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A Complete Outdoor Stairlift Guide

Mar 7, 2021 | Children of Aging Parents, Independent Living, Special Needs Parenting

Spending time outside boosts your energy and your immune system. Exposure to sunlight can even relieve pain and lower stress levels. Don’t forget about Vitamin D—a micronutrient vital for the prevention of osteoporosis.

Mobility challenges often prevent the people who need it most from enjoying the benefits of the outdoors.

Many people install stairlifts, or chairlifts, in their homes as a way of maintaining independence. An outdoor stairlift system offers even more freedom. Why not take advantage of the benefits this unique type of lift can provide?

Explore our outdoor stairlift buyer’s guide. It’s full of tips to help break down how you can use a lift and what to look for to make sure you buy the one that best serves your needs.

Outdoor Stairlifts Systems

Like the lifts found in homes, churches, and some commercial buildings, outdoor stairlifts help people get to otherwise inaccessible areas. On the surface, lifts designed for use outside look much the same as those installed indoors.

They both feature the same components, including the rail, chair, motor, controls, and safety mechanisms. There is one significant difference between indoor and outdoor stairlifts: Weather protection!

Water and dirt are the arch enemies of the operating components. Protection of the gear system and the motor is critical to prevent costly damages. That means strategic sealing to prevent water and dirt from ruining the moving parts.

Powder-coated or anodized rails help prevent sun and water damage. A coated rail won’t develop rust and is less susceptible to wear and tear.

You’ll also find heavier material used for the seat. Manufacturers use water-resistant fabrics and materials to ensure durability.

Outdoor stair lifts come with waterproof covers, which protect the header, internal chassis, seat, and platform. Ask your stairlift dealer about a lock and key to keep your lift safe when not in use.

Speaking of Weather

Mobility issues make it more difficult for people to leave their homes without assistance. Inclement weather can make getting out to take care of appointments and shopping nearly impossible.

Winter weather shouldn’t interfere with independence, and it won’t impede you when you install an outdoor lift system.

Whether it’s sunny and warm or snowy and cold, it’s always smart to use the lift’s safety belt. More frigid weather usually demands bulky outwear, which can make it tempting to forego buckling up before going up or down the stairs.

The weatherproofing features ensure comfort. It’s up to the user to ensure safety.

Where Can a Stairlift Take You?

Installed outside, a stairlift has multiple uses. Imagine navigating the stairs going from a second-floor deck to the backyard. A lift makes the trip to the yard a breeze and helps prevent dangerous falls.

Aside from making backyards and gardens accessible, outdoor stairlifts help people move between the house and driveway. They make getting to and from a detached garage easier as well.

People who live in homes with water access often give up enjoying time on or near the water. An outdoor lift, configured correctly, allows a person to travel safely down to the dock or waterfront patio.

Outdoor Stairlift Configurations

Similar to the indoor lift systems, outdoor stairlifts come with either straight or curved rails. You’ll want to work with your dealer to make sure you get the configuration that works best to meet your mobility needs.

Straight Stairlifts 

Straight stairlifts only work on straight staircases. There is only one configuration option.

Curved Stairlifts 

Curved stairlifts allow multiple configuration options. Another advantage of a curved chairlift is customization. You can even have a lift constructed to work with a spiral staircase.

For People Who Rely on Wheelchairs

An outdoor lift can make life so much better for the person who just needs a little help with transportation between the front door and the car or garage. What happens to an individual who uses a wheelchair?

If you use a wheelchair an outdoor stairlift is the not the right solution for you. A vertical platform lift (VPL) works well as an outdoor lift option.

Think of the VPL as a home elevator system without sliding doors. VPLs also make a viable option for someone who uses a mobility scooter. They come with safety and weatherproofing features like their stairlift cousins.

Is Installation a Good DIY Project?

Whether you’re installing a lift in your own home or you’re helping a loved one, you may wonder whether the installation is a project suitable for DIY enthusiasts. It’s an excellent question to ask before you commit.

Maybe you’ve already successfully installed an indoor stairlift. Be aware that an outdoor stairlift installation is different and more complicated. Also, keep in mind that some manufacturers and resellers have limitations to handling equipment breakdowns if the customer chooses the DIY install.

It’s best to work with your dealer to arrange for a qualified professional installation.

How to Choose an Outdoor Stairlift

Before you make a buying decision, it’s a good idea to think about the different features and how they will best help you manage your mobility challenges. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Make sure your lift comes with a waterproof cover and water-resistant seat materials.
  • Think about the location as it determines whether you buy a straight or curved model.
  • Assess your space requirements.
  • Ask about options such as folding seats, swivel seats, or custom colors for the upholstery.
  • Read the reviews for the model you’re interested in buying.

Finally, don’t be shy about asking your dealer questions. They can work with you to make sure you’re getting the best outdoor stairlift for your unique space and needs.

Ready to Enjoy Even More Freedom?

Are you convinced that the ability to spend time outdoors without much extra assistance allows you to maximize your independence? Installing an outdoor stairlift offers an extra measure of freedom.

Whether you’re ready to purchase or still have questions about buying an outdoor stairlift, we can help! Contact Harmar today for help selecting a stairlift or finding a local dealer. Get ready to experience a new level of independence.

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