A stair lift is a motorized chair that glides up and down a staircase on a rail mounted to the stair treads. Stair lifts can be installed in homes of all types and can be used by anyone, but they are most popular as a safety solution for seniors.
According to an AARP survey, 90% of seniors prefer to remain at home as they age rather than moving to an assisted living facility. However, weakening muscles can make it difficult and unsafe to navigate stairs alone. When installed in conjunction with other home modifications, a stair lift can allow you to remain in the home you know and love. And as the overall American population continues to age, stair lifts are becoming more popular – making them widely available at lower price points and with more robust features.
So how do you decide which solution is the best for you? This guide has all the answers you’ll need.
In This Guide
Use the links to jump to the topic(s) you are interested in, or simply scroll down to start reading.
- Who Are the Most Common Stair Lift Users?
- Stair Lift Benefits
- Types of Stair Lifts
- Commonly Added Stair Lift Options
- Are Stair Lifts Safe for Me?
- Stair Lift Pricing / How Much does a Stair Lift Cost?
- How Do I Pay for a Stair Lift?
- Should I Buy a New, Used, or Rental?
- Choosing the Best Stair Lift Company
- Buying Online & DIY
- Comparing Stair Lifts
- How Does the Buying Process Work?
- About Lifeway Mobility
Who Are the Most Common Stair Lift Users?
A stair lift can be a great safety solution in many homes, but Lifeway Mobility most often encounters the following situations:
- An injury or surgery has made it impossible to safely navigate the stairs to reach a bedroom located on the second floor.
- The laundry room is in the basement and it would be too much of a hassle to bring the washing machine and dryer to the first floor.
- An older couple living in a multi-level home is starting to find it difficult to use the stairs on a daily basis to enter the main living area.
If any of those situations listed above sound familiar to you, and moving to a single-level home or senior living is not an option that you want to consider, then a stair lift is likely the best solution for you. You’ll be able to continue to enjoy the home you love, and the risk of a serious injury from falling on the stairs will no longer be a worry.
Stair Lift Benefits
A stair lift benefits the person using it, as well as the caregivers and loved ones who may be concerned about a family member being unable to safely climb a set of stairs. Three of the biggest benefits of a stair lift are:
- Independence: One of the top reasons that people choose to have a stair lift installed is to regain their independence. A person’s independence becomes limited when they no longer feel comfortable using a staircase at home and require someone’s assistance to safely use the stairs. A stair lift can provide access to the bedrooms upstairs or laundry room downstairs, which means that you or a loved will no longer have to sleep downstairs or avoid going downstairs to do the laundry.
- Safety: Limited mobility puts many seniors at risk of slipping, missing a step, or tripping on an item on the stairs. Fortunately, these mishaps can be prevented with the installation of a stair lift. After installation, all you’ll need to do is sit on the chair, buckle your seat belt, and with a press of a button, you’ll be safely transported up/down the stairs in no time!
- Peace of Mind: Your family will have peace of mind knowing that the risk of an injury on the stairs has been greatly reduced. It’ll also remove any anxiety you may have had when trying to climb up and down the stairs.
Types of Stair Lifts:
The most common and economical type of stair lift is always going to be a straight rail stair lift. This type of stair lift comes with a standardized rail that can be cut to fit any straight staircase. There are a number of different manufacturers to choose from if you have a straight staircase; we most often recommend Bruno for their lift quality, warranties, and customer reviews.
If a staircase has curves, turns, or intermediate landings, then a curved rail stair lift will be needed. The rails of the curved models are custom-built by the manufacturers, which means that their turn-around time is much longer than for straight rail lifts. Manufacturers use a technical photo system to ensure the rail is built to fit the exact design of your staircase.
If you or a loved one has a set of stairs outside the home that can no longer be safely navigated, consider looking into an outdoor stair lift. The rail and chair are built to withstand outdoor elements such as rain, snow, and high winds, and they come with a cover to protect them when not in use.
A wheelchair lift or ramp is often the best accessible solution for businesses, schools, churches, and even the common areas of condominiums. However, when a commercial building has limited room, a safety accommodation such as a commercial stair lift is the next best option.
Stair Lift Options
To enhance the safety and usability of your stair lift, there are a variety of additional options available. Please note that some options discussed below may not be available on all stair lift models.
A manual or power folding rail is a perfect addition if there is a doorway at the bottom of the stairs, or if the rail is in the middle of a hallway and presents a tripping hazard for other family members and visitors. Folding rails are usually only available for straight rail lifts.
Power Folding Footrest:
A power-folding footrest is commonly added when the person who will be using the lift cannot bend down to fold the footrest up and down. With this option, the footrest can be easily be folded up or down by the push of a button, which will be located on the armrest of the chair.
Power Swivel Seat:
All stair lifts are equipped with a manual swivel seat to enable the user to safely get off the chair at the landing. However, if mobility issues prevent the person from swiveling manually, then a power swivel seat is recommended.
A larger footrest option can be selected if the standard footrest is too small. A visit to a showroom is a great way to determine if you need to upgrade the size of the footrest.
Choice of Upholstery:
If you don’t like the color of the upholstery on the stair lift you select, you can choose an upgraded color option to better match your home’s decor. Please note that seat color and design can only be selected as an upgraded option for certain stair lift models.
Is a Stair Lift Safe for Me?
Yes! A stair lift is definitely a safe solution for someone who does not feel comfortable walking up or down the stairs. Stair lifts are very easy to operate for most people, and they include built-in safety features such as:
- Seat Belts: All stair lift models come with seat belts, which prevent the user from falling out of the chair while riding up or down the stairs.
- Sensors: Safety sensors in the footplate and motor will automatically stop the lift if there is an obstacle in the way.
- Weight Capacity: Basic stair lift models can support up to 300 lbs, and some models can support up to 400 lbs.
Stair Lift Pricing
It is difficult to provide an exact price of a stair lift because there are many different types of lifts, configurations, and options. However, the cost overviews below will give you an idea of what you can expect to pay for certain types of stair lifts.
Straight Stair Lift Pricing:
If the staircase is straight and does not have any intermediate landings, then you can expect to pay somewhere between $3,300–$5,000. The price you receive will depend on the model selected and a number of other available options. The range listed includes everything – installation, shipping, taxes, etc. It is the “out the door” price. If you are restricted by budget, you may want to consider a used stair lift. The price range for used stair lifts is $2,000-$2,800. Again, depending on the model selected and optional upgrades.
Curved Stair Lift Pricing:
If there are curves, turns, or intermediate landings, the price of the lift will be higher, because the rail must be custom-fit to your unique staircase. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $9,000–$16,000 depending on a number of different factors. Please note, however, that the price of a curved stair lift can be even higher if your staircase is extremely long. This may seem like a high price at first, but consider what it would cost to permanently move into a senior living or assisted living facility. The stair lift is a much more cost-effective solution.
Some providers – including Lifeway Mobility – also offer monthly payment plans for qualified buyers. For example, a Bruno Elan straight stair lift can be purchased from Lifeway for as low as $49.50/month.
If you want to learn more about what determines the total price of a stair lift, or if you would like a free quote, please contact Lifeway.
How Do I Pay for a Stair Lift?
If you are finding that the price ranges listed above are not within your budget, consider these funding options to help pay for a stair lift:
- Veterans Affairs (VA): If you are a veteran and in need of a safe way to get up and down the stairs at home, please contact your local VA hospital. The VA offers different types of waivers for straight and curved stair lifts (as well as wheelchair lifts) for those who meet their criteria.
- Insurance/Medicare: Unfortunately, most insurance companies and Medicare do not cover stair lifts. However, we do recommend you contact your insurance provider to see if they may offer coverage for these types of products. Another option that you may want to consider is a Medicaid waiver through the Department of Rehabilitative Services or an insurance carrier.
- Consumer Financing:
- Other Options: You may also consider other financing options to help cover the cost of your stair lift, such as a home mprovement loan, reverse mortgage, state grant, or state-based home modification program. Your local township may even offer grants to assist with home modifications for people with disabilities.
Should I Choose a New, Used, or Rental Stair Lift?
Choosing between a new, used, or rental stair lift will depend on your unique situation. If you are not on a strict budget and will need the lift for more than a year, then a new lift is likely the best option for you. A new model offers a more robust warranty on components, parts, and labor.
However, if you are on a strict budget, then used is the way to go. While it may not offer as great of a warranty, you’ll still be receiving a lift that works completely, providing a safe way to get up and down the stairs at home. All of the used lifts that Lifeway offers are certified used, which means that they are clean, safe to use, and also come with new batteries.
Renting a stair lift is another option to consider if it will only be needed for a few months. For example, if you or a loved recently had a knee procedure done and will be unable to climb the stairs for six months, then a rental would be the perfect solution. Please call (860) 292-1111 and one of our stair lift experts will tell you more about our rental program and whether it makes the most sense for your needs and situation.
Choosing the Best Stair Lift Company
- Read Reviews: Many years ago it was hard to learn about the reputability of a company or product unless someone you knew had already purchased the product. Today, you can easily do research on products like stair lifts by visiting review sites such as the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Affairs, and Caring Village. Also, you can simply type in the name of the dealer or manufacturer in Google to read their Google reviews.
- Service After Installation: Choose a company that you can rely on to service the lift after it’s installed. There are many companies that will only install the lift, leaving you to look for a separate service provider. You will definitely want to make sure the company you choose offers ongoing service and maintenance.
- Good Warranty: You’ll want to make sure that there is a robust warranty offered for the major components of the lift, basic parts, and service. Bruno (the stair lift manufacturer that Lifeway most often recommends) offers a lifetime warranty on the major components for indoor straight stair lifts and a 5-year warranty on the major components of outdoor straight stair lifts and curved stair lifts. All parts have a 2-year warranty, and Lifeway also offers a 1-year warranty labor. It is also very important to note that Bruno stair lifts are ISO9000 approved!
Buying Online & DIY
Be careful when looking at stair lifts that can be purchased online. Ask yourself:
- Does the online price include taxes, shipping, and installation? Very often, the price you see online is not all-inclusive.
- Who will install the lift? Often, stair lifts purchased online have to be installed by the buyer.
- Who will service the lift? Companies that sell stair lifts online do not usually provide service.
- Are replacement parts available? These can usually be purchased only if you have bought the lift through a certified dealer.
Purchasing a stair lift from a local dealer like Lifeway Mobility is your best option – and here’s why! Your lift will be installed and serviced by a factory-trained technician who installs these types lifts on a daily basis. You’ll never have to worry about figuring out what needs to be fixed should the lift stop working. You’ll also get better warranty coverage on both the product and the labor.
Comparing Stair Lifts
While we most often recommend the Bruno brand to our customers, there are times when another manufacturer is the better option.
Below are the stair lift models that Lifeway Mobility offers to local residents.
Straight Rail Stair Lifts
Learn more about straight stair lifts ›
Curved Rail Stair Lifts
- Bruno Elite Curved
- Handicare Freecurve
- Harmar Helix
- Hawle H10
How Does the Buying Process Work?
If you’ve read everything above and have decided that a stair lift is the best way for you or a family member to age safely and happily, follow the steps listed below to get started.
- Gather More Information: Reach out to a reputable dealer to get more information about stair lifts, whether that’s a better understanding of how they work, or pricing on the model(s) you’re interested in.
- Schedule a Free Assessment: Have the staircase(s) and other areas of your home assessed by a local expert. Even though the stairs may present the biggest challenge, you may learn that simple updates in other areas (such as adding a grab bar or two in the bathroom) can also help prevent falls.
- Receive a Proposal: Receive a proposal for the lift that best fits your needs from the sales consultant.
- Visit a Showroom: Find a local showroom so that you or a family member can test-ride a lift to get comfortable with how it operates and ensure it is the best solution.
- Purchase: Consider all factors – from the reputability of the dealer and manufacturer to safety features, options, and warranties – to choose the lift that is best for your needs.
- Installation: One or two factory-trained technicians will come to your home to install the lift and then show you how to safely operate it.
About Lifeway Mobility
Lifeway Mobility is an accessibility solutions company headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut. We’re a proud Bruno Diamond Stair Lift dealer with office locations in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Minnesota.
In addition to stair lifts, Lifeway Mobility offers wheelchair lifts, ramps, home elevators, patient lifts, and other home and bath safety solutions. The accessibility solutions that we offer are manufactured by some of the top manufacturers in the industry such as Bruno, Savaria, and EZ-Access.
Our primary goal is to help customers be able to better identify products and services that will help meet their needs and improve their quality of life. Please call us at (860) 292-1111 to learn more about stair lifts or any of the other accessibility solutions that we offer.