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Stair Trek: Choosing the Best Stair Lift

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Best Basic Straight Stair Lift
Harmar Vantage logo
Best Deluxe Straight Stair Lift
Bruno Elite logo
Best Deluxe Curved Stair Lift
Hawle Treppenlifte logo
Best Basic Curved Stair Lift
Handicare logo

Is your elderly parent or spouse no longer able to make the trek upstairs? Or, do you have a family member who’s permanently disabled? It’s a huge life adjustment for sure, but it doesn’t mean your loved one has to move out of their home. Fortunately, you have options. Instead of the added stress of moving to a one-story or out of the home altogether, consider installing a stair lift. While they aren’t cheap, stair lift prices can easily match the expenses of selling your home and/or moving. Read our stair chair lift reviews to see the number of options you have – we’ve included details about custom designs, features, pros and cons and pricing to help you make a sound decision.

What Features Should You Consider?

So, what do you need to consider when shopping for a stair lift? First, factor in the user’s weight and height, the stairway width and configuration and if there’s an existing handrail. Stair lifts come in either straight or curved models to accommodate your home’s stairway. The best stair lifts offer solid safety features such as a seat belt, foot rest obstruction sensors that automatically stop the chair lift in the event something is blocking the way, battery backup for power outages and remote control so you can call your chair to be on the landing or bottom when you need it.

Best Stair Lift Reviews

Below are some of the best stair lifts we have found on the market. Read the reviews below to determine which is best for your particular situation.

Best Basic Straight Stair Lift: Harmar Vantage

Harmar Stair LiftView on Amazon

Harmar is one of the top manufacturers of stair lifts, and they’re known for their high quality and reliability. They’ve produced a newer, more economical option for budget conscious buyers – the Harmar Vantage Straight Stair Lift SL400. Although it’s not as feature rich as deluxe stair lifts, the Vantage model brings Harmar’s proven reputation for sturdy, safe and well-made products. If you can’t afford a higher end stair lift, we recommend looking into the Harmar Vantage. Harmar’s website has convenient tools to help you calculate what you’ll need and locate a dealer near you.

Pros

Cons

  • Built-in speed regulator
  • DC system operates several cycles during power outage
  • 2 wireless remotes
  • Seat swivels 90 degrees at top of stairs
  • Footrest obstruction sensor
  • Seatbelt
  • Limited incline at 30 to 45 degrees
  • Not as many features as higher end models
  • Only charges at top and bottom of stairs
  • Warranty is limited compared to other products

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • Price at time of writing: $2,880.97
  • Warranty: 3 year motor and parts; 1 year batteries
  • Up to 300 pounds weight capacity
  • Rack and pinion rail system
  • Incline from 30 to 45 degrees
  • Rail length: 16 feet standard; 32 feet maximum (extra cost)
  • Rail sits 5 inches from wall
  • Folded width from wall 13.6 inches
  • DC drive battery system

Best Deluxe Straight Stair Lift: Bruno Elite

Bruno Elite Chair LiftVisit Website

Founded in 1984, Bruno Independent Living Aids was a pioneer in developing vehicle aid lifts and continued its growth into home products. Bruno’s Elite Straight Stair Lift (Model SRE-2010) gives similar deluxe stair lifts a lot to live up to. The Elite is full-featured, well-designed and has established itself as a stair chair lift that’s hard to beat for its price range. Safety and convenience are among Bruno’s top priorities, and the Elite delivers on both fronts.

Pros

Cons

  • Up to 400 pounds weight capacity, highest on the market
  • Charges anywhere along the rail track
  • Soft start/stop feature gives you a smooth ride
  • Footrest automatically folds up with seat
  • You can adjust the width of armrests
  • Good safety features, including obstruction sensors and seat belt
  • Wireless remote control
  • Backup battery keeps running in power outage
  • Slope capability limited to 45 degrees
  • No LED light
  • Expensive
  • Seat doesn’t swivel at bottom, only the top

 

 

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • Starting at $4,995
  • Warranty: 5 year major components; 2 years parts
  • Up to 400 pounds weight capacity
  • Rack and pinion rail system
  • Incline from 22 to 45 degrees
  • Rail length: 15 feet 9 inches or 19 feet 8 inches (dealer can cut to fit)
  • Rail sits 6 inches from wall
  • Seat height from 19 to 24-1/2 inches
  • 2 12-volt batteries

What are the Benefits of a Stair Lift Chair?

Check out this video about the Bruno Elite straight stair lift model to see how stair lifts can benefit your loved one.

Best Deluxe Curved Stair Lift: Hawle Treppenlifte

Visit WebsiteHawle Treppenlifte

One of the most popular stair lifts in Europe made by German manufacturer Hawle, the Treppenlifte HW10 and its outdoor counterpart HW11 are among the best curved stair lifts you’ll find. Every stair lift is custom designed for your staircase, and you get the choice of a fabric, vinyl or leather seat and more than 200 colors options to match any décor. The outdoor model’s rail consists of weather-resistant, zinc-coated steel. All of this comes with a fairly hefty price tag, but you’re getting a well-made, safe stair lift with a lot of great features for comfort and convenience. Contact the exclusive U.S. distributor, Precision Stairlifts, for information about dealers near you.

Pros

Cons

  • Indoor or outdoor option
  • 350 pounds weight capacity
  • Up to 75-degree incline
  • Emergency stop button
  • Seat is easy to adjust
  • Joystick comes standard with every unit
  • Two remote controls
  • LED light
  • Up to 180-degree curve radius on outdoor unit
  • Width of stairs must be a minimum of 30 inches
  • Rail sits out farther from wall than many other products
  • Can get expensive with added features and many curves needed

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • Must contact a dealer for pricing (curved stair lifts must be custom-made)
  • Warranty: 5 years drive train; 2 years parts
  • Up to 350 pounds weight capacity
  • Steel gear rack
  • Incline up to 75 degrees
  • Seat height from 19.88 to 22.2 inches
  • Rail length customized up to 131 feet
  • Rail sits 6.3 inches from wall
  • 2 24-volt batteries

Best Basic Curved Stair Lift: Sterling/Handicare 2000

Visit WebsiteHandicare 2000 Chair Lift

Sterling has a solid reputation for manufacturing excellent home support equipment, and their more budget friendly Sterling/Handicare 2000 curved stair lift is no exception. Among its best features are its customization, ability to make steep and tight bends (even on a spiral staircase) and a generous warranty. One downside to the HandyCare is a smaller than average weight limit at 254 pounds, but they do offer a heavy-duty version that accommodates up to 302 pounds.

Pros

Cons

  • Adjustable seat height
  • Optional perch seat for those with limited hip and knee flexibility
  • Rail sits closer to wall than most products
  • Obstruction sensors
  • Excellent warranty
  • Battery backup in case of power outage
  • Smaller weight limit than many other products
  • Only charges at top or bottom of stairs
  • Chair cushion not as padded as other models
  • Fewer color options

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • Must contact Handicare for pricing (curved stair lifts must be custom-made)
  • Warranty: lifetime guarantee on motor and gear box; 2 years parts
  • Up to 254 pounds weight capacity
  • Rack and pinion
  • Incline up to 56 degrees
  • Rail length up to 70 feet
  • Rail sits 4-1/2 inches from wall
  • 1 24-volt battery

Does Medicare Cover Stair Lifts?

Unfortunately, stair chair lifts aren’t covered by Medicare, but if you need financial assistance don’t give up hope. There are several advocacy associations, including the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, that can help you find resources. It can also be helpful to contact insurance companies, government agencies and community organizations that may be of assistance. A lot of companies around the U.S. offer refurbished lifts or lift rentals in case all you need is a temporary solution. Use our stair lift reviews as a resource if you’re considering installing one in your home.

Have you used a stair lift? What are your recommendations and why?

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Sally is a passionate writer but her interests do not stop there. She spends a lot of time daydreaming about the beach, however, she spends most of her time taking advantage of all the activities her town has to offer in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
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1 Comment on "Stair Trek: Choosing the Best Stair Lift"

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JoelC
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JoelC
We’ve been holding out on getting granny one of these cuz she’s such a strong independent woman (seriously you have never met a more stubborn creature). Anyways, over the holiday she took an unfortunate spill and broke her foot so the time has come to look into getting a stair lift installed. She’s so hesitant towards doing so though, not only because of the cost but because of the looks of them. However she doesn’t plan to move anytime soon and we don’t have anyone nearby that can help her up the stairs since she’s in a wheelchair now. Anyone… Read more »
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