For some people who are no longer able to ascend a flight of stairs due to illness or injury, there are few options, especially if they reside in a home with more than one level and aren’t in a position to relocate.
So what do most people do if they can’t just sell their house and move? They look into stairlift installations. According to Forbes, installing a stairlift is a convenient and temporary way to keep folks living in their own homes. Most stairlifts are temporary installations and can be uninstalled when the homeowners or their relatives decide to sell the house.
There are some issues to consider when you start shopping for a stairlift for yourself or a loved one. Aside from making sure the company is reputable and has a local office if you have any problems, the company needs to provide a variety of lifts so they can tailor one to fit your specific needs.
For example, if you have a curved staircase, you may need a custom installation. If you have a landing in between two separate staircases, you may need two chairs, but you might also be able to have a custom installation so one lift can move around the landing without the user having to get off one chair and onto another.
According to Consumer Affairs, these stairlift providers are on their Top 10 list:
- Accessible Construction
- Ascent Stairlifts
- Silver Cross Here
- Country Home Elevator
- 101 Mobility
- Stannah Stairlifts
When doing your comparisons of different companies, here the five main things to consider for each one.
1. Do Their Stairlifts Have Remote Controls?
If a remote control isn’t an option, ask the company how the user gains access to the lift if they’re a floor above or below where the lift was last stopped. A remote can also be a power saver by switching off the lift when it’s not being used.
2. Adjustability & Swivel Ability
Swivel seats make it easier and more convenient to get on and off the lift without the fear of falling down the stairs, which is why you have one in the first place.
If you can adjust height, back and footrests of the chair, you’ll achieve the most comfortable ride between floors.
3. Critical Safety Features for All Stairlifts
Since this is a product for avoiding falling on the stairs, you want to make sure the safety features don’t make matters worse.
Here is a list of some of the more important safety features that you should look for:
- Weight Capacity
- Safety Sensors
- Speed Regulator
- Seat Locks
- Safety Belts
- Pressure-Sensitive Controls
- Hand-Held Controller
- Diagnostic Digital Display
- Adjustable Seat Height
- Call or Send Control
- Automatic Hinged Track
4. Platform Options for Easier Installation
- Sit or Stand: The seat folds back into a standing platform. Some people would rather stand than sit while going up and down the stairs.
- Perch Seat: If you have knee problems, it may be easier to sit onto a perch than lower down into a standard chair seat.
5. The Shape of the Stair Rail
Different homes are built with different styles of stairways and rails. You want to make sure the company has the style you’ll need for your home.
- Straight rails: These are used on traditional one-flight stairway from one floor to the next.
- Curved rails: These are used on spiral staircases or to curve around two sets of stairs that have a landing in between.
- L-shaped rails: Some modern stairways make a sharp turn at a 90-degree angle. L-shaped rails can easily install to travel over these style railings.
If you can get a free home consultation with a couple of companies, they can come out and inspect your stairway, do some measurements and give you some options. It’s always best to let a professional do the installation and be sure to get a warranty in case of any troubles down the road.