For years you have used the stairs to get to your front door or the upstairs of your home. But now due to circumstances outside of your control, you have trouble using the stairs. It has become a problem to which you seek a solution and putting in a lift seems plausible.
A lift can be added or replace stairs in just about any situation. Lifts are used for easier accessibility for the immobile and can be rather affordable. A lift can be installed within a day of purchase but may take longer due to the attributes of your stairs.
But what are the best things to know before purchasing a stairlift and what are the best capable products and companies? There’s a lot to know and this article will help narrow down some ideas.
Functions To Get
To start, it is important to know the best functions to get in your stairlift. With any form of technology, certain attributes are nicer than others and it can be tough to understand them and why they are needed. But here are some ideas to help you pick out the right stairlift for your needs.
I decided to keep a generalized view on this and the reader can take it according to their home design and needs.
All stairlifts have a remote steering system that is controlled from the handle of the lift itself. This allows the user to take the lift up or down the stairs at a moderate speed and in a safe manner.
But it may be that the user of the lift itself cannot access the controls and someone else needs to operate the controls. In this situation having a lift with remote control is very handy, allowing you to stay on the ground without having to travel with the rider of the lift.
Another great function is to have a chair that swivels when it is in a resting position. Many people using the chair will have trouble getting in and out of the lift itself.
The swivel chair should be able to lock in place while traveling up or down, but then have an accessible unlock which gives access to the user to face the chair in another direction. In doing this, the lift presents a safer option for getting out of the chair.
This is especially important at the top of the stairs, giving an easy step off onto level ground rather than risking the possibility of falling back down the stairs themselves.
Something else that is very nice to have, especially with pets or other objects which could rest on your stairs is a sensor within the footpad. The footpad itself is a quality footrest that gives the rider the ability to place their feet on while the lift is in use. It is more comfortable for their use and gives them greater mobility when getting onto or off the lift.
But having a sensor within the footpad itself is a nice function to keep the lift from creating injury to the user, the house, or someone else. The sensor will become aware of foreign objects in the way of the lift itself and stop the lift when this occurs.
This is handy for toys, books, or other objects which could be laying on the stairs themselves. It can also help to keep pets, which may be coming up or down the stairs, from being injured by the lift. But one of the most helpful functions of this is when the user’s foot slips off the footpad. It will be aware of this and stop so that the rider can regain their balance and footing.
It is also important to be aware of the overall design of the lift. They come in many different models and methods and some can better fit your needs than others. But every lift should have a few functions that give you safety and accessibility.
The lift should have armrests and a seat to sit in. Whether that means a physical chair or a platform for a wheelchair to lock into, it should not be done standing. The only option for this is if the lift is specifically designed to be stood up in.
Also, a seat belt or lockdown system is very important for the safety of the lift and the user. Securing the passenger down is very important and a high-quality seatbelt is important for this to happen.
Other Good Qualities
The qualities mentioned before are very valuable to have when installing and using a lift, but some less notable ones can still be good to be aware of.
The lift itself should be easy to function. Usually, the fewer mechanical commands needed are better for the rider. This makes the lift easy to be used and not difficult to work on. The lift is supposed to provide an easier, more efficient way to get up the stairs, it should be as easy as pushing a button.
Also, it is important to have good quality batteries for the lift to have the greatest capacity for functionality. These batteries should be rechargeable and you may want to look into the functionality of time before failure within the batteries. Ask your dealer about good batteries.
The final thing which is good to consider is the functionality of a foldable rail at the bottom of the stairs. This allows for the rail to not be attached to the floor at all times, but it can be lowered so the lift is easier to get into from the ground. This would allow more space on the bottom end of the stairs for walking space and prevent tripping from occurring.
Things To Consider
Now that you know of good qualities and functions to have in a good lift, it is important to consider some extra things which may prevent or make easier an installation for your lift.
I will start by saying that the dealer that you purchase your lift from, who will most likely provide the installer as well, will work around these factors and make your lift very accessible. The dealer will want you as a customer and will be willing to accommodate to needs.
Straight Stairs Vs. Curved Stairs
One of these needs that will be very important to their ability to help is what shape of stairs your home has. Many homes have straight stairs that lead to the top without any curve, while others do have a twist, or turn, that will need additional adaptations.
For straight stairs this is easy, they will just install the lift with little to no difficulty. But a curved staircase can cause a problem when it comes to straight rails.
Many companies can install curved rails that follow the path of your stairs, but this costs a lot because of the change that is needed to be implemented. Something that is suggested where possible is to have two lifts with two straight rails. It will actually be less for installation and overall price.
Another important thing to consider is how close the stairs are to an outlet at both the top and the bottom of the stairs. This is important because the lift needs to be plugged in at all times. This charges the batteries as well as runs other electronics in the lift itself.
The outlets should be relatively close to the stairs for easy access. If outlets are not close, easy solutions may be an extension cord or even a powerstrip. Many of these may be less practical than having an electrician install an outlet closer to the stairs.
Space Around The Stairs
One last good thing to think about is the space in regards to the stairs. Stairlifts will take a good amount of space along the stairs themselves and at either end.
The stairs themselves should be wide enough for the chair as well as someone to walk up the stairs without having too much trouble. When the lift isn’t in use then it will have a foldable section which gives the stairs more accessibility for those walking up or down them.
Also, it is important to look at the doors and wall spacing at the top or bottom of the stairs. It can be worked around, but the lift itself will function better without too much impeding it.
Lift Companies To Look Into
Many of the lifts which you will look into will be high quality and good lifts, but it can be easier to narrow it down based on a knowledge of some of the best companies in the industry. This section will look at some of these companies and why they are good.
The first company is Stannah. This company was established in 1867 and has been family-owned from its founding. They focus on customer comfortability and satisfaction and their motto is “We All-Ways make it right.”
Stannah products meet many mobility needs with great features including two handheld remotes. They have received high ratings from the customers with the main complaint being that warranties vary too much based on the dealer.
Handicare is a great follow-up to Stannah with its high functionality of lifts ranging from straight lifts to curved lifts, indoor lifts to outside lifts. They have adapted a technology that gives a 3D image of how the lift will function in your home. This helps the customer visualize exactly what the lift will look like in their home and how it will function.
Handicare takes a great effort to work around all customer’s needs and wants. Because of this, it can take time for installation to finally occur. But their commitment to satisfaction is well worth it.
For over 25 years, Acorn has worked to set new standards in both quality and innovation in the stairlift industry.https://www.retirementliving.com/reviews/acorn-stair-lifts
Acorn is a newer company in the industry that has created newer and better ways for lifts to be used. They received the ease of use commendation from the arthritis foundation, giving credibility to their products.
Acorn takes customer satisfaction seriously as well as their safety precautions. They care about their customers and show it.
Bruno Elan is known for its products being high quality, having great performance, and being able to customize its products to the customer needs. They have the reputation of their rail designs providing high functionality while taking up less space than would normally be seen through other customers.
Due to their higher quality, their products run on the more expensive end, but can still be affordable. They are looking after their customers with the motto, “Your comfort is everything” to push them to achieve this.
Good Lifts And Their Prices
|Name||Price (based on home layout)||Company|
|Simplicity||$2,500 – 5,000||Handicare|
|Acorn 130||$2,500 – $5,500||Acorn|
|Sienna 600||$2,800 – $5,000||Stannah|
|Elan SRE 3050||$3,000 – $6,000||Bruno Elan|
These four different models are good quality lifts with different functions according to their designs and ability to satisfy the customer. They stem from the base models of each of the companies that were explained above. The models themselves may vary depending on your circumstances and the companies are willing to cater to these needs.
Stairlifts come in a wide array of functional purposes, giving many different options according to the needs of the customer. But no matter what their different functionalities are, they provide many of the same purposes, giving mobility to the immobile, and allowing easier access to people’s own homes.
No matter what your home is shaped like, the lift that you have installed should work great. Stairlift companies are very aware of the needs that are sometimes required and have found many different ways to accommodate their services to these needs.
Find the lift that works the best for you and find out the best company for your desires and have your house given back to you through the replacement of your stairs with a stairlift.