Sixteen million US adults aged 60 and older tend to live alone in a large family home. Over the years, many require help to ensure they’re able to maintain their independence and enhance mobility. Various types of stairlifts were invented in order to accommodate the lifestyles and mobility requirements of the elderly. In this short guide, we’ll make sure you know everything you need to know about purchasing a stairlift.
Types of stairlifts
Stairlifts can be split into two categories – straight and curved. If you have a helical or curved staircase, you’ll have to look into a curved stairlift. By default, these tend to be slightly more pricey of the two categories while straight stairlifts are easier to install and therefore more affordable.
A popular curved stairlift is considered to be the vertical ‘through-floor’ lift. They’re often used for spiral staircases or if a staircase is too narrow. A vertical lift will also require more building work in order to be fully functional. Alongside vertical stairlifts, a popular curved stairlift type is the outdoor version. Suitable for all types of weather, it is ideal for households with large gardens or routes from the porch to your driveway. If you have a straight staircase, you can opt out for a seated or standing stairlift. They’re straightforward to install, affordable, and come with fixed or drop-down seats.
Battery vs electric stairlifts
Along with choosing the stairlift type, you also have to consider whether you want to go for a battery-operated or an electric unit. If you live in an inconvenient location, choosing the correct function may drastically affect your stairlift usage. For example, battery-operated stairlifts are ideal for people who frequently experience power cuts in their area as they are able to operate without electricity. However, even though they tend to be more affordable than electric stairlifts, it’s also important to remember that the battery replacement requires more maintenance.
Electric stairlifts are typically wired with the electrical system of the house. As long as you have a constant power source, you’ll be able to use it as you please. However, there is an added question of a possible power outage as it would mean you could get stuck in a certain part of your home. On the other side, electric stairlifts are easier to maintain and require less aftercare.
Features to consider
Before we dive into the cost of stairlifts it’s important to note that the final price may vary depending on the additional features. Depending on the manufacturer, you can find many advanced features that may or may not be useful for your personal lifestyle. It’s therefore important to do your research before you choose the staircase that’s right for you.
Some of the features to consider include safety belts, a backup battery, footrest, folding rails, swivel seats, and more. Some of the more advanced features include a remote control with various speed options, upholstery color, adjustable seat height, safety sensors, and a powered hinge track. Your chosen manufacturer may even offer to customize your stairlift to suit your lifestyle – however, all of this may affect the final price.
How much do stairlifts cost?
The price of a stairlift, therefore, varies on many factors – these include the manufacturer, model, features, your location, the type of stairlift you need, number of steps on your staircase, and many more. On top of the base stairlift cost and the cost of installment, you also have to take maintenance into consideration before finalizing your purchasing decision. The price of your stairlift also depends on weight requirements. Standard stairlifts are suitable for a person weighing up to 300 lbs, while a heavy-duty base model costs more money.
The average stairlift price begins from $2,000 and goes up to $5,000. Curved stairlifts are normally put in a separate pricing category, with prices starting from $7,500. It’s important to note that these are just estimates as the final price will also include comfort and convenience features. However, not all features are to be dismissed as many are very beneficial and could change your experience for the better.
Installation, maintenance, and repair
The installation process varies depending on the type of stairlift, with curved stairlifts requiring more time. However, the standard installation takes up to four hours to complete. Before you install your new stairlift, you’ll need to ensure there’s an electrical outlet nearby.
You should arrange annual maintenance checks to ensure your stairlift remains safe to use. The routine maintenance is fairly fast, however, it will require an extra $100 or more. Many manufacturers include a maintenance warranty, sometimes up to 5 years. Repairs can be requested through the manufacturer, or by same-day services in your area.
If you decide to sell your home in the future, a stairlift could help add value to your house, along with other internal factors.