The Best Stair Lifts Review
Our Best Stair Lifts Review Guide
According to one study, about one-third of healthy, community-dwelling older adults experience at least one fall per year, and approximately 25 percent of those falls result in injuries. For seniors, fall risk mitigation is incredibly important, and stair lifts can provide older adults and their family members with peace of mind.
With that said, a stair lift is a major acquisition, as it’s intended to be a permanent part of your home. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before ordering.
How is the lift controlled?
Most lifts operate primarily with rocker controls, which require constant pressure to function. If the user takes their hand off of the control, the lift stops moving. This can be a crucial safety feature, but if you’re planning on using the lift to move laundry baskets or other objects, you’ll want to find a solution that will also operate remotely, for example, a remote control.
How is the lift powered?
Check to see whether the controls will require additional electrical wiring for proper installation. Hiring an electrician can quickly add to the overall cost, but it’s a necessary step for some lift systems. The good news is that many home stair lifts simply plug into the wall, which is convenient if you have outlets near your staircase.
You also need to determine whether the lift requires constant power for operation. If you’re buying for an older adult who is physically incapable of climbing the stairs, you’ll want a unit with a battery to ensure that the system won’t stop functioning during an electrical outage.
Is my home’s stairwell capable of accommodating a lift?
Measure your stairwell carefully before comparing options, taking obstructions and grade into consideration. If you’re uncomfortable with making the measurements, hire a handyman or contact one of the lift manufacturers for guidance.
The products on this list are generally intended for simple, straight staircases. Some lifts can be installed on winding stairs, but unless you’re a skilled mechanical engineer, you’ll want to hire professional installers to handle the task.
Will I be able to install a stair lift myself?
A stair lift rail is a load-bearing structure, and improper installation can lead to serious safety hazards. If you’re at all uncomfortable with this sort of job, look for a local company that advertises lift installation services.
That said, plenty of handy purchasers have safely added a stair lift to their home as a DIY project. It’s best to work with a minimum of two reasonably strong installers since the track will need to be supported at either end of the staircase.
What stair lift safety features are the most important?
Safety is a top priority for manufacturers of stair lifts, but not all users have the same requirements. For instance, every stair lift we looked at includes a seatbelt. For users who have difficulty sitting upright, a simple lap belt won’t be sufficient, so look for harness restraints in these situations.
Another common safety feature is a proximity sensor. These devices automatically arrest the chair’s motion when they detect obstructions. For users with pets or small children in the house, this is an essential safeguard.
Speaking of children in the household, look for a lift with a lockable on/off switch. Many models feature a keylock that prevents power in the absence of the key. While this is a good way to prevent unauthorized use, make sure that the key control isn’t too difficult for users with limited joint mobility.