The 6 Best Home Elevators of 2020

Getting around your home doesn't need to be a challenge

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First Look

Mobility limitations can make climbing stairs more difficult, painful, and slow. When you consider the risk of falling on the stairs, the situation becomes dangerous.

Yet, selling one’s two-story or three-story home and moving into a one-level ranch or apartment may not be appealing or even financially possible for many older Americans. There are options to move into assisted living facilities, but those are cost-prohibitive for many Americans too, with the national median cost reaching roughly $48,000 annually.

Fortunately, home elevator companies have emerged to provide a potentially less expensive option for people with mobility limitations to stay in their home. Here, we chose the top options in the market, so you can make an informed decision when choosing a home elevator.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Savaria

Savaria

Savaria

Savaria offers six different home elevator models, and choices within each model for finishes, cab, and doors. Made in Canada, two of Savaria’s six models, Infinity and Zenith, lift up to 1,400 pounds, code permitting. Their best-selling item Eclipse lifts up to 950 pounds and the Eclipse HD can lift more. 

Savaria’s starting price is about $30,000, with three lift mechanism options: Cable Drum, Hydraulic, and Overhead Cable Drum.

Some of their models require a hoistway while others do not and lift with a much smaller household footprint. They travel up to six landings, rising 50 feet (in some cases up to 60 feet).

Savaria offers a three-year parts warranty, though there are many listed as exclusions. Their products are also sold through local distributors.

Most Customizable: Inclinator

Inclinator

Inclinator

Inclinator Company of America allows you to choose from their various drive systems, cab styles, gates and doors, handrails, and lights.

Materials and finishes within the styles allow you to really “make it your own.” For example, choose from eight different wood species to customize your walls. Your floors have five finish options, and ceilings have nine. Handrails can be decorative wood or one of three metal finishes.

There are two options for LED lighting fixtures, and even the cab operating panels have four configuration choices and three metal finishes to choose from. With all of these options, you can customize a unique overall design.

The three lift mechanisms they use in their designs are the Elevette® Cable Drum, Hydraulic, and MRL Overhead Cable Drum. All three have a backup battery as a safety feature to guard against a power outage.

Prices start at about $40,000. They are manufactured in the United States, and all three mechanisms lift up to 1,000 pounds. Their warranty lasts from two to three years depending on model and style, and they sell through local distributors.

Most Transparent Pricing: AmeriGlide

AmeriGlide

AmeriGlide

AmeriGlide, in contrast to other companies, is very transparent about its prices. The typical process with other companies involves contacting the manufacturer, where they will put you in touch with your local distributor. The local distributor won’t give you a price over the phone until it does a site visit and design review with the homeowner.

AmeriGlide does, however, post prices on its website, including itemizations for options. You’ll still need to calculate taxes, permitting costs, and labor separately, but at least you can do some budgeting ahead of time.

For example, you can see that the AmeriGlide Elite Residential Elevator starts at roughly $13,000. From there you can “Add to Cart” and begin configuring all of your options. Some will carry upcharges, and some will not. This will all be calculated for you on the page.

Most Innovative Design: Pneumatic Value Elevators

Pneumatic Value Elevators

Pneumatic Value Elevators

Ever wondered what it might feel like to travel through the pneumatic tube at your bank’s drive-through window? Here’s your chance to experience the same technology on a much larger scale.

PVE (Pneumatic Value Elevators) is the only manufacturer of vacuum-powered elevators. They use less power yet still travel up to 50 feet with roughly five stops. They offer three models: the PVE30, the PVE37, and the PVE52.

The PVE30 is designed for one person, with a 30-inch interior diameter and a 350-pound weight capacity. The PVE37 is designed for up to two people, with a 37-inch interior diameter and a 450-pound weight capacity. The PVE52 can accommodate three people and is wheelchair accessible at 52 inches in diameter and 525 pounds of lifting strength.

Pricing for these options starts around $30,000.

Best Design: Stiltz

Stiltz

Stiltz

Stiltz boasts that many guests don’t even notice the elevator until it is pointed out to them. Their design is freestanding and requires no supporting wall or hydraulics.

A good option for retrofitting an older home, their units can run on a dedicated 220-volt,15-amp wall outlet, or a dedicated 110-volt, 15-amp wall outlet with a step-up transformer.

The company takes the need for a shaft or hoistway out of play by using its own supporting rails to raise and lower the elevator. It also has a safety feature to protect you against a power outage.

While Stiltz has figured out how to make its footprint small, you don’t have to sacrifice your desire to move more than one person at a time. The Duo Lift carries two people while only taking up 7 square feet. The Trio Lift, which ocupies 13.5 square feet of space, can carry three people and is wheelchair accessible. Prices start around $25,000.

Best Warranty: Nationwide Lifts

Nationwide Lifts

Nationwide Lifts

While its competitors offer warranties that range in the two- to three-year range, Nationwide Lifts puts its weight behind a 10-year warranty and 24-hour phone support. Perhaps the accessibility to this company will give you the peace of mind you want for such a large purchase. 

The company covers mechanical parts for 10 years, electrical parts for three years, and labor for one year. The list of covered parts is easy to find on the company's website.

Nationwide Lifts’ Freedom Green home elevator model appeals to the eco-conscious homeowner. Features include 100% recycled materials for the interior of the cab, no hydraulic oil used to operate the lifting cylinder, up to 50% energy savings, and no machine room required. All this, while still able to lift up to 1,000 pounds and travel 50 feet with as many as six stops.

The Freedom Elite has been approved to lift up to 1,500 pounds and runs on a hydraulic system. It boasts a smooth ride, large cab interior space, and lots of upgrade options.

Elevator prices begin between roughly $20,000 and $30,000 for their base price models. With upgrades and customizations, the price can run up to about $300,000.

How We Chose the Best Home Elevators

We narrowed the list of options to the best of the best by consulting product specialists, product testers, who have tested the claims of home elevator manufacturers. We chose Savaria as best overall for its variety of options and pricing, AmeriGlide for its transparent pricing, and Inclinator for its customization options.

What Are Home Elevators?

Home elevators are designed to lift from one to three people from floor-to-floor within a residence. They often lift between two and six floors. Some are large enough to accommodate a wheelchair, while others emphasize their small footprint for one adult.

Is a Home Elevator Right for Me?

Home elevators are suitable for people of any age who live in a private residence but have difficulty using the stairs. Many times, home elevator owners are older people who suffer from bone, joint, or hip pain, but do not want to leave the comfort and independence they experience while living in their own home. Since statistically one in four Americans over the age of 65 falls every year, helping them avoid the need to climb stairs can be a great preventive measure.

Younger people may suffer from various mobility limitations such as multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy, to name a few examples. A home elevator can help them move throughout their entire home as well.

How Do Home Elevators Work?

Home elevators use several mechanisms to raise and lower their cabs. Cables, chains, traction, hydraulic elevators, and pneumatic mechanisms each have their own strengths and weaknesses. These are all options to choose from when designing your ideal home elevator.

Home elevators sometimes require hoistways and machine rooms to contain certain mechanisms and hide them from view. Some models are designed to not need these enclosures because they’ve found innovative ways to conceal them or not need them at all.

How Much Do Home Elevators Cost?

Home elevator pricing can be difficult to estimate. In addition to the cost of the product itself, there are also fees for permits, potential construction and remodeling, and installation labor.

Furthermore, within the range of the products themselves, there are many feature upgrades and finish selections that can impact price. That said, from our research, home elevators start in the $12,000 range for just the product, not including remodeling, permits, and labor. Most home elevator models cost much more and are in the $30,000 to $60,000 range.

Are Home Elevators Covered by Insurance?

Despite the fact that a good case can be made that home elevators may prevent falls on staircases, Medicare and private insurers consider these to be products of convenience, so they are not covered.

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Article Sources
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  1. National Center for Assisted Living. "Finance."

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Take a Stand on Falls."