Best Stair Lifts for Elderly and People with Disabilities

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When it becomes difficult and hazardous to ascend the stairs at bedtime, a stairlift can keep you safely living in your home. We found some very good options to comfortably transport you or a loved one to upper stories. 

We were particularly impressed by the reasonably priced Harmer Stair Lift. If you need a customized installation for a curved staircase then take a look at the Stannah Curved Stair Lift

Read our buying guide to make the best choice from the shortlisted products in our stairlift reviews.

Our Picks for Best Stairlifts for Elderly:

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Bruno Elan Stair Lift

Stannah Curved Stair Lift  

AmeriGlide Curved Stair Lift

Stair Lift Reviews

1. Harmer Stair Chair Lift — Best Value for Money

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Harmar is an American lift manufacturing company that grew rapidly to become a mainstream supplier of stair lifts, among other tools. Harmar sells its lifts through a nationwide network of factory-trained dealers.

Harmar’s SL350AC stair lift is a reasonably priced product with plenty of satisfied customers. The lift mounts directly to the stairs (not the wall) and can be fitted on either side of the staircase. The extruded aluminum track is available in the specific length you require.

The seat is wide and spacious with thick padding while the attractive upholstery is available in three color options. The backrest adjusts to three different comfort settings. The fold-up footrest has two different heights for different leg lengths. 

Installers are available in most areas. Or this can be a weekend DIY project for two people who can lift heavy components and have basic technical skills to measure and fit the track securely.

Pros

  • Seat and footrest fold back to save space, especially important for narrow stairways 
  • Separate controls at top and bottom of stairs to bring the lift down or up
  • Free lifetime warranty on drivetrain and motor
  • 350-pound capacity

Cons

  • Cut to a custom size so no returns possible
  • It requires greasing every 90 to 120 days

2. Wiltek Universal Stair Lift— Best DIY Option

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Universal Lifts supplies stair lifts manufactured by Wiltek Elevators Inc, a 40-year old American company that specializes in residential elevators. They pride themselves in quality service and have offices across the country.

The Wiltek lift has a generous 350-pound weight capacity. Note that it only fits straight staircases, but can be installed on either side. The 18-inch seat width has a 90-degree swivel, and folds up flat to the wall. This handy feature means the stairs are still usable even if they are not very wide. 

Wiltek’s offering comes delivered with 15 feet of track, which is more than enough for regular one-floor installations. The internal battery backup recharges automatically from a regular AC outlet. In case of a power cut, this product should run 20 plus times up or down before losing power.

The warranty is seven years for parts, two years for the battery, and a lifetime for the drivetrain and control board.

Pros

  • Wireless remote to return the chair
  • Both arms can fold up
  • Easy DIY installation
  • Lifetime warranty on the drive train

Cons

  • No installation service provided
  • No power swivel

3. Nautilus Stair Lift — Best Grease-free Chair for Staircase

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Nautilus is an American marketer, developer, and manufacturer of a number of fitness equipment brands. Its products are sold worldwide through a combination of retail stores, television commercials/infomercials, online, and call centers. 

The Nautilus stair lift is fully featured with a 19-inch swivel seat and offers a 350-pound weight capacity. When folded the seat is just 10.5 inches wide, leaving space on the stairs for walkers.

The track is grease-free so requires no regular servicing, meaning no grease on carpets. In fact, you just need to clean the rail with just a duster. The worm drive is made from aircraft-grade aluminum and the fabrication is a hardened polymer similar to nylon. (As used for timing chains in vehicles).

Battery operated, it plugs into a standard wall outlet. The battery recharges when the seat is parked at the top or bottom of the stairs. One battery charge allows an average of 60 return trips.

As it’s designed and manufactured in the USA, there is free shipping to 48 states included with purchase.

Pros

  • Two wireless remotes let you call the lift from the top or bottom of the stairs 
  • Lifetime warranty on the motor and circuit board
  • The seat swivels 45 or 90 degrees and locks in position

Cons

  • DIY installation can be challenging

4. Bruno Elan Chair Lift — Best Premium Option 

Bruno is a family-owned business that supplies independent living aids. Its indoor stair lifts, outdoor stair lifts, and vertical platform lifts are engineered and manufactured in the USA.

The company offers three options but the Elan is your best choice for a straight staircase. We like that it stows away very compactly when folded. In addition, the 21.5-inch offset swivel seat makes transfers a breeze and the batteries have plenty of reserve power.

A power-folding footrest automatically flips up or down when the seat is raised or lowered and the power swivel seat can be controlled by a wireless controller or with the panel on the chair’s arm. A power-folding rail option is also available.

Pros

  • Retractable seat belt
  • Obstruction safety sensors 
  • Rail installs within five inches of the wall
  • Vertical rail with covered gear rack for a clean, sleek appearance
  • Folding rail option for narrow or confined hallways.

Cons

  • Premium price point, but that’s expected for the features
  • The tracks are quite bulky 

5. Stannah Curved Stair Lift Chair — Best Lift for Curved Stairs

Stannah is a global company founded 150 years ago in the UK. It has supplied over 750,000 stair lifts, all manufactured in Europe. Stannah’s products are quality tested for 25,000 consecutive return journeys. 

All installation quotes include a free on-site stair survey to provide advice on the most suitable solution. Installation by a qualified technician is also included in the quoted price.

Stannah stair lifts are custom designed and built for straight and curved staircases with three different seat styles and a wide range of colors available. 

Pros

  • The slimline rails are very discrete compared to most other products on the market
  • The seat, arms, and footrests fold away at the push of a button
  • Retractable rails can adapt to obstacles or doorways at the top and bottom of the stairs
  • Safety sensors detect hazards on the stairs

Cons

  • No price indication without a quote after an on-site assessment.
  • Higher price point than others on our list

6. AmeriGlide Curved Stair Lift — Best Safety Features 

AmeriGlide Accessibility Solutions is based in Rochester, New York and specializes in mobility equipment such as bath lifts, elevators, mobility scooters, and power wheelchairs. With over 35,000 stair lifts sold, AmeriGlide is well-established on the market. The company is represented in 15 states and in Canada. It has options for straight and curved staircases, and indoors and outdoors stairs. 

The Platinum is a fully customizable option for curved staircases and comes with a wide range of color and seat style combinations. A 352-pound heavy-duty model is also available. You can choose to have a powered footrest and a powered swivel as optional extras.

We like that the Platinum stair lift is battery-powered and charges when at rest, ensuring that in the event of a power cut, you can still utilize the lift several times. Optional wireless call stations let you call the lift if it is located at the other end of the stairway. 

Installation is completed by the manufacturer who send technicians to you for assessment and installation.

Pros

  • A flip-up seat reduces the footprint by at least 11 inches
  • Swivel seat and flip-up armrests to allow easy entry and exit
  • Constant pressure controls and a footrest safety sensor mean better personal safety
  • The seat comes with ergonomic joystick, digital diagnostic display, and security key switch

Cons

Your Guide to Buying a Stair Lift for Elderly and Disabled

When you’re faced with the choice of selling your home to move into a single-story house, or even an assisted living facility, investing in a chair lift for stairs can be far less costly — both financially and emotionally. 

To help you with the decision process we prepared this guide. It should help you understand how they work and what to look for in the best chair lift for you.

How Do Handicap stair lift Work?

You can think of stair lifts somewhat like personal elevators in private homes. To that end, it’s worth knowing a little about their key components. 

The motor: Normally battery-powered and integrated into the seat.

The battery: It can have one or multiple batteries. These are long-lasting and do not need frequent replacements. Stairlift batteries are rechargeable.

The gears: Run on a geared strip and are turned by the motor to move the chair up and down the staircase. The gear needs to be greased regularly as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Advanced models may use a grease-free worm drive.

The rail: Mounted on the stairs or, less frequently, against the wall. There are different types both covered and exposed. This determines the space required and the lift’s overall appearance.

Other components include:

Operating controls: To move the chair. These are usually on the chair itself but can also be in wall-mounted panels or remote controls.  

A seat: Extra options include swivel functionality, adjustable heights, powered lowering and raising, a choice of colors.

Footrest: Can be fixed or moveable. Footrests may be necessary for some disabled individuals.

Armrests: Can fold down or up and provide additional comfort and support.

Seatbelt: A prescribed safety feature, seatbelts ensure maximum safety and peace of mind.

Buying a Stair Chair Lift for Seniors or Disabled Individuals: Key Considerations

There are some key steps to follow to ensure you get the best stair lift possible for the person who needs the lift. Let’s take a look at those now.

1. Get Advice

When you’re thinking of installing a chair lift, it’s wise to talk with your doctor or even an occupational therapist first. Health professionals can give objective advice to help with your decision.

You may already know family or friends with an electric chair for staircase installed in their houses, ask them about their experiences and see if they have any recommendations.

2. Types to Fit Your Stairs

The type of staircase in your home will determine your choices for a stairlift. Here are some common types of stairs and the corresponding stairlift options.

Straight stairs: For stairs that rise in a straight line it’s relatively easy to have a stair lift installed. This is always the least expensive situation and the job usually takes around two hours.

Curved stairs: Curved stair lifts are custom-built and as a result, are costlier than lifts for straight staircases.

Stairs with intermediate landings: Like curved staircases, lifts for stairs with landings need to be custom-designed, which makes the installation more expensive.

Transfer platform stair lifts: For two offset staircases that are joined with a small landing, you may need two straight lifts. However, that requires the user to move from seat to seat. If you’re not able to move between seats, a better option is a custom-built curved stairlift, as it can move across the landing on a continuous track.

Narrow stairs: If your stairs are too narrow for a seat, and if you are able to stand long enough, consider a perch stairlift. But if you are unable to stand, then you can have a narrow stairlift fitted, as long as the track can extend beyond the top and bottom so the seat is out of the way when others need to access the stairs. 

Outdoor stairs: Where existing stairs are outside you can have a weatherproof, outdoor stair lift installed.

Doorway problems: If a doorway at the top or bottom of the stairs is obstructed by the track, a folding track may be required. Some products offer manual or powered folding track options. 

Narrow stairs: Some products make it difficult for others to climb the stairs. In that case, the seat, armrests, and footrests need to fold out of the way. If you’re unable to do that manually and safely, then a powered option is best. Sometimes it’s easy to lift the seat but not to bend down for the footrest, so an option that powers both components is ideal.

3. Options for Your Personal Needs

Your specific needs will dictate the kind of stairlift and additional features you need. You may want advice from your healthcare provider to discuss which options best suit you. 

Issues sitting: If you have trouble sitting upright comfortably due to joint pain in your hips or knees, then a perch lift might be the better choice. With a perch lift, the support sits under the buttocks, so you can stand comfortably as you go up and down the stairs. 

Issues getting up: If you have difficulty rising after sitting due to knee, hip, or back problems, a powered option may be right for you. The seat will carefully lift you up when you get off the stair lift, giving support as you get on your feet.

Strength and dexterity: If you lack strength or dexterity in your hands, using a manual swivel lever may be difficult. Normally, when a lift gets to the end of your stairs, you have to turn your seat around to safely exit the stairs onto the landing. You can have a swivel handle on either side of the seat. Depending on the type of stair lift, the manual handle is either pushed down or pulled up. With a powered swivel option, you only need to press a toggle on the control panel to turn the seat.

Weight limit: In general, they can transport a generous 280 to 350 pounds. There are special models rated for up to 500 pounds, but these are often bespoke options and cost more.

4. Warranty and Service

Look carefully at the fine print because prompt assistance when needed is essential. Does the warranty cover the cost of a repair person and the installation of any replacement equipment? What about cover after a DIY installation?

Shopping for A stair lift

FAQs

Are Stair Lifts Safe? 

In the USA, the stair lift industry is governed by the Elevator Commission and the FDA. Every product sold must have a folding seat with a seatbelt, swivels, locks at the top, and safety sensors around the footrest. Additionally, they must travel at about 19 feet per minute. The controls need a constant pressure switch so that when you let go of the switch, the chair stops.

How Do Stairlifts Attach to Stairs?

During installations, a track on dedicated brackets is attached, this supports the rail and keeps the rail elevated from the stairs.

Are Chair Lifts for Stairs Noisy?

No need to worry about waking others in the house up when you use a stair lift. The electric motor is very quiet and the models we reviewed run smoothly up and down their track.

How Much Electricity Does It Use?

Another concern for those thinking about installing a stairlift is the question of how much their electricity bill will increase. Lifting your weight up the stairs several times a day seems like a lot of power use. Turns out the average cost of a stairlift annually is typically less than 20 dollars.

What if I’m in a Wheelchair?

If you use a wheelchair, then getting on and off the stairlift can prove difficult. You may want to look at a wheelchair platform stairlift, using a transfer board or perhaps even a through-floor lift. Always remember to ask your doctor.

Our Recommendations

Our stair lift reviews found a good selection of products. But be prepared that there are considerable costs involved.

If you have a straight staircase, the Wiltek Universal Stair Lift is an excellent choice for straight stairs and we like the price point. 

Given a larger budget, you’re less restricted in your choices. In which case, we recommend the Harmar Stair Lift.

Should you require custom installation for a curved staircase, or one interrupted by a landing, costs will escalate in tandem with the number of special adaptions. When you end up with an electric chair lift for stairs from Stannah or even AmeriGlide, you can be sure of a safe and reliable purchase.

Just remember that despite the associated costs, it can be a cheaper option in the long run and may make more sense than moving house.

Cherry

Hi, buddy! I am the main editor of this site. I studied in the health-related area for 6 years and obtained a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology and a master's degree in Adapted Physical Activity. I hope the information on this site can offer you some help.

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