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Pros and cons
Acorn stair lifts cost
How to buy
Warranty and aftercare
Customer service and reviews
Acorn Stair Lifts Review 2023
Sep 20, 2023
We evaluated Acorn Stair Lifts, so you don’t have to. See if Acorn has the right stair lift for you.
BSPharm, MPH, Senior Director, NCOA Center for Healthy Aging
High customer satisfaction
24/7 support available every day of the year
Indoor and outdoor options are available
Acorn manufactures and distributes its own stair lifts, so you’ll purchase your lift and receive support directly through the company instead of a dealer.
Acorn has a good reputation among customers with high ratings on both Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot, but you may need to ask if there are enough personnel to service your location.
Financing options aren’t available through Acorn, but state and government programs are available if your lift isn’t covered by insurance.
The Acorn 130 Straight Stair Lift starts at $3,000–$4,000 with installation, while the 180 Curved Stair Lift starts at $10,000–$13,000 with installation.
When planning home modifications, falls prevention is an important consideration to ensure the health and independence of older adults aging in place. Falls are one of the leading causes of injury in older adults, with 28% of all Americans over 65 falling every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1
Home modifications, including stair lifts, can help prevent falls by providing you a safe way to go up and down the stairs. These motorized chairs travel along a track that is securely attached to your staircase. If you or a loved one experience reduced mobility, research shows home modifications tailored to your specific needs can help you to stay safe and independent, maximize function in your home, and reduce your care needs.2An occupational therapist can conduct a home assessment and determine what your home modification needs are, including the need for a chair lift. To find an occupational therapist, check out hmota.net.
Our Reviews Team selected Acorn Stairlifts as one of the best best stair lift brands on the market due to its high customer satisfaction, competitive prices, and the brand’s unique app. Our comprehensive review can help you decide if Acorn is right for you.
Why you can trust our expert review
Our Reviews Team recommends products and services we believe provide value in the lives of our readers. We’ve spent more than 100 hours carrying out in-depth research on home stair lifts to give you the most accurate review. To make our selections, we:
Engaged in ongoing independent research
Consulted with physical and occupational therapists
Mystery shopped 11 brands and seven dealers
Read verified customer reviews from trusted third parties such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot
About Acorn Stair Lifts
Established in 1992, Acorn is an independent stair lift manufacturer headquartered in Florida that manufactures its lifts in the UK, and distributes them across the world. The brand’s high reputation is one reason our Reviews Team deemed it one of the best stair lifts on the market. We like Acorn because you get basic, no-frills stair lift options that are dependable and come with year-round customer support.
Acorn stair lifts, including installation and maintenance services, are highly rated by customers on trusted sites, like BBB and Trustpilot. Support is available 24/7 during the initial one-year warranty with an option to extend it.
Table 1 Comparison of Acorn Stair Lifts, as of February 2023
Maximum weight capacity (lbs)
Indoor or outdoor
Pros and cons of Acorn stair lifts
ProsIndoor and outdoor options availableHigh customer satisfaction24/7 support availableNext-day installation is possible for most liftsComplimentary Acorn Club app
ConsShort initial warranty lengthNo financing optionsLow weight capacity compared to other brandsLimited customizations availableTechnician shortage in some locations
Acorn stair lifts review
Acorn 130 Straight stair lift
Starting price: $3,000–$4,000 with installation
Maximum weight capacity: 350 pounds (lbs)
Warranty: Standard one-year warranty on all parts
Overall height (from base of the chair unit to the top of the backrest): 38.5 inches (in)
Overall depth (from the wall to the lip of the seat): 22.5 in
Overall depth (when chair is folded): 12.25 in
Overall width (from the outer edges of the chair unit): 23.25 in
The Acorn 130 Straight stair lift is the most popular and basic Acorn model. It comes with a swivel seat, which rides a single-rail track that is mounted to the stairs. As you reach the top of the stairs, you can turn the seat toward the landing for an easy exit.
This model comes with standard features that compare similarly to other stair lifts on the market, including a rechargeable battery. You won’t have to worry during a power outage, because the lift will continue to operate for 10 up-down cycles. You also won’t get stranded. If your seat is on the opposite landing, you can call it back with a remote calling system. When the chair isn’t in use, the retractable seat belt rolls back into its container, and you can power the entire unit off by turning the key switch.
If a problem is detected in the functioning of the chair, a diagnostic display on the chair lights up with a code. The display is about the size of a quarter located next to the key switch. If the chair has a problem, the user manual lists the various codes and the correlating issue, which could include a poor charger connection or an unlocked swivel seat.
The default weight capacity on this lift (280 lbs) is lower than most stair lifts on the market. But you can ask for the “HD” version to increase the weight capacity to 350 lbs if necessary.
You can also opt for the hinged rail add-on feature, which allows you to fold the rail away. This comes in handy if you have a doorway at the bottom landing and want to remove the tripping hazard a rail might create. Acorn customer support told our Reviews Team that the cost of this feature depends on staircase measurements, so the price is specified later in the purchase process.
The Acorn hinged rail option at the bottom landing
The 130 also has an outdoor option with identical dimensions and features starting at $3,500–$4,500 with installation. This option comes with weather-resistant materials and a weather-proof cover, which you can place on the lift during rain or snow for protection.
The weather-proof cover for the Acorn 130 outdoor stair lift
Overall height (from base of the chair unit to the top of the backrest): 38.25 in
Overall depth (from the wall to the lip of the seat): 22.25 in
Overall depth (when chair is folded): 13.25 in
Overall width (from the outer edges of the chair unit): 24.5 in
The Acorn 180 Curved stair lift is the Acorn option for curved staircases. Built approximately 1 inch deeper and wider than the 130, the 180 offers the same standard features, including a swivel seat, retractable seat belt, backup rechargeable battery, remote control calling system, and a diagnostic display. Unfortunately, this model does not offer a higher weight capacity upgrade. Typically, curved lifts across the industry have lower weight limits because the turns require extra support.
Most companies need about two weeks to manufacture curved tracks exactly to the measurements of your staircase. To cut down on turnaround time between ordering and installation, Acorn developed its FastTrack system, which uses a modular rail to fit along curved staircases. The track’s parts can be installed the next day. As an added bonus, this track uses a single rail, while most curved tracks use a double rail. Single rails are sleeker and more discreet in the home, so the staircase doesn’t seem so crowded. In general, double rails are better for curved staircases, since curved staircases require extra weight support when stair lifts round corners.
Similar to the 130, the 180 comes with a hinged rail option, but if you choose this option you’ll sacrifice the FastTrack rail, which is made from a different material than the hinged rail, and the material needs to be consistent with the rest of the track. Acorn customer support told our Reviews Team that adding a hinged rail to the design could cost an additional $1,000 due to the production costs required to curve a traditional metal rail during manufacturing. This also adds time to the manufacturing process, so you won’t receive your stair lift for a few weeks.
Acorn stair lift prices start at $3,000 for straight lifts, and $10,000 for curved lifts. This is slightly lower than average prices: straight stair lifts tend to start around $3,500 with installation, while curved stair lifts start closer to $10,000 with installation. But stair lift prices vary greatly depending on the type and the retailer. Acorn customers normally spend about $4,000 for straight lifts, and about $12,000 for curved lifts.
Acorn manufactures and distributes its own stairlifts, which means you purchase straight from the manufacturer without going through a dealer. Dealers often serve as the go-between for most manufacturers, so stair lifts can reach a wider population. Depending on local living costs and internal business practices, dealers have the freedom to adjust the price. It’s important to note that each dealer could have a slightly different price point. Acorn doesn’t use dealers, so prices are more predictable across the board.
Does Acorn offer financing options?
Acorn is one of the few manufacturers that does not offer financing options.
Some manufacturers, like AmeriGlide, offer financing options during the purchase process. Others, like Harmar, leave financing options up to the dealers that sell the brand’s products.
Does insurance cover stair lifts?
Insurance rarely covers a stair lift.
Private and government policies, like Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C), require a doctor prescription and substantial documentation that prove medical necessity to consider coverage. Your insurance company may recommend you try navigating your home with an assisted device first, like a cane or walker, if appropriate.
Nationwide programs like Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together can help find low-cost or used stair lifts for those that need them. These organizations also rely on volunteers who can install the stair lifts at little or no cost.
Ask your local Habitat for Humanity or Rebuild Together for more information.
You can also check NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp to see if there are other programs available in your community. Enter your ZIP code and select the help you’re looking for to browse your options.
How to buy Acorn stair lifts
Purchasing an Acorn stair lift takes a few steps.
First, you must call Acorn customer service to receive instructions on how to measure and take pictures of your staircase. To ensure the Acorn team can provide an accurate quote, a professional will walk you through the steps of measuring your staircase, which include:
Overall length of the staircase, which includes each landing
Width of the staircase
Clearance at the bottom and top of the staircase
Customer support may also ask for images, so they can get a good understanding of your staircase shape, especially if it has curves.
Once you have all the measurements and images, you’ll send them to Acorn and schedule a virtual appointment to talk through your options and your free quote. If you decide to move forward with the purchase, you’ll pay and schedule an installation day. Most installations take about four hours.
In some cities, technicians can come out to your home and measure your staircase for you. If you would like this service, ask the customer service representative if a technician is available in your area. This service was previously offered nationwide, but COVID-19 caused a long-term personnel shortage, making it difficult for Acorn to offer this service everywhere.
Acorn stair lifts repair, warranty, and after care
All Acorn stair lifts come with a one-year warranty on all parts and labor, including the motor, gears, and circuitry repair or replacement. Although warranties vary across the industry, a one-year warranty is shorter than average. Based on our Reviews Team’s research, most stair lift warranties are at least two years, with some going to five or 10 years.
Acorn customer support and in-network technicians are available 24/7. But due to the company’s personnel shortage nationwide, this may depend on your location. Like most companies, Acorn will not cover inflicted damage from misuse.
Unlike other manufacturers in the industry, Acorn covers a maintenance visit toward the end of the warranty period to make sure the lift is performing safely. At this time, the technician will give you information about extended warranty options. An Acorn representative told the Reviews Team that extended warranties vary, but the company can work with you to find a plan that meets your needs. Keep in mind that the initial warranty is short compared to other brands, like Bruno and Harmar, which offer lifetime coverage on indoor lifts, so you may want to consider purchasing the extension.
If you don’t opt for an extended warranty, Acorn recommends you hire a professional to maintain the lift once per year to ensure it stays safe and operable. You should clean your stair lift and the track daily to remove dust and dirt that may accumulate and affect circuit and gear function. Refrain from using harsh cleaning agents, like bleach or abrasive tools, that may damage the lift. You can use household polish on the rail and lubricant on the track to keep the lift running smoothly. Also, remember to keep the stair lift clear of clutter, which can limit the lift’s accessibility and create tripping hazards around the stairs.
Acorn safety features
All Acorn stair lifts come with standard safety features:
Obstruction sensors: These sensors detect obstacles on the staircase and stop the lift before hitting the obstacle or getting stuck.
Retractable seat belts: These secure the rider into the seat while in use. When not in use, the seat belt retracts into its container, so it doesn’t dangle in the stairway and cause a tripping hazard.
Rechargeable batteries: These work even during a power outage, so you’re not left stranded. The batteries will recharge when you park the seat over a charging station along the track.
A remote control calling system: This system “calls over” your lift from the opposite landing when you need it.
A key lock and power switch: This feature makes it easy to power off the entire unit (so when you have grandkids over, they don’t take it for a joyride).
A manual swivel seat: This allows your seat to turn approximately 90 degrees away from the staircase when you’re ready to exit the lift, similar to an office chair.
Toggle controls: Controls on the arms of the chair help guide you up and down the staircase. When pressed, the chair takes roughly two seconds to respond, so the lift doesn’t move out from under you while you enter or exit the lift.
The diagnostic display system: The system alerts you with a code when the chair needs attention. Codes are usually interpreted by a technician, but you can find these codes and the correlating issue in your manual or online.
The location of the diagnostic display on the unit, currently showing the letter “R”
Acorn App: Acorn Club and StairSafe
The Acorn Club app is a unique perk that’s compatible with both iPhone and Android. When you purchase an Acorn stair lift, you gain access to the Acorn app customer portal, which you log into using a username and password that is created during the purchase process. Here, you can access your product ownership documents or submit a service request through the contact form. You can also troubleshoot your stair lift using the brand guide on the app. If you’d like to take a look at extended warranty information, the app also has a section to browse different options.
Acorn recently launched a new app feature called StairSafe. It monitors your stair lift activity, including the installation date and your usage down to the time and day. If family members and caregivers have access to your StairSafe account, they can monitor your activity and ensure your safety.
Acorn Club’s contact page
Acorn Club’s StairSafe feature
Acorn customer service and reviews
You can reach Acorn customer service by calling the brand’s 24/7 support line at 866-873-6574. Acorn can also be contacted by submitting a contact form through the website or Acorn Club app.
When the Reviews Team reached out to Acorn, we waited two minutes before speaking to an agent. They didn’t try forcing sales and spent almost 10 minutes on the line to ensure our questions were answered. Overall, our experience was positive and informative.
Customers have also praised customer service, frequently mentioning positive experiences with Acorn technicians and phone support representatives. As of this writing, Acorn has an A+ score with BBB and 3.98 out of 5 stars from more than 175 reviews. A majority of reviews are five-star, with reviewers thanking specific technicians for their work, but a few one-star reviews referenced delayed service. One reviewer detailed a parent’s poor experience interacting with a salesman who used pushy sales tactics.
On Trustpilot, Acorn has 4.8 out of 5 stars. About 84% of the reviews are five stars and mention positive interactions with technicians and quick service. While the majority of the reviews are positive, negative reviews reported design flaws, like a short rail on the top landing, which can be dangerous if it stops the chair too close to the top of the stairs. More recently, we’ve seen some negative customer reviews surface regarding delayed service, or reviewers that couldn’t find any technical service in their area. Although 24/7 support is available over the phone, in-person support is largely dependent on your location due to the Acorn COVID-19 personnel shortage.
Acorn has better customer service ratings than most other brands assessed by the Reviews Team. Bruno, Stannah, and AmeriGlide are close competitors with comparable reviews on Trustpilot.
What to consider before buying Acorn stair lifts
While Acorn stair lifts may be a great option for you, consider these details before investing:
Lack of customization
Acorn can be a great option if you’re looking for a standard stair lift. But if you require modifications in order to meet your needs, it may not be the best choice for you. The Reviews Team called the Acorn support line and asked if seat modifications were available. They responded that each seat and track are measured to fit the user’s needs, but this is not clearly stated on the website. Other brands, like Stannah, are transparent on their websites about options and modifications.
Stannah has a wide range of standard and add-on features that adapt to the home and the user, which are clearly stated online. While Stannah stair lifts are more expensive, with prices starting at $3,400–$8,500 with installation, depending on your staircase shape, you’ll find:
Upholstery options that can match your home decor
Chair width or height to accommodate comfort needs
Powered swivel chair controls for an easier exit out of the chair without manual levers
Higher default weight capacity on most lifts, up to 350 pounds
“Riding up the stairs can be a short period of time, but it’s a period of time where you shouldn’t have to feel uncomfortable,” said Brittany Ferri, an occupational therapist in Rochester, New York. If you need to modify your chair lift to make it safer and more comfortable to operate, you shouldn’t compromise.
Be sure to disclose all your needs to your Acorn technician to see how they can modify your lift, if necessary. If they can’t meet your needs, it’s OK to keep shopping.
Other stair solutions
Acorn specializes in stair lifts, but there may be other home modifications that can better meet your needs.
If you use a wheelchair regularly, a stair lift is not the best solution. You would need two wheelchairs, one at the top landing and one at the bottom, to transfer to and from a stair lift successfully on both floors. This may be a practical solution for some, but not for everyone, especially if it’s difficult to transfer out of your wheelchair. In this case, you may want to look into wheelchair ramps and wheelchair lifts.
A wheelchair ramp is a more affordable solution than most lifts, with costs starting at $1,000–$4,000. This is a common solution for front porches and garages, so you can enter and exit your home without leaving your wheelchair, but ramps do take up space. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, for every 1 inch of height, there must be at least 12 inches of ramp to create a safe five-degree slope. If you have multiple stairs, you could be looking at a long ramp.3
You have options that take up less space. “In some cases, wheelchair ramps are not the most accessible options,” Ferri explained. “There are instances where a ramp can block other people from using an entryway, prevent cars from being stored in the garage, and otherwise get in the way of those living in the home. In cases such as these, it’s possible wheelchair lifts are a better fit. They can be placed outside to allow someone to get in the house and around the stairs more efficiently.” They can also be placed inside to access multiple floors in the home.
Wheelchair lifts take up less space than a ramp, but they are more costly than a stair lift. The starting price for a wheelchair lift is $2,000–$30,000 with installation, and vehicle lifts that transport a person sitting in a wheelchair into a car can have a total cost of $20,000–$30,000 or more. Although they can be an expensive solution, wheelchair lifts could be worth the investment. Many Americans with restricted mobility will choose to stay at home because day-to-day travel—exiting your home, accessing your car—is difficult, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.4 But research shows it’s critical for your mental health that you’re able to access your community and stay engaged with others.5
Stair climbing exercises
Home modifications like stair lifts can help you feel safer on stairs, as well as prevent falls as you access other floors. But if walking is your main mode of mobility, you should continue practicing stair climbing. Whether it’s at a neighbor’s house or a curb in a parking lot, stairs can present challenges anywhere. A physical therapist or occupational therapist can monitor and help you practice your stair climbing.
“Practice makes perfect,” said Brittany Battle, a doctor of physical therapy at Duke University Hospital. “In physical therapy, we break down the task of climbing stairs to identify where the patient is having difficulty. We find ways to address that need. For example, someone may have weak quadriceps muscles, making stairs difficult to climb. We can work on exercises to improve quadriceps strength. Then, in a few sessions, we can retry the stairs to see if there’s improvement.” Physical therapists can also help you practice balance, improve coordination, and support bone health, so you feel empowered to tackle your everyday activities.
A physical therapist works with a patient to improve the strength and coordination needed to climb stairs.
How we reviewed Acorn Stairlifts
Based on our expert consultations and research, we determined the following factors to be important for our readers when shopping for a stair lift:
Price: We considered the price range of each straight and curved stair lift from both manufacturers and dealers.
Financing options: We searched each brand to see which offer financing options to improve affordability.
Warranty: We looked into each brand’s warranty length and terms for your consideration before you buy.
Adaptability to the home and user: We examined each brand and model for a variety of functional features that would accommodate your unique needs.
Customer satisfaction: We studied customer reviews on sites, including BBB and Trustpilot, to see what customers like and dislike about each brand.
Customer service including installation: We experienced customer service ourselves by calling each brand and asking questions about pricing, purchase and installation processes, and lift specifications.
Customization: We considered preferential features, like upholstery options, so you can choose a lift that meets your “wants” list.
Safety features: We compared safety features in each lift, so you can determine the safest option for you.
Product reliability: We assessed how dependable each lift will be by looking at factors, like battery life, so you can choose a lift that doesn’t leave you stranded.
We had all of our selections medically reviewed by an expert in the field to ensure each brand and model is appropriate for our readers’ needs.
Acorn might be a good fit for you if you’re looking for a basic stair lift with standard features. The brand’s high customer service satisfaction shows it’s a trusted company.
Offering only initial coverage for one year, Acorn falls short when it comes to its warranty, especially compared to the lifetime warranties on indoor lifts offered by Bruno and Harmar. Due to an Acorn personnel shortage from COVID-19, some areas in the country don’t have technicians available, so you may not get next-day installation or in-person support. Ask customer support if your area has Acorn technicians that can provide maintenance on your lift within a few days if necessary. Otherwise, expect slower response times.
Acorn may not be the best option if you need additional modifications to your stair lift, like a higher weight capacity. And although Acorn lifts are priced below many competitors, the lifts are still a steep investment, and Acorn does not offer financing. If you’re looking for more affordable options, visit a local stair lift dealer, like 101 Mobility, to browse the store’s general inventory for pre-owned lifts or to finance a new one.
Frequently asked questions
Straight stair lifts start at $3,000–$4,000 with installation, while curved stair lifts start at $10,000–$13,000, so they vary in price depending on the type of lift you buy. People normally spend about $4,000 for straight lifts, and about $12,000 for curved lifts.
No, Acorn does not buy back stair lifts.
Rechargeable stair lift batteries last between three and five years.
Medicare coverage for a stair lift is rare. Medicare, particularly Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part B, may consider coverage if the lift has been deemed medically necessary by a doctor with a prescription.
It’s rare to find a stair lift at a low cost, never mind free. But you can look into government and state programs that can help cover at least part of the cost. Check out NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp to see if there are local programs available that offer assistance.
Nationwide programs like Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together can help find low-cost or used stair lifts for those that need them. These organizations also rely on volunteers who can install the stair lifts at little or no cost. Ask your local Habitat for Humanity or Rebuild Together for more information.
According to the Acorn FAQ page, its lifts use about the same amount of electricity as a small television on stand-by.
The Acorn 130 Straight stair lift can carry up to 350 pounds, while the 180 Curved stair lift can carry up to 264 pounds.
Stair lifts and maintenance costs can be tax deductible, but you need to prove it was a medically necessary purchase by keeping your doctor’s prescription for the lift on hand. Keep the receipt for tax season, and list your expense as an “itemized deduction” for medical purposes. See the IRS website for further instruction.
You should professionally service your stair lift once per year. It’s also important to perform regular upkeep on your own, like dusting or wiping dirt off the seat, controls, and track to prevent mechanical or electrical issues. Refrain from using harsh chemicals that may damage the lift.
Carnemolla, P., & Bridge, C. Housing design and community care: How Home Modifications Reduce Care Needs of Older People and People with Disability. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. May 2019. Found on the internet at https://www.mdpi.com/472782