Supporting ourselves and the people we care about becomes more involved as the golden years approach, but with mobility aids in the home, health and wellness issues can be far more manageable. Purchasing a stairlift is often highly beneficial for people who have prosthetic joints, significantly reduced mobility or a disability that makes navigating a multi-level home cumbersome. Still, for so many reasons, buying a stairlift can be an onerous process.

No matter what, it will be a significant investment. Then after shuffling money around and planning a budget to make room for the purchase, buyers are faced with a period of waiting, fine print perusal, and the administrative headaches that can come with hiring contractors to install a stairlift.

However, if you spend a bit of time researching what you need, then do some comparison shopping, you can end up with a quality stairlift that allows you to stay in your home, without the hassle and danger of moving up and down the stairs unaided.

We have compiled a list of the best stairlift manufacturers for 2021, and we’ve included a buying guide to help you navigate the purchase process. The companies listed here stand by their engineering and design by offering strong warranties and industry-leading customer service. Unlike big-box or generic stairlift brands, all of the manufacturers on our list sell their products either directly to consumers or through a brand-certified network of dealers and installation teams tasked with upholding the manufacturer’s standards of quality.

Contributing Expert

Christina Drumm Boyd, BHS, CSA, GCM

Christina is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) who is passionate about seniors and their families. For decades, Christina has worked at all levels of the senior health care industry, serving as director of admissions and marketing for assisted living, nursing homes, memory care, and independent living communities. She also served as a support group facilitator for the Alzheimer’s Association. Her educational training is in Human Services Counseling.

Before taking her elder care services nationwide through Virtual Consultations, Christina Drumm-Boyd founded Care Connect of Hampton Roads (CCHR) in Virginia in 2006. More than a decade later, CCHR continues to grow in size and popularity as it provides comprehensive guidance and access to quality elder care services.

The Best Stairlift Companies


Stairlift Types AvailableStraight Stairlifts Base Price Range*Curved Stairlifts Base Price Range*Best Overall Feature
AmeriGlide StairliftsStraight, Curved, Outdoor$1,995 to $3,995+$7,495- 8,995+Best for Competitive Pricing
Harmar StairliftsStraight, Curved, Outdoor$2,995 to $5,995$11,700+Best for Larger People
Bruno Independent Living AidsStraight, Curved, Outdoor$3,200 to $5,700$10,000-$10,500Best Overall Quality
HandicareStraight, Curved, Outdoor$2,000 to $3,100+$3,100-12,000Best for Accessibility Features
Stannah StairliftsStraight, Curved, OutdoorPrices available with in-home consultationPrices available with in-home consultationBest for Custom Options
Acorn StairliftsStraight, Curved, OutdoorPrices available with in-home consultationPrices available with in-home consultationBest for Fast Delivery and Installation
SavariaStraight, Curved, OutdoorPrices available with in-home consultationPrices available with in-home consultationBest Standard Package

*For all stairlift companies, installation fees and the costs of customization cannot always be accurately assessed without a lengthy consultation, so these prices should be taken merely as a starting point. Seniors should note that the range of curved rail prices from Handicare is particularly difficult to pin down without a consultation. 

AmeriGlide Stairlifts Review

Best for Competitive Pricing

AmeriGlide Stairlifts is an American manufacturer and second-hand dealer offering one of the largest selections of stairlifts in the country, which means they have options to fit any budget. Its stairlifts are available for sale directly from the company in new, certified pre-owned, or factory reconditioned varieties and price ranges, and may be used in either in-home or commercial settings.

Unlike stairlifts bought from big-box stores, AmeriGlide products are sold tax-free. But what makes AmeriGlide’s prices especially competitive is the fact that they may be the only stairlift manufacturer that allows buyers to install their own lifts or hire their choice of installation specialist. Buyers who have carpentry or machine installation experience can save up to $1,025 by opting to shoulder the risk of handling their own AmeriGlide stairlift install. 

Rubex ACRave 2Rave Curved HDPlatinum CurvedHorizon PlusHorizon Plus OutdoorOutdoor Deluxe
Estimated Costs*$1,995+


$2,090+$8,995+$7,495+*$2,000+
 
$2,568+ 
$3,195+
Stairlift Rail TypeStraightStraight Curved CurvedStraightStraightStraight
SettingIndoorIndoorIndoor/ Outdoor IndoorIndoorOutdoorOutdoor
Maximum Weight Capacity350 pounds350 pounds350 pounds352 pounds308 pounds308 pounds350 pounds
Key FeatureEconomy option built for easy installationUltra-narrow design for small spacesCan be used for indoor or outdoor curving stairsFits multi-tiered and more complicated stairsUpgraded seat with Ergo option and color choicesOutdoor capabilities and numerous upgradesBuilt for larger people
Upholstery OptionsVinylVinylVinylPleatherPleatherVinylWeather-resistant vinyl
Seat Color OptionsBeigeTaupeBeige, black, or custom colors in some casesBlue, red or beigeBlue, grey, red or beige
Blue, grey, red or beige
Light almond
Rail Color OptionsWhitewhiteBeige or blackWhiteWhiteWhiteWhite

*The prices above do NOT include installation fees unless they are marked by an asterisk. None of the prices include shipping, which is likely to be 200+. All prices include a + because they are merely the starting costs- upgrading any features will increase the cost.

AmeriGlide Stairlift Models

AmeriGlide accommodates a greater range of budgets than many other stairlift companies by offering a versatile range of straight and curved models, including models for indoor and outdoor use. Features common to all AmeriGlide stairlifts include infrared remote controls that can transmit signals through obstructions, call buttons for returning the chair to your floor if it gets left at the opposite floor, joystick controls on whichever armrest you prefer, swivel seats, and a stair-mounting rail design for easy installation. 

Below you will find ample information on seven stairlift models that are currently available from Ameriglide’s own website. Ameriglide does also offer a stairlift made by the company Harmar and a stairlift made for transporting cargo. We have provided details on the Harmar model under its company’s own profile rather than below, and we have not covered the cargo model since it is not designed to transport people. Seniors should note that online you may see mention of older Ameriglide models that are now only available used or for rental. Ameriglide frequently updates its product line and retires older models as it makes improvements.

Unlike all other Ameriglide models, the Rubex AC stairlift does not currently come in a battery power option. It’s a very basic indoor model, and many homeowners can install it without professional help. If selecting no upgrades, you can pay as little as $2,000 (not including shipping and potential tax). If opting to include all (or most) available upgrades plus installation and its associated costs, the total cost could exceed $5,200.  

The standard length of a Rubex AC track is 15’, but at an extra cost it can be shortened or lengthened (up to 25’). Seniors should note that customizing the track length reduces the weight capacity of the seat. Its seat comes standard at 19” wide without armrests, but you can upgrade by adding armrests or opting for a bigger 21” seat. The armrest upgrade is only possible on the 19” seat. 

Rubex AC features:

  • Powered by your home (not battery)
  • Up to 350 pounds weight capacity 
  • Almond colored upholstery
  • Two seat upgrade options (about $215 for either)
  • Several length upgrade options ($100-$455)
  • Option of adding a key-lockable base and lockable remote control (about $280) 
  • Option to add grocery basket  ($250) 

The Rave model is AmeriGlide’s slimline straight indoor stairlift option, offering one of the smallest profiles in the industry with a 22.5” footprint when in use and 11” when folded away. Unlike the Rubex AC, this model operates via home power and a backup battery. This model is ideal for narrow staircases, such as those commonly found in basements or older homes, and is also a great option for people who use their stairlift in a space with lots of foot traffic. 

The Rave 2’s starting price is $2,090, and it has several different upgrade options. If selecting the standard length plus all other available upgrades and installation services, the prices could rise to $4,482+. Customizing the length up to the maximum 70’ might add an additional $2,000+, placing maximum potential costs somewhere between $6,000-$7,000 in most cases. Adding track length will cost between roughly $43-$48 per foot, depending on exactly how many feet you’re adding- the calculations for track additions are somewhat complex. Requesting a track that’s less than the standard 15’ does not cost extra, however.

Rave 2 Features: 

  • Best option for longer stairs (up to 70 feet)
  • Ultra-compact with a 22.5-inch footprint in use and 11 inches when stowed
  • More upgrade options that original “Rave” model (no longer offered)
  • Height-adjustable seat
  • Taupe vinyl seat is 19” wide and 14” deep
  • seat swivels at top of stairs only
  • Key-lockable upgrade option ($125)
  • Optional bracket upgrade ($99)
  • Optional folding rail (+$999) to save extra space when not in use
  • Track runs 6 inches over your top landing for safer dismount 
  • Quiet operation

This model is visually similar to the Rave 2, but it’s considered a more durable (“heavy duty”) option, and it is designed for curved stairs. While primarily for indoor use, it can be upgraded for outdoor use during checkout. This high-end model can perfectly accommodate a stairwell that has 90 degree or 180 degree turns, and its also a great option for spiral staircases.

While its list price starts at $8,995, this model’s true cost will be $11,490+ for all customers. The reason for this is that, unlike many other Ameriglide models, this model cannot be installed by the buyer. Most other models’ prices do not include installation since self-installation is possible. Ameriglide includes this model’s installation cost in the “shipping” cost, adding a total of  $2,995 to the standard list price. You won’t see the itemized shipping/installation cost until you add the Rave Curved HD to your online shipping cart. During checkout, you will see that different types of turns in stairs will require additional fees, some of which may add thousands of dollars to the total. 

Features of the Rave Curved HD:

  • Multiple color choices
  • Endless customization to fit the turns in your stairs
  • Optional outdoor use upgrade for a $4,992 fee
  • Professional installation services 
  • Option of adding a lock for safety ($267)
  • 350 pound weight capacity
  • Impressive maximum track length of 164’ (extra costs apply)

In homes where staircases present a design challenge due to twists, turns, and multiple levels, AmeriGlide’s Platinum Curved model can be adapted to nearly any configuration. The Platinum Curved stairlift is stocked with AmeriGlide’s premium features, including ERGO seats and an option to upgrade the seat folding and swiveling functions to an automatic version. 

Unlike Ameriglide’s straight track models, the Platinum Curved stairlift is not self-installable due to the high complexity of its curved rail system. As a result, the current purchase cost of $7,495 includes the cost of installation. Costs can exceed this starting price if you add upgrades or length.

The AmeriGlide Platinum Curved includes the following features.

  • Custom-designed to fit nearly any staircase (multi-level, spiral, etc.)
  • Automatic fold-away and swivel seat upgrade options
  • Twin rail leveling system
  • Ergonomically designed seat
  • Retractable seatbelt
  • Pressure-sensitive carriage and footrest
  • Maximum track length of 19 feet
  • Wireless call stations included in price
  • Digital diagnostics display embedded in armrest
  • Footprint of 25.6 inches when in use and 14.3 inches when stowed
  • Comes in three seat colors and two ERGO seat options
  • Custom rail color options
  • Options to add landing stop points and extra battery-charging points

The Horizon Plus is AmeriGlide’s most comfortable straight-lift option, available with either an ERGO Standard or ERGO Plus seat. Its low starting cost makes it surprisingly budget-friendly. Aside from its chair options, this model does not have a large number of upgrade options, but its standard features are advanced, including a digital diagnostic display and ergonomic design elements. 

The AmeriGlide Horizon Plus includes the following features:

  • Can be installed on steeper staircases up to a 62-degree incline
  • Seats come in a range of colors
  • Widest seat available at up to 22 inches
  • ERGO plus seat option provides greater comfort and saves space
  • Fully adjustable seat back and pad
  • Ergonomic joystick installed where hands lay naturally
  • Manual swivel seat
  • Dual footrest-raising levers are manual and linked
  • Retractable reel seatbelt
  • Seats come in beige, red, grey or blue
  • Digital diagnostic display in easy-to-read armrest position

AmeriGlide’s Horizon Plus Outdoor model is great for patios, lakeside docks, and other outdoor spaces. This model is a lot like the indoor Horizon but it has added weather protection and comes with a protective covering. Despite its additional protective features, this model’s starting cost is just $2,568. Since it’s not self-installable, customers should calculate between $575-$1,025+ extra for installation. You can see detailed information on installation costs when you add the model to your online cart.

Horizon Plus Outdoor Features: 

  • Most affordable outdoor option from AmeriGlide
  • Well-protected electrical and mechanical components
  • Comes with an all-weather cover
  • Maximum track length of 55.25 feet 
  • Digital diagnostics display embedded in armrest
  • Multiple seat upgrade options ($50-$75+)
  • Comes with all standard features of the Horizon Plus indoor model

AmeriGlide’s Outdoor Deluxe is the company’s heavy-duty straight stairlift model for outdoor use. It features a higher-capacity carriage that can lift up to 350 pounds as well as an option for a larger seat up to 21 inches wide. This model comes with three all-weather covers to protect all mechanical and upholstered components. With a starting cost of $3,195, not including shipping and installation, this model is the more expensive of the outdoor models offered. Depending on which upgrades you select and on the kind of installation that you need, your total costs could exceed $5,300.  This model is listed as self-installable, so you may be able to save some money.

It should be noted that the stairlift’s high weight capacity only applies when it is used on shorter stairs. For stairs of 16 feet or longer, the carrying capacity of the Deluxe is reduced to 250 pounds. The Outdoor Deluxe runs only on electricity (AC), has no digital diagnostics display, and must be upgraded for armrests to fold away when stowed (this feature not available with the extra-wide seat).

Features of the AmeriGlide Outdoor Deluxe include:

  • Option to add a grocery basket for $250.90
  • Price includes three all-weather covers for seat, chassis, and track header
  • Maximum track length of 25 feet
  • Extruded aluminum rail
  • Seat width of 19 to 21 inches
  • Seat depth of 14 inches
  • Footprint of 24.25 inches when in use and 14 inches when stowed
  • Key locking option available for call/send remote and base for up to $278.30
  • Grocery basket available

AmeriGlide Stairlift Safety Features

All AmeriGlide models are built with safety in mind. A standard lap belt, a swivel function on the seat that locks automatically when in motion, and a non-slip surface on the footrest provide basic fall prevention for all Ameriglide models. All models also include safety sensors in the footrest that will stop or reverse it if it encounters an obstruction on the stairs. If a stairlift suddenly loses cable tension, mechanical safeguards will kick in to enable safe dismount. To prevent a child from playing with the chair, a key-lockable base and lockable remote control are automatically included in many but not all models. Some models also include a “Digital Diagnostics Display” for troubleshooting common stairlift issues.

Most but not all Ameriglide models use both home power and battery power. Battery power is capable of keeping a stairlift running for six to twenty minutes in an outage. Battery operation is also said to add an extra layer of protection from electrocution and power surges. Ameriglide models with batteries have “limit switches” that will ensure that the parked chair is in direct contact with the battery charging station when it’s parked. Models that have no battery, such as Rubex AC, will cost slightly less but may pose a greater safety hazard since you’ll be stranded on your stairs if your home power goes out. 

Testing and Quality Assurance

AmeriGlide is certified by both Intertek (ETL), which independently enforces North American safety standards, and Underwriter Laboratories (UL), enforcing what is known as the American National Standards (ANSI) for quality and safety in manufacturing. AmeriGlide’s manufacturing sites are subject to quarterly surprise inspections and all of the materials and assembly methods comply with strict rules and guidelines to ensure consumer safety.

Ameriglide Stairlift Costs

Where other manufacturers are unlikely to divulge any pricing information until an installation specialist can visit your home, AmeriGlide publicly lists prices for every model, option, and upgrade they have available. Starting costs range between $1,995-$8,995, and curved stairlifts are typically the most costly. Used, refurbished, and rental Ameriglide stairlifts are frequently available at reduced costs. In some cases, a used unit may be discounted by $300-$1,800+, and refurbished units may be discounted $100-$200. Sales on new stairlifts are also offered occasionally. 

The costs described above are just “starting costs.” If you need or want several different upgrades on a model, that may result in a total that’s $2,000+ higher than the starting cost. Adding track length in particular can cost $1,000+ in some models. However, small upgrades, like selecting a more comfortable seat or adding a safety lock system, will cost only $50-$200 per upgrade in many cases. Not all models have upgrades available, and keeping your upgrades to a minimum will result in a budget-friendly stairlift. The cost of operating your stairlift after you buy it should be fairly low. You’ll likely need to spend around $100 on batteries every three years, and you may need to pay for routine maintenance visits in some cases just to make sure everything is in good working order.

Shipping and installation fees are also not included in the list price of most Ameriglide models. You can learn more about those costs under “Purchasing and Installation” below. 

AmeriGlide’s website lets you select a Bread payment plan at checkout. This financing option is subject to credit approval, but in some cases your monthly payments could be as low as $100 per month. Bread is a program of Cross River Bank of New Jersey, Member FDIC, and is not affiliated with Ameriglide. 

Purchasing and Installation

In an effort to create the most consumer-friendly buying process, AmeriGlide has streamlined and simplified both purchasing and installation. Purchases can be made directly through AmeriGlide.com or by calling the AmeriGlide sales team at (800) 790-1635.  AmeriGlide Stairlifts stores are also located all over the United States and in Toronto. Visiting a store is a great option for those who prefer to try before they buy. Floor models are available to help you get a strong sense of the look and feel of the many AmeriGlide stairlift models. In addition to buying directly from Ameriglide online, by phone, or in store, you also have the option of buying Ameriglide stairlifts through other authorized dealers. Some stairlift dealers have showrooms that feature multiple brands, giving you the perfect opportunity to compare Ameriglide’s stairlifts to other units from other companies.

Seniors should note that for orders that are canceled after measurements and payment have been completed, AmeriGlide charges a 25 percent cancellation fee to pay for resources and the labor of its workforce. If your stairlift’s rail has not yet been cut when you cancel your purchase, this fee is reduced to either $250 or 25 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less. AmeriGlide custom-makes its curved stairlift rails, and as such, they cannot accept curved stairlift returns. On the other hand, straight stairlifts can be returned within five business days of receipt. If making a return, you’re likely to lose about twenty percent of what you originally paid due to restocking fees, shipping fees, and similar charges. 

Installation 

Once it’s time to bring your new (or used!) stairlift home, the installation process comes with a range of options to suit your budget, ability level, and personal preferences. Many of AmeriGlide’s stairlifts are designed to be easy for consumers to install themselves and the process generally takes about one to three hours. However, if you prefer professional installation, you can add this option during the online checkout process. Some curved stairlifts cannot be installed by the consumer due to their complexity.

If you need to have AmeriGlide handle the installation, you miu=ght be able to save money by doing your own pre-installation measurements. In case you’re not a handyman, the company provides a simple measurement video guide to walk you through the process.

If you’re completing your own measurements, then installation costs start at $575 for the least complex stairlift models.  Your installation costs may exceed $1,000 if you want extra services or if your home design presents challenges for the installers. Shipping costs vary, but will likely exceed $200. Factors like living in a remote location can increase your installation costs. AmeriGlide cannot offer professional installations in the state of Oregon, so if you live in that state, you would have to hire your own choice of contractor to complete your installation.

Ameriglide Stairlifts Warranties

AmeriGlide stairlift warranties differ greatly from model to model, but are never extended beyond a 10-year period. Its warranties usually cover the most crucial component of the stairlift — the drivetrain — for two to five years. The chair of the lift will have 1-year of coverage in most cases as well. Most of Ameriglide’s indoor stairlifts will have a 5-year warranty, but its heavy-duty and/or outdoor stairlifts will typically have a 1-2 year warranty. It should be noted that no outdoor stairlift is built to be operated in snow, ice, or inclement weather, and may require more frequent servicing if you live in an area with more severe weather conditions. 

Used stairlifts will have far less warranty coverage than new ones do, but factory reconditioned ones may have comparable levels of coverage. As with all warranties, exceptions and conditions apply. If purchasing an Ameriglide model, read the warranty details when your stairlift is first installed.

To make a warranty claim for a stairlift bought directly through AmeriGlide, call (800) 922-3659. If you have purchased an AmeriGlide stairlift through an authorized dealer, you’ll need to contact the dealer to initiate any claims. 

FYI:

Whether you purchase your AmeriGlide stairlift through an off-brand dealer or directly through the manufacturer, when you make a warranty claim, you can be charged for things like labor and travel — things that aren’t covered by AmeriGlide’s warranty. It’s better to understand these kinds of charges when you make your claim than to be caught unawares after the work is done.

Harmar Stairlifts Review

Best for Larger People

Harmar Stairlifts is an American manufacturer and one of the most trusted stairlift brands in the world. Its manufacturing centers are in Missouri and Florida, and rather than shipping its customer service jobs overseas, all Harmar customer service centers are based in the U.S. Harmar specializes in fast delivery, supportive customer care, and perhaps most importantly, top-quality engineering.

Where Harmar truly shines is in the long-term convenience and efficiency of its mechanical engineering. No other manufacturer of quality stairlifts can beat the 600-pound weight capacity of Harmar’s Pinnacle HD stairlift, and every Harmar machine comes with a highly capable motor and a battery that is double the size of nearly all other stairlifts.

The PinnacleThe Pinnacle PremiumThe Pinnacle Heavy DutyThe Summit IndoorThe Summit OutdoorThe HelixIndoor/Outdoor
Estimated Costs$3,195$3,595$5,995$2,995$3,495$11,700
Stairlift Rail TypeStraightStraightStraightStraightStraightOutdoorCurved
Maximum Weight Capacity300 pounds350 pounds600 pounds350 pounds350 pounds for stairs up to 16 feet long350 pounds
Key FeatureSmooth, stable ride and most compact designSpace-saving profile of only 10.5 inchesHighest weight capacity stairlift on the marketAffordable option comes pre-installed on a rail segmentFunctions in temperatures as low as 0 degreesCan adapt to challenging stairwell configurations indoors or outdoors
Upholstery OptionsVinylVinylVinylVinylMarine-grade vinylVinyl or marine-grade vinyl
Seat Color OptionsBeigeBeigeBeigeBeigeBeigeBeige
Rail Color OptionsWhiteWhiteWhiteWhiteSteel greyWhite or steel grey

Note: Harmar does not list prices on its own website. The prices listed above were gathered from various third-party dealer websites in June 2021. Your costs may vary. 

Harmar Stairlift Models

Harmar’s stairlifts each come with a drivetrain that best suits the device’s specific application, whether indoor, outdoor, curved, or heavy duty. All come with a comprehensive suite of safety features, though seatbelts that retract and key locking are upgrade options on most models.

Additionally, all Harmar stairlifts are capable of speeds of 20 feet per minute, which is slightly faster than average, and high-capacity batteries that provide up to 40 trips in power outages. Below, you can read more details about each of the 6 Harmar stairlifts covered in the above table.

The Pinnacle is Harmar’s standard straight stairlift. It is one of the most compact standard models on the market, with an 11-inch profile when folded away. The Pinnacle’s oversized worm gear is a patented technology that offers a higher level of stability than many other stairlifts.

Features of the Pinnacle include:

  • Seat depth of 16 inches
  • A smoother ride thanks to the patented helical worm gear drive system 
  • Grease-free maintenance 
  • Applicable track length up to 32 feet with 15.6 feet considered standard
  • Options for key locking and retractable seat belt
  • Suitable for inclines up to 45 degrees

The Pinnacle Premium is Harmar’s best option for exceptionally long stairs, and it offers the smallest stowed footprint in the industry at just 10.5 inches. This model also comes equipped with a retractable seat belt and a 350-pound carrying capacity.

  • Seat depth of 16 inches
  • 10.5-inch stowed footprint is the smallest in the industry
  • Patented helical worm gear drive system for smoother rides
  • Reinforced nylon polymer gear rack reduces long-term maintenance
  • Track lengths of up to 70 feet with 15.6 feet considered standard
  • Diagnostic indicator lights
  • Appropriate for inclines up to 45 degrees
  • Key locking and folding rail options

Harmar’s Heavy Duty model is the highest-capacity stairlift available. Most HD stairlifts can carry from 350 to 400 pounds, but with the benefit of Harmar’s patented drivetrain, the Pinnacle HD is the best option for larger people. It also features a generously padded and more ergonomic seat than Harmar’s other models.

Features of the Pinnacle HD include:

  • Seat depth of 16 inches
  • High-comfort seats for larger individuals
  • Patented helical worm gear drive system for smoother rides
  • Reinforced nylon polymer gear rack reduces long-term maintenance
  • An 85-degree seat swivel for safer dismount
  • Track lengths of up to 40 feet with 15.6 feet considered standard
  • Appropriate for inclines of up to 45 degrees
  • Options to add retractable seatbelt and key locking

The Summit Indoor is Harmar’s economy option. It comes pre-attached to a short length of rail and operates directly through household electricity rather than utilizing a 24-volt battery. It features a fully adjustable backrest and footrest and operates on a somewhat dated cable drive system rather than a worm gear drive.

Features of Harmar’s Summit Indoor option include:

  • Seat depth of 14 inches
  • Seatback is adjustable to three positions
  • Footrests adjustable to two different heights
  • Cable drive system
  • AC powered means it runs off your home’s electricity
  • Track length up to 25 feet with 15.6 feet considered standard
  • Suitable for inclines up to 45 degrees

Harmar’s straight-track outdoor model can operate in temperatures as low as zero degrees. The Summit Outdoor stairlift is made with materials specially adapted to be weather-resistant in a range of extreme temperatures and features all of Harmar’s standard safety features.

  • Seat depth of 14 inches
  • Non-slip footrest
  • Extruded aluminum track
  • Marine-grade vinyl seating
  • Cable drive system
  • Protective all-weather covers for header, internal chassis, and chair included
  • Suitable for inclines up to 45 degrees
  • Key locking option available

The Helix is Harmar’s most feature-rich option and a single-lift solution for curving or multi-tiered stairs. The Helix comes in both indoor and outdoor configurations and can stand up to long years of harsh weather by offering one of the industry’s only all-steel rail systems. This model handles curves more smoothly than many other curved stairlifts because Harmar uses True-Curve rail bending in its fabrication process.

  • Premium upholstery and ergonomic seat design
  • Track lengths of up to 164 feet with 20 feet considered standard
  • Steel rack and pinion drive system 
  • Seat depth of 15 inches
  • Steel (rather than aluminum) rails
  • Rails available in beige or black
  • Simple-connect rails with lighter chassis for easy installation
  • Outdoor package comes with weather-resistant features
  • Wider seat available up to 21 inches
  • Custom rail color and fabric options

Harmar Stairlifts Safety Features

Harmar utilizes many safety features for its stairlifts, helping to prevent injuries among its users. Prospective buyers can learn more about each model’s safety features on the Harmar website, where more information is provided. Generally speaking, users can expect the following safety features with a Harmar stairlift: 

  • Swivel Seat Cut-Off Switch: Harmar stairlifts feature a cut-off switch that engages when the chair is swiveled to the side as the rider dismounts. This causes the seat to lock in place in its swiveled position until the switch is disengaged, providing a stable barrier between the rider and the stairs below as they exit their stairlift. 
  • Obstruction Sensors: An array of sensors embedded along the edge of your stairlift’s footrest and chassis can see obstructions on the stairs ahead and stop the chair to allow the rider to clear their path. 
  • Slack Cable Brake with Cut-Off Switch: For cable drive units like the Harmar Summit Outdoor model and the Summit Indoor model, if your cable should ever go slack for any reason, your stairlift will engage an automatic braking system to keep things under control.
  • Constant Pressure Controls: Moving your stairlift requires constant pressure from your hand on the ergonomic joystick, so if you should ever need to stop or reverse your chair in an emergency situation, a simple push or release of the constant pressure control is all that’s needed.
  • Centrifugal Overspeed Brake: Harmar stairlifts come with a speed governor that will engage if it ever senses that you are moving too quickly or too slowly.

Safety Testing and Quality Assurance

Harmar’s stairlift models are all weight-tested at several times the advertised load capacity and undergo life-cycle testing at or above industry standards. Harmar is certified by both Intertek (ETL), which independently enforces North American safety standards, and Underwriter Laboratories (UL), enforcing what is known as the American National Standards (ANSI) for quality and safety in manufacturing.

Harmar Stairlifts Costs

Purchasing a new Harmar stairlift can cost between around $2,000 for a basic model up to approximately $14,000, depending on your specific needs and the model you choose. To find out about pricing for upgrades and custom options, shoppers are encouraged to reach out to a Harmar customer service representative or contact an authorized dealer. Note that Harmar does not list prices on its website. Used Harmar lifts can be found online or locally with dealers who are part of the Harmar Authorized Dealer Network.

The average maintenance costs you will pay to keep your Harmar stairlift running through the years is difficult to calculate. Wear and tear on your machine will vary with how often or how seldom it is used, and the yearly prices for Harmar’s service contracts are not readily available online. However, any brand of stairlift is unlikely to have a big impact on your power bill as they consume minimal power with average use — about as much as a small television on standby.

Long-term Harmar stairlift owners will incur upkeep costs for battery replacements, which cost approximately $10-$40 and will need to be replaced about once every three years. Other ongoing costs include any service agreement premiums, and replacement parts and service not covered under warranty or service agreement. 

Harmar Stairlifts Warranties

Harmar Stairlifts warranties are offered by Harmar and honored by their Authorized Dealer Network, and cannot be extended beyond three years after the initial warranty term except in the case of the SL600 Pinnacle Premium, which comes with a limited lifetime warranty. After purchasing your stairlift, Harmar asks that you register your product within 10 days of purchase to activate your warranty coverage.

Authorized dealers are able to offer their own, additional warranties on used Harmar stairlifts, such as 101 Mobility’s first-year service warranty, but Harmar warranties are non-transferrable, which means they do not transfer to a new owner if a stairlift is re-sold as used or refurbished.

In the event that you must make a warranty claim, you will need to contact the dealer from whom you purchased your stairlift. Note that, in the process of fulfilling your claim, your dealer may charge you for labor, service, travel and other associated costs unless these expenses are covered under a service warranty.

Purchasing and Installation

Rather than offering direct sales through an online store, Harmar’s customer care team helps consumers find an authorized dealer in their area. A store locator tool is also available at Harmar.com where interested buyers can find multiple locations without the hassle of ever speaking to a customer service representative.

If you’re searching for specific pricing info on any options and upgrades that Harmar offers, talking to a representative at 101 Mobility may be your best bet. Harmar is one of four top brands they offer, and there are 101 Mobility stores located in 38 states, making them readily available to most buyers.

Installation

Installing a straight-track Harmar stairlift should take anywhere from an hour to one full day. Curved stairlifts can be much more complex, so both the wait time on orders and installation can take longer. Most curved stairlift installs can be completed in one to two days.

Harmar trains and certifies what it calls Certified LiftSquad Installers in order to guarantee consistency and quality in the installation process. All LiftSquad participants are vetted by Harmar to confirm that they are insured and meet certain standards of accreditation. LiftSquad members must take a Harmar-sponsored technical training certification course to be accredited as certified installers and must retake the course at least every five years thereafter to remain certified.

FYI

Many stairlift dealers and manufacturers — including Harmar — require that buyers who wish to maintain their warranty coverage must have their stairlifts serviced by an authorized technician at least once per year. Failure to do so can result in your warranty becoming void. Set reminders for yourself to have your stairlift serviced each year to get the most mileage out of your warranty.

Bruno Independent Living Aids Review

Best Overall Quality

Bruno Independent Living Aids is a family-owned, American stairlift manufacturer that has been in business for 35 years. Bruno sells stairlifts in markets all over the world and is a key brand for the largest residential stairlift dealer in North America, 101 Mobility.

The overall quality of Bruno’s product line comes from a mix of practical features, innovative design and high standards in manufacturing. Even Bruno’s entry-level stairlift, the Elan, offers a complete feature profile to fit almost any user’s needs. All models utilize Bruno’s unique vertical rail system that adds stability using less space than possibly any other stairlift rail. What’s more, Bruno’s manufacturing systems are ISO 9001 certified, proving that the company’s high standards of workmanship are consistently applied to the production process, creating quality machinery for every stairlift order.

The ElanThe EliteThe Elite CurveThe Elite OutdoorThe Elite Curve Outdoor
Estimated Costs*$3,000+$4,300+$10,500+$5,700+$10,000+
Stairlift Rail TypeStraightStraightCurved Straight Curved
Maximum Weight Capacity300 pounds400 pounds400 pounds400 pounds400 pounds
Key FeatureUnique rail design offers an unobtrusive profile for tighter spacesPremium, stylized seatBest option for larger peopleTested in extreme weatherCustom curved rail extendable for longer stairs
Upholstery OptionsVinyl or burgundy leatherVinyl or burgundy leatherVinyl or burgundy leatherMarine-grade vinylMarine-grade vinyl
Seat Color OptionsTan, brown, maroon, charcoal or olive, or burgundy leatherTan, brown, maroon, charcoal or olive, or burgundy leatherTan, brown, maroon, charcoal or olive, or burgundy leatherBeigeBeige
Rail Color OptionsSilver or champagneSilver or champagneSilver or champagneSilverSilver

*Note: Bruno lists some but not all of its stairlift costs online. The estimated costs in the table above were obtained from both Bruno’s website and a variety of dealer websites in June 2021. Estimates for straight stairlifts include basic installation costs, but estimates for curved models do not. 

Bruno Stairlift Models

Bruno’s stairlifts come in any configuration a person could need, including curved-rail outdoor models. The standard features available on all Bruno stairlifts are equally as comprehensive, including audible diagnostic readouts for people with diminished eyesight and a suite of practical safety features. 

Standard features of Bruno’s stairlifts include:

  • Onboard audio/visual diagnostics for easy status updates
  • Continuous-charge strips that charge batteries wherever chair is parked
  • Manual swivel seats with automatic option for easy boarding/unboarding
  • Manual fold-away storage with automatic footrest folding option
  • Obstruction sensors
  • Uses battery power in an outage
  • Call/send remote controls

Note that at some dealerships or online stores, Bruno models will be advertised under their more technical-sounding model numbers instead of by their names. Below, we have included such alternate names in parentheses for your convenience. 

Bruno’s most popular straight stairlift, the Elan (SRE 3050), comes with a comprehensive set of standard features and a few practical upgrade options. The Elan is specially designed to glide close to the wall of your stairs and fold away into a tight parked profile, leaving lots of room for foot traffic.

Features of the Elan stairlift include:

  • Lifetime warranty on all major components
  • Smooth, quiet operation
  • Option to add remote-controlled swivel seat
  • Option to add power or manual folding rail
  • Automatic footrest fold-away when armrests are folded
  • Low-profile rail design leaves ample stair space
  • Vertical rail construction hides all mechanical components
  • Seat is 17.5 inches wide with 20-inches between armrests
  • Electromagnetic braking system
  • Onboard audio diagnostic readouts

The Elite stairlift (SRE 2010) provides a more premium look and a softer seat than Bruno’s standard model, the Elan. This stairlift is capable of safely handling up to 400 pounds and comes with both audio and visual diagnostic readouts, intended for people who have limited eyesight or hearing.

Features of the Elite stairlift include:

  • More premium look
  • Generously padded, ergonomic seats with multiple height adjustments
  • Designed to leave maximum free space on stairs
  • 17.5-inch seat is upgradable to 21.5-inch seat
  • Armrest width adjustable up to 21.75 inches
  • Lifetime warranty on all major components
  • Onboard audio and visual diagnostics for easy updates
  • Option to add remote-controlled swivel seat
  • Option to add power or manual folding rail
  • Automatic footrest fold-away when armrests are folded

The Elite Curve (CRE 2110)is Bruno’s signature stairlift and is the most adjustable option for larger people. It comes with all functions available on the Elite straight-track model, but with the added benefit of being custom-built for buyers so that it can fit into any stairway configuration. The Elite Curve also comes in a few upholstery and color upgrade options.

Features of the Elite Curve stairlift include:

  • Attractively styled and upholstered seat provides thicker padding
  • Tall vertical rail for added stability
  • Adjustable footrest height and armrest width
  • Option for a larger, 21.5-inch wide seat
  • Larger footrest option adds an extra two inches
  • Onboard audio/visual diagnostics for easy status readouts
  • Parking and charge points added for middle landings
  • Option to extend rails along the wall over top and bottom landings

Capable of carrying up to 400 pounds, the Elite Outdoor (SRE-2010E) comes with most of Bruno’s standard options for the Elite indoor straight-track model. The Elite Outdoor also features a waterproof cover that secures to the seat to ride along with your stairlift, protecting it even when in use.

Features of the Elite Outdoor stairlift include:

  • Marine-grade vinyl padded seat
  • Waterproof cover that travels with the chair
  • Anodized aluminum rail with covered gear rack
  • Performance-tested between 0 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Adjustable-width armrests up to 21.75 inches
  • Durable, outdoor paint protects steel surfaces
  • Height-adjustable seats
  • Extended rail lengths available
  • Emergency stop when obstructions are sensed on track or stairs
  • Non-slip footrest

No matter the distance, angles, and elevation of your outdoor stairs, the Elite Curve Outdoor (CRE-2110E) can handle it all. This is Bruno’s premium outdoor model, and as such, it carries the highest cost of all Bruno stairlifts. The Elite Curve Outdoor is the premier curved outdoor stairlift in North America.

Features of the Elite Curve Outdoor stairlift include:

  • Fits twists, turns and corners of challenging stairs
  • Marine-grade vinyl padded seat
  • Waterproof cover that travels with the chair
  • Anodized aluminum rail with covered gear rack
  • Performance-tested between 0 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Adjustable-width armrests up to 21.75 inches
  • Durable, outdoor paint protects steel surfaces
  • Height-adjustable seats
  • Extended rail lengths available
  • Emergency stop when obstructions are sensed on track or stairs
  • Non-slip footrest

Bruno Stairlift Safety Features

Battery power is an important modern safety feature present in most stairlifts. Bruno’s stairlifts all feature two 12-volt, high-capacity batteries that keep stairlifts in operation even in a power outage. Batteries are charged via a connection to household energy, sending a current to continuous-charge strips positioned wherever chairs are parked when not in use. Sometimes referred to as “ADC” power, this combination of electricity and battery power provides an added layer of protection from power surge and electrocution, and also keeps riders from becoming stranded if their power should go out in the middle of a ride. The average amount of time that a stairlift can continue to function on battery power alone is likely six to twenty minutes.

Safety Controls

Constant pressure controls

Stopping and reversing a Bruno stairlift is as easy as releasing or reversing pressure on an ergonomic joystick embedded in the armrest. Moreover, even if you move or release the joystick forcefully, the stairlift has a “soft start/stop” design that makes movements as smooth as possible. 

Spatial sensors

Bruno’s stairlifts come with an array of spatial sensors that stop the chair from moving if an obstruction is sensed on the rail or on your stairs.

Swivel seat lock

Bruno stairlift seats come standard with a manual swivel function.  The rider can turn towards their landing and lock the chair in the turned position for a safe dismount. The pebbled texture of the included footrest makes slipping less likely during dismount, too. Customers can upgrade some models to the power swivel function, which operates by remote control.

Audio/visual status indicator

When prompted, status indicators will read aloud any diagnostic codes or low-battery prompts for the rider, and Elite model stairlifts also come with visual readouts. 

Testing and Quality Assurance

All Bruno stairlifts are certified by independent quality assurance agencies like Underwriter Laboratories (UL), in accordance with the American National Standards (ANSI) for quality and safety in manufacturing. They are also an ISO 9001 certified manufacturer, which means they have a highly standardized system of quality assurance in their manufacturing processes. Performance testing on outdoor models involves deeper testing for things like weatherproofing and cold/heat resistance.

Bruno Stairlifts Costs

Bruno’s straight-track stairlifts start at $3,000 including installation, and may exceed $6,000. Its curved-track models start at $10,000 not including installation. Shipping is likely to be included in  Bruno stairlift prices most of the time. The most expensive outdoor stairlift models from Bruno can sometimes exceed $14,000+. While some consumers may balk at these prices, Bruno is well-known by dealers to be such a solid brand that long-term costs are likely to stay exceptionally manageable. Bruno’s local availability and long-term customer service are unmatched. As Bruno stairlifts are not sold directly through the manufacturer, financing options depend on the authorized dealer from which customers purchase their stairlift. In some cases, you may be able to take advantage of sales prices that dealers will offer. 

For some Bruno stairlift models, you will be able to request additional track length, a power swivel seat, or other modifications. On average, you should expect such additions to add at least a few hundred dollars to your total. Your dealer can provide itemized costs when you’re considering upgrades. Unfortunately, upgrade costs are usually not available online. 

Purchasing and Installation

Buying a Bruno stairlift cannot be done directly through the manufacturer, so to start the purchasing process, you’ll need to find a dealer. Even if you’re considering buying used or renting a stairlift, you will want to find legitimate dealers. Bruno’s website has a “Find Dealer” button that will help you search based on your location. Some dealers have websites and serve customers across the nation, while others serve only one region. 

Installation

Once installation begins, Bruno estimates that straight-track installations are likely to be completed within one workday or less. However, two or three days may be needed for custom curved installations, depending on the complexity of the stairlift’s design. The specifics of your Bruno stairlift delivery and installation will vary depending on what installation specialists your retail dealer contracts with. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to research the history of client satisfaction for any dealer you are considering buying through. 

For Bruno’s straight stairlifts, the cost of installation is typically reflected in the model’s list price. Additional charges might be applied, however, if your staircase presents special challenges for the installers. The costs of installing a curved Bruno stairlift will vary dramatically, but are likely to be $600-$1,000+ on top of the model’s list price. Always ask your dealer for installation cost details in writing prior to making a final selection.

Warranties 

Bruno’s warranties offer separate terms of coverage for what they consider major components. Major components of Bruno stairlifts are mechanical parts that are subjected to the most movement and friction throughout their lifespan. They include:

  • The drivetrain
  • The motor
  • The gearbox
  • The rail system

Warranty coverage of major components ranges from 5 years to lifetime, and coverage of other parts is likely to be 2-years or less. Straight track models tend to have the longest coverage. Seniors should note that labor costs are calculated separately from the costs of the parts, and on most models labor costs are not covered under the warranty. 

Because Bruno offers extensive warranties, and because the top North American dealers provide added warranty coverage, long-term costs should be largely confined to those incurred by user wear and tear or battery replacements. Bruno stairlifts use two 12-volt batteries that have an average life of three years. These can be purchased from your local dealer or potentially found online at a lower price.

FYI

Buying Bruno stairlifts from nationally authorized dealers can provide an added layer of warranty coverage. The largest Bruno dealer in the country, 101 Mobility, provides a one-year service contract to cover any parts that may malfunction due to manufacturer error. While this sort of coverage is commonly offered by other dealers, 101 Mobility also covers costs associated with services provided in your first full year of ownership, such as a repair team’s travel and labor expenses.

Handicare Review

Best for Accessibility Features

Handicare was founded in the UK, but has grown to become an international organization in 20 countries and an industry leader in mobility equipment manufacture. With its stairlifts’ high quality, comprehensive standard packages, and highly customizable design, Handicare was a contender for more than a few of the other “Best” awards conferred in this guide.

The factor that makes Handicare stand out from the competition, other than its industry-first Slide Track and Hinged Track straight rail options, is the high-accessibility design elements of its Xclusive stairlift. The Xclusive is not just another stairlift; it’s an accessibility solution, even suitable for people who have dementia or severe joint discomfort. 

With its color-contrasted and high-visibility user controls, power swivel and power footrest features, asimple-to-access battery housing, and softened hand rests for people with arthritis, nearly anyone can have a more capable and secure stairlift experience with the thoughtfully designed Xclusive.

The 950The 950 PlusThe XclusiveThe 1000The 1100The 2000The FreecurveThe 1000 OutdoorThe 2000 Curved Outdoor
Estimated Costs*$2,600$3,000$2,000$3,100+$2,970+$3,100- $6,190$8,600- $12,000Pricing available with consultationPricing available with consultation
Stairlift Rail TypeStraightStraightStraightStraightStraightCurvedCurvedStraightCurved
Maximum Weight Capacity310 pounds310 pounds286.6 pounds350 pounds300 pounds for perch seat
287-309 pounds depending on incline250 pounds300 pounds for heavy duty kit300 pounds350 pounds302 pounds with folding rail250 pounds300 pounds with heavy duty kit
Key FeatureFolds away to an 11.25-inch stowed profileSmart Seat comes in 6 color options with adjustable height, width, and depthHigh-accessibility features Best seat options for people with reduced joint mobilitySlim design and seat options for people with reduced joint mobility

One of the most inexpensive curved stairlifts availableLargest variety of mobility-supporting featuresWeather resistant even in harsh climatesCurved option for complicated outdoor stairs
Upholstery OptionsVinylVinylVinylVinylFaux leatherLeather grain or vinylVinyl, polyurethane or faux leatherWeather-resistant materialsWeather-resistant materials
Seat Color OptionsSandCocoa, sand, slate, ruby, sapphire or jadeCreamCocoa, sand, slate, ruby, sapphire or jadeBeigeSmart seat: Brown, wine, beige, midnight blue, forest green or Kelly green
Simplicity seat: Beige
Style seat: Brown, maroon or red
Elegance seat: Bordeaux red, cream or cocoa brown
Alliance seat: Bordeaux red, cream or cocoa brown with dark wood trim
Classic seat: Anthracite (green), Bordeaux red or beige
Cocoa, sand, slate, ruby, sapphire or jadeSmart seat: Brown, wine, beige, midnight blue, forest green or Kelly green
Simplicity seat: Beige
Style seat: Brown, maroon or red
Rail Color OptionsWhiteWhiteWhiteWhiteWhiteIvory, beige, brown or your choice of powder-coated RAL colorIvory, beige, brown or your choice of powder-coated RAL colorWhiteWhite

*Note: Handicare does not list its own prices on its website. This company’s prices have tended to fluctuate significantly in the past few years. The costs above are estimates only that are obtained from dealer websites in June 2021. Prices may not reflect the costs of upgrades, shipping, or installation. 

Handicare Stairlift Models

Handicare stairlifts all come standard with an impressive array of features, including key safety features common in modern, quality stairlifts. Many, though not all, Handicare models can be modified with a Heavy duty kit so that they can carry up to 350 pounds. Many models also have seats with adjustable heights or other special features, too. These modifications mean that Handicare is often a great choice for seniors of all weights and heights. 

Features common in Handicare models include:

  • Two wireless remote controls
  • Ergonomic paddle controls 
  • Swivel seats in manual and powered options
  • Powered folding rail option (most models)
  • Continuous charging function
  • Carpeted footrests
  • Manual emergency stop
  • Plug-in powered battery operation
  • Fold-away seat, footrests, and armrests
  • Key-lockable

We have primarily referred to the models below by the names that they are listed under on Handicare’s own website. However, seniors should note that most models have two different names — usually a name that’s a number (950, 950+, etc. ) and a name that’s a word (Simplicity, Simplicity Plus, etc). Since you may see one or the other name used on other websites, we have included alternate names in parentheses as needed. 

The Xclusive is Handicare’s best option for people with severely diminished eyesight, or who are losing the full use of their hands due to arthritis. The Xclusive’s user controls are designed with contrasting colors to make them always visible, and the lift’s soft, ergonomic hand rests and easy-to-open battery terminals allow arthritic users to enjoy their stairlift pain-free.

Features of the Xclusive stairlift include:

  • Rounded seat provides a more supportive ride and a softer look
  • Swivel seat turns at both top and bottom of stairs for easy sitting/standing
  • Onboard diagnostics display
  • Seat depth of 15 inches
  • Fold-away width of only 13 inches
  • Maximum rail length of 22 feet
  • Maximum inclines of 52 degrees
  • Option to add footplate spacers to add 2 inches of legroom
  • Options to add power folding footrest and power swivel seat function controlled via an armrest switch

Handicare’s most popular model, the 950 (Simplicity), comes at the company’s entry-level price point for straight stairlifts. It offers a suite of standard features that make it a strong choice for people with restrictive budgets.

The 950’s extra-slim stowed profile is built to leave maximum space for foot traffic on your stairs and can be streamlined for even greater space savings with the manual folding rail or Slide Track upgrades. However, on 950 stairlifts that have either of these rail options, the lift’s carrying capacity is reduced from 310 pounds to 265 pounds.

Features of the 950 stairlift include:

  • Option to include manual folding rail or Slide Track rail
  • A Zero Intrusion option for stairs with doors positioned close to stairs
  • Seat depth of 14.5 inches
  • Armrest spacing of 18.65 inches
  • Continuous charging keeps battery going no matter where you park
  • Ergonomic paddle control designed in part by occupational therapists
  • Extended seat option adds three inches between chair and footrest

The 950 Plus (Simplicity Plus)comes with all of the standard features of the 950 model, but adds the option to upgrade from the manual swivel seat and footrest fold-away features to powered versions to reduce strain in using the stairlift. Another key feature is that the 950 Plus comes with the Smart Seat, adding a high level of adjustability and six color options.

Features of the 950 Plus stairlift include:

  • Seat depth of 15.75 inches
  • Extended seat option adds three inches between chair and footrest
  • Option to add powered swivel seat and powered footrest
  • Option to add a body harness for added stability
  • Continuous charging keeps battery going no matter where you park
  • Ergonomic paddle control designed in part by occupational therapists
  • Option to include manual folding rail or Slide Track rail
  • A Zero Intrusion option for stairs with doors positioned close to stairs

The Handicare 1000 (1000 Sterling) is a straight-track stairlift that comes with seating options for those who have mobility issues in their hips, backs or legs. The perch seat option is particularly suited to those who find it difficult to get comfortable in a fully seated position and instead prefer to maintain an upright posture.

Features of the Handicare 1000 include:

  • Choice of 6 upholstery colors
  • Smart or Perch seats available for the comfort of people with limited flexibility
  • Body harness add-on availableSeatbelts retractable for all seating options
  • Optional powered or manual folding rail
  • Manual swivel seat and footrest fold-away

The Handicare 1100 (1100 Sterling) straight track stairlift is a relatively new addition to the Handicare catalog. It features a patented multi-drive system that’s designed for long wear and easy maintenance. Its slim design is great for narrow stairs. Seniors will also enjoy the fact that this stairlift is quieter than most since its drive system uses friction instead of a toothed track. 

Features of the Handicare 1100 stairlift include:

  • Weight capacity between 287-309 pounds depending on the angle of installation
  • Fully folding seat when not in use
  • Built in brush heads on the chair keep the track free of dust and hair
  • Optional power swivel for the seat
  • White track and sleek beige seat with retracting seatbelt

The 2000 Curved stairlift (Sterling 2000)is a highly customizable option suited to multi-tiered or twisting stairs, and at $6,190, it is one of the most affordable curved stairlifts you’ll find. This model accommodates four of Handicare’s seat options, including the Simplicity, Style, Smart and Perch chair configurations.

Features of the Handicare 2000 stairlift include:

  • Comes with three chair options — the Simplicity, Style or Smart seat
  • Multiple seat upholstery and color options available
  • Twin rail system for added stability
  • Rails come in your choice of three standard colors or a custom color
  • Option to add Velcro seatbelt

The Freecurve is one of the few single-rail curved stairlifts on the market, lending it a less obtrusive profile. This model can be installed in staircases that have intermediate landings, though installation on such staircases does cost approximately $1,000 extra. The Freecurve comes with Handicare’s largest standard feature set for mobility and sensory aids, including the Active Seat upgrade that helps users lift themselves to a standing position or sit down gently.

Features of the Freecurve stairlift include:

  • Joystick can be placed on left or right armrest
  • Multiple color and design options available for rails and seats
  • Compatible with Handicare’s full range of automatic and powered options
  • Onboard diagnostics display
  • Option to add an LED illuminated footrest
  • Active Seat option provides greater support getting into and out of your chair

The 1000 Outdoor is Handicare’s straight-track model for outdoor spaces, and it comes with all of the 1000 indoor model’s standard features and upgrade choices. It features weather-resistant surfaces and can withstand temperatures as low as 0 degrees. The folding rail upgrade option reduces the 1000 Outdoor’s carrying capacity to 302 pounds.

Features of the Handicare 1000 Outdoor stairlift include:

  • Comes with UV-resistant, slate-grey upholstery
  • All-weather cover included
  • Onboard diagnostics display
  • Choice of 6 upholstery colors
  • Smart or Perch seats available for the comfort of people with limited flexibility
  • Body harness add-on available
  • Seatbelts retractable for all seating options
  • Optional powered or manual folding rail
  • Manual swivel seat and footrest fold-away
  • Optional powered footrest fold-away can be operated from seat base or armrest

The 2000 Outdoor is Handicare’s curved-track model for outdoor spaces, and it comes with all of the 2000 indoor model’s standard features and upgrade choices. It features weather-resistant surfaces and can withstand temperatures as low as 0 degrees. While both 2000 models have a lower carrying capacity than the 1000 models, adding Handicare’s heavy duty upgrade kit brings the 2000 Outdoor’s capacity to 300 pounds.

Features of the Handicare 2000 Outdoor stairlift include:

  • Comes with UV-resistant, slate-grey upholstery
  • All-weather cover included
  • Onboard diagnostics display
  • Comes with three chair options — the Simplicity, Style or Smart seat
  • Multiple seat upholstery and color options available
  • Twin rail system for added stability
  • Rails come in your choice of three standard colors or a custom color
  • Option to add Velcro seatbelt

Handicare Stairlift Safety Features

Handicare stairlifts are “ADC” powered, meaning they operate with the use of a battery that is charged via household, AC electricity. Each stairlift comes with two 12-volt batteries, and these typically last an average user about three years before they need replacing. Handicare has engineered their stairlifts to make changing the batteries as simple as possible. 

The major safety benefit of battery power is that in a power outage, Handicare stairlifts can keep functioning for up to 40 trips, or an average of 20 minutes, up and down the stairs so that riders will never be stranded. Thanks to Handicare’s continuous charge functionality, batteries are kept fully charged as long as your Handicare remains powered on, no matter where you choose to park your chair.

Safety Controls

  • Obstruction sensors. Handicare stairlifts all come standard with an array of sensors embedded in the footrest. These sensors will bring the stairlift to a halt should it meet an obstruction on the stairway or rail.
  • Swivel lock. The swivel safety latch locks your stairlift’s seat in place after you turn to the side for dismount onto your stairway landing. This ensures that there is a stable barrier between you and the stairs below as you exit the lift.
  • Constant pressure controls. Handicare control joysticks and ergonomic paddles only operate with continuous pressure from the rider’s hand. All you have to do to stop your stairlift from moving is release the joystick, or for a quick reverse, press the joystick backward.
  • Safety belts. Handicare stairlifts come with the option of an across-body harness, retractable seatbelt or Velcro seatbelt.
  • Diagnostic displays. Handicare models come with diagnostic displays to warn of mechanical or battery issues.
  • LED footlights. The Handicare Freecurve comes with white LEDs to light the footrest when it is folded down awaiting use.

Testing and Quality Assurance

The design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of Handicare stairlifts are assessed and certified by multiple independent agencies. Handicare’s products have earned multiple ISO standards certifications for quality in consumer goods. Handicare stairlifts are tested extensively for their load-bearing capacities and long-term durability.

Costs and Financing

Handicare’s straight-track stairlift starting costs are between $2,600 and $3,100 including basic installation and shipping (in most cases). Straight track prices can be higher if upgrades are selected, however. Handicare’s indoor curved-track stairlift costs start between $3,100 up to $8,600, and its outdoor curved track models command higher, unadvertised prices. For all kinds of Handicare models, you should be aware that upgrades or extensions of track length could add hundreds or thousands of dollars to your total. 

When comparing Handicare costs across different dealer platforms, we noted that this brand’s costs tend to fluctuate over time. Some older models may actually become permanently less expensive as newer models are released. Seasonal price drops are also possible at some dealers. For seniors on a tight budget, financing for Handicare stairlifts might be available through any major dealer of the brand. Terms of financing may differ significantly depending on which authorized dealer you choose to shop with.

Get a Free Quote for Handicare Stairlifts Seniors and Medicare beneficiaries can receive free quotes for the purchase and installation of stairlifts.  Get Started Here.

Purchasing and Installation

While consumers cannot purchase a Handicare stairlift directly through the manufacturer, many authorized dealers are available online, over the phone and in stores. Authorized dealers are brand-certified to guarantee manufacturers’ quality assurances and warranty coverage. Even if you’re considering buying used or renting a stairlift, it’s imperative to find legitimate dealers. Handicare has a “find a dealer” page on its website. You can access this convenient tool by scrolling to the bottom of the handicare page and looking under the “quick help” menu. A link to help you find showrooms is also available there.

Installation

Once an installation begins, Handicare estimates that straight-track installs are likely to be completed within one workday or less, but up to two or three days may be needed for custom curved installs, depending on the complexity of your stairlift’s design.

The specifics of your Handicare stairlift delivery and installation will also vary depending on what installation engineers your retail dealer contracts with. As mentioned earlier, the cost of installation is often included in Handicare listed costs, but not always. In some cases, the cost of installation may increase if an evaluation of your home reveals that your situation will be particularly challenging for the installers. Always ask your dealer about how installation costs are calculated, how upgrades may affect installation costs, and whether or not shipping is included free of charge. 

Warranties

Handicare offers product-specific warranties on its stairlifts, with most featuring lifetime coverage of the stairlift’s most important mechanical part — the gearbox. Two years of coverage on parts other than the gearbox is common for Handicare models. Seniors should be aware that in some cases, labor, travel expenses, and other changes could fall outside of the warranty coverage. Always read the warranty fine print prior to making a purchase or a claim. In addition to Handicare’s manufacturer warranties, your stairlift dealer may offer further coverage.

Stannah Stairlifts Review

Best for Custom Options

From its humble beginnings as a crane and hoist manufacturer in England in the 1860s, family-owned Stannah Stairlifts has become an award-winning accessibility equipment manufacturer with locations all over the world. Stannah now has three U.S. headquarters in Massachusetts, New York, and California, as well as a trusted dealer network with locations in every state.

Stannah’s feature models, the Starla and the Siena, stand out in the mobility device industry for their custom design appeal. Both can be ordered with such a broad range of options that nearly every part of these devices, from its cushions to its rail systems, may be made with custom colorways, even including an option to add wood trim in one of two finishes.

A Stannah stairlift is tailored to the individual circumstances of the user, not just in terms of one’s personal sense of style, but also by offering highly specific safety and accessibility options. Buyers can initiate a simple, three-part design and installation process to create a stairlift that is unique to their needs and blends with their home decor, all with the benefit of industry-leading functionality.

The Starla 260The Starla 600The Siena 260The Siena 300The SadlerThe ScoutThe 320 Outdoor
Pricing$12,000 to $15,000$5,695$12,000$4,395Pricing available with consultation$2,995$5,900 to $8,000
Stairlift Rail TypeCurvedStraightCurvedStraightCurvedStraightStraight
Maximum Weight Capacity300 pounds350 pounds300 pounds350 pounds300 pounds300 pounds300 pounds
Key FeatureLarge selection of premium options with a custom curved railLarge selection of premium optionsStandard model designed for narrow stairs that require a custom curved railStandard model designed for narrow stairs and larger peopleDesigned for people with low joint mobility and curved or multi-tiered stairsEconomy option with basic comfort and safety features for narrow stairsHigh tolerance to salt spray and extreme heat and cold
Upholstery OptionsVinyl or woven fabricVinyl or woven fabricVinylVinylWoven fabricVinylWeather-resistant plastics
Seat Color OptionsBrown, light beige, green, red or stone, plus, dark or light wood trimBrown, light beige, green, red or stone, plus, dark or light wood trimTan, ivory, cranberry, pine, walnut or midnight blueTan, ivory, cranberry, pine, walnut or midnight blueBeige with light wood trimNut brownLight grey
Rail Color OptionsCurved rails come in choice of pearl, nut brown, jet black, window grey, beige or ochre brownBeigeCurved rails come in choice of pearl, nut brown, jet black, window grey, beige or ochre brownBeigeCurved rails come in choice of pearl, nut brown, jet black, window grey, beige or ochre brownPearlSteel grey

Stannah Stairlift Models

All Stannah stairlifts come with a set of standard features that promote independence for the user, including two remote controls that can send or call the chair to your preferred position. The remotes can be locked with the use of a key and come with wall mounts so they can be positioned at the top and bottom of the stairs.

Other standard controls and safety features include:

  • Can fit any length stairs
  • Ergonomic slimline control built into armrests where hands lay naturally
  • A comprehensive suite of safety features
  • Option to add supplemental safety features
  • Option to upgrade to a larger and longer-running battery
  • Manual and automatic seat swivel functions available
  • Easy fold-away mechanisms
  • Multiple style choices
  • Anti-slip footrests
  • Automatic hinged rail option for straight rail models
  • Chair position lock and fold-away come in either manual or power configurations
  • Options for people with limited manual dexterity or joint immobility

The Starla comes in the 600 version, which has a straight track, and the 260 version, which has a curved configuration and features a tilted seat for added comfort and security. What makes both versions of this model stand out is its potential for customizability. With multiple upholstery, trim, and color options for nearly every part of the Starla, including six colors for the rail, this model is made to blend into the decor of your home. The Starla’s standard package includes pearl-toned rails, a manual swivel seat and footrest, Stannah’s light touch hand control, and a retractable seatbelt. 

Other available features of the Starla include:

  • 300 pound weight capacity for the curved track and 350 pound weight capacity for the straight track
  • Wood trim available in dark and light finishes
  • Your choice of waterproof vinyl or woven fabric upholstery
  • Bi-directional seat swivel option
  • Manual or powered footrest folding
  • Push-button and manual footrests do not require bending over to fold away
  • High-backed and generously padded

The Siena model is best for people who desire a few custom options and a high-quality stairlift but do not require the high customizability of Stannah’s more expensive Starla model. Like the Starla, however, this model is offered with a curved track (the 260 model) and a straight track (the 300 model). Both versions of Siena are well-suited to more narrow staircases, as the seat’s curved back provides a deeper, and thus space-saving seated position. The Siena’s vinyl upholstery comes in tan, ivory, cranberry, pine, walnut or midnight blue.

  • 300 pound weight capacity for the curved track and 350 pound weight capacity for the straight track
  • Waterproof vinyl seat upholstery
  • Color options available for rails
  • Wider seats and footrests available
  • Curved seat back for a more deeply-seated position
  • Slim profile
  • Curved 260 model can be anchored to either side of your stairs
  • Easy fold-away mechanism does not require bending over

Stannah’s Sadler model is a curved track stairlift specifically designed for people who have difficulty bending or pain when they bend at the hip, knee or back. The seat is positioned to maintain an upright position, or “perch,” while keeping the user secure while in motion. Added safety features and a powered tilting seat make the Sadler an exceptionally supportive stairlift.

  • 300 pound weight capacity
  • Powered tilting seat gently raises and lowers users for easy sitting and standing
  • Saddle-style seat reduces joint strain by forming upright posture
  • Immobilizing seatbelt restricts movement of the chair until it is buckled securely
  • Curves to travel beyond the top stair all the way onto the landing
  • Height of seat can be customized at installation
  • Footrest automatically folds to the wall when one armrest is raised

Stannah’s economy model, the Scout, is a straight track stairlift for practical users who do not desire the bells and whistles of other models. Despite having few frills, this model retains the high-quality functionality and safety features that come with all Stannah stairlifts.

  • 300 pound weight capacity
  • Small form factor ideal for basement stairs
  • Comfortably supports people with minimal mobility issues
  • Swivel seat can be locked in place for safer transfer to and from chair
  • Center-clasp seatbelt
  • Comes with vinyl upholstery and two remote controls
  • Safety sensors stop the chair on contact with obstructions
  • Anti-slip footrest
  • Adjustable height
  • Ergonomic controls

Stannah’s straight-track, outdoor model is a rugged, all-weather version of the indoor models that retains those chairs’ functionality and safety features. Stannah does not currently offer this unit in a curved track version, but in some cases stairlift users can install more than one straight rail model to navigate complex stairways. The straight tracks can be made to fit any length of stairway.

  • 300 pound weight capacity
  • Withstands extreme temperatures and salt spray
  • Compatible with minimum stairway widths of 27”
  • Light grey coloring
  • UV-resistant
  • Waterproof
  • Sensors stop the chair on contact with debris on the track or stairs
  • Comes with a fitted, all-weather cover
  • Comes with all standard options for indoor stairlifts
  • Controlled with an ergonomically-positioned joystick

Stannah Stairlift Safety Features

If your electricity goes out during a storm or outage, your stairlift will continue to be operable for an average of six to twenty minutes thanks to its two 12-volt, high-capacity batteries which continually charge via your home’s electricity. This means there’s no risk of getting stranded in the middle of your stairs when the lights go out. Stannah gives consumers the option to purchase a Heavy Usage Kit, which provides an even larger battery terminal to accommodate more power, keeping your lift running for twice as long as the standard battery. 

In addition to the safety that its battery-powered designs provide, Stannah also provides numerous other safety features for its stairlifts, which you can explore below. 

Safety Controls

  • Safety sensors: Stannah stairlifts come standard with sensors built into the seat of the chair that will stop the stairlift until you are securely positioned. Each stairlift also has ten safety sensors arranged around the footrest to stop the lift if it meets an obstruction on your stairs or the track.
  • Arm isolation: Arm isolation technology prevents the chair’s controls from being toggled until the downstairs-facing armrest is pulled down and locked into place.
  • Seatbelt features: Stannah offers multiple seatbelt options to accommodate differing needs. It’s diagonal seatbelts and five-point harness configurations provide added support for the upper body. The safety belt on the Sadler model also incorporates a safety setting that will not allow the lift to start until the seatbelt is fastened. This makes riding in the upright perch position much safer.
  • Swivel seats: A swivel seat comes in either a manual or powered configuration and locks the chair in place to block the stairlift user from falling backward as they turn to dismount at the top of their stairs. Stannah also offers the option of bi-directional swiveling to offer added convenience at the bottom of your stairs. Lifts equipped with a power swivel function can be swiveled using the included remote control.
  • Rail and door options: The optional folding rail automatically raises and lowers as the chair slides away from it on the track, removing obstructions to make room for doors and hallway passage. An optional door-closing device can also be selected. This device is positioned for use where the chair may run into an open door during travel.
  • Optional parking kit: The parking kit allows users of curved rail stairlifts to park the chair a short distance upward from the landing to remove potential obstructions.
  • Reduced-size footrest or offset footrest: Optional footrest sizes are available for especially narrow or steep stairs.

Testing and Quality Assurance

Stannah stairlift carriages are tested over the equivalent of 10 years of average use and motors are tested with over 100,000 journeys. Stannah’s stairlifts are independently tested and approved under multiple EN 81 European Safety Standards and the ISO 9386 Worldwide Standard for Stairlifts.

Costs and Financing

Stannah’s stairlifts come with so many options to customize your purchase that prices can vary significantly. In general, you won’t know your full cost until you have consulted with Stannah representatives regarding your exact needs. Any prices that you find online for Stannah stairlifts are unlikely to convey the full picture of your costs. However, in general terms, Stannah models likely start around $4,000 (including installation), and the most expensive models from this brand are likely to be 2 to 3 times that cost, particularly if you are looking into a curved model or a model that includes numerous upgrades. Seniors should note that Stannah itself does not offer financing options, but some authorized dealers may.

Stannah’s website notes that due to their extensive experience as stairlift manufacturers and the many options they offer, stairlift shoppers with economy budgets may be able to find cheaper options. Be clear with sales representatives about the limitations of your budget so that you can get help finding your best option. For people who may only need their stairlift for a short time, perhaps while recovering from a hospital stay or during a visit from a relative who has mobility issues, Stannah stairlifts are available to rent from authorized dealers. A Stannah stairlift rental for 6-months could cost less than $3,000 in some cases.  

After an average of three years of use, most people must buy a replacement battery for their stairlift. Stannah’s lifts use two 12-volt, high-capacity batteries, which cost anywhere from $10 to about $35 per battery to replace. Stannah’s Heavy Usage Kit upgrades the battery to a larger type, which lasts longer but costs more to replace. Other long-term costs of ownership may include occasional repairs or service calls.

Purchasing and Installation

The purchase of certain Stannah models can be started online on Stannah’s own website, but by and large the pricing information that you need will only be available after speaking with a representative to evaluate your needs. After the initial conversation, you can set an appointment for a technician to come measure and evaluate your home. At that time, you can ask more questions you may have regarding price, warranties, or installation, and the technician can recommend a particular model. 

Stannah stairlifts are also available through authorized dealers, who will likely have a similar process for helping you find the right stairlift. For information on the cost of Stannah stairlift, contact them at (888) 282-9659 to initiate an in-home evaluation, or visit Stannah-Stairlifts.com/find-a-dealer

Installation

Stannah custom-makes all stairlift purchases for the customer, whether you buy a straight rail model or a curved, and thus more complex, stairlift. While composing chairlifts with custom fabrics and rail lengths take time, the process is unlikely to take more than a week or two. 

Stannah emphasizes the after-purchase customer support they offer, noting that all buyers of their products receive free consultations, call-out servicing, and clean, fast installations. However, seniors should be aware that installation costs in the stairlift industry can often be $500+. It’s wise to make sure you are very clear on whether or not you’ll be charged any extra fees for your installation before it begins.

Installation of Stannah stairlifts generally takes no longer than half a day. Installation engineers are personally trained by Stannah representatives and have access to proprietary technology which allows them to measure your stairway to within a tenth of an inch. Before they leave your home, your engineers will help you find the right height adjustment for your needs, make sure you are comfortable using your new stairlift and clean up any mess left by the installation process. 

Warranties 

One of the benefits of buying with Stannah is its extensive manufacturer’s warranty. It includes the following terms:

  • For critical components of their straight stairlifts, including the motor, gearbox, and rail, Stannah offers its customers a 10-year warranty for new stairlifts. 
  • Curved Stannah stairlifts include parts coverage for two years and lifetime drivetrain coverage.
  • Parts and components that malfunction due to normal wear and tear during the warranty period will be replaced for you.
  • Stannah operates a call-out service and offers current warranty holders priority service windows.

After purchasing your Stannah stairlift, the company asks buyers to complete a product registration form online or by mail within 30 days.

Once the period of use that is covered by your warranty expires, you will be given the option to enter into a service agreement. Most service agreements cost a few hundred dollars per year and offer less inclusive coverage than the original warranty, as the machine being covered has aged.
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FYI

Depending on whether you buy through Stannah or through a dealer not included in their authorized dealer network, your warranty and financing options can vary significantly. Stannah cannot guarantee warranties provided by an unauthorized dealer, and unauthorized dealers cannot guarantee a Stannah manufacturer’s warranty. To find store locations included in Stannah’s network, visit Stannah-Stairlifts.com. Otherwise, consider contacting Stannah online or by phone and let them refer your query to an authorized dealer nearest you.

Acorn Stairlifts Reviews

Best for Fast Delivery and Installation

Acorn Stairlifts is a United Kingdom-based manufacturer that has been in business since 1992 and is one of the largest stairlift companies in the world. Acorn may be the only company of its kind to exclusively sell directly to consumers rather than employing licensed dealers or third-party installation engineers. Its dedication to service and design has led Acorn to innovate new ways to fabricate and install stairlifts.

Acorn’s curved stairlift models — intended for more complex staircases — are constructed using a unique modular design called FastTrack. The FastTrack rail system removes the long waiting period many stairlift buyers must endure while their curved stairlift rails are custom built in a factory. Acorn also emphasizes features that give its lifts unusually fast and easy installations, such as the stair-mounted (rather than wall-mounted) design, which alleviates the need to make alterations to your home’s construction before your installation can begin.

The Acorn 130The Acorn 180The Acorn 130 Outdoor
PricingPricing available with consultationPricing available with consultationPricing available with consultation
Stairlift Rail TypeStraightCurvedStraight
Maximum Weight Capacity350 pounds265 pounds350 pounds
Key Feature
Simple design with numerous safety features
Faster than average installation and deliveryComes with a weather-resistant cover and keyed lock
Upholstery OptionsVinylVinylWeather-resistant vinyl
Seat Color OptionsBeigeBeigeBeige
Rail Color OptionsSteel greySteel greySteel grey

Acorn Stairlift Models

Acorn’s stairlifts come in three models, with options for larger people, indoor or outdoor use, and straight or curved stairs. All models are shipped from Acorn’s factories complete with a comprehensive suite of features intended to promote convenience, safety, and long-term satisfaction.

Features common to all Acorn Stairlift models include:

  • Uses 24V DC (battery) that charges on home power 
  • Consumes very little power and is quiet
  • Fast installation due to innovative design
  • Extruded aluminium rails
  • Light, neutral rail and seat colors
  • Folding footrests
  • Remote control to send the chair where it is needed
  • Slimline designs for narrow stairwells
  • Optional hinged power rails fold away to for even more space-saving
  • Seat modifications for greater accessibility (availability may vary by location, model, or other factors)

The 130 — also called the Acorn Superglide — is Acorn’s standard straight track stairlift model. It features most of the same functions and style as the Acorn 180 and 130 Outdoor. With Acorn’s sensor system and intuitive controls, the 130 offers a simple yet safety-enhanced option.

Acorn 130 features:

  • Most affordable model
  • Model’s standard maximum weight capacity is 300 pounds*
  • Model can be upgraded to an “HD” (heavy duty) package, which increases its weight capacity to 350 pounds
  • Intuitively designed controls embedded in armrests
  • Upgrading to the folding rail can help you save space 

*You may encounter discrepancies in which this model’s capacity is sometimes listed as 280 pounds online. However, the official user manual lists its capacity as 300 pounds. 

Acorn’s 180 model is intended primarily for use on curved or multi-tiered staircases. Its modular “FastTrack” rail system ensures that your stairlift rail is the best fit for your space, and is eligible for surprisingly fast delivery and installation since its pieces do not have to be custom-built. 

Acorn 180 features:

  • Seat’s maximum weight capacity is 265 pounds
  • This model’s seat is just slightly larger than the seat of the 130 model
  • Rails can curve past the top stair to deposit the rider on their landing
  • FastTrack system offers the fastest delivery and installation in the business — next day installation available in many cases 
  • Can fit almost any staircase

Acorn’s 130 Outdoor model is built to withstand the elements and provide safe passage to and from your home. It is nearly identical to the standard 130 model, but it complies with all industry standards set for outdoor stairlift models. Since this model outdoor model is only available in the straight track style, people who require a stairlift on curved or multi-tiered outdoor stairs will often have multiple straight lifts installed on the same stairwell.

Acorn 130 Outdoor features:

  • Comes with all-weather, fitted cover
  • Waterproof and UV-resistant
  • Withstands extreme temperatures
  • May have seat upgrade options 

Acorn Stairlift Safety Features

All Acorn stairlifts come standard with useful safety features, including a retracting seat belt worn over the lap, a key for locking the lift when it’s not in use, and a diagnostic display for troubleshooting issues. In the event of any kind of malfunction, including failure to charge, the lift’s digital readout will indicate an error code that corresponds to a potential issue. Error codes are numbered and listed in the user’s manual. 

Some Acorn Stairlift models may be eligible for a seat upgrade that will improve safety and comfort for those with hip, back, or other joint issues. This upgrade, called the sit-stand or perch/sit-stand seat, allows a user to stand on the footrest of the chair while it’s moving. However, very little information on the sit-stand upgrade is available online for customers in the USA. Enquire further with Acorn sales associates if you are interested in this option.

Battery power is another key component of Acorn stairlift safety.  All Acorn stairlifts are powered by a battery which continually charges via your main electricity supply. This means that the chair will continue to function for an average of six to twenty minutes if your power goes out. Even if your home power fails, you should be able to finish your trip up or down the staircase. Acorn’s lifts charge themselves using “charge points” positioned on the rail, close to the end of the rail where the chair would naturally sit on standby. If, for any reason, your stairlift is not charging, it will also emit a warning tone to indicate either that it is not positioned on a charge point or that there is another issue keeping the stairlift’s battery from charging.

Safety Controls

  • Footrest safety edges and carriage safety pads: These features contain sensors that will stop the chair when they make contact with an obstruction on the stairs or the chair’s travel rail.
  • Speed governing device: The speed governor prevents excessive speed in the event of mechanical failure, ensuring that your stairlift moves at a consistent and gentle pace.
  • Swivel seat switch: This mechanism prevents movement of the stairlift when the seat has been swiveled to 45º or 90º. The swivel function allows the user to turn themselves toward the landing when they are ready to dismount the lift. When in the swiveled position, your chair becomes an immobile barrier between you and the stairs below.
  • Final limit switch: This switch prevents the stairlift from traveling too far along the rail, ensuring that the chair remains parked over a charge point to keep its battery charged when not in use. 
  • Downside arm interlock: An Acorn stairlift’s seat arms must be in the down position for the stairlift to operate, providing a safe and secure ride. 

Testing and Quality Assurance

Acorn puts its stairlifts through a rigorous testing process before they are approved for use. This involves operating the lift through the average equivalent of 11 years of use with 25,000 return journeys. Before each stairlift leaves an Acorn factory, its carriage is checked 29 times by a large quality assurance team. Installation engineers follow a fully standardized, 37-point installation process.

Acorn’s stairlifts are independently tested and approved under the EN 81-40:2008 European Safety Standards and the ISO 9386-2:2000 Worldwide Standard for Stairlifts.

Costs and Financing

Due to the customized nature of Acorn’s FastTrack rail system, cost estimates are not readily available without an in-home consultation. The best way to learn more about Acorn’s costs is to initiate contact with this company’s sales team. Seniors should know that across the stairlift industry, costs from $2,500 to $5,500+ after installation are common for straight track designs, and curved track designs can cost considerably more. This range of prices can help you know roughly what to expect, but your costs from Acorn could be considerably different, depending on your situation. 

Acorn stairlift cost will be impacted by the kind of model that you select. Acorn’s regular 130 model will be its least expensive one. Curved and outdoor models, on the other hand, almost always cost the most. Furthermore, upgrades like custom rail length or power features on footrests or folding rails tend to add at least a few hundred dollars to your total with most brands. It’s unclear how much the sit/stand chair upgrade is likely to cost, or if it is available in all locations.

Acorn Stairlifts does not advertise its financing terms online, but the company does offer in-house financing. If asked, a sales person will send an Acorn engineer to your home to inform you of your financing options as they measure your stairs for potential installation.

Get a Free Quote for Acorn Stairlifts Seniors and Medicare beneficiaries can receive free quotes for the purchase and installation of stairlifts.  Get Started Here.

Purchasing and Installation

Acorn is one of the few, if not the only stairlift manufacturer that exclusively sells directly to consumers rather than through dealers. Pre-owned Acorn products can be found by visiting local retailers, but new units must be purchased directly from the company.

To request pricing information or to schedule a home assessment by a technician, contact Acorn online at AcornStairlifts.com or by phone at (866) 873-6574. There is also one physical location in the US where people who happen to live near Orlando, Florida may be able to see and sit in a chair before initiating a purchase. Find them at 7001 Lake Ellenor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32809.

Installation

Before purchasing your stairlift, an Acorn installation representative will make an appointment to come to your home and assess the space, determining which track configuration would offer the most appropriate fit and providing exact estimates. Once that is done, if you decide to place an order, next-day installation may be available in some areas, though this is usually only offered for straight stairlift orders.

Most stairlifts can be delivered and installed by licensed Acorn engineers within just a few days after measurements are taken, rather than weeks. The installation process itself takes only a few hours due to the simplified nature of Acorn’s FastTrack rail construction. These tracks are constructed from premade, modular sections of high-strength aluminum that come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can be interlocked to create multiple rail configurations. Acorn states that engineers will always ensure that you are comfortable using your stairlift and will clean up any debris before they leave your home. Installation costs will only be provided after the initial assessment of your home. 

Warranties

A 12-month, non-transferrable warranty is issued upon the installment of your lift. This warranty will cover one 12-month, scheduled service plus any damage or failure of the device, as long as an Acorn representative can assess that the cause was faulty parts, manufacturing or installment. 

If you realize that you no longer need or want an Acorn stairlift that you’ve already had installed, you will have 14 days from the date of installation to cancel your purchase. Acorn representatives will disassemble and collect your stairlift at no cost to you and refund your purchase price within about two weeks.

When your warranty period is up, you can opt for an extended warranty or a service agreement sold by Acorn. Though these contracts can cost hundreds of dollars, they can provide greater peace of mind and may especially be worth it if you foresee that you may need to leave the lift unused for extended periods, which can raise the risk of malfunction. 

FYI

It pays to read your Acorn Stairlifts owner’s manual. If it is assessed that you have improperly used your stairlift — according to the definitions of improper use laid out in your user manual — then you will be held responsible for any repair costs you incur. It may also void your warranty if you do not perform routine maintenance on your stairlift, which includes basic cleanings and checking for full functionality of certain components once every few months. The specific upkeep guidelines can be found in your user’s manual.

Savaria Review

Best Standard Package

Savaria is a Canadian mobility equipment company that makes everything from home elevators to wheelchair lifts. Savaria is unusual in that they own a small network of North American dealers rather than certifying existing dealers/installers, as is common for the industry. But perhaps the greatest thing about Savaria is the high practicality of its stairlifts’ basic features.

Savaria includes a set of standard features in the price of all of their models that should soundly accommodate most buyers’ needs. Not all manufacturers include adjustable armrests or a 350-pound weight capacity as standard, but Savaria stairlifts are all made to comfortably hold people of most sizes.

The K2The K2 PlusThe Stairfriend
Estimated CostsPricing available with consultationPricing available with consultationPricing available with consultation
Stairlift Rail TypeStraight StraightCurved
Maximum Weight Capacity350 pounds400 pounds350 pounds
Key FeatureExceptionally small fold-away footprintExtra-wide seat with unusually high weight capacityOut-of-the-way parking deposits the rider around the bend of their landing
Upholstery OptionsVinylVinylVinyl
Seat Color OptionsBeigeBeigeBeige
Rail Color OptionsWhiteWhiteWhite

Savaria Stairlift Models

Savaria provides a highly pragmatic set of features as standard on all of their stairlifts, including large, 24-volt batteries, adjustable armrests, and weight capacities of 350 pounds. Savaria models also come with safety features and upgrade options that make them a solid contender in stairlift manufacturing space.

Savaria’s standard features and options include:

  • Two infrared remote controls that send signals through obstructions
  • Retractable seatbelts
  • 24-volt batteries
  • Non-slip footrests
  • Swivel lock seats for safer dismount
  • Stair and rail system obstruction sensors and auto-stop
  • Soft start and smooth stop operation
  • Mounts to either side of your stairs
  • Option to add flip-up rail
  • Option to add emergency stop button
  • Option to add continuous-charge system

Savaria’s most popular model, the K2, has one of the smallest folded-away profiles in the industry, making it a great option for people with high-traffic or narrow stairways. It is a straight-track model lift appropriate for single-flight, straight stairwells, and offers the option to add a fold-away rail for a less intrusive profile.

Features of the Savaria K2 include:

  • A 10.75-inch profile when stowed
  • Fits stairs up to 32 feet long and inclines of up to 55 degrees
  • Maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds on inclines over 45 degrees
  • Quiet and smooth-riding rack and pinion drive
  • LED status lights to indicate battery life and diagnostics
  • Can be installed to the left or right of stairs
  • Adjustable arm width up to 20 inches

The Savaria K2 also comes with the option to upgrade to an outdoor stairlift. The K2 outdoor package will come at an increased cost. It is suitable for moderate climates and includes:

  • Stainless steel rack and support legs
  • Zinc hardware for rust resistance
  • UV-rated, water repellent, closed-cell foam seat
  • Seat cover
  • Sturdy clip seatbelt
  • Upgraded battery for long-lasting charge in variable temperatures

This model is similar in most respects to the K2 (above), but it boasts an unusually high weight capacity. Whereas virtually all other stairlifts max out between 250 and 350 pounds, this one maxes out between 350 and 400 pounds. Exact capacity is determined by which seat option you select. 

  • Similar look and mechanical features of the regular K2 model
  • “L seat” option that is up to 20” wide with 350 pound weight capacity
  • “Plus Seat” option that is up to 24” wide with 400 pound weight capacity
  • Fold-up chair width13 ½” is slightly more bulky than in the regular K2 model

Made to fit any stairway configuration, the Stairfriend can be adapted to multiple tiers, hard turns and spiral staircases. This model comes standard with a length of rail that overextends stairs and runs along the wall at the top landing to deposit the rider safely and unobtrusively. The Stairfriend may also be used in public spaces depending on regional regulations.

Features of the Savaria Stairfriend include:

  • Appropriate for commercial applications in some states
  • Travels stairs up to 45 feet long at up to a 52 degree incline
  • Folded width of 15.5 inches
  • Choice of medium or large seat
  • Dual-rail design for added strength and stability
  • Choice of vinyl or synthetic leather seat
  • Adjustable arm width up to 21.5 inches
  • Overspeed brake

Savaria Stairlift Safety Features

All of Savaria’s current stairlift models are “ADC” powered, meaning they operate chiefly with the use of a battery that is charged via household, AC electricity. Included batteries are 24-volt cells that are twice the size of an average stairlift battery. The major safety benefits of battery power are that it offers an average life of about three years, and that in a power outage, Savaria stairlifts can keep functioning for up to 40 trips up and down the stairs so that riders will never be stranded.

A key safety feature of Savaria’s stairlifts is their continuous-charge capability. Savaria’s lifts have small charge points positioned in places along the rail where the seat can be parked. This ensures that Savaria stairlifts are always charging, as long as they are powered on. This makes the battery unlikely to ever unexpectedly go dead.

Safety Controls

  • Obstacle sensors. A standard feature of Savaria stairlifts is an array of obstruction sensors positioned along the seat’s footrest and the chassis to stop the chair if it should meet a barrier on either the rail or your stairs.
  • Seat swivel and lock. This feature allows the rider to turn their seat toward the top landing to dismount their stairs and locks the chair in position to act as a stable barrier between the rider and the stairs below.
  • Soft start and smooth stop. Savaria’s stairlifts reach their 15 feet per minute speed in a gentle, gradual push, and come to a stop just as easily.
  • Overspeed brake. This feature comes standard with all but the K2 model (buyers of the K2 have the option to upgrade to the overspeed break). It functions as a speed governor in the event that the stairlift exceeds its usual speed of 15 feet per minute.
  • Non-slip footrest. Savaria’s footrests come with a pebbled surface that makes boarding and unboarding your stairlift much less likely to result in a fall.
  • LED status lights. Savaria stairlift chairs come with an arrangement of small LEDs to advise the rider of any issues, including low battery power and mechanical malfunction.

Testing and Quality Assurance

All Savaria equipment is rigorously tested in North America for its load-bearing capacities and life-cycle durability. Savaria stairlifts are ADA compliant and are certified by Underwriter Laboratories (UL), which enforces what is known as the American National Standards (ANSI) for quality and safety in manufacturing.

Costs and Financing

Since Savaria does not sell its stairlifts directly to consumers, it can be difficult to determine the costs of specific Savaria models. In general, this brand’s straight track models are likely to retail between roughly $3,000-$4,000+, and adding upgrades or extra track length can increase the price. Savaria’s curved model, the Stairfriend, is most likely to retail for approximately $8,800, or more if selecting upgrades. With all Savaria models, your costs will be impacted by location, the dealer and installers that you select, the size and shape of your stairwell, shipping costs, seasonal sales, and other factors. Financing plans may be available through some dealers. 

If you take good care of your stairlift and continue to keep it clean and running smoothly after your warranty term is up, long-term costs are unlikely to be a major issue. After a Savaria warranty has run its course, any parts that wear out or otherwise malfunction will need to be replaced at the owner’s expense, however. Because Savaria stairlifts come standard with a larger-than-average, 24-volt battery, it is unlikely that your battery will need to be replaced within less than three years, regardless of how heavily you use your stairlift. When it does come time to replace your battery, these can be found online for less than $50. 

Purchasing and Installation

Purchasing a Savaria can be done in one of two ways: You can go through an authorized dealer or, if you live near one of five Savaria Direct Group locations, you may purchase directly from Savaria by visiting one of their manufacturer-owned stores. Costs are likely to vary depending on where you make your purchase.

Installation

Installations of straight stairlifts should take only about one to three hours, though installations of curved stairlifts can involve broadly differing spatial circumstances and are thus likely to take at least one full day to complete.

Savaria selects its dealer and installer network based on their record of expertise and the length of their experience. All installation specialists must be certified by Savaria and undergo continued training sessions to stay up to date on industry best practices and Savaria’s quality assurance standards. 

If you purchase your Savaria stairlift through an authorized dealer rather than through the Savaria Direct Group, it’s best to research customer satisfaction with the dealer’s previous installs before making a selection. Wherever you choose to buy your Savaria stairlift, it is vital that you ask about which installation costs, if any, you will be paying. Some aspects of installation are often included in the purchase price, but fees could still apply, particularly if you live in a remote location or have a unique stairwell design.

Warranties 

Savaria offers a simple, single-item warranty on all of its stairlifts that are sold in North America. They provide 36 months of coverage for all stairlift parts as long as engineering or manufacturing error is at fault for any malfunction. Purchasing directly through Savaria will get you the 36-month parts warranty, and purchasing through a dealer is likely to add an extra layer of warranty coverage. 

To maintain warranty coverage, your Savaria stairlift must be serviced regularly by an authorized Savaria dealer on a schedule that is disclosed in the owner’s manual. Regular servicing for most stairlifts must take place once per year, but more frequent and/or extensive upkeep may be required to maintain warranty coverage for Savaria’s outdoor units. 

Savaria’s warranty only applies to stairlifts installed by authorized Savaria dealers. This warranty does not cover:

  • Batteries
  • Accidental damage
  • Acts of God
  • Any kind of misuse, abuse or vandalism
  • Improper installation or placement
  • Structural or cosmetic parts subject to normal wear and tear
  • Drive belts
  • Mechanical switches
  • Light bulbs
  • UPSs (uninterruptible power supplies)

FYI

Dealers of Savaria stairlifts may offer extended warranties or service agreements at their own discretion, but buyers should be careful about accepting an extended warranty. Salespeople often overestimate the likelihood that a major appliance will need servicing, so it’s best to always research any warranty terms and guarantors, no matter how reputable your stairlift dealer may be.

What You Should Know About Stairlifts

Stairlifts are battery powered chairs that glide on a track to help people with limited mobility maintain easy access to every level of their home. Whether your stairs are indoors or outdoors, short or long, and whether they are straight, curved or multi-tiered, there’s probably a stairlift for you. Below you’ll find some basic information on the different types of stairlifts that are available to help you find the best option to suit your needs.

Types of Stairlifts

Straight Stairlifts

A basic, straight stairlift is the most inexpensive form of the machine, though it is, of course, only suitable for people who have average, straight stairs. In homes that have straight staircases with multiple tiers and landings, installing more than one straight lift is an option. This may even be less expensive than purchasing a single curved stairlift since these can cost up to ten times more apiece. Still, navigating a multi-tiered stairwell using more than one straight lift makes transferring from one chair to another at each landing a necessity.

Curved Stairlifts

Curved lifts must be custom-made after purchase as curved stairways are not a well-standardized feature of home design. A curved lift can be engineered to fit with nearly any stairway, even for spiral stairs and uneven, outdoor terrain. However, a highly curved stair may present stairlift design challenges, such as reduced carrying capacity or rail length.

Wheelchair (Platform) Lifts

For those who require the use of a wheelchair in the home, wheelchair lifts are designed to bear a much heavier load than average stairlifts. These lifts utilize a large platform topped by a high-walled, roll-in box that limits movement of the chair while the lift is in motion, though some instead utilize un-walled platforms that lock in place between the wheels, supporting a chair by its frame.

Vertical Lifts

In homes where stairs are bordered by a wall over which a person can be vertically lifted to an upper landing or floor, use of the stairs can be avoided altogether. Vertical lifts attach to the wall beside your stairs, and thus will sometimes require home alterations to reinforce the weight-bearing capacity of the wall itself. Vertical lifts can be found in multiple styles to accommodate a seated or wheelchair-bound rider.

Portable Stairlifts

A portable lift is ideal for wheelchair users who frequent less easily accessible buildings or who may not be able to self-evacuate in an emergency. It is essentially a large-platformed dolly on a motorized, caterpillar track, and it moves freely, unattached to any surface. While a friend or caregiver who can lift at least 60 pounds must be available to help maneuver a portable stairlift, this style of lift has proven an invaluable tool in emergency situations and day-to-day travel outside the home.

A Stairlift’s Main Components

User Controls

  • Hand controls: Modern stairlifts are designed with all kinds of mobility challenges in mind, so a key feature of any stairlift is an ergonomically positioned hand control. Hand controls are mounted in the right or left armrest, and many manufacturers allow buyers to choose which armrest position they prefer. A user can move their stairlift by applying a small amount of constant pressure to a paddle-shaped switch or joystick, with paddle switches positioned to sit between the fingers where hands naturally lay. The constant-pressure feature allows a rider to quickly stop or reverse their stairlift with ease by simply releasing the control or applying pressure in the reverse direction.
  • Power buttons: Power buttons are positioned either within reach of a rider on the armrest or on the pedestal of their chair. Users are advised to keep their stairlift powered on so that the batteries can continue charging while the chair is in a parked position.
  • Fold-away levers: Levers for fold-away are usually mounted near a stairlift’s seat, so these often do not require much bending at the waist to engage. A fold-away lever can be used to fold the seat, armrests and footrest so that the chair becomes flattened to the wall, making your stairlift less obtrusive to foot traffic while it is parked. Fold-away systems can often be upgraded to function automatically with the push of a button.
  • Swivel-seat levers: Swivel-seat levers can usually be found on either side of the seat. Swivel seats allow riders to safely turn their stairlift seat toward the top or bottom landing of their stairs and then lock the seat in position, bracing the user to safely sit or stand. Swivel-seats can often be upgraded to function automatically with the push of a button.
  • Diagnostic displays: A diagnostic window may be found on a stairlift’s pedestal, armrest or remote control. If there is ever a functional issue, such as a low battery or malfunctioning mechanical component, diagnostic windows will display an error code that matches up with a corresponding explanation in the user’s manual of what the error code means.
  • Remote call systems: Most stairlifts come with a set of two remote controls that can be carried by the rider or set into wall-mounted cradles, though some call systems may be wall-mount only. Remotes function to bring the stairlift to your position, either at the top or bottom of the stairs. Most modern remotes offer infrared functionality that sends a signal over a long distance and through any obstructions between the stairlift chair and the remote. Some remote controls have the capacity to control automatic fold-away or swivel-seat functions.
  • Seat adjustments: All stairlift chairs are height-adjustable, allowing for more legroom between the footrest and seat base. Part of the stairlift installation process should involve your installer helping you find the right height adjustment and setting that up for you. Other adjustments may be possible, depending on the brand and model of your stairlift. Many lifts come with adjustable armrests that create more room in the seat and some feature adjustable backrests as well to accommodate taller people.
  • Folding rails: Most stairlifts offer the option to upgrade to a folding rail in either a manual or remote-controlled configuration. For spaces where there is a door very near the top or bottom of the stairs or where there is limited room for foot traffic, your rail can fold on a hinge to save space. A folding-rail segment is the end section of stairlift track. It folds back onto a more out-of-the-way section of rail, leaving the first or last few steps completely open. Some manufacturers may offer slimline rail options as well, or other innovations like Handicare’s Slide Track rail, which travels a short distance as the chair moves, sliding it along the wall away from the final few steps and toward the rider’s destination.

Rail Systems

Stairlift chairs house motors that pull the rider along a rail mounted to the homeowner’s stairs by bolted-down, metal brackets. Some rails, such as those used with vertical lifts or wheelchair platforms, may be bolted to a wall instead.

Stairlift rails come in many brand-specific shapes and sizes, though they are usually made of extruded aluminum and can be mounted to either side of your stairs. Straight-track stairlifts commonly run on one rail while curved lifts glide almost exclusively on a double-rail system that adds stability. Curved rail systems must be custom-made for a buyer’s home, and due to the high variability of curved stairs, added costs for things like extra lengths of rail and other hardware can pile up quickly.

Motors and Power Supplies

If your stairlift uses battery power, it will come with either two 12-volt batteries or one 24-volt battery, and these have an average lifespan of three years. While the lift is powered on and in a parked position, batteries are continuously charged via charge strips or charge points arranged along the rail.

Some stairlift models operate exclusively on your home’s electricity. These stairlifts, usually called AC models, carry a slightly lower price tag than battery-powered options. However, an AC model can leave you stranded on the stairs if there’s a power outage. Batteries store power and can support up to 20 minutes of usage without household electricity.

Drivetrains that motorize stairlifts are housed within the seat’s base and are most commonly found in the “rack and pinion” configuration. The average speed of a stairlift motor is 15 to 20 feet per minute (FPM).

How to Use a Stairlift

Your user’s manual becomes especially important when it comes to how you use your stairlift. Your installation specialist should carefully demonstrate exactly how it’s done, but reading the user’s manual is always in the buyer’s best interests.

The features specific to your model of stairlift are intended to produce a carefully orchestrated user experience, giving you the safest and most strain-free use of your machine. Manufacturers of different stairlift brands prescribe a specific “order of operations” to guarantee safe and easy use of their products, so the order in which a user folds down their stairlift chair for use, swivels the seat into a front-facing position, belts in, and takes off should be a brand-specific process.

Another way your user’s manual benefits you as a stairlift operator is by showing you what not to do. Certain actions, like using your stairlift to carry heavy packages or pets, can present serious risks. Manufacturers will sometimes go so far as to void a warranty if your stairlift or property is damaged under such circumstances.

Who Should Consider a Stairlift?

The average stairlift buyer is someone who has already faced a reduction of mobility due to age-related circumstances, a lifelong disability, or a debilitating hospital stay. However, there are people for whom a stairlift purchase represents a proactive decision, figuring into their plans to age in place or accommodate a loved one for a short time at home.

Aging in Place

The AARP has found that at about 71 percent of people between ages 50 and 64 wish to remain living in their own homes as they age, but that number climbs to 87 percent for people who have already reached 65. As care services for the elderly and disabled are becoming more accessible than ever before, people with limited mobility now have alternatives to relocating to single-level homes or care facilities.

Those who may eventually lose their ability to safely manage their stairs and anyone at an increased risk of falls can have a safer, and potentially cheaper homelife with the one-time purchase of a stairlift. And considering that stairlifts can also accommodate in-home wheelchair users, the option of installing a lift can be part of almost any conversation about aging in place.  

Temporary Users

It is now common, even for people in limited income brackets, to install stairlifts that might only be needed for a few years, or even for just a few months. For example, sometimes a stairlift can make recovering from an intensive surgery a less burdensome process. The devices may also be useful if family members who require assistance on stairs move in or come for extended visits.

Though going through with a short-term stairlift installation can seem extreme, most installations do not require any home remodeling, and some dealers and manufacturers offer un-installation services for $100 or more. Buyback programs through companies like 101 Mobility will also pay aftermarket prices for a used stairlift, which is useful for people who must install their lift with no certain knowledge of whether it will be used for the short or long term. You can also rent a stairlift through many of the same reputable dealers and manufacturers listed in this guide.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Stairlift for Your Home

Determine Your Price Range

When thinking over your budget for a stairlift purchase, it can be difficult to plan for additional costs that can crop up for things like accessibility upgrades or extra hardware for longer stairs. However, stairlift manufacturers tend to stock their standard models with specs and features that are suitable for the majority of users, and most brands offer many of the same upgrades as well.

As stairlifts are single-function machines, there is little variation between the features offered by most top brands. If Harmar or Bruno has it, AmeriGlide and the other companies we’ve listed here probably offer it too. However, each brand will have their own prices for added features.

Even if you know you will need to add extra features and upgrades, to get an idea of each brand’s relative costs, start your search by looking at brand-specific price ranges for standard models. Keep in mind that curved stairlifts must be custom-made, so their listed prices can vary significantly depending on your stairway design. 

Compare Costs for Renting or Buying Used

Renting is a good short-term option for people who need a straight lift for only about six months or less. Stairlift rental can be a great option for those who are recovering from an injury or surgery, or who will have a family member with limited mobility in their home for a time.

However, continuing a rental beyond three to six months can easily result in expenses beyond the average cost of buying a new stairlift. For stairlift users who desire a long-term option that is cheaper than purchasing new, used and factory refurbished stairlifts can cost hundreds less.

Renting a Stairlift

Renting a stairlift comes with startup fees as well as recurring monthly costs to be based on the average price of the model you choose. Startup fees are likely to include installation, uninstallation, service visit coverage and a security deposit. Average costs for each of these items frequently fall into the following ranges.

  • Stairlift installation: $350 to $600
  • Stairlift uninstallation: $200 to $500
  • Service visit coverage: $100 to $300
  • Security deposit: $200 to $800, depending on chosen equipment
  • Monthly rental costs: $180 to $300 per month depending on chosen equipment

Curved stairlifts are almost never offered as rentals due to their customized curvatures, and straight stairlift rentals may be difficult to find for unusually long or short stairs.

Buying a Used Stairlift

Prices for used stairlifts vary broadly depending on things like brand, stairlift age and the dealers who sell them. Used stairlifts can be found at often significant discounts — usually steeper discounts than used lifts that have been factory reconditioned. An exact price range for used stairlifts is impossible to quantify here, though it is not uncommon to find a used lift at a discount of $300 to $800 off.

Buying used can come with certain risks as the stairlift you choose may have a shorter remaining lifespan due to previous use. Costs for service calls and replacement parts may become an issue with a well-used lift, and for people who are highly dependent on their stairlift, an unreliable product can present a major problem.

Buying a Refurbished Stairlift

Some manufacturers sell used stairlifts of their own brand after refurbishing them at the same factories where new stairlifts are made. In factory refurbishing, parts showing signs of wear are replaced with new, proprietary parts, including torn or stained upholstery and mechanical components. Reconditioned lifts usually come with manufacturer warranty coverage. Buyers of factory reconditioned stairlifts can expect discounts of about $100 to $500 off.

Consider Upgrading for Comfort and Accessibility

Finding the right stairlift brand for your needs should involve a review of both the standard and upgradable options each vendor offers. Even if you’re on a tight budget or if you just aren’t the type to pay for extra bells and whistles, most stairlift upgrades are engineered for practicality and can make life much easier for people who have joint pain or limited mobility.

Upgrade options can be found to support physical comfort, to blend a stairlift into your home’s decor, to save space in narrow places and to provide support that you or your loved one will appreciate as your care needs increase. The following are commonly offered stairlift upgrades.

  • Automatic seat swiveling: While all stairlifts come with a swivel-seat function that allows the user to turn their chair toward the stair landing to more safely sit down or dismount their stairlift, it’s common to find powered versions for an added fee. Manual swivel seats must be engaged either by manipulating a lever mounted next to the seated rider or by planting one’s feet on a stairlift’s footrest and pushing the chair to swivel toward the landing. Powered swivel seats turn at the push of a button and are a welcome addition for people who have pain or weakness in their hands, hips or legs.
  • Automatic folding rails: For stairs with limited space near the landing, manual folding rails are a common upgrade that provide more space toward the end of a stairway for foot traffic and doorways. Automatically folding rails, however, may be much easier to operate, as the segment of rail that must be lifted with a manual configuration can be awkward to maneuver.
  • Cosmetic upgrades: Though most stairlift manufacturers stick with a relatively basic set of color and design choices, some offer upgrades to upholstery color, rail color and seating fabrics. Stannah, Bruno and Handicare offer a particularly broad range of color and upholstery options.
  • Comfort seats: Most stairlift manufacturers carry a premium option that comes with a more ergonomic or thickly padded seat. There are also options to add high-accessibility functions to seating, such as a perch design that maintains upright posture, or assistive seats that gently aid the user in standing and sitting.
  • Extended rails: Both straight- and curved-track stairlift rails can be extended or cut down to suit the length of your stairway. Most manufacturers have specific footage that they consider “standard” for their stairlift rails and will add charges for rail installations of greater length. When building a curved stairlift, the tightness of your stairs’ turns and how many turns there are will also factor into how much you ultimately pay. Note that for some manufacturers extending either a curved or straight rail or adding a folding rail option can potentially reduce the lift’s carrying capacity.

Find a Reputable Dealer

Authorized Dealer Networks

Once you’ve found a few stairlift brands to consider, search their websites to find store locations for their authorized dealer network. These are stairlift retail stores that have contracts with manufacturers. They can usually guarantee a manufacturer’s warranties and installation standards, and have their installation engineers factory trained to install the stairlifts of their preferred brands. Some stairlift brands will also sell directly to the public online or by phone, but buying through an authorized dealer can add some advantages such as additional warranty coverage and nearby locations.

Researching Dealers and Manufacturers

Learning more about a brand or dealer before you buy is also an important part of the process. As a first step, check a company’s consumer reviews with the Better Business Bureau. There, users can find reviews that cite specific product and customer service grievances, so it may be helpful to write these down as you read through the reviews section. Submitting a review with the BBB can be a detailed and time-consuming process, which makes it likely that consumers who complete BBB reviews are more committed to the process than those using other product review outlets, like Yelp or Facebook.

The Better Business Bureau also assesses businesses, giving them a letter grade, though grades should not be taken at face value. These grades are based on a variety of factors, including how quickly the company responds to complaints, how accurately they represent their products or services and whether they have appropriate licensing, among other considerations. To learn more about what Better Business Bureau ratings actually mean, visit their Ratings Q and A section.

Look for Strong Warranties

There are many warranty features to look out for when making a stairlift purchase. While nothing is as useful as going through a specific warranty with the help of a knowledgeable dealer, below you’ll find some common aspects of stairlift warranties that are of particular importance.

  • Installation guarantees: Find out if a manufacturer and/or dealer’s warranty will cover you in the event of an improper installation.
  • Drivetrain coverage: A drivetrain contains the mechanical components of a stairlift that are subjected to the most friction and movement, making it a high priority for warranty coverage.
  • Lifetime parts coverage: While outdoor and curved-rail stairlifts are less likely to come with lifetime parts warranties, some manufacturers do offer lifetime warranties for parts not included in the drivetrain. Note that parts coverage does not include wear and tear caused by average use.
  • Non-transferable warranties: If you’re buying used, while original manufacturer warranties for stairlifts are almost always non-transferrable to second-hand owners, your dealer may provide their own coverage. Sometimes, the term “non-transferrable” also applies to stairlifts that have been moved from one home to another by the same owner.
  • Authorized dealers: If buying your stairlift from a dealer rather than directly from the manufacturer, ensure that the retailer is included in the manufacturer’s authorized dealer network, as unauthorized sales can void a warranty.
  • Extended warranties: If you are ever offered an extended warranty after your original warranty expires, make sure the dealer or guarantor is affiliated with the manufacturer of your stairlift. Extended warranty sales have become a large industry, so it’s not uncommon for salespeople to offer unnecessary or unhelpful coverage in pursuit of a commission.

Tips for Caregivers

Open a dialogue about finances.

To find out if your loved one has qualifying long-term care insurance or other coverages that could mitigate the high cost of a stairlift, you’ll need to openly approach a conversation about finances. Many of us tend to avoid conversations like this as it can feel intrusive or disrespectful to ask a parent or friend about their personal resources. The best way to find out how to help your friend or family member save some money and get the support they need is to just ask, and to do so in open respect of their independence.

Many people find that planning these conversations in advance is a helpful approach, and consider tactics to break the ice. Caring.com senior living expert Christina Drumm-Boyd relates that, “Starting with a narrative of another senior’s story who had a positive outcome related to advanced planning can often be very helpful in developing productive dialogue.”

Consider your loved ones’ accessibility needs.

There are stairlift features that benefit people with particular physical challenges. For example, Bruno models come with an audible diagnostic readout function and color-contrasted user controls for people with limited eyesight, as well as a battery housing that makes batteries easier for people with arthritis to change on their own. Acorn and Handicare offer stairlifts with perch-style seating for people who may be uncomfortable riding in a fully seated position due to limited joint flexibility. Whatever your loved one’s biggest physical hurdles may be, a stairlift feature set that would benefit them personally may be available.

Emphasize the importance of using the stairlift once it’s installed.

For anyone who has reduced but functional mobility, falls on the stairs are a still serious risk. Once a stairlift is installed, a person who can still walk may find it tempting to just go up and down stairs the “natural way” when they can. It can seem faster and more sensible to do so in the moment, rather than to ride up the stairs at 15 feet per minute in a cushy little seat. When thinking over a stairlift purchase, help your loved one realize that they might have to face the temptation to climb the stairs on their own. Remind them of how important it is to use their lift whenever possible, especially when they are alone at home.

Consider buying a stairlift that you can easily move or uninstall.

If you’re planning to eventually sell your home or if you’re uncertain of how long your stairlift will be needed, consider buying a stairlift from a dealer or manufacturer that offers financially viable un-installation services and a buyback program. Research what your shipping costs would be after uninstalling your stairlift, and find out if such costs are covered under a warranty or buyback agreement. When buying a stairlift that could potentially turn out to be a short-term necessity, consider shopping high-quality brands that are more likely to retain some of their resale value. If you’re certain that you will only need your stairlift for a very short time, stairlift rental may be the most cost-effective option.

Payment Assistance for Stairlift Purchases

Many people cannot make large, out-of-pocket purchases for a big-ticket item like a stairlift. Financing is sometimes available for people who buy through manufacturers or dealers, but depending on the brand you’re buying and what region you live in, this is not always the case. And if you do find financing, it’s common for financial institutions to charge stairlift buyers sales tax just to simplify the financing process, even though this purchase is supposed to be sales-tax exempt.

Fortunately, there are multiple sources of coverage to support mobility equipment purchases for both middle class and low-income consumers. The following outlets offer grants, low-interest loans and lines of credit that may help you keep your home safe and accessible with a new stairlift.

Low-Interest Home Improvement Loans

Home improvement loans are usually offered for repairs needed after an emergency situation, such as interior flooding or a natural disaster, but they are also available to pay for accessibility upgrades such as the installation of a stairlift. These loans may be offered by state and local government agencies or unaffiliated banks, and usually involve deferred interest.

Zero-Interest Credit Cards

For people with fair to excellent credit, a zero-interest card may be an option for making a stairlift purchase. These cards offer zero interest for a set period of time, and some offer people with fair credit the opportunity to transfer a balance from an existing credit card to take advantage of a long, interest-free term with a new card.

Private and Long-Term Care Insurance

Many people don’t realize that some personal insurance and long-term care insurance plans will help pay for the purchase of a stairlift. To find a plan that could qualify you for this coverage, you may need to spend some time comparison shopping. If you happen to have an accountant or financial advisor, one of their most important jobs is helping their clients find the right insurance policies. The insurance shopping process becomes far simpler and more productive when you have a knowledgeable guide — and someone who can help you figure out if your stairlift is tax deductible.

Financial Assistance for Low-Income Stairlift Buyers

Medicaid Waivers and State Entitlements

It is difficult to say for sure whether a stairlift purchase can be covered by Medicaid as each state determines the terms of their own coverage for stairlifts. However, it’s not uncommon for people receiving their Medicaid benefits through a waiver program to get some coverage for a stairlift purchase.

Waiver programs are available for people whose health status makes them eligible for nursing home care, but who wish to instead receive home- and community-based services much like those offered in a nursing facility in the comfort of their own home. Waiver programs are capped in most states, meaning they receive a limited amount of funding every year and thus can only accept a limited number of recipients. If you or a loved one may qualify for nursing home care, find out if your state’s waiver program can cover a stairlift purchase by contacting your local Area Agency on Aging.

The Area Agencies on Aging

The Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) is a national organization that works with the federal government to deliver resources and information to America’s aging population. The AAA is able to distribute funding allocated by the Older Americans Act Title III to help low-income seniors install stairlifts. The Area Agencies on Aging have readily available locations throughout every state. To learn more about them or to find an office near you, visit PayingForSeniorCare.com.

The Department of Veterans Affairs

The VA offers financial support for veterans and their family members who require home- and community-based services, home modifications, or durable medical equipment. Though determining if you qualify can be a long and challenging process, for low-income seniors and people who require the assistance of a caregiver at home, the effort can be well worth it. For more information on Veterans’ Affairs financial assistance programs and to find out if you may qualify, call (877) 222-VETS.

The Federal Housing Administration

The FHA is a department within the Department of Housing and Urban Development. They help low-income people finance qualifying purchases by insuring mortgages and loan refinances so that lenders can give with confidence. To find out if you qualify or for more information, find your local HUD office at HUD.gov or call (800) 225-5342.

Non-Medicaid State Assistance Programs
In every state, there is likely to be a list of nonprofits and other organizations that provide a safety net for local elders and people with disabilities who require home modifications and accessibility aids. For example, low-income people with disabilities in the state of Georgia can turn to the Center for Financial Independence and Information for help, or to a number of their affiliates, such as First $tep, Credit-Able and Tools for Life. To find assistance programs in your state and local area, contact your nearest Area Agency on Aging.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do stairlifts need regular maintenance?

Stairlift gears may need to be oiled occasionally, and batteries are often due for replacement every three years, though this varies according to model. Performing basic checks on the integrity of key parts every few months may help keep your stairlift in good repair. When you purchase your stairlift, check the user manual for tips on maintenance and cleaning.

Can I customize my stairlift?

Many companies allow you to select some customizable features such as colors, chair upholstery type, and which armrest the manufacturer places the controls on. Moreover, curved stairlifts are highly customized to the length and shape of the stairway. Customizations tend to add to the cost of the stairlift.

Can I return my stairlift?

Some people install stairlifts without knowing how long they will actually need them. This can happen when a senior has major illness or surgery and it’s unclear how much of his or her ability to walk will return in the long term. If you end up only needing your stairlift for a short time, you may be able to get some money back on it. A stairlift can’t be returned, per se, but some companies will buy the stairlift back from you at a fair but reduced cost.

Stairlifts that are bought back will be refurbished and resold by the company later. Selling back isn’t a guaranteed option- some brands don’t have a buyback program, and some may have a buyback program but will decline to purchase older models or models that have received significant damage.

Will a straight stairlift work for me?

Straight stairlifts are the most affordable option, but they work best for stairways that don’t have landings or curves. If your stairway isn’t straight, you’ll have to invest more in a stairlift that curves with your home’s structure. In some cases, you can buy two straight stairlifts instead of a curved one, but this will be a less convenient option since the person using the lift will need to switch chairs when she or he reaches the landing. For many disabled seniors, purchasing two straight stairlifts simply isn’t a safe cost-saving solution.

Can any stairlifts be purchased with a payment plan?

A few manufacturers do offer payment plans, but payment plans often include extra fees and taxes that can make them more expensive in the long run. If the large upfront payment required for a stairlift is more than you can afford, however, a payment plan could be a good solution.

How can I save money on a stairlift?

Buying a factory refurbished stairlift is a smart way to save money on your purchase while still receiving excellent quality. Never buy a used stairlift directly from another consumer, however. A used stairlift that hasn’t been tuned up by a professional at the original factory could end up costing you more money down the road and could even be dangerous for you.

Another way to save money is by renting a stairlift. This option will only save you if you truly only need it for a few months. Experts say that rentals that progress beyond six months will likely cost as much as or more than buying a stairlift outright.

Is there anyone who should not use a stairlift?

Anyone who’s mobility is so limited that getting into and out of the stairlift’s chair poses a great risk of falling may not be a good candidate for use of a chair. Each person should assess the safety of using a stairlift along with their caretaker and possibly their doctor.