Best Chair Lift for Stairs 2019

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Chair lifts are an integral part of independent life for the elderly and disabled. They are designed to safely transport a person between the floors in their home. The motorized chair connects to a rail system that can be attached to a curved or straight staircase, able to be installed in any home.

Stairs are one of the most dangerous sections of the home for the elderly. One in four adults over the age of 65 experience falls according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Falling once also doubles the chances of experiencing another fall.

Making the decision to purchase a chair lift is not easy for everyone. Depending on the situation, a person may not be ready to admit they need assistance in the home. Some may view it as the beginning to the end of their independence. However, it allows them to stay independent longer, remain in their own home, or move into a loved one’s home instead of in a care facility. Chair lifts add a sense of security for the user and for their family members.

Different Types of Chair Lifts for Stairs

Not all homes have the same types of staircases, resulting in the necessity to provide availability to a range of different chair lifts for users:​

  • Straight Chair lift
  • Curved Chair lift
  • Outdoor Chair lift

Straight Chair lifts are the most prevalent type of chair lift for consumers. They are also usually the most affordable as well. As the name suggests, a straight chair lift is installed onto a staircase that has no bends, corners, or landings.

Installing a straight chair lift does not require screwing parts into the wall and are mounted on the treads of the stairs. Some homes have staircases that have turns, spirals, or have an intermediate landing.

The type of chair lift required will depend on the type of curved staircase a home has. A chair lift for a curved staircase will typically have one of three different rail systems: double rail, single rail, or flat rail. Each rail design is sturdy but varies in efficient maneuverability around bends.

Lastly, the outdoor chair lift is designed to be heavy duty and last through all types of weather. These are designed for both straight and curved staircases. Outdoor chair lifts, like most other chair lifts, can be customized for the staircase, no matter the length. Outdoor chair lifts come equipped with seatbelts and typically have a weight capacity of 600 pounds.

What are the Best Chair Lifts for Stairs?

Chair lifts are widely used because they are customizable to the users’ needs. Users can expect sturdy, safe, secure, and reliable chair lifts despite the wide variety on the market. Below are some of the best chair lifts for stairs currently on the market:

Elegant Stair Lift (Walnut)

The Elegant Stair Lift manufactured by Jameson Medical is designed to look more attractive in the home to benefit younger users with its deep walnut color. Jameson Medical produces a variety of stair lifts for the elderly and disabled. The Elegant Stair Lift is made for optimal safety and comfort. It has a horizontal gear system as well as a rack and pinion design for reliable and smooth movement.

elegant stair lift walnut image

The flip-up arms give the user comfort and allow them to transport objects, such as a laundry basket, without it falling. The switch control for the seat is located at the end of the armrest. A seat belt is attached to the chair for extra safety and security as well.

The chair has two Control Stations, one located at the top of the staircase and one located at the bottom. This allows the user to call or send the chair to either end. It will also charge when parked at either end of the stairs.

An Off Charge Alarm will sound in the case of a power outage or if the battery fails. Luckily, the battery has a two-year warranty while the chair’s other parts have a ten-year warranty. The circuit board and drivetrain contain a lifetime warranty.

An Obstruction Alarm & Instant Stop feature will cause the chair to cease movement if it detects something is obstructing its ability to continue moving. The footrest contains pressure sensors that will also stop the chair if it senses no pressure from feet.

Weight Capacity Staircase Type
350 Ibs, 500 Ibs, and 600 Ibs models Straight

Pros:​

  • Easy-to-use controls on the armrests
  • Tall backrest and stitched seating
  • Neatly folds up 11 inches from the wall when not in use
  • Has a higher weight limit, holding up to 600 pounds
  • Contains a horizontal gear system
  • Is equipped with a retractable seat belt
  • Different models are available with varying weight capacities
  • Can be installed on either side of the staircase
  • The battery charges automatically when stationed at the top or bottom

Cons:

  • Installation is not available in California, Georgia, and Washington. A local contractor is required

Nautilus Stair Lift

nautilus stair lift image

Another great chair lift from Jameson Medical is the Nautilus. This chair lift is designed to be hassle-free with its low maintenance. The chair is grease free, meaning there is no need to grease the track as most chair lifts require. The low maintenance aspect of the chair makes the Nautilus ideal for children who have disabilities and for younger families.

The chair lift is also easy to operate- another reason it is great for children. The end of the armrest has a simple control switch that a child will have no issue operating. The chair has a seatbelt for added safety and security for the user. It is also great for transporting objects up-and-down the stairs. When it is not in use the chair folds up to just 10.5 inches.

Buying a chair lift is an investment. Fortunately, all parts of the chair lift come with a six-year warranty. The battery has a three-year warranty while the gear rack has a lifetime warranty. Additionally, the chair does not mount to the wall, leaving the wall hole-free.

Weight Capacity Staircase Type
350 Ibs and 600 Ibs models Straight

Pros:​

  • Low maintenance and grease free
  • Contains a worm drive gear
  • Ideal for children
  • Pressure control switch
  • Cushioned seating
  • Various models for individual needs

Cons:

  • Installation is not available in California, Georgia, and Washington. A local contractor is required

Harmar Stair Lift

harmar stair lift image

The Harmar Stair Lift is one that is well-loved by consumers. The chair lift is known for its reliability and high quality. This is an ideal chair lift for those with a lower budget who do not want to sacrifice buying quality. The chair mounts to the stairs and not the wall, a feature most homeowners prefer as it does not cause damage. The track is constructed out of extruded aluminum for durability and longevity.

The chair has a rocker control system for easy use and is also equipped with a pressure sensor. If the control switch is released the chair will immediately stop movement. The top and bottom of the stairs are equipped with separate controls. If any components of the chair lift malfunction, there is a two-year warranty on all components. It also comes with a lifetime warranty on the motor and drivetrain, free of charge.

Weight Capacity Staircase Type
350 Ibs, 500 Ibs, and 600 Ibs models Straight

Pros:

  • Can be installed on either side of the staircase
  • Has an outdoor model
  • Cushioned seating with various backrest lengths for comfort
  • Customizable track length
  • Comfortable seat that rotates 90 degrees
  • Footrest has adjustable length for comfort and functionality
  • Foldable seat and footrest
  • Three available upholstery colors: light almond, mocha, and evergreen
  • Can travel distances up to 25 feet
  • A/C powered

Cons:

  • Is cable driven and the chassis cannot be completely removed from the track during manual uninstallment

Jameson Medical Outdoor Stair Lift

jameson medical outdoor stair lift image

Getting into a building can be an equal struggle for the elderly, disabled, and injured. Jameson Medical manufactured solved this by producing a heavy duty, outdoor chair lift that will safely transport a person up a flight of outdoor steps. Built to withstand all weather, the Outdoor Stair Lift has a covered gear system, sealed switches, and protected circuit board. All components are properly plated or and have outdoor grade coding for weatherproofing.

The chair folds up to one inch within the wall when not in use, giving others plenty of room. It has two wireless remotes for the top and bottom of the stairs for user consideration. The chair will also charge every time it is parked at either end of the staircase. Additionally, safety sensors are placed around the footrest will stop the chair if detects anything wrong such as no pressure (meaning a user is not detected on the seat).​

Weight Capacity Staircase Type
​350 Ibs ​Outdoor

Pros:

  • Rack and Pinion Gear System for smoothness and reliability
  • Is weatherproof and ideal for colder climates
  • Has stainless hardware
  • Has footrest safety sensors
  • Charges when stationed at the top or bottom of the staircase
  • The aluminum track is anodized for durability and to resist corrosion

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Installation is not available in California, Georgia, and Washington. A local contractor is required

Jameson Medical Legacy Classic Stair Lift (Caramel)

jameson medical legacy classic stair lift image

The Legacy Classic Stair Lift by Jameson Medical is another popular choice among consumers because of its dependability, reliability, and smooth operation. The chair is battery operated and will automatically charge when stationed at either the top or bottom of the stairs, like many other models. The chair will still operate in the case of a power outage.

The chair contains two wireless remote controls, one at the top of the staircase and one at the bottom. A control station at both ends of the staircase also allows the user to call or send the chair lift to either end. When the chair is not in use, it can fold up to 11 inches within the wall.

Some chair lifts may jerk when they start and stop, making the user feel less secure and comfortable. The Rack and Pinion Gear System allows the chair to start and stop smoothly. The back of the seat is high for comfort and also has a seatbelt to support the user. Safety is the main priority for every chair lift. The Legacy Classic has an Off Charge Alarm and an Obstruction Alarm & Instant Stop. An alarm will sound if the chair has stopped charging and it is parked and the chair will stop moving if an object is in the way.

Lastly, the components of the Legacy Classic Stair Lift have a ten-year warranty, and the batteries have a two-year long warranty. The circuit board and drive train have a lifetime warranty. Users can feel confident that their chair lift will last as long as they need it to.

Weight Capacity Staircase Type
​350 Ibs ​Straight

Pros:​

  • Rack and Pinion Gear System for smooth operation
  • High backrest for comfort and support
  • Contains pressure controls for safety
  • The seat swivels at a 90-degree angle
  • Has two wireless remote controls
  • Folds up to 11 inches from the wall

Cons:

  • Installation is not available in California, Georgia, and Washington. A local contractor is required

Final Thoughts

Choosing to purchase a chair lift for stairs is typically a big decision. They will allow a user to gain independence while significantly reducing their risk of falling and injury. When budgeting for a chair lift, it is important to remember the installation costs, which can add up to an additional $500 to the final cost.

Choosing a chair lift is not based on which is the best on the market, as the best may not be the one needed. Luckily, most models of chair lifts have various types to accommodate consumers’ various needs and requirements. The right type of chair lift will increase personal safety, be reliable, is durable, and causes no damage to the staircase.​

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