- 1 BUYERS GUIDE ON CHOOSING THE BEST STAIR LIFTS
- 2 OUR CHOICES ON THE BEST STAIR LIFTS
- 3 LEGACY CLASSIC STAIR LIFT BY JAMESON (CARAMEL) – Top Quality
- 4 STAIR LIFT WITH FLIP UP ARMS – Best for Durability
- 5 ACORN BROOKS STAIR LIFT – Best for Safety Measures and Ease of Use
- 6 – Best for Non-slip Grip
- 7 ELEGANT STAIR LIFT IN CARAMEL – Best for Quick Installation and Ease of Use
- 8 NAUTILUS STAIRLIFT IN HINGED RAIL – Best for a Non-Greasy Experience
- 9 NAULITUS STAIR LIFT – Best for Use in Big Spaces
- 10 OUTDOOR STAIR LIFT BY JAMESON – Editor’s Choice
- 11 HARMER OUTDOOR STAIR LIFT 350-OD – Best Weatherproof Stair Lift
- 12 ACORN STAIRLIFT – Best Saving
- 13 Conclusion
For those who don’t already know but are curious, or for those who find the common online description too mouthy, simply put, stair lifts are mechanized chairs used to ferry people up and down stairs, simple? Yeah – I know. You might wonder why the selection of the best chair lifts from a wide array of lifts is important, but you know, stair lifts are especially important in places where a person has a condition or an accident, that has reduced their mobility whether temporarily or permanently.
It is also widely recommended for use by the elderly. In a situation where the stairs are wide enough, rails can always be made and the mechanical chair attached, and voila, we have a chair lift. There are however three types of stair lifts: the straight, curved and the platform stair lifts. We have identified some of the best options out there when it comes to choosing the best stair lift for that person you care about.
- Legacy Classic Stair Lift by Jameson
- 350 lbs
- Two wireless remote controls and armrest switch make it easy to call or send lift
- Electric (Battery Back-up)
- Read review
- Elegant Stair Lift in Walnut
- 350 lbs
- “2 wireless remote controls for upper and lower landings”
- Battery Operated
- Read review
- Editor’s Choice
- Acorn – Brooks Stairlift
- 350 lbs
- “Softly padded seats with swivel actionenabled with two remote controls “
- Battery Operated
- Read review
- Nautilus Stair Lift with Hinged Rail
- 350 lbs
- “Wireless remote call/send controls;Limit switches automatically shut unit off at the top and bottom of the stairs;”
- Battery Operated
- Read review
- Outdoor Stair Lift by Jameson
- 350 lbs
- “Footrest safety sensor and is designed to stay long term outdoors. “
- Read review
BUYERS GUIDE ON CHOOSING THE BEST STAIR LIFTS
You will want to pick a stair lift that goes with the type of staircase you have in your home if it is straight or curved as this would determine the type to buy. Measurement of your staircase is also important, you have to check the length and if it is a standard that can be purchased or has to be customized, and if there is room for at least 24 inches clearance at the bottom to allow chair entirely lower to the floor.
Wall or Rail
It is important to know if you are attaching the stair lift to a wall or using a rail as this would determine the allowance on the staircase for other people to have space to walk by too. And when using a rail, you have to choose according to the type of staircase. Straight and curved staircases use different types of rails respectively.
Comfort is a must for a stair lift ride as it usually runs within a small distance. A cable or chain pull most designs, or they could be driven along the inclined rail by a rack and pinion system; we recommend the rack and pinion system for easy maintenance. Another thing to take note of is the length of the seat as you have to choose depending on if the user has a short or long leg. Some select models have a stand on platform also known as perch for users that cannot seat. Check if the carriage has a swivel or not as this is necessary for a user who would like to turn but don’t want to twist their body and if the swivel is a 45⁰ or 90⁰ turn so you would pick the most suitable for the user.
Modern stairlifts usually have cutoff sensors connected to safety edges in their carriages and footrests. They ensure that the stair lifts would come to a stop if there is any obstruction in the way and the drive power is disconnected immediately if something goes wrong. Many stair lifts are also fitted with key to allow only users have access to them.
Stair lifts run on either AC or DC electricity. Early stair lifts mostly used AC drive motion from the power grid. More recently domestic stairlifts have been powered by rechargeable batteries that are useful during power outages, and they run smoother and quieter than those that run on AC electricity.
Maintenance is also a critical factor to consider when shopping for a stair lift. Are the parts highly mechanized or automated or do they come in manual? Do the moving parts require a lot of greasing and what kind of greasing? Also, can you carry out these maintenance unsupervised or will you need the aid of skilled technicians from the manufacturers and how easy can you gain access to these professionals.
OUR CHOICES ON THE BEST STAIR LIFTS
LEGACY CLASSIC STAIR LIFT BY JAMESON (CARAMEL) – Top Quality
The legacy classic stair lift is a work of art. It has a leather high seat design, with classic seat belt providing added comfort and supple support. Its carriage caramel color is nicely fitted for you if you are passionate about the color and design of your home in general. It comes with two wireless remote controls and arm rest switch for easy call and send options in the lift, invoking a sense that it was deliberately manufactured for comfort and durability. This is undoubtedly reliable and comes in handy when you want the user to maintain a sense of independence. This is important for the mental state of a user with a strong personality so as not to feel pitied or helpless, the chair cannot give them their legs back, but surely it can help in regaining that self-confidence.
Its battery charges automatically and works when power is out. It conveniently folds to 11 inches from the wall leaving plenty of space for other people to use the stairs. It isn’t attached to the wall, so there is no smearing of your paintings, and your wall remains intact.
Safety sensors are provided around the foot rest with constant pressure controls. It has a ¾ length stationary arms. The chair of the stair lift also automatically stops when anything obstructs its movement. It is also provided with preprogrammed quick and easy adjustments that tell the stair lift where to start and or stop.
It supports weight as much as 350lbs so as a buyer, you do not have to worry about the safety of the user as it is robust enough to hold their weight through the ride up or down the stairs.
The warranty offered on the product is touted as one of the best in the stair lift industry, and it is as follows; a two-year warranty on the battery, a ten-year warranty for every other part aside from the circuit boards and drive train, but including electronics. Then a lifetime warranty on the circuit boards and drive train.
|The effort out into the design and how it blends finely in homes with light colors.||As beautiful and elegant as the seat might be because it is fashioned in leather, it might not be suitable for all users, especially users in temperate regions.|
|The rechargeable battery power and the joy of finding how something this elegant it is still usable during a power outage.|
|It’s great to support for weight and how that assists in the safety of the user during the lift.|
|Solid warranty provided.|
|Excellent customer service.|
STAIR LIFT WITH FLIP UP ARMS – Best for Durability
Manufactured by Harmar access, one of the leaders in the production of outdoor stair lifts comes this brand. Digging into the recess of knowledge gleaned from outdoor stair lift manufacturer, the durability of this indoor lift with flip up arms is amazing. It has been weatherproofed to withstand the elements.
The product comes inclusive of the header, a large waterproof cover and internal chassis for added protection. The seats and footrest folds to save space and the flip up arms are provided for easy wheelchair transfer.
With a maximum weight capacity of 350 lbs., the seat is built to swivel at the top and the bottom of the stair, much like nearly almost every other stair lift brand. It has a seat size of 19 inches by 14 inches, although it comes with a 21 inches width option for big users.
Seats move at an average speed of 20 feet per minute (fpm), inclined at a limit of 30-45 degrees. The parts have a general warranty of 3 years with a five year warranty provided on the drive train.
A critical thing to point out is the maintenance of the track. It requires an average maintenance every 2-4 months where you clean the tracks and apply a thin coat of light body general purpose lithium grease to the vertical surfaces of the track channel where the chassis wheels roll.
Upholstery colors: Light Almond, evergreen, and Mocha.
It is also easy to self-maintain.
|It is quite sturdy and durable, a recurring quality of the Harmar brand.||With users whose dexterity are challenged say with arthritis or MS, the turning of the seat is hard for them to handle alone.|
|The pricing is decent.||The presence of middlemen (authorized dealers) removes that personal feel you get when you buy an Acorn stair lift that comes directly from the manufacturers.|
|The brackets can be turned inwards without the unsightly bracket screwed to the threads showing. This is a very forward-thinking design approach.||Noisy as it is cable driven.|
|Easy installation of the product with a very colorful manual that explains everything clearly.|
ACORN BROOKS STAIR LIFT – Best for Safety Measures and Ease of Use
Acorn stair lifts are in effect same product as the Brooks stairlifts which are a household name in the U.K. They are an excellent product recommended and sold by reconditioned stair lifts specialists – PC MOBILITY STAIRLIFTS.
The lift is 15 feet 2 inches long (15’ 2”) and will go up to 9’ 0”. The manufacturing company apparently has extended rails for longer runs. These lifts contain five safety sensors that halt the movement of the lift if there is any obstruction in its path.
Softly padded seats with swivel action enabled with two remote controls to help you call the stairs from either up or down the stair. It is easy to operate, utilizing a push and move system. It has a soft start and soft stop unique mechanism, the absence of jolting and rocking.
It has a lockable swivel mechanism for easy entry and exit of the user. Also, comes with a sturdy seat belt, so the user doesn’t have to twist their body when making a turn.
This is the kind of lift that will help the user avoid annoyance that comes from the frustration of an inability to walk. It runs on low voltage batteries capable of automatic recharge.
It switches are easy to control.
|Its affiliation with a strong brand and household name in the U.K.||It’s dependency on the ratings of its British sister company.|
|Its safety measures, the seat belt, and sensors.||The swivel mechanism is not suitable for every immobility condition.|
|It is affordable.||The long idle time between calling an engineer for support on installations or fixes and their responses.|
|Its switches are easy to control.|
This chair is specially designed and mostly used by medical personnel for emergency cases, to help EMTs commute patients through tight spaces, safely and very efficiently. It can also be used to ferry them up and down the stairs which make it very ideal as a stair lift. It is quite affordable. It is mostly used in removing patients from cramped quarters.
It comes at the height of 36”/ 91cm, a depth range of 27” while open and 7 7/8” when folded with an overall width of 20.” It has a non-slip grip on both the rear and front handles.
It has a sturdy aluminum frame that is capable of holding up to 400 pounds of weight. This is quite impressive as the weight of the EMS stair chair aluminum medical lift is surprisingly lightweight, clocking 21lbs which is well under 10kg.
They come equipped with three adjustable straps with quick-release buckles which ensure the patient’s comfort and safety. The grip on the rear and front handles are non-slip, which aid easy maneuverability and handling.
Its compact folding allows for easy storage within the ambulance.
|One surprising feature is that for its lightness, it had the ability to bear weights of over 400 pounds.||Other weight categories were not available, so the EMS stair chair aluminum medical lift would not be suitable for patients over 400 pounds.|
|Compact foldability, allowing for easy storage.||Needs additional cushioning as it isn’t quite comfortable when in motion up or down a stair.|
|Non-slip grip during carriage.||It doesn’t come provided with permanent safety traps.|
|It can be used anywhere and at any time.|
|It is very especially helpful during the winter where mechanized parts of some machines might be affected by the frost.|
|We found it to be especially useful for caregivers who needed to transport patients through stairs too narrow for conventional wheelchairs.|
ELEGANT STAIR LIFT IN CARAMEL – Best for Quick Installation and Ease of Use
The beautiful stair lift comes in some weight variations – 161 lbs., 350lbs, 500 lbs. and 600lbs; the elegant stair lift comes very highly recommended by health practitioners. Jameson Medical also manufactures it, and like its counterparts, it uses the rack and pinion drive system.
Moving down and up the staircase at a maximum speed of 19 feet per minute that translates to 19 steps every minute.
It is quite comfortable with its high back design, equipped with a seat belt, for extra safety and folding armrest for comfort and support.
The arms of the elegant stair lift are flip-up arms. It also has a parallel gear system, and it is also very foldable, folding to around 11 inches, which enables users to be able to avoid bumping into people when using the staircase. The only products which fold less than this are the ultra slim Nautilus brand, but not to worry, those only fold at half an inch less than this and that’s not so bad.
It comes with a lifetime warranty on its motor and circuit boards. They are mostly suitable for houses whose staircases are straight, hence a straight rail system. Very durable German design (optional), this guarantees a lifetime warranty on the product.
The average installation time for each product is about 3hrs. It is also available in walnut color.
|The product design. Very elegant.||Personnel are not always available on ground for installation in all areas of delivery. Hence customers have to make extra arrangements for installations to be done after procuring or ordering the product.|
|The rack and pinion system used for their rails is quite easy to maintain.||Customers curious about getting a stair lift with a lifetime warranty should be prepared to pay through their teeth as this option is quite expensive and requires a lot of technicality and measurement, paid for by the customer and carried out by the manufacturers before installation.|
|It is also very easy to operate.||It doesn’t come provided with permanent safety traps.|
|Low installation time – only about 3hrs.|
|It also comes with a life time warranty on Motor and Circuit boards. How cool is that?!|
|Optional very durable German design.|
|Available in deep walnut color.|
|Optional life time warranty, which is one of the best we encountered. Most of its other parts come with a good warranty, so you do not have to fret when buying.|
NAUTILUS STAIRLIFT IN HINGED RAIL – Best for a Non-Greasy Experience
One of the more surprising things about the Nautilus stair lift is that it never needs grease or any other type extra lubrication to be applied. This is due to the grease free worm drive with hinged rail system it operates on.
It comes with a lifetime warranty on its motor and circuit boards, inclusive of a mostly free installation in most states of the country, with free shipping available in 48 states. As usual, it mounts to the steps and not the wall.
The Nautilus stair lift folds to just 10.5 inches, creating an uncluttered stair space for other members of the family when the device is not in use. This is less than the folding capacity of the legacy stair lift. It is very rare to find a product that fold to this degree. It consumes less energy that most stair lifts we used.
It is usual for the rails of stair lifts to be fixed, but the Nautilus stair lift has a length of the rail, just at the bottom, capable of folding upwards and downwards, this is the hinge. The hinge of the Nautilus stair lift is a powered hinge, meaning that, it is done automatically with the push of a remote. The hook is necessary for helping you fold the rail or track when the stairlift is not in use, providing space just at the entry point into the staircase. However, before this is done, it is advisable to send the chair up to its resting position for charging.
|It never uses grease or requires any form of constant greasing, so there is no need to bother or worry about grease finding its way to your carpets or walls.||It is very expensive for most buyers, and this is due to the presence of the power hinge.|
|The manufacturer’s provision of a lifetime warranty on their circuit board and motors.||The unit only charges whenever it is parked at the top or bottom of the stairs, never in transit.|
|The 10.5” folding capability of this stair lift creates an uncluttered space for others when not in use.|
|The energy usage of the product is quite minimal.|
|The presence of a hinge makes the stair more spacious than others stairlifts fitted without a hinge.|
NAULITUS STAIR LIFT – Best for Use in Big Spaces
This Nautilus stair lift is a pioneer in the line of stair lift systems, utilizing a patented helix technology system called the worm gear. This technology causes the Nautilus stair lift to consume far less energy during usage than any of the other stair lift systems.
As a result of the above, a hinged rail is not needed. This makes it easy to self-install, although, installation costs are incurred for installations carried out on wooden and concrete steps. But although the stair lift doesn’t require a hinged system, folding hinged rail is provided optionally to eliminate doors at the bottom of your stair and or blocked hallways.
The surface of its track system comes coated with an anode of extruded aluminum (anodized extruded aluminum) which is factory cut to feet and blend seamlessly into your stairs.
Its seats were wide and comfortable, pivoted at the top landing for a safe and easy exit and enter. Another very amazing feature of this lift brand is the safety switch that stops it from running anytime the seat is not in its proper position. But that is not all. Apparently, it comes manufactured with safety sensors on the footrest and the chassis that puts a stop to the entire lift system should it come in contact with anything on the stair.
It boasts of being the most foldable lift available in the industry, folding at a meager 10.5 inches, this is a reoccurring feature of the Nautilus brand with the track taking only a meager 7.5 inches of stair case.
Traveling up to 75 feet, its constant pressure controls stop the lift immediately you release the control. It also has a wireless remote to call and or send signals. Its system is DC operated and capable of delivering up to 40 trips in the event of a power outage.
|It maintains the ultra slim fold that we have come to love and expect from the Nautilus stair lift brand.||Although we are in love with this stair, it doesn’t seem durable enough to withstand extreme changes in temperature and although this is usually a feature of outdoor lifts and the Nautilus stair lift is an indoor lift, who says it can’t be built to last longer.|
|The absence of the hinged rail system makes it more de-cluttered than its predecessor.||The free installation does not include any electrical work or staircase modification.|
|Thankfully for those big about spaces, a hinged rail system is optionally provided.|
|Consumes low energy due to the patented worm gear system.|
|It’s smooth start and stops.|
|It has a capacity to deliver up to 40 trips in the event of a power outage. Most stair lifts, like the Acorn Stairlift we tried out, can only deliver less under similar circumstances.|
OUTDOOR STAIR LIFT BY JAMESON – Editor’s Choice
This is another product that the Jameson brand has used to create a niche for them and that they put so much dedication to the needs of their consumers. Its seat cushion is made from extreme marine grade vinyl showing its fine quality. It has unit control mounts on either arm rest. It has a broad and comfortable seat swivel of 90⁰.
It operates on the standard household current of 115V AC, 15 AMP minimum grounded circuit. It is designed with a weather-tight component cover, a weather tight seat, unit cover and a weather tight header cover.
The track only takes up to 10 inches of your staircase space, and the chair folds up to 14 inches from the wall. It has a foot or finger activated call system control for wall or floor mounting at top or bottom of stairs, with unit controls provided on both armrests.
It has a lifetime warranty and can carry weight up to 350 pounds.
It has a rack and pinion drive system, a covered gear system and is your best choice for cold climates. Travels on inclination up to 20 feet.
Has a footrest safety sensor and is designed to stay long term outdoors. Has limit switches for automatic shut unit off at top and bottom of stairs. We love this lift so much.
|The manufacturers detailed dedication to the quality of the product.||Its swivel of 90⁰ might not be suitable for all users.|
|It’s lifetime warranty.||Its footrest safety sensor is suitable for all types of immobility conditions.|
|It’s durability especially in cold climates.|
HARMER OUTDOOR STAIR LIFT 350-OD – Best Weatherproof Stair Lift
This product operates on a standard 115V AC household current. It can handle weights of up to 160 kg, i.e., 350 lbs. It can carry a 250 lbs weight comfortably over 20 ft. It comes with a standard railing length of 16ft, but per request from the customer, the stair lift railing can be extended to over 20 ft.
The average speed of 20 fpm with an incline limit set at 30 – 45 degrees. Its drive system is progressively cable driven.
It comes equipped with a very durable extruded aluminum track, which is available in custom length seat and also inclusive of footrest fold to save space.
One of the fascinating things about this brand is its outside marine-grade vinyl seating, which enables it to withstand the elements, like rain, wind, snow and extreme temperature changes from 0 – 125 degrees, quite effectively. This is the reason why it is touted as being highly weather proof.
For those bothered about additional protection, the product comes with inner chassis cover, head cover and large weather proof cover. But that’s not all; it also comes with limit switches, slack cable brake with the switch, a final limit switch, foot rest obstruction switch, constant pressure controls and swivel seat cut-off switch.
Its excellent rocker control with constant pressure functionality acts as a safety control which helps to stop the lift immediately the control is released. As most good quality lifts do, this one is mounted to the stairs and not to the walls, avoiding damages to your property during installation.
The upholstery is available in a variety of colors, such as light almond, evergreen, and mocha.
Its shipping weight clocks just 78 pounds.
|Attention to details. Because it is made specifically for the outdoors, it comes highly durable; this is even evident in the way the product is packed for delivery.||It doesn’t come provided with anti- adhesive finishes to enable it to withstand dust and dirt free.|
|It comes weatherproof, making it very highly recommended for outdoor usage in all seasons.||It runs exclusively on AC electricity.|
|It’s durability especially in cold climates.It can withstand little or no change in temperature fluctuations.||Requires that the user self-lubricates the tracks every 2 – 3 months with Teflon. This might make it hard for users whose dexterity are challenged.|
|Comes with cover for all parts.|
|The seat swivels at the top and bottom landings to facilitate getting on and off the lift.|
|The remote control provided at the top and bottom of the stairs.|
|Has footrest fold to save space.|
ACORN STAIRLIFT – Best Saving
ACORN is a company readily associated with stair lift, having been involved in Stairlift manufacture for a time spanning over two decades. With purportedly over 300,000 customers, they are easily one of the leaders in the industry of stair lift production. Safe to say, their product doesn’t fail to thrill. This is one product that comes with a variety of features for the benefit of the user.
The stair lift is customized to fit any stairs, although, it appears specifically built for straight staircases, making it one of the most suitable choices for anyone with a 2-storey home. It uses a rack and pinion drive for a smooth and comfortable glide up and down the stair.
They come with rechargeable batteries that ensure about two dozen trips powered alone by the battery. This is particularly very useful in a situation of a blackout or a natural disaster.
The product is easily foldable with padded seat and backrest for maximum comfort. It has a thin design rail system that fits seamlessly onto your stairs and not directly to the wall, preventing damages to the integrity of your stair during installation.
The acorn stair lift can also be operated with the lightest of touches, making it perfect for those with limited dexterity. A safety belt is installed, so the user feels secure at all times.
A lockable on/off switch provides additional child-friendly safety. A diagnostic digital display allows you to see the exact status of the stair lift at all times. It has a slim fold away design for Folding arms, seat and footrest, for maximum space on stairs. It comes with an additional extra remote control so that user can share the lift with a loved one.
|This stair lift requires no structural changes to your home. There is no need to increase the stair space for instance for the rails to be fitted and the chair installed.||Only made for straight staircases.|
|The seats are particularly very comfortable as it frames your butt and your back sinks in.||Imagine if the folding ability could be done with a push of the button, now that would be something!|
|The stair lift comes with preinstalled safety measures for both adults and children.||Insufficient or unreliable warranty.|
|Its diagnostic digital display is super cool and very easy to use.|
|The mechanized chair also can fold into place when not in use.|
|Overall the stair lift is easy to use than most.|
|The lift comes directly from Acorn, with no middlemen involved or dealer. Hence we found that the installation time was pretty short – less than 24 hours.|
We all know that we would someday become caregivers to people who once meant the world to us, loved ones who either time (old age) or some other ailments cause to be incapable of transporting themselves with ease anymore. With the above firmly rooted at the back of our minds, it becomes vital to provide for them the best means of ferrying themselves within their homes or our homes, and also outdoors, so they still feel in touch with nature and their surroundings.
In other to do this, several factors that we had listed is to be used for consideration whether the choice of lift is indoors or outdoors. Factors like the smoothness of the lift, are particularly important for those with back or hip pains or discomfort, others like the battery options, staircase, carriage are also significant.
From our painstaking usage of the products reviewed, one brand name Harmar, the makers of the STAIR LIFT WITH FLIP UP ARMS seems to be at the forefront of durability. They are our best choice for outdoor lift. You almost cannot go wrong with them. While for pioneering innovations which ensure a smooth flowing of your stair lift’s chair, aesthetics, the availability of options and range, Acorn is at the forefront – they also give very personalized services. For the Nautilus brand, their products require very little servicing as the absence of grease application ensures if you have grandchildren or any children in the house, the railing system won’t get messy.
Choosing the best stair lift is a significant investment that can save the user a whole lot of future stress and strain. This will ensure the user’s ability to access every part of the home when climbing and descending becomes difficult. Our list of the best stair lift is a guide that will help you navigate through the thousands of products out there.