With prices of stair lifts getting cheaper, buying and installing one has become a real option for many. They can help people with mobility problems regain their home. Many types are on offer – both new and used – so there’s going to be one that is suitable no matter the requirements. What follows is a quick guide to the types on the market.
There are two models the market; the straight and the curved. As their names suggest, one is for situations where the staircase is straight, whereas the other is for staircases that are curved, turn, have intermediate landings or obstacles on the stairway.
The price of a curved unit is considerable more than that of a straight one. A straight model is factory built and can be installed in a matter of hours. But the curved model is designed specially designed for a specific location and can take weeks to install. Not all manufacturers make curved models; those that do include the Electra-Ride III Curved Rail stair lift from Bruno and the 260 stair lift from Stannah.
You can get both home and outdoor models. Not all manufacturers can supply outdoor models. Those that do include the Electra-Ride Elite Outdoor one from Bruno and the Acorn Superglide Outdoor Stair Lift.
When they were first made, they were all powered using AC mains electricity. Batteries were seen as being unreliable, took a long time to charge and their charge soon dissipated. However, rechargeable batteries have gotten much better, so much so, that most companies now only make DC battery electric units. Battery operated models offer certain advantages over AC mains ones. Battery electric units give smoother start and stops; don’t require any special wiring for installation; and the lift can still be operated during power outages. However, AC mains operated electric units do offer one advantage; they don’t require constant charging – an important consideration if you plan on using your lift many times during the day or if there will be more than one person using it.
Summit stair lifts are AC mains electric units.
Stair lifts come in many different configurations. You can get remote control operated models or you can opt for a joystick (or both); you can get different types of safety belts; seats come in different sizes; you can get manual or motorized swivel seats; the list goes on. Many manufacturers are aware that not everyone can sit down comfortable and have developed ‘perch’ models, the Acorn Superglide Perch being one such.
To use an ordinary unit the person must be able to lift themselves on and off the seat. For many wheelchair users this is not an option. Some companies do manufacture wheelchair units, but most domestic situation prohibit their use as home staircases are typically not wide enough and the track must be secured to a load bearing wall. However, if you home is suitable the Stannah Stairiser Wheelchair is an excellent product.
The above is an overview of the different types of stair lifts available. Before you decide on which one is best for you, you should consult with a reputable dealer. They are easy to find on the web. Many will do a home survey free of charge with no obligation to buy.