Many manufacturers tout that their stair chair lifts offer home mobility that is affordable for most. However, with some brands charging more than 5,000 dollars for a one, this claim sounds rather hollow. The price of an Ameriglide stair lift is considerably lower than other brands; an Ameriglide can be installed for under 2,000 dollars, but is this good value for your money?
An Ameriglide is a no-frills but reliable model. It lacks some of the features that come as standard on other makes like Bruno and Stannah stair lifts but for a consumer who’s looking for something basic, cheap and reliable it should serve its purpose but there are a few caveats.
The Ameriglide uses old fashioned – some might say outdated – technology. A cable system is used to haul the carriage along the track rather than a rack and pinion system now favored by top rated stair lift brands. Rack and pinion is preferred as it gives a smoother ride so an Ameriglide may not give a smooth a ride as more modern systems.
When stair chair lifts first came out they were all powered by mains AC. Batteries were seen as being unreliable. But nowadays, rechargeable batteries are the industry norm. But, until quite recently, you could only buy an Ameriglide that was mains powered. This has now changed, but rather than switching to a battery operated model, Ameriglide makes a battery model in addition to its mains model.
The reason the company finally succumbed to a battery powered stair lift – like everyone else in the industry – is because they are easy to install. There is a growing demand from consumers who want to buy one from a dealer – usually on the internet – and then self-install it. Doing this represents a further saving to the customer. Mains powered units require wiring and many states prohibit the installation of any appliance run from mains power by anyone except a qualified technician.
It’s unusual for a manufacturer to make both mains and battery powered stair lifts; in fact, I can think of no other company, apart from Ameriglide, that makes both types. If you really are looking to buy a battery model you might be better advised to look at other brands.
Both battery and mains powered electric stair lifts have advantages. Battery powered models are usually quieter, have smoother starts and stops, can easily be installed and can be operated during a power outage.
A mains powered model has the advantage that it can be in constant use. Batteries need recharging after 20 round trips up and down the stairs. So, for those who will be using the stair lift constantly or for a household where more than one person will be using it, a mains powered model might be the best option.
Ameriglide stairlifts do come with some, though limited, safety systems. There is a safety sensor in the footrest to stop the chair if any object gets in the way. You also get a seat belt. However, there are some safety features that are not available. The Bruno comes with 5 sensors, on the footrest and carriage, which means any obstacle on the track, will also stop the stairlift – there are no sensors on the carriage of the Ameriglide.
They also don’t come with wireless remote controls either. With many makes like the Acorn, Bruno and Stannah Stair Lift, the unit comes with two call/send remote controls. You should think carefully about how you will be using the lift; if there will be two people using it, then you really need units that come with two call/send remote controls, in which case the Ameriglide stair lift won’t be the best option.
But the Ameriglide stair chair lift wasn’t designed to compete in the high-end niche. It was designed to be functional, reliable and cheap and it fulfills all of these roles. It lacks the refinement, safety features and functionality of others but there’s no doubt that the Ameriglide has brought mobility to those who could not have afforded the other, more expensive, brands.