Stair Lifts & Home Elevators Comparison Information

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Stair Lifts & Chair Lifts vs Home Elevators & Platform Lifts

What is the difference between a stairlift, chair lift, home elevator and platform lift? Which mobility solution is best for your home?

If you’re living with limited mobility and stairs have started to become a problem, you may already be looking for an accessibility solution. However, as you’ve probably realized, there are lots of different options to consider. Between stair lifts, chair lifts, home elevators and platform lifts, you have a whole lot of options! So, which one should you choose?

Fortunately, we’re here to help! In this article, you’ll learn all about the different types of accessibility equipment, as we answer your most pressing questions about lifts.

Although any of these options could potentially help you or your loved one navigate the stairs and regain your freedom of movement, they each have different uses and a variety of factors determine which type of lift is most appropriate in a given situation. The mobility of the user, space constraints, the architecture of the house and price are all key factors to consider. In this article, we’ll talk about the main features of each option, as well as factors you might have to bear in mind if you decide to opt for one over the other. Let’s dive in!

If you prefer to jump to end and check our ultimate comparison table, click here: Stair Lift vs Home Elevator vs Platform Lift

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What is a Stair Lift?

stairlifts california

A stair lift is a lift that takes a person up and down the stairs while sitting on a chair. Operation is straightforward: you sit in the chair, push the controls in the direction you want to go and it carries you up the stairs comfortably and safely. One of the main perks of a stair lift is that it is the most cost-effective way of eliminating the problem of the stairs and giving you freedom of movement within your home. As no building work has to be done to install one, and they can be installed on practically any staircase, stair lifts a great solution for anyone who simply wants to get up their stairs, without having to make any significant alterations to their home.

There are a lot of different stair lifts on the market, and while they might all seem quite similar, there are quite a few differences between them:

There are lots of things to consider before you choose the right stair lift for you. Do some research online and read customer reviews – see what other people are saying about each company to make sure you choose one you can trust.

Who can use a stair lift?

Like we said above, pretty much anyone. If you can hold yourself upright in a chair, you can use a stair lift (you need to be sure you’re securely in the chair all the way to the other end). If you use a wheelchair, the ability to transfer from chair to chair is also critical. This can be done with or without assistance, depending on your situation.

People who find it difficult to bend their knees or hips

You can even use a stair lift if you find it difficult to bend your knees and hips, as we have several different chairs in our range, each one built to meet different needs. Stannah’s Sadler is the perfect blend between a perch seat and a chair, and if you find it difficult or painful to sit back into a chair, and get back up again, it’s exactly what you need to carry you up the stairs. The seat of the Sadler tilts back, supporting your weight as you sit back into it, taking the pressure off your knees, as you glide up the stairs in near-standing position. Then, when you reach the other end of your stairs, it tilts back up, gently helping you out of the chair.

Click here to watch a video of a Stannah stair lift in use to see how it works.

Wheelchair users

As mentioned earlier, you can even use a stair lift if you use a wheelchair, but if you want to use your stair lift independently, you need to be able to get in and out of your wheelchair, and in and out of your stair lift, by yourself. A stair lift also can’t carry a wheelchair, so you may need to have another one waiting for you at the other end of the stairs. As long as you can hold yourself upright in the chair, the standard safety features of each one of our stair lifts – from our ergonomic seatbelt to a footrest fold button – make sure our stair lifts are safe and easy to use.

Where can I have a stair lift installed?

A stair lift is installed on your stairs. They can be installed on the vast majority of staircases, whether they’re long or short, wide or narrow, indoors or outdoors, straight or curved. Stair lifts are fitted onto your stairs (whatever they’re made of), not your walls. That means that installing a stair lift doesn’t require any building work, and installations are quick (take less than a day) and clean. As long as you have a power outlet near your stairs, a stair lift can be installed easily – and can even be fitted to carry you up multiple staircases, and multiple floors.

Stannah offers stair lifts throughout the country. In addition to our direct markets, our dealer network provides nationwide coverage, with very few exceptions. Whether you’re interested in stair lifts in California or anywhere else, give us a call today and we can help you get started.

Stair Lift Pros

Stair Lift Cons

What is a Chair Lift?

Often, when people refer to “chair lifts” they really mean “stair lifts”. This can cause some confusion for those expecting a different mobility product to help them get up and down stairs. There are also “lift chairs” which help users to stand up more easily from a seated position. This product doesn’t really fit in with the other types of lifts we’re talking about, so we won’t cover it in much depth. But if you are interested, there are lots of great lift chairs on the market.

Who can use a chair lift?

Anyone who needs help getting up from a seated position can benefit from a powered lift chair. And, as mentioned above, stair lifts (also called chair lifts or stair chair lifts) are a great option for those who have trouble getting up and down stairs safely.

Where can I have a chair lift installed?

Again, stair lifts can be installed by Stannah just about anywhere in the US. But if you’re looking for a lift chair, you won’t even have to worry about installation. It’s a simple piece of furniture that you can have delivered, just like a couch or arm chair.

Chair Lift Pros

Chair Lift Cons

What is a Home Elevator?

home elevator california

A home elevator could be the solution you immediately jump to when you think of making your home more accessible. After all, home elevators tend to increase property value, and are often seen as a smart investment – especially if you have reduced mobility and are finding it difficult to get around in your home.

The main things to consider when thinking about getting a home elevator installed in your house, are:

Who can use a home elevator?

Anyone and everyone.

However, home elevators come in lots of different shapes and sizes. For that reason, you should think about exactly what you want and need while you’re exploring your options. Do you need your home elevator to:

All of these variables could alter the price and type of elevator you’re looking for.

Other things to consider if you’re thinking about buying a home elevator are:

Where can I have a home elevator installed?

Unlike when you buy a stair lift, when you buy a home lift you’re not limited by where you can put it. Depending on what your home is like, you can maximize the use of your home lift by having it installed exactly where you want it. You should enlist help from professionals in order to work out what’s best/feasible in your home, but buying a home lift gives you a lot of possibilities and choice in the matter.

In addition to our stair lift offerings, Stannah customers on the West Coast have the opportunity to purchase our home elevators. Southern California and Northern California residents should contact our offices in Garden Grove (SoCal office) and Benicia (Bay Area office) to learn more about our home lift range and the steps involved in the process.

Home Elevator Pros

Home Elevator Cons

What is a Platform lift?

wheelchair platform lift southern california

A platform lift is a platform that moves along a rail that’s attached to your stairs, giving you access to multiple floors. In some cases, thee platform will raise straight up, rather than on an incline. These are called Vertical Platform Lifts (VPLs) or, sometimes, “porch lifts”. In either cause, the platform can transport a person in a wheelchair, a person who is standing up or a person seated on a flip-down seat. It’s the ideal solution for transporting people and/or cargo up and down stairs.

A platform can be fitted for access up one or several flights of stairs, so could be the ideal solution for you to reach your whole house.

Who can use a platform lift?

Anyone can use a platform lift. Whether you use a wheelchair or not, a platform lift can carry you smoothly up your stairs. An added benefit of a platform lift is its capacity to carry heavy cargo, meaning you have an easy solution to carry heavy goods up and down your stairs, without putting yourself in danger.

Where can I have a platform lift installed?

Like a stair lift, most platform lifts need to be installed on steps; however, since they rise up vertically, VPLs can be installed next to a staircase, bringing you from ground level to the next floor. The good news is that whatever your steps are like – whether they’re long or short, indoors or outdoors, straight or curved, a platform lift can be installed on them. However, due to the size of a platform lift, when it is unfolded for use, it can’t be installed on very narrow staircases, as it needs space to be able to travel all the way up. But, when it’s not in use, a platform lift folds up neatly, leaving plenty of room on the steps for anyone who wants to use them. All you need, is to have a power outlet by your staircase for a platform lift to be fitted, to get you moving on your stairs.

In addition to our home lifts and stair lifts, you can rely on Stannah SoCal for platform lifts, as well. Stannah NorCal also provides platform lifts and VPLs. Call us today to learn more about pricing and installation.

Platform Lift Pros

Platform Lift Cons

Summary – Stair Lift vs. Home Elevator vs. Platform Lift

Stair lift Home Elevator Platform Lift
What is it? A chair that carries you up your stairs An elevator fitted in your home A platform that carries you up your stairs
Can it carry a wheelchair? no yes yes
How many people can it carry in one go? 1 It depends on the elevator, but usually more than 1. 1
Can it lift very heavy cargo? no yes yes
Can it carry you up multiple floors? yes yes yes
Does your home need to be modified in order to install it? no Yes. Often (but not always) to install a home lift, you’ll need to build an elevator shaft and pit in your home. no
Can you choose where it’s installed? You can choose the side of the stairs you want to install it on, but that’s about it. Yes (depending on the constraints of your house) You can choose the side of the stairs you want to install it on, but that’s about it.
Do you need planning permission in order to install it? no yes no
Can it be installed both indoors and outdoors? yes no yes
How long does an installation take? Less than a day At least a couple of weeks About one day or two
How economical is it to run? Very. In fact, it’s even cheaper than your coffee machine. Pretty economical, although it really depends on the lift you opt for. Very. In fact, it’s even cheaper than your coffee machine.
Will it add value to your house? no yes no

Which lift do I need?

That all depends on what you want to get out of it. Are stairs a problem? Do you use a wheelchair? How long do you plan to stay in your house? What is your budget? These are all questions you should ask yourself before moving ahead with a lift purchase. You may be unsure of some of  your answers and that’s OK! We’re always just a phone call away. Our team of experienced professionals will be happy to guide you through the different types of lifts, so you can make the best decision for you and your home.

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Written by Stannah at 21-04-2023