Outdoor Stair Lift Options
Bruno Elite Straight
Bruno Elite Curved
We offer multiple brands, options, and models for indoor and outdoor use. We are not an internet company or handyman working out of a truck. We provide, install, and service everything we sell. We appreciate the opportunity to provide you a free, no pressure in home consultation.
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Portable Stair Lifts
For a spiral or radius staircase the
Scalamobil is a great solution. Available in
most of our showrooms.
Stair Lift Buyer Guide
Stair Lifts 101
The average person uses a staircase over 250,000 times in their life. But as we get older, the stairs may become more and more difficult. Most seniors prefer their home to be a one level house so they would not have to deal with stairs. Living in a multi story home can be challenging and make daily routines difficult. Moving into a one level home is not always an option and most people would prefer to stay in their own home if possible. A Stair lift may be the solution. Stair lifts are simple and affordable. More and more people are having them installed. Stair lifts are much more affordable then most people think. Please review the page below for some good information about stair lifts and what you need to know when shopping for one and what what options are available.
Types of Stair Lifts
Straight Stair Lifts
Straight stair lifts are relatively simple and quick to have installed. If your staircase is straight up and has no turns or angle changes you are in luck. Straight stair lifts are in stock and can be installed within just a few hours. There are a few different options that are available at an extra cost: power folding footrest, power swivel seat and hinged rail.
Curved Stair Lifts
Curved stair lifts are custom fitted and designed to fit the exact shape of your staircase. There are multiple brands on the market offering different types of rail systems. When designing a curved stair lift, you can choose to have the track extend past the last step which would eliminate the need to swivel and free up the staircase. You can also choose to curve and tuck away the rail at the bottom. Curved stair lifts can take anywhere between 4 to 8 weeks to manufacture and install.
For homeowners who have limited space at the bottom of the staircase due to a door or hallway, a hinged or folding rail could be a good option. Hinged tracks come in a manual or powered option.
This contemporary update to the Hinged Track is a great idea. However it still a bit glitchy and requires some updates. The concept is great and we are looking forward to a newer and better design.
Seated Stair Lift
Seated Stair Lifts are the most popular model of the stair lift and probably the most commonly seen. The Seated Stair Lift is exactly what it sounds like, serving as a comfortable chair for users as it carries them up and down stairs.
Perch Stair Lift
Even though we think that a perch seat is the craziest idea. However, If you have limited space and your knees don't clear the staircase when riding a standard lift. A perch stair lift might be the only solution. Even though only a few manufacturers offer this option, it does solve that problem when a staircase is just too narrow.
Outdoor Stair Lift
Most people think that stair lifts are designed for indoor use. However, outdoor stair lifts are just as popular as indoor stair lifts in some parts of the country. We offer straight outdoor stair lifts and curved outdoor stair lifts, and these units are designed to be outside and able to withstand harsh weather. Bruno outdoor stair lifts cost a bit more than the competition, however they are designed from the ground up as an outdoor unit and also come with a cover.
Portable Stair Lifts
All portable stair lifts require an attendant and require training for the buyer. We offer two different types of portable wheelchair stair lifts. The Garaventa Stair track is simple to use and can only go up a straight flight of stairs while the Scalamobile is a bit harder to use but can navigate a radius staircase. Portable stair lifts are great for evacuation purposes or for temporary use where there is a competent attendant.
How stair lifts work
The vast majority of stair lifts on the market today are battery-powered. There is still a charger that connects to your a/c outlet which connects to either end of the rail. Depending on the model and type of lift there are different kinds of charging strips that charge the carriage.
All stair lift has some sort of a button that must be pressed continually to operate a stair lift. These come in a variety of forms, including standard joysticks, bi-directional rocker switches, and toggle joysticks, which are ideal for users with arthritis or have other mobility issues with their hands. There are also two remotes which can be mounted to a wall which can summon a stair lift.
Buying vs. Renting
Renting a stair lift is an option. If you plan on renting a stair lift for longer then three months, it might make sense to just buy it. Renting a stair lift is a popular option for people who are having knee surgery. In some cases, a rental can convert to a purchase. For more information on renting a stair lift click here.
How to choose the right stair lift
Online. Most people today turn to the web for answers. There are multiple brands and dealers. Choose the brand you like. Choose a local dealer instead of buying online. A reputable dealer should have a showroom with units you can ride. We also recommend that you search for online reviews using sites like Yelp, Google and Angie’s List. If you type the name of the dealer or manufacturer in google, ie: “acorn stair lift reviews" it will list multiple site reviews.
Test out a stair lift yourself. Once you find the dealer you like, we recommend you visit the showroom if it's nearby. Walking into a showroom will tell you a lot about the company. Any serious company will have a showroom displaying at least 4 different models of stair lifts.
Schedule an assessment. Once you have found a reputable dealer you feel comfortable with, you’ll need to schedule a home evaluation. The dealer will take measurements and offer you a lift that would work best for your needs and your home.
How the assessment works
Once you schedule the home evaluation with the dealer, make sure that the staircase is available for measuring. Also, be prepared to answer some questions. Some of those questions may include:
Who is going to be using the lift?
What is their condition/disability?
What is the user’s weight and height?
The representative needs to discuss where the lift will be getting its power from. Expect the representative to take measurements of your stairs and use that information to provide you with a quote. Expect the quote to be printed with no obligation or pressure to buy. Inquire about the warranty period each dealer offers for their products. The representative should explain the benefits of the model they are quoting along with any warranty information.
The installation process
A reputable dealer should be able to get a straight stair lift installed in a day. Depending on the type of lift you are getting installed, the installation will take anywhere between four and eight hours. All stair lift bolt to the staircase and not the wall. Once the installation is complete the technician will be able to provide you with detailed user instructions on how to operate the machinery. A sticker with the company information should be attached to the chair in case service is ever needed.
All machinery eventually needs maintenance or repair. During the buying process, make sure you ask your dealer what their product warranty is and what service options they offer customers. This will vary from dealer to dealer and model to model.
Local Stair Lift Company Servicing
San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles
Gamburd is proud to set the standard. We are pleased to provide dependable service in California including the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. We provide, install and service everything we sell and have the absolute best pricing. We are insured, bonded and licensed by the State of California Contractors License Board. Lic.#939455. Don’t buy from some distant and faceless internet dealer that may send an unlicensed, untrained stranger to your home. Call Gamburd today! 888-902-2237
Visit our stair lift FAQs page to get answers to most common questions.
STAIR LIFTS: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What is that thing that goes up the stairs? What is a stair chair lift?
A stair lift, previously called a chairlift or stair chair lift, is a device used to transport a person up a flight or flights of stairs. The stair lift consists of a chair and rail running along the length of the staircase. It is also sometimes called a stair lift elevator, stair chair lift, stair glide or “That thing that goes up the stairs.”
Difference between a stair lift and wheelchair lift or VPL-Vertical platform lift?
A stair lift is a device with a chair attached to some kind of rail allowing transport of a person sitting on the chair. A VPL or Wheelchair stair lift, is an elevator like platform used to transport a person in a wheelchair or scooter vertically like a traditional elevator. A VPL can only traverse up and down and not side to side.
Who needs a stair lift?
Stair lifts are designed to assist people who are having difficulties climbing or descending stairs. Those difficulties can stem from a number of causes; recovery from a surgery, illness, disability, age, etc.
How do I know when it is time for me to get a stair lift?
Each person is different, but, when the stairs become a struggle, or you feel unsafe, it is probably time. Better safe than sorry.
What is the average cost of a stair lift?
Stair lift costs vary depending on the type of staircase, condition of the user and use of the chair (indoor or outdoor). Generally, the more turns and bends in a staircase, the higher the cost. Costs range from about $2,995 all the way up to $15,000 or more. Some reputable companies may offer used stair lifts for straight indoor or outdoor staircase at a discounted price.
Does insurance cover the cost of a stair lift?
Unfortunately, even with a doctor’s order, standard health insurance policies and Medicare will not cover the purchase or installation of a stair lift. Insurance considers a stair lift a home modification product versus durable medical equipment. For veterans, many VA facilities can provide either partial or full funding for the cost of home improvements related to accessibility.
Choosing the right stair lift for you
The first thing you need to figure out is what type of staircase you have. Then consider the options you need based on the condition of the user including weight, prognosis and living situation. Also factor in cost and timing.
When considering cost, take into account the reliability of the manufacturer and the maintenance needed to keep the stair lift operational. Once you choose the manufacturer, it is just as important to choose the right dealer. Do your research online on both. The more you know about what you need and want, the better off you will be.
What type of staircase do you have?
Stair lifts are either straight, or not. Those which are not are custom made. You can also have indoor or outdoor models for both straight and custom units. Click this link to see our staircase selection form https://www.gamburd.com/staircase-selection-form
What maintenance does a stair lift require?
Stair lift maintenance is a very important topic to discuss before you buy a stair lift. All stair lifts require basic maintenance to keep the unit clean of any dust, debris and other items which can impede smooth operation. Most will only require a yearly maintenance which should cover a routine multi point inspection. This should include cleaning of the unit and rail, reapplying lubricants, tightening and realigning the unit, checking the battery.
How much will stair lift maintenance cost?
Regular maintenance should cost between $200 to $400 plus any needed parts. Be very careful of companies who charge by the hour or charge for return fees. As attractive as an hourly fee is, it will usually cost more than a set fee. With a set fee, the installers will want to get in and out as quickly as possible, and carry extra parts on their trucks to avoid having to come back. If they bill by the hour, less incentive for the installers to carry the part on the trucks or work quickly.
Also, avoid any service contracts or mandatory service. Clean the unit and only call for service if something doesn’t feel right or has an issue. Otherwise, just call for service as needed.
How often will the batteries on a stair lift need to be replaced?
The answer is it really depends. It depends on a number of factors including: how long did the stair lift sit before it was installed? How often is the stair lift used? What is the weight of the stair lift user? How steep is the staircase the stair lift is on, etc? Some will last a year while others could last 7 years. On average, 2-5 years is a good guideline.
How is a stair lift powered?
Most stair lifts are powered by a regular house outlet and charge the batteries in the stair lift. The 110 volt outlet acts as a trickle charger and maintains the batteries. Once the chair is used, the charger automatically replenished the lost charge. In case of a power outage, stair lifts still have the ability to be used for a number of days before the battery is drained.
Can I replace stair lift batteries myself?
Not recommended. Not only will you have to have specific tools and batteries required for the task, but you will also need to be careful not to short out the motherboard of the unit. The motherboard is the brain in the unit and is very easy to burn simply by touching the wrong parts. The cost of a new motherboard far exceeds the cost of the batteries. A motherboard can cost up to $1,250 while batteries from $50 to $85 each.
Can I install my own stair lift?
Most reputable manufacturers will not allow dealers to sell units without installation. Avoid buying a unit online. This is a very expensive investment which deserves to be installed by professionals who specialize in stair lifts. Avoid contractors or jack of all trades. Stick with companies who do this full time and do not outsource their employees. Improper installation can lead to serious safety issues and even death.
Are my stairs suitable for a stair lift?
Stair lifts are attached to the stairs and not the wall. So as long as the stairs are solid and the staircase is wider than 27 inches, you should be able to install a stair lift.
How long will it take before my stair lift can be installed?
Installation of a stair lift should take between 4 to 8 hours. However, the time it takes to have the unit ready for installation can vary greatly. In the case of straight staircase, if a dealer has inventory in stock, it is just a matter of cutting the rail to the size of your staircase. If the unit has to be custom made, the process can take up to 6 weeks. A custom unit has to be made to the exact specifications of your staircase. The process starts with a specially trained consultant placing specialized discs on each stair and then uploading the measurements to a specialized software package. Once the upload is complete, a CAD type rendering is made showing the staircase and measuring angles, slopes, widths, obstructions, etc. Once this is done, engineers review rendering and make any necessary adjustments or recommendations before sending the unit off to production. The rail is then hand made with every angle taken into consideration. This process is extremely cumbersome and requires skilled metal craftsmen to shape and mold the rail. This process alone can take anywhere from 60 to over 100 hours. Hence, the longer timelines and higher price.
How is a stair lift powered?
A stair lift gets its power from batteries which are housed inside the unit itself. The batteries are then replenished with a regular 110 volt outlet. In case of power failure, the unit should still have plenty of battery power to run for a few days.
How will my stair lift be installed?
Stair lifts are attached to the stairs and not the walls. Therefore, there is no modification of any structural elements. The unit is secured with bolts which after removed, can be patched leaving little trace of a stair lift ever having been there.
Best Stair Lifts of 2018
#1 Bruno Stair Lifts
Most reliable stair lifts
Bruno. American made and most reliable based on consumer reviews.
Buy back options
Many companies will buy stair lifts. Unfortunately, even though custom staircases are much more expensive than straight, they have no resale value because they only fit one particular staircase. Even is someone has a track home that has the same exact layout of a neighbor, the unit will probably not fit. One small variance in slope and the entire unit is completely off. An inch might not seem like a big deal at the bottom of the stairs, but by the time you travel all the way to the top of the stairs, that one inch can become 12 inches.
Refurbished stair lifts
Used units are a cost effective way to save money versus a new unit. However, used units will only work on a straight staircase. Check the warranty and ask if the units are certified. Remember, a reliable new unit generally makes for a reliable used units.
Weight capacities for stair lifts
Most stair lifts have a capacity of between 250 and 400 lbs.
Stair lift seat features
Many stair lifts have different size seats to accommodate different size users. For an additional cost you can also choose to buy a power swivel seat.
Make sure your stair lift has safety and obstruction sensors build into the seat, footrest, carriage and any other moving component.
Some chairs come standard with a key switch and some you need to pay extra for. A key will allow you to lock the unit and prevent it from being used by others.
Calls and send controls
Most stair lifts have a control button on the armrest of the chair as well as remote controls. You will want to place the remote controls at the top and bottom of the stairs in case there is a second user. It is also convenient to have remotes in case you want to use the stair lift to carry laundry or groceries up or down, etc.
How safe is the stair lift?
Stair lifts are relatively safe. The majority of accidents stem from improper installation, use or maintenance. Only hire a company who specializes in stair lift installations and has factory certified technicians.
ADVICE ON HOW TO PICK THE BEST STAIR LIFT
Know the brands
Research the different brands and read consumer reviews. Avoid buying online or buying through a dealer that does not service or install the unit.
Know the dealer
Just as important as picking the most reliable manufacturer, also do your research on the dealer. Make sure the dealer has positive Yelp reviews, has been in business for at least 10 years and has a large service department. If you pick right, you should not have many issues with your stair lift. However, if it does break, you do not want to wait for weeks for someone to come out. Also, stay away from dealers who do not offer a flat rate for service or charge you for return trips for parts they do not stock. Stay away from dealers who do not service at all. Many dealers want to sell the units and not worry about having to repair. If your dealer does not have at least 5 full time repair technicians, move on. If your dealer outsources employees, move on. You should pay as much attention to service on the initial appointment as the price itself.
Dealer certified to perform the installation
Make sure your dealer has factory trained technicians. For an installer to be factory certified, he/she has to fly out and spend a few days at the factory for training. He/she must then pass a series of tests. If your dealer does not have factory trained installers, move on. That means they are either too small to afford to invest in their team or do not see certification as important.
Make sure dealer understands your specific needs
Look for a dealer who asks questions about the user. Peoples needs are different and you want a dealer who will sell you what you need and not what they happen to have in stock. If your dealer has less than 50 units in stock, move on. You want a dealer who has units in stock and carries replacement parts. If your stair lift does not function, every minute counts. You do not want to be stuck up or downstairs waiting for the part to come in.
Dealer warranty and future maintenance of your stair lift
Make sure your dealer has a warranty that cover both labor and parts. Also stay away from dealers who charge hourly service rates versus a flat fee. You want a dealer who wants to get in your home and fix the issue quickly and not milk the clock or carry enough parts on their trucks. Also avoid dealers who charge you for return trips for parts they do not stock.
Know where stair lifts are made
Buying American is a wise choice not only due to quality control, but also due to proximity and costs associated with shipping parts. If for some reason a reputable dealer does not have a part in stock, an American manufacturer can overnight the parts in an emergency.
Where to shop
We recommend doing a Yelp search for a local stair lift dealer, a google search or, contact Bruno directly and ask for a referral.