Is arthritis making it a lot more difficult for you to go up and down the second story of your house, or going to the basement? Are you recovering from an operation? Or is age simply catching up with you? Whatever the reason maybe behind your difficulty in going up and down the stairs, you would appreciate having a stair lift at home.
Choosing the Best Stairlift
A stair lift, or chair lift, is a mechanical device that is fitted to the treads of the stairs. Most of the stairlifts today are powered by rechargeable batteries. There are some models that are mains-powered.
If your occupational therapist or doctor has advised that you have a stairlift installed at home, then you can start reading reviews of some of the top stairlift brands. Browse for Bruno stair lift reviews or Stannah stair lift reviews online.
Or better yet, read on and find out what you need to have and should be looking for in a chair lift.
Types of Stairlifts
The first thing you will have to consider is the type of chair lift to be installed at your place. There are essentially two types—straight stairlift and curved stairlift. The former is designed for a straight staircase that runs along a straight rail. The other type is for a more complicated design, as it has to be installed on a curved staircase.
The straight chair lift is cheaper because installation is easier. In fact, installation only becomes troublesome if the stairs are narrow, or if there is a door at the top of the staircase that can obstruct the movement of the chair lift.
Aside from these two common types of chair lifts, there are other less common stair lift varieties. One is the standing stair lift. This is often installed in a house which has a staircase that is too narrow for a seated lift to be fitted. But the headroom should be high enough for this type of chair lift to work.
The standing stair lift is also ideal for people who have difficulties bending the knees. Hence if you have arthritic knee pain, then you might want to opt for a standing chair lift.
This type of stair lift is not also appropriate for everyone. Those who get dizzy easily, or lack the physical strength to stand for a couple of minutes, may want to look for another type of chair lift.
Another kind of stair lift is the vertical lift, which would take you from one part of the house to another by moving you through a hole in the floor or ceiling. The track of the device is attached to the wall.
This kind of mobility aid is only installed if an ordinary stairlift won’t fit in a narrow staircase, or you have a spiral staircase at home. Most of the time, the vertical lift is used by wheelchair bound users who can’t transfer to a stairlift seat.
Obviously, the fact that alterations have to be done in the house or structure makes this vertical lift the most expensive to install.
The last type is the outdoor lift installed outside the property, like in the porch. An outdoor stairlift is the same as an indoor straight stairlift although the former is made of weather-resistant materials.
Stair lifts are not inexpensive at all. You can have one installed at home for a price as low as $3,000. The price can jump to as high as $10,000 or more, depending on factors like curved or long stairs.
The prices also vary depending on the brand or the manufacturer of the stair lift. Top manufacturers like Acorn and Stannah have higher prices compared to their counterparts. To know more about Acorn stair lift prices, you can read Acorn stair lift reviews online.
Most of the time, stair lift companies require a deposit for any order of a curved stairlift. A deposit is usually not necessary for straight stairlifts.
To get an accurate quote you need to contact a stairlift company and have one of their personnel visit your home. The stairlift firm employee will then conduct a feasibility study that would determine whether the stairs are wide enough for the installation of a lift, or if there is enough room for your knees when you are seated on a chair lift.
Contact two or three different companies and compare their price quotes before making a decision on which supplier to get.
It would be a great idea to have your therapist present during the conduct of the feasibility study. This way you can have the OT give instructions on the stairlift features that you need. The medical professional can also determine if you need a seated or standing lift, or if a height-adjustable stair lift is a must.
Perhaps the best-known brand of chair lift is Stannah, as it has the experience (more than 40 years in the industry) and solid customer base (more than 600,000 units installed worldwide) to boot. However, other suppliers like Acorn, Ameriglide and Harmar are closing the gap. You can find more information on the last two brands by reading Ameriglide stair lift reviews and Harmar stair lift reviews online.
While reputable brands are known for their quality and reliability, there are still some things that you will have to look for in a stair lift. One is the length of the warranty of the chair lift. The industry standard is one-year warranty on parts although there are some makers who offer extended warranties.
Another thing to consider is the after-sales service. You should inquire about the company’s policy on servicing defective stairlifts, or whether it has a buy back policy. Moreover, ensure that the mobility aid that you’re getting is compliant with industry safety standards.
These are just some of the things that you need to consider when choosing the best stair lift. While a chair lift can be a very expensive investment, you should look at its benefits instead like easier movement around the house, and how it can assist you in living happily and independently.