Learn the difference between different stair and platform lifts. We’ll help you discover the perfect solution for your mobility needs.
Do you or a loved one struggle with navigating stairs in your home? You aren’t alone. Stairs are a common mobility obstacle for aging individuals and those with disabilities. Not only are these obstacles challenging to navigate, but they can quickly become dangerous: one-third of healthy adults age 65+ experience at least one fall per year, with many being linked to trouble ascending or descending steps.
If you find yourself struggling with navigating the stairs in your home, don’t fret. There’s no need to move housing or say goodbye to your home. Modern mobility solutions like stairlifts and platform lifts can gently transfer you between floors of your home, without expensive remodeling costs.
Can’t decide between a stair lift or a platform lift? This guide will help you discover the stair mobility solution perfect for your individual needs.
Can you walk or easily transfer from a seated to a standing position? A stairlift is an affordable stair mobility solution.
Stairlifts are motorized chairs that move along a rail attached to your steps. Lifts can be custom-fit to your staircase, whether it’s straight or curved. Simply sit on the attached chair and operate the controls to move in the direction that you’d like to go.
Stairlifts are cost-effective, don’t require expensive remodeling, and neatly fold away when not in use. They often come equipped with a variety of comfort and safety features such as padded cushions, swivel seats for easy entry/exit, backup batteries, and more.
This is an ideal option for those who can transfer from chair to chair (with or without assistance) or who can walk easily. Wheelchair users can still use a stairlift with transfer assistance, but keep in mind that another person must help move the wheelchair to the opposite end of the staircase.
Unsure of where to start? Here are two of our bestselling stairlifts.
These aren’t the squeaky, uncomfortable stairlifts that you may be familiar with. The incredible Handicare 1100 Straight Stairllift provides a smooth, quiet ride between floors with easyglide technology. Users of up to 309lbs can sit comfortably on the leatherette-finished seat, which folds down when not in use and swivels to accommodate easy entry/exit. Installed brush heads automatically clean the rail as it operates. Automatic sensors prevent the lift from running in case of improper seat positioning or blockage, making sure you have a safe lift every time. Wireless remote controls can quickly call the lift to either end of your staircase, perfect if more than one person is using the lift. This Handicare model is the slimmest straight lift on the market, perfect for compact spaces.
Have a steep, narrow, or spiral staircase? The FreeCurve has you covered. Built with a single tube rail design, this stairlift can be custom-built to fit your staircase. Choose between three seat styles to fit your interior design. This lift has a 275lbs weight capacity and charges at both ends of the staircase. Two wireless remotes ensure that your lift is always within reach and accessible to provide you with a smooth, gentle ride.
A compact solution that won’t crowd your stairway: Harmar’s Pinnacle SL300 has all the standard features of Pinnacle stairlifts packed in a small frame. Easily enter and exit with the swivel chair, and adjust the height of the seat to your comfort. The unique charging mechanism can charge your chair anywhere within 3ft of the end of the stairlift, ensuring that you never run out of charge. Like the premium lift, the SL300 has an impressive 350x weight capacity and runs 60x on a single charge. With only a 6 ½” width, this lift won’t impede others’ use of your stairway.
These aren’t the squeaky, uncomfortable stairlifts that you may be familiar with. The incredible Pinnacle Premium stairlift provides a smooth, quiet ride between floors. Users of up to 350 lbs can sit comfortably on the upholstered seat, which folds down when not in use and swivels to accommodate easy entry/exit. This lift is simple to clean and requires no messy lubrication. Additional safety features prevent the lift from running in case of improper seat positioning or blockage, making sure you have a safe lift every time. The lift runs an impressive 60x on a single charge and requires very minimal maintenance.
For users who need to remain in their wheelchair, consider a platform lift. Platform lifts are platforms that move along a rail to transport you (and your wheelchair) easily between floors. While they typically cost more than stairlifts, they are an economical alternative to home elevators and other expensive remodeling.
You may purchase a vertical platform lift or incline lift based on your budget and unique home arrangement. Incline lifts move the platform along a rail, while vertical lifts raise the platform directly between floors. These lifts are usually installed on or directly next to your staircase.
One added benefit of platform lifts is that they can also move heavy cargo and furniture between floors, making everyday chores or your next moving day a breeze.
To use a platform lift, simply roll the wheelchair onto the secure platform (enclosed on multiple sides for security). From there, users can operate the lift independently using simple controls.
Here are two of our favorite platform lifts for your home.
The multi-lift is a great option for outdoor decks, entrances, or anywhere else in your home that you need some extra accessibility. This lift is built to function both indoors and outdoors, making it a perfect fit for harsh climate conditions. Keyed access keeps your lift secure no matter where it’s installed.
It’s highly customizable as well: choose from three platform sizes, enclosed/unenclosed carriages, and multiple roof and insert options. The Savaria Multilift is extra durable, lifting 800lbs up to 72” with reliable performance every time.
This vertical platform lift is versatile enough to accommodate both indoor and outdoor use. It is built for stairs of almost any configuration: multiple levels, curves, landings, spirals, etc. The Omega lift can handle it.
It lifts up to 660 lbs, and requires very minimal construction for installation. It’s perfect for those who want to save space: the motor sits unobtrusively at the top of the lift, and a power foldaway non-skid platform stows away easily. In case of a power outage, the platform can lower manually.
Stairlifts and platform lifts make it simple to travel between floors independently and safely, regardless of your mobility level. If you’re unsure of which lift is the right fit for your home or commercial space, don’t hesitate to contact our team of product specialists today!