With consistent high user reviews, durable materials, and sensible comfort features, Harmar’s SL350AC is a moderately priced option that checks all of the most important boxes. It operates on standard 115-volt AC current, and separate controls at the top and bottom of the stairs allow for simple, hassle-free operation. The custom-made aluminum track supports weights of up to 350 pounds (Harmar offers additional options rated for 500 and 600 pounds), and the seat and footrest fold up to save space in your stairwell.
The carriage is pre-installed on a section of the track, so installation is relatively straightforward. With that said, buyers will need to accurately measure their staircases, making appropriate adjustments for orientation and obstacles (see our buying guide for other considerations to keep in mind when carrying out a DIY stair lift installation).
Nautilus is one of the most well-known stair lift brands, and while its products tend to be expensive, they’re well equipped with practical features.
This lift features a worm drive gear arrangement, which never requires greasing. It’s controlled via a simple rocker hand unit, which allows the user to switch directions or stop ascending/descending when necessary. There’s also a remote control, which can be useful for using the lift as a sort of dumbwaiter (for instance, sending baskets of clothes up and down a staircase). A battery provides the necessary power for the motor to operate; the battery recharges at either end of the staircase, and the lift plugs into a standard wall outlet.
The manufacturer provides 24/7 phone support during installation, along with a lifetime warranty on all parts. There’s also free shipping to 48 states, which helps to justify the relatively high price tag (note the “relative” in that sentence; while this isn’t a cheap product, it’s still reasonably priced given its features and quality).
A folding stair lift gives users the choice of taking the stairs on foot or in the powered seat, making it an ideal choice for families whose members who have different mobility-related needs. This Universal Stair Lift from Wiltek Elevators provides a great combination of capacity, ease of use, and design seeing as it folds flat to the wall.
This is a tremendous stair lift at a great price, but it’s an overrun of the 2018 model, so interested buyers should act quickly. The full 15 feet of track it comes with is generally enough for single-flight stairs, and a rechargeable battery allows for consistent operation even during power outages.
According to one study, about one-third of healthy, community-dwelling older adults experience at least one fall per year, and approximately 25 percent of those falls result in injuries. For seniors, fall risk mitigation is incredibly important, and stair lifts can provide older adults and their family members with peace of mind.
With that said, a stair lift is a major acquisition, as it’s intended to be a permanent part of your home. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before ordering.
Most lifts operate primarily with rocker controls, which require constant pressure to function. If the user takes their hand off of the control, the lift stops moving. This can be a crucial safety feature, but if you’re planning on using the lift to move laundry baskets or other objects, you’ll want to find a solution that will also operate remotely, for example, a remote control.
Check to see whether the controls will require additional electrical wiring for proper installation. Hiring an electrician can quickly add to the overall cost, but it’s a necessary step for some lift systems. The good news is that many home stair lifts simply plug into the wall, which is convenient if you have outlets near your staircase.
You also need to determine whether the lift requires constant power for operation. If you’re buying for an older adult who is physically incapable of climbing the stairs, you’ll want a unit with a battery to ensure that the system won’t stop functioning during an electrical outage.
Measure your stairwell carefully before comparing options, taking obstructions and grade into consideration. If you’re uncomfortable with making the measurements, hire a handyman or contact one of the lift manufacturers for guidance.
The products on this list are generally intended for simple, straight staircases. Some lifts can be installed on winding stairs, but unless you’re a skilled mechanical engineer, you’ll want to hire professional installers to handle the task.
A stair lift rail is a load-bearing structure, and improper installation can lead to serious safety hazards. If you’re at all uncomfortable with this sort of job, look for a local company that advertises lift installation services.
That said, plenty of handy purchasers have safely added a stair lift to their home as a DIY project. It’s best to work with a minimum of two reasonably strong installers since the track will need to be supported at either end of the staircase.
Safety is a top priority for manufacturers of stair lifts, but not all users have the same requirements. For instance, every stair lift we looked at includes a seatbelt. For users who have difficulty sitting upright, a simple lap belt won’t be sufficient, so look for harness restraints in these situations.
Another common safety feature is a proximity sensor. These devices automatically arrest the chair’s motion when they detect obstructions. For users with pets or small children in the house, this is an essential safeguard.
Speaking of children in the household, look for a lift with a lockable on/off switch. Many models feature a keylock that prevents power in the absence of the key. While this is a good way to prevent unauthorized use, make sure that the key control isn’t too difficult for users with limited joint mobility.