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Product Buyers Guide: Stairlift Options, Models, and Features: Pinnacle, Summit, and Helix

Oct 5, 2022 | Buyers Guide

Options and Models

Stairlifts, or sometime called “chair lifts,” can be designed for use indoors or out with either a curved or straight rail, depending on the need and layout of the home. Typical stairlifts are made of three main pieces: the chair, rail, and power.

The Chair

Often, stairlift models are designed to have their own chair style. Because stairlifts transport the user from floor to floor while seated, the chair provides the method of transportation up and down the stairs. Some stairlift chairs are manufactured to provide more cushion, or padding. Chairs include folding elements including a folding seat, footrest, and armrests. To provide customers with multiple choices for their needs, manufacturers tend to design multiple options for their chairs. This can include cushion thickness, backrest size, footrest size, upholstery colors, and seatbelt types. Harmar offers a variety of stairlift chair types perfect for the home or to withstand unruly weather, or with weight-lifting capacities from 300 to the industry-exclusive 600 lbs.

The Rail

The chair glides up and down the rail, which can either be pieced together for a straight staircase or fabricated to perfectly fit your home’s curved staircase. Much like the stairlift chairs, rails vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Harmar’s curved and straight stairlift rails are the only in the industry that don’t use grease or lubricant to operate, which provides homeowners the ease of mind, knowing their lift will not produce any stains on their carpets or walls. They also benefit from the minimal maintenance visits grease-using lifts would cause due to the attraction of dust, hair, and fur clogging the machinery.

No matter the lift type, the rail is secured to your stairs by using brackets; however, many lifts are designed to require only a few stairs to be drilled for securement.


Stairlifts are powered by their battery, which is charging when not in use and sitting in its charging area at the end of your rail. This is powered by your home’s 120v outlet. If your home’s power should go out, Harmar’s straight stairlifts can continue to provide up to 60 up and down cycles (depending on the age of the battery). Harmar’s curved stairlifts’ cycles depend on the battery age and the length of the rail.

Stairlift Features and Safety Features

Manufacturers’ stairlift features vary, as do their individual models. Sometimes, certain model lines may come with a standard feature that may be an optional upgrade on another (much like Harmar’s flagship Pinnacle the SL600 vs. the simpler SL300).

Other features may include:

  • Call/Send remotes – convenient for homes with multiple stairlift users to call or send their chair back and forth to the next user.
  • Seat swivel – a feature designed for safety and ease when sitting on the chair and exiting it at the top landing, facing away from the stairs.
  • Seatbelt – many lifts offer a standard seatbelt that sits on the chair when not in use with the option to upgrade to a retractable seatbelt. Select Harmar models come standard with this feature.
  • Folding Rail – to eliminate potential tripping hazards or doorway obstructions, you may opt to add a folding rail to your lift. Many manufacturers’ folding rails beep when deploying or folding or require the user to physically pull it up or push it down in order to continue their travel up and down the stairs. Harmar’s folding rail is automatic, which means the chair’s travel is not interrupted, nor does it make any loud beeps when in use.
  • Overspeed brakes and obstruction sensors – these safety features help ensure in the event of a power outage, your chair will not slip down the rail. The obstruction sensors stop the chair from moving, should an object, pet, or person be in the way of the lift when in motion.

Interested in learning more?

Stairlift Buyers Guide: Straight Stairlift Installation Process
Depending on the length and staircase, straight stairlifts can typically be installed by one or two professional installers, as they are much less involved than many custom curved stairlifts.

Stairlift Buyers Guide: Curved Stairlift Installation Process
Curved stairlifts can be more involved, compared to straight stairlifts, due to their custom design and potentially intricate rails.

Stairlift Options, Models, and Features: Pinnacle, Summit, and Helix
Stairlifts, or sometime called “chair lifts,” can be designed for use indoors or out with either a curved or straight rail, depending on the need and layout of the home.

Stairlifts Grants and Funding Opportunities
Government and private grants and other funding opportunities can help such individuals to improve their quality of life. However, searching and applying for funding opportunities can be stressful.

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