The 5 Best Stair Lift Companies of 2020

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First Look

Best Budget: AmeriGlide

"You can get a lot of features for a fraction of the price of a newer model from the other manufacturers in our list."

Best Space-Saving Straight Stair Lift: Bruno’s Elan

"The rail has a covered gear rack that provides a sleek look to complement your home while reducing exposure to grease and dirt."

Best Space-Saving Curved Stair Lift: Bruno’s Elite Curved Stair Lift

"You can call and send your chair with two super-convenient wireless remote control handsets."

Best Outdoor Straight Stair Lift: Stannah

"Stannah’s outdoor straight stair lift has a footrest, seat, and armrests that fold flat to only protrude about 14.5 inches from the wall."

Best Indoor Straight Stair Lift: Handicare 1000

"A perch seat allows the rider to sit at a higher elevation and saves them from not having to squat so low at the hips."

If you find yourself dreading every time you need to climb or descend a staircase in your home, it may be time to consider the benefits of installing a stair lift. For people who have mobility issues due to an aging body or a chronic condition, using the stairs can become so exhausting that it saps their energy to have a productive day, at a minimum. In more serious conditions, it can be dangerous because of their increased risk of falling. In other cases, using the stairs is simply no longer possible.

In any of these scenarios, you do not necessarily need to move to an assisted living facility. There are much less expensive ways to retain your independence and continue living, and moving, in your own home. Stair lifts are one of the most affordable and safest ways to do so.

There are many companies making not just one, but several stair lift models; here are our top picks.

Our Top Picks

Best Budget: AmeriGlide

AmeriGlide

AmeriGlide

AmeriGlide is a manufacturer and an online distributor and its pricing is very transparent and budget-friendly. The company is driven to make stair lifts more affordable for more people. It gives consumers the option to install their stair lift themselves, or AmeriGlide can coordinate an installation company for you. The average time it takes to install one of the models is four hours.

AmeriGlide offers a factory-reconditioned straight lift chair called the Horizon Plus Stair-Lift that starts at around $1,700 plus shipping, with a weight capacity of 308 pounds. The unit is battery-powered and comes with a footrest safety sensor to detect obstacles. Worn or damaged parts are replaced by factory technicians to bring the quality up to factory standards before it's sold. This reconditioned lift chair comes with a retractable seat belt, a swivel seat, and foldable foot and armrests.

Additionally, the Horizon Plus Stair-Lift comes with two remote control call and send units, a key lock, and a digital diagnostic display. AmeriGlide will also have your staircase measured and the stair lift installed for only about $725. With AmeriGlide, you can get a lot of features for a fraction of the price of a newer model from the other manufacturers in our list.

Best Space-Saving Straight Stair Lift: Bruno’s Elan

Bruno

Bruno

There are a few reasons why you may want a space-saving design for your stair lift. Bruno’s “Elan” addresses them well.

You may have a home with a narrow staircase and therefore need a chair and rail system that mounts snug to the wall. Or, perhaps you just want to keep a minimalist design aesthetic for your home’s interior. Either way, Elan is a good fit.

The chair and rail hug the wall using only a small footprint. The rail installs within 5 inches to the wall. The seat extends out about 17 inches. To further create space, the arms, seat, and footrest all fold up flat. Extended or folded up, Elan leaves space for family members to walk up and down the stairs alongside this stair lift. The seat even rotates 90 degrees to further maximize space when getting into or out of the chair.

Bruno designed the Elan with a contemporary and simple elegance as well: The rail has a covered gear rack that provides a sleek look to complement your home while reducing exposure to grease and dirt.

Standard safety features built into the Elan include a retractable seat belt, a sensor that stops the chair when it detects an obstacle on the staircase, a continuous-charge battery that takes electrical outages out of concern, an ergonomic armrest control, and two wireless remote controls, so the user can call or send the chair to the landing where it is needed.

Bruno makes its products in Wisconsin and offers a lifetime limited warranty on major parts such as the motor, gearbox, drivetrain, and rail. There’s a two-year warranty on all parts and a 30-day labor coverage warranty after a Bruno-authorized dealer installs the unit. Elan prices start at around $3,200 and the weight capacity of this base model is about 300 pounds.

Best Space-Saving Curved Stair Lift: Bruno’s Elite Curved Stair Lift

Bruno

Bruno 

A curved stair lift can wrap around staircases with multiple landings or changing directions. These will be more expensive than straight stair lifts because the rail is measured and customized to your home. The installation will take a little longer because of this.

Bruno again makes one of the best lifts in this category, with the Elite Curved Stair Lift being the company signature product. It has comfort-driven features like a luxury seat cushion, which is also larger than its smaller Elan version at 21.5 inches wide and 16 inches deep.

The back and armrests also have more cushioning than the Elan. The seat, footrest, and arms fold up to save even more space on the staircase. You can call and send your chair with two wireless remote control handsets. The armrests are width-adjustable up to around 22 inches between arms.

Safety features include two, 12-volt batteries that charge at the top, bottom, or at the mid-run of the glide rail. The chair has a swivel offset to make entering and exiting the chair more convenient and safe. Perhaps one of the best features is the optional overrun park position. This customizes the glide rail to overrun the staircase by a few feet, so that the user gets in and out of the chair on a secure landing away from the top of a staircase.

With a five-year limited warranty, the Elite Curved Stair Lift starts at about $9,500 and has a 400-pound lift capacity.

Best Outdoor Straight Stair Lift: Stannah

Stannah

Stannah

Outdoor stair lifts can be a great asset for people who need to traverse landings outside their home. Common uses are for steps at the front door of a home, or back door access to the garden, driveway, garage, or patio.

Stannah has been in business for 150 years and operates in more than 40 countries and six continents. It has locations throughout the United States to accommodate local sales, support, and installations.

Stannah’s outdoor straight stair lift has a footrest, seat, and armrests that fold flat to only protrude around 15 inches from the wall. This is a great solution for a narrow outdoor staircase.

Other outdoor features include a weather-resistant cover for the chair, a removable key for additional security, hard-wired controls to call for or send the chair from one landing to another, and an operational temperature range from -14 degrees to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The chair, motor, and battery are all waterproof, so the unit can endure the rain and snow.

The outdoor rail attaches to the stairs instead of the wall. The armrest-mounted joystick is convenient and intuitive to move the chair. UV-resistant plastic will prevent the chair from fading in the sun. The price ranges from about $4,000 to $6,000, with a weight capacity of up to 300 pounds.

Best Indoor Straight Stair Lift: Handicare 1000

Handicare

Handicare

Handicare makes an indoor straight stair lift called the 1000 that has many options to consider. First, it’s standard features make it well-equipped; with a weight-lifting capacity of 350 pounds, this is already a strong system. If you want something with even more endurance, however, the 1000 can be upgraded to 440 pounds with an optional XXL heavy duty kit.

The fold-up seat, arms, and footrest give it a slim, 15-inch deep profile. Safety sensors will stop the chair from moving if anything is detected in its path. There’s an adjustable seat height, as well as the option to buy the unit as a typical chair or as a perch seat. The latter allows the rider to sit at a higher elevation and saves them from not having to squat so low at the hips. It also makes it easier for people to get in and out of the chair, especially if they have hip pain or limited mobility and flexibility in their hips.

The seats come in six leather grain, anti-slip upholstery options. The upholstery is easy to clean and is water-resistant. The seat adjusts by height, width, and depth. Optional arm spacers will expand the width if desired.

Handicare designed a large, carpeted footrest for better traction too. There is a manual emergency stop, two remote controls, DC power, and battery backup.

The optional Powered Hinged Track lifts the end of the rail up and out of the way if it needs to be installed in front of a door or table. The footrest can be powered as well so that it lifts into the folded position with the touch of a button. The powered seat swivel also comes in handy as an optional feature if you want the added assistance when getting in and out of the chair.

The Handicare 1000 starts at around $2,600 and with added features can climb close to $4,000 for the straight lift model.

How We Chose the Best Stair Lifts

We consulted consumer-oriented organizations such as Consumer Affairs, consulting organizations knowledgeable on home modifications such as Accessible Home Consultants, and background information from The Coordinating Center’s, “Opting for Independence Case Study Project Report: Stair Masters and Stair Lifts,” to sort through the crowd of options and provide you with the best of the best. We sorted our picks by indoor and outdoor options, as well as what was budget-friendly.

What Are Stair Lifts?

Stair lifts are chairs mounted to a guide rail that enable people to ride up and down a staircase. They are typically used by people with mobility limitations, both minor and severe, who need assistance climbing or descending stairs. Stair lifts make this safer and reduce the risk of falling on the stairs. The three basic styles are straight stair lifts, customized, curved stair lifts that can wrap around corners and travel multiple floors, and outdoor stair lifts.

Is a Stair Lift Right for Me?

Stair lifts are often installed because a person has difficulty climbing or descending stairs, but wants to remain in their home and maintain their independence. Since stair lifts can even be installed outdoors, they can really help someone access most if not all of their property, such as a front or back porch, a patio, driveway, or garage.

How Do Stair Lifts Work?

Stair lifts are essentially a wall- or stair-mounted rail with a chair attached to it. They are powered by electricity and a battery to move a chair up and down staircases. The user can ride the chair, and in most models, call for the chair with a button if it's on a different floor.

What Do Stair Lifts Cost?

Remanufactured, straight stair lifts can be found for roughly $2,000. New, straight stair lift prices range between about $2,000 and $5,000. Curved stair lifts, because they need to be customized to your home’s interior layout, cost between about $6,000 to $15,000.

Are Stair Lifts Covered by Insurance?

Stair lifts are not covered by private insurance or Medicare, but many companies offer financing options to meet your needs. That said, insurance plans evolve so it may be worth a phone call to your representative to see if they provide any benefit assistance for your purchase.

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