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Home Elevator Vs. Stairlift: Which is the Right for Me?

Aug 25, 2022 | Independent Living

The idea of aging in place is gaining popularity amongst American seniors. According to a recent AARP survey, almost 71% of senior citizens strongly desire to live in their homes rather than leaving their communities for assisted living facilities.

One of the toughest challenges of aging in place is navigating stairs and accessing different levels of your house. Home elevators and stairlifts are two of the most common solutions to this problem. Both elevators and stairlifts can make navigating levels of your home safe, easy, and comfortable; however, choosing between the two can be difficult.

Let’s take a closer look at both these options and see which system may be a better option for you.

What is a Stairlift?

While both home elevators and stairlifts can help you bypass the stairs to reach the different levels of your house, their design and operation are different.

A stairlift is a motorized chair that can quickly be mounted on an existing staircase. Installing a stairlift is quick and simple and does not require structural modification to your home.

Here are the pros and cons of installing a stairlift-

Pros of a stairlift

  • Depending on the rail and length, can be easy and quick to install
  • Are typically much less expensive
  • No reconstruction or extensive remodeling of your home is needed
  • You can use the existing staircase even after stairlift installation

Cons of a Stairlift

  • Not a solution for people who cannot get out of a wheelchair by themselves or without assistance
  • Has lower weight capacity than elevators
  • To access multiple levels, you must install separate stairlifts on each level (or opt for a curved rail stairlift)

What is a Home Elevator?

A home elevator is a small elevator that can be installed inside a home to carry a person or two from one level to the other. Several home elevators are available, from hydraulic powered to shaft and vacuum elevators.

Here are a few pros and cons of a home elevator-

Pros of a Home Elevator

  • Good for people who cannot get out of their wheelchair by themselves or with assistance
  • and to access multiple levels of the house from one device
  • It can provide a way to transport heavier items to different levels
  • Can increase the value of your home

Cons of a Home Elevator

  • More expensive than stairlifts
  • Installation often takes structural modification of your home
  • Longer installation time
  • Some home designs might not be suited for installation for home elevators

Factors to Consider Before Choosing Between a Stairlift and a Home Elevator

Choosing between a home elevator and a stairlift requires careful consideration of several key factors.

Evaluate Your Mobility

One of the pivotal factors to consider is the extent of your mobility issues. For instance, a stairlift might not be a good option for seniors in a wheelchair. To use a stairlift, you will need to be able to walk up to it and get off the chair on your own. On the other hand, a home elevator can be a great choice for people in a wheelchair as there is no need to get up to use it.

Space Requirements

Most stairlifts, including Harmar’s Pinnacle stairlifts, can be installed easily on most common stairwells without having to do any reconstruction.

Installing a home elevator is not as straightforward. You will need major reconstruction to get a home elevator installed.

The smallest elevator you can install in a residential home is around 12 square feet, and the largest is about 18 square feet. Shaft elevators might need additional space requirements to accommodate the motor and cables. While a pneumatic elevator takes up lesser space, it still needs more space than a stairlift.

If you want a quick solution to navigate stairs without having to do a major reconstruction, stairlifts might be a better option.


Installing a stairlift is significantly less expensive than a home elevator. Most standard straight stairlifts cost between $3000-$5000, including the installation charges.

Installing a home elevator, on the other hand, will set you back almost $10,000 to $20,000 depending on the size and the type.

Opting for a stairlift makes a lot more sense than going through the expensive process of installing a home elevator if cost is your main concern.


Stairlifts and home elevators require periodic maintenance; however, an elevator tends to be more demanding due to additional moving parts. Maintaining a stairlift is relatively easy and has a lower chance of failure due to a lack of maintenance.

Stairlifts Are A Great Solution

Stairlifts and home elevators can be a great way to help seniors age in place more conveniently. Both devices are safe and can add value to your home and improve your quality of life. However, as stairlifts are relatively less expensive and quick to install than elevators, they are a more attractive solution for people with enough mobility to use them.

Harmar’s Pinnacle series of stairlifts are designed to give you the best possible experience at a reasonable cost.

Contact a local, authorized Harmar dealer today to discuss your needs.




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