the user more comfortable sitting or standing?

      Answering these types of questions can help you understand your current needs and decide what type of stair lift you need.

      Step 2: Understand your current environment

      The size of your home and the type and condition of your staircase often determine the types of stair lifts available to you. A straight staircase requires a stair lift with a standard straight rail. However, if your staircase is curved, the stair lift rail needs to be customized to fit that curve. Outdoor staircases require specialty stair lifts, and the construction of your staircase may limit you to models with certain mounting requirements.

      Step 3: Consider buying vs. renting

      The third step is considering whether you want to buy or rent a stair lift. If the intended user is unlikely to regain full mobility and wants to stay in the home long-term, it may be a good idea to purchase a stair lift. If the stair lift is needed for only a short period, renting may be more convenient and more cost-efficient.

      Step 4: Check with manufacturers

      Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to check out your options. There are several stair lift manufacturers in the market, and most offer an array of options and features. Comparing these options to your needs helps eliminate what’s unnecessary to focus on what matters. Check reviews, compare specifications and get quotes to evaluate which stair lift is right for you.

      Step 5: Make the decision

      Once you have done your research, it is time to close the deal. Talk to your stair lift provider about an in-home evaluation or inspection and get a final quote, including installation and accessories. If everything is to your liking, purchase the device and set up plans for installing it.

      Stair lifts FAQ

      Are stair lifts covered by Medicare?
      Original Medicare does not cover the cost of stair lifts. However, some Medicare Advantage plans may offer coverage. Certain stair lift companies also offer discounts or financing options to help purchasers with the cost.
      How wide do stairs need to be for a chair lift?
      Typically, staircases need to be at least 29 inches wide to install a chair lift. Having at least this much width keeps the chair lift and the stairs functional while giving users enough room to comfortably and safely get onto the chair.
      How long should a stair lift last?
      Your stair lift should last at least 10 years if you opt for a high-quality brand and professional installation. If you have a battery-powered stair lift, your battery will typically last around 3,000 trips up or down the stairs.
      How much does it cost to install a stair lift?
      On average, the total cost to put a stair lift in your home is about $4,000, but you may end up paying as little as $2,000 or as much as $10,000.

      Installation accounts for $1,000 to $2,000 of the cost, depending on your staircase and electrical requirements. However, most companies bundle installation costs into the purchase price of your stair lift.

      Are stair lifts tax deductible?
      Your stair lift may be tax deductible, depending on why you purchase it. If you can prove your stair lift is medically necessary, you should be able to deduct it on your taxes.
      Can a stair lift be fitted to any stairs?
      For the most part, a stair lift can fit any type of stairway, including:
      • Straight staircases
      • Curved staircases
      • Outdoor staircases
      • Multistory staircases
      • Staircases with landings

      However, the more complicated your stairway is, the more you should expect to pay.

      How are stair lifts powered?
      All stair lifts require a nearby outlet — even battery-powered units that can operate during a power outage. Many stair lifts run off the electricity stored in their batteries but still need an outlet to recharge. Stair lifts pull very little electricity, so your power bills should only go up by $10 to $20 per year.
      Are chair lifts covered by insurance?
      Some private insurance companies help pay for the cost of chair lifts, but you should check with your insurance company before buying.

      Medicare, the federal health care program for seniors, usually doesn’t cover stair lifts. However, Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans may.

      Can you rent stair lifts?
      Yes, some companies offer stair lift rentals. Renting a stair lift is a good option for:
      • People recovering from surgery
      • People who don’t want to alter their homes permanently
      • People aging in place who may soon move into a care facility
      • People who plan to buy a new home in the future

      Not sure how to choose?

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        Stair lift reviews

        AUTHORIZED PARTNER
        Handicare

        Handicare has healthcare roots going back to the 19th century and has been installing stairlifts since the early 1960s. The company now works with 1300 partners and dealers around the world, about half of which operate in the United States and Canada. Their products provide safe and reliable ways for individuals with physical challenges to get up and down stairs.

        • They offer multiple types of stair lifts: Handicare has both straight and curved stairlifts to accommodate a variety of layouts. They also offer models for outdoor use, and all stairlifts can be further customized to meet consumers’ needs.
        • They do in-home consultations: Interested consumers can contact Handicare and one of the company’s partners will come to their home to do an in-person consultation. They’ll take measurements and 3D images to give consumers recommendations and an accurate quote.
        • Their products have a warranty: All Handicare stairlifts come with a standard two-year warranty and a six-month battery guarantee. Customers who want a longer warranty can purchase an extended service plan.
        • They make safe products: All of the sharp material on Handicare stairlifts is covered by a metal strip, and the tracks are on the bottom of the lift. Both of these features ensure that users and/or the children who visit them will not accidently hurt themselves or damage the lift.
        • They educate consumers: Consumer education is a part of the installation process. After the technician installs the stairlift, she or he will make sure the user knows how to operate the system.
        Read 98 Reviews
        Acorn Stairlifts

        Acorn Stairlifts has been providing quality products since 1992. The company is based in Orlando, Florida, but has distribution centers around the world.

        Read more about Acorn Stairlifts
        AUTHORIZED PARTNER
        Bruno Independent Living Aids

        Bruno has an extensive line of stair lifts designed to fit conventional or curved stairways. The company uses a network of authorized dealers and certified technicians to install its stairlifts, so no self-installation is necessary. The most popular model is the Elan Stair Lift, an economical choice for straight, indoor stairs. The company is a trusted name in the business, and most customers report high satisfaction with the company’s installation process and the day-to-day use of the stair lift.

        • Indoor and outdoor options: Bruno manufactures and installs stair lifts for indoor and outdoor spaces.
        • Curved and straight lifts: The company works with you whether you need a regular straight stair lift or a custom-made curved stairlift.
        • 30-day labor coverage: Bruno covers any installation issues reported within 30 days.
        • High weight capacity: The Elan Stair Lift, Bruno’s most popular model, has a weight capacity of 300 pounds. The other four models from Bruno have a weight capacity of 400 pounds.
        • Made in the USA: All of Bruno’s stair lifts are manufactured in the U.S.
        • Rechargeable batteries: Bruno uses rechargeable batteries in its stairlifts to ensure they continue to work during unexpected power outages.
        Read 1537 Reviews
        Accessible Construction

        Accessible Construction, operating in southern California, specializes in modifying homes so that physically disabled people can live comfortably and perform daily tasks. Stairlifts are just one of the options this company provides.

        Ascent Stairlifts

        Ascent Stairlifts has been providing stairlift products since 2008. It offers a variety of lifts to meet users' needs and services the entire United States.

        Read more about Ascent Stairlifts
        Silver Cross
        • They offer comparison charts: Users can easily compare different models and types of stairlifts so they can get the best device for their needs.
        • They provide information to help with local funding sources: Users can find out about local funding for stairlifts if it happens to be available in their area.
        • They sell recycled models: Users who are environmentally conscious or who want to save money on their purchase can get a recycled stairlift that has been safety checked before being resold.
        • Trade-ins are available: Users can trade in their current model to get a reduced price on their next stairlift.
        • Other devices are available: In addition to stairlifts, this company sells walk-in bathtubs, wheelchair lifts and other devices to improve the safety of people with special mobility needs.
        AUTHORIZED PARTNER
        Harmar Mobility

        Harmar manufactures a line of curved and straight stair lifts. The company maintains a nationwide network of factory-trained installers, called the LiftSquad, who handle the installation process for you. The company also offers vehicle lifts, platform lifts and ramps.

        • Curved and straight stair lifts: Harmar manufactures five straight stair lift models and one curved model. The curved model is customized to fit your stairwell.
        • Indoor and outdoor models: While every model is available for indoor use, the company installs one model outdoors if you need it: the Outdoor Stair Lift, which comes with a weatherproof cover for protection.
        • Weight capacity: Though most of Harmar’s stair lifts can hold up to 300 or 350 pounds, the company manufactures a bariatric model, the Pinnacle Heavy Duty Stair Lift, that holds up to 600 pounds.
        • Safety features: Specific safety features vary by model, but many include obstruction sensors, emergency switches, seat belts, an overspeed brake, safety edges and pressure controls.
        • Optional features: Depending on the model you choose, you may be able to add a folding rail, a retractable seat belt, a key lock, an extra rail, a call/send remote, a wide seat or customizable colors.
        • Inclusive warranties: Harmar includes a warranty on every model, which could include coverage for up to three years on parts, up to one year on the battery and up to 10 years on the gear track. Some models come with a limited lifetime warranty.
        Read 58 Reviews
        AmeriGlide

        Ameriglide designs and sells accessibility solutions like home elevators, power lift recliners and stair lifts.

        Read more about AmeriGlide
        Country Home Elevator

        Country Home Elevator provides stairlifts and other products to assist users in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. It has provided these products for limited mobility customers since 2001.

        101 Mobility

        101 Mobility was founded in 2008 by two men who saw there were not a lot of options in their area for seniors and others with mobility issues. It has grown into a national franchise that serves most of the United States.

        Read more about 101 Mobility
        AUTHORIZED PARTNER
        Stannah Stairlifts

        Stannah is a stairlift designer and manufacturer founded in 1867. The family-owned company aims to help people stay as independent as possible by providing their customers with high-quality and customizable stairlifts. It also provides safety testing and installation.

        Read more about Stannah Stairlifts
        by Shelley Webb Senior Products Contributing Editor

        Shelley Webb is a registered nurse, geriatric care manager and freelance writer who concentrates on the subjects of eldercare and health.

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