Harmar Mobility Hub

The Ultimate Stairlift Buyer’s Guide

Jan 1, 2021 | Children of Aging Parents, Independent Living, Special Needs Parenting

Despite the struggles faced by older adults, about 90% of them plan to continue living in their current home for at least 5-10 years. There’s a common thread heard in conversations about aging— reduced mobility and how it often interferes with the dream of aging in place.

Instead of giving up on the dream of independence, many people opt to purchase a stairlift.

Installing a home stairlift means the world to someone who couldn’t otherwise get up and down stairs. Our step-by-step guide takes the mystery out of choosing the unit that works best in your home. Take a few minutes and learn more about the various features available, where to purchase, and your options for covering the cost.

Choosing the Right Type of Stairlifts

If you’ve done even a small amount of research on stairlifts, you already know one size doesn’t fit all needs. You’re unique, and so is your home. Don’t let choosing the right lift for your situation overwhelm you.

There are three main types of residential stairlifts:

  • Seated Stairlifts for Straight Staircases
  • Seated Stairlifts for Curved Staircases
  • Platform Lifts

If you use a wheelchair, an inclined platform lift, also called a wheelchair stairlift, makes an excellent option for people who need to remain in their wheelchair while using a lift.

The ability to walk and climb stairs is essential for independent living. Mobility issues impact 1 in 7 American adults, but many of those individuals can successfully age in place with the right stairlift.

Selecting the right home stairlift means making sure you’re informed about the various standard and optional features. In the next section, we’ll explore a few of the most popular safety features.

Focus on Standard Features

After you’ve installed your new stairlift, you’ll appreciate the wide range of standard features, especially those that help ensure you use your lift safely. Once you’ve determined which brand stairlift you’re interested in, talk with a dealer and ask about the following safety features:

  • Swivel Seat Cutoff Switch
  • Footrest Obstruction Sensors
  • Chassis Obstruction Sensors
  • Constant Pressure Controls
  • Centrifugal Overspeed Brake

This list isn’t comprehensive, but it’s a great conversation starter when you meet with the dealer you’ve chosen to handle your stairlift purchase. Don’t forget to inquire about upgrades such as retracting seatbelts.

Stairlift Upgrades

Aside from upgrades to the seatbelt system, there are several features considered add-ons by some manufacturers. For example, a power folding rail instead of the standard manual rails a must for a person living alone.

Think about ordering your unit with a key lock. Key locks prevent unauthorized people from using the stairlift. People who have young grandchildren usually appreciate this upgrade.

Some stairlifts manufacturers offer a heavy-duty unit. This will expand the unit’s weight limit, which can provide more stability for a larger person.

Your Comfort Depends on It

Even if you don’t grow to love your stairlift chair as much as you treasure your recliner chair, you’ll still want to feel comfortable using the lift. A few standard comfort features include:

  • High-Capacity 24-Volt Batteries
  • Low-Maintenance Rail Systems
  • Foldable Seat and Footrest

Another comfort feature to watch for is ergonomic controls. The manufacturer should position them where the hands rest naturally.

You’re likely wondering how batteries impact comfort. Imagine living in a storm-prone part of the country where residents experience frequent power outages. High-capacity batteries can provide up to 40 trips up and down stairs during a power outage, making them not only a comfort feature but a safety feature as well.

Does Every Stairlift Come with a Warranty?

While most stairlift manufacturers and dealers offer limited warranties on their products, each company structures its own unique warrantee program. It’s not uncommon to buy a lift with a 3-5 year warranty.

You’ll also find the various moving parts have an extended warranty. For example, one model stairlift comes with a 10-year warranty on the gear rack, while the batteries have a 1-year warranty.

Funding Your Stairlift

Now that you’ve briefly explored stairlift types, features, and warranties, you’re probably curious about stairlift cost. Like most people, you may also be wondering how to pay for this helpful device.

If you don’t have enough to pay cash for your stairlift, one or more of the following options could work for you:

  • Veterans Affairs Waiver
  • Financing Through a Stairlifts Dealer
  • Grants

Depending on which path you take toward stairlift ownership, you may need a down payment.

How to Buy A Stairlift

By now, we imagine you’ve done some research on stairlifts and want to go look at one in person. Do be careful about placing an order online, as the terms can get a little confusing. You know, things like who pays for shipping and arranging for installation.

Instead of wandering around the internet, why not work with a local, certified dealer? You’ll enjoy a range of benefits when working with a certified dealer, including someone to do the heavy lifting.

Did you know most dealers hire factory-trained technicians?

While it’s good to find someone who can complete your stairlift installation, that’s not the only reason to seek counsel from a stair lift professional. A qualified technician will install and service your lift, freeing you from worry and allowing you to get on with your daily routine.

Buying through a dealer streamlines the entire purchase, from choosing the right stairlift to scheduling installation.

We Are Here to Answer Your Questions

With the information in this guide, we hope we’ve empowered you to take the next step toward owning a stairlift for your home. If you’re looking for a dealer who can help you select the right lift and customize it with the features you want and need, we have a nifty tool to locate the dealer nearest your home.

For any questions regarding features and stair lift cost, contact us today. We’re delighted to answer your questions and refer you to a local dealer.


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