Stairlift Buyer Guide

Stairlifts 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 would prefer their home was a one level home and not have to deal with stairs.  Living in a multi story home can be challenging and make your daily routine difficult.  Moving into a one level home is normally not an option and most people would prefer to stay in their home if possible.  A Stairlift may be the solution.  Stairlift are simple and affordable and more and more people are having them installed.  Stairlift are much more affordable then most people think.  Please review the page below for some good information about stairlifts and what you need to know when shopping for one and what what options are available.

Types of stairlifts

Straight Stairlifts

Straight stairlifts are relatively simple and quick to get installed.  If your staircase is straight up and has no turns or angle changes you are in luck.  Straight stairlifts are in stock and can be installed within just a few hours.  There are a few different option that are available at an extra cost:  power folding footrest, power swivel seat and hinged rail.

Curved Stairlifts

Curved stairlifts are custom fitted and designed to fit to the exact shape of your staircase.  There are multiple brands in the market offering different types of rail systems.  When designing a curved stairlift, 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 stairlifts can take anywhere between 4 and 8 weeks to manufacture and install.

Hinged Track

For homeowners who have limited space at the bottom of the staircase due to a door and hallway. A hinged  or folding rail could be a good option.  Hinged tracks come in a manual or powered option.

Slide Track

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 Stairlift

Seated Stairlifts are the most popular model of the stairlift and probably the most commonly seen. The Seated Stairlift is exactly what it sounds like, serving as a comfortable chair for users as it carries them up and down stairs.

Perch Stairlift

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 pirch stairlift might be the only solution.  Even though only a few manufacturers offer this option.  It does solve that once in a while staircase that is just too narrow.

Outdoor Stairlift

Most people think that stairlifts are designed for indoor use.  However, outdoor stairlifts are just as popular as indoor stairlift in some parts of the country.  We offer straight and curved outdoor stairlift, and these units are designed to be outside and able to withstand harsh weather.  The Bruno outdoor stairlifts cost a bit more then the competition, however they are designed from the ground up as an outdoor unit and also come with a cover.  

Portable Stairlifts

All portable stairlifts require an attendant and require training.  We offer 2 different types of portable lifts.  The Garaventa Staitrack is simple to use and can only go up a straight flight of stairs while the Scalamobile is a bit harder to us and can navigate a radius staircase.  Portable stairlifts are great for evacuation purposes  or for temporary use where there is a competent attandant.

 

How stairlifts work

Energy Use

The vast majority of stairlifts 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 which charge the carriage.  

Controls

All stairlift have some sort of a button that must be pressed continually to operate a stairlift.  These come in a variety of forms, including standard joysticks, bi-directional rocker switches and toggle joysticks, which are ideal for users with arthritis and other mobility issues with their hands.  There are also two remotes which can be mounted to a wall which can summon a stairlift.  

Buying vs. Renting

Renting a stairlift is an option.  If you plan on renting a stairlift for longer then 3 months, it might makes sense to just buy it.  Renting a stairlift 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 stairlift click here.

How to choose the right stairlift

 

  1. 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 that is nearby 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 and Angies List.  If you type the name of the dealer or manufacture in google, ie:  acorn stairlift reviews"  it will list multiple site reviews.  We highly recommend staying away from BBB as the reviews are locked and the grading system is not accurate.
  2. Test out a stairlift yourself.  Ones you found 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 you are dealing with.  Any serious company will have a showroom displaying at least 4 different model stairlifts.
  3. 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 home and needs. 

How the assessment works

Ones 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 the questions include:

  • Who is the lift for?
  • What is their condition/disability?
  • What is the users weight and height?

The representative needs to discuss where the lift will be getting it's power from.  Expect the representative to take measurements of your stairs and use that information to provide you 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 stairlift installed in a day.  Depending on the type of lift you are getting installed, installation will take anywhere between four and 8 hours.  All stairlift bolt to the staircase and not the wall.  Once 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 needed.

Service

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 Stairlift 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 San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles and Dallas TX. We sell, 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!

Visit our stair lift FAQs page to get answers to most common questions.

Call (855) 289-4847 and request your free consultation