The 6 Best Stair Lifts of 2024: Get Moving!

May 28, 2024
Fact Checked
We selected top stair lifts from brands like Bruno, Lifeway Mobility, Harmar, Access BDD, AmeriGlide, and Stannah based on price, customization, and other features.
1
Editor’s Pick
Indoor and Outdoor Options
Accommodates Straight and Curved Stairs
Lifetime Warranties on Indoor Models
Editor’s Pick
2
Best Stairlift Dealer
Affordable Stairlift Options
Professional Installation
Local Teams and Stairlift Experts

More than one in four Americans age 65 and older fall every year, making falls one of the leading causes of injury in older adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). [1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Found on the internet at http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars While roughly 60% of falls occur in the home, many of those can be prevented, according to the Hospital for Special Surgery. [2] Jager TE, Weiss HB, Coben JH, Pepe PE. Traumatic brain injuries evaluated in U.S. emergency departments, 1992–1994. Found on the internet at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10691071/

Home modifications like wheelchair ramps and grab bars, as well as devices like medical alert systems with fall detection, have expanded the ways older adults can stay safer at home. Stair lifts, also called chair lifts, are another home modification that can deliver safe and effective mobility solutions for you or your loved one while restoring independence. Stair lift chairs are motorized seats that travel on a rail that is securely bolted to your steps, making it easier for those with mobility or other issues to move between floors with less risk of falls. Stair lifts consist of a metal track (straight or curved, depending on your staircase) installed on your staircase (indoors or outdoors), with a seat, armrest, footrest, and safety belt that allows for the user to ride up or down the stairs comfortably and safely.

For those who are unable to climb stairs, having a stair lift can reopen parts of their home and help them regain independence and potentially age in place longer. To help you stay safer in your home, our Reviews Team researched the best home stair lifts that can keep you independent in 2024 and beyond.

A quick look at the best stair lifts of 2024

Table 1, The best stair lifts of 2024

BrandStarting price (straight)Starting price (curved)EnvironmentFinancingMaximum weight capacity (lbs)
Bruno$3,000.00$9,500.00Indoor or outdoorAvailable via dealer300–400
Lifeway Mobility$3,000.00 $9,000.00 Indoor or outdoorAvailable300–600
Harmar$3,700.00 $7,000.00 Indoor or outdoorAvailable via dealer350–600
Access BDD$3,500.00 $10,000.00 Indoor or outdoorAvailable via dealer275–350
Ameriglide$1,499.00 $7,199.00 Indoor or outdoorAvailable264–600
Stannah$3,400.00 $8,800.00 Indoor or outdoorAvailable300–350

Best stair lift brands of 2024

Editor’s Pick: Bruno

Bruno’s straight stair lift, the Elan, parked on a staircase

Bruno stair lifts earned our recommendation as “Editor’s Pick” thanks to its quality product and great reputation among customers and stair lift dealers. Our Reviews Team found that most dealers carry Bruno products and often recommend them to customers for their reliability.

Bruno has won several innovation awards for its products, including the Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Award, New Product Innovation, and has been in business for more than 35 years. With more than 2,000 five-star Trustpilot reviews, it’s clear why many dealers across the United States carry this brand.

Bruno straight and curved stair lifts can be placed indoors and outdoors with extra-long add-ons to accommodate nearly any staircase. The track’s vertical profile for single and double rails take up less space than competitor designs while keeping the ride smooth and quiet, even around turns.

Staircases with doorways at either landing could benefit from the folding rail, which allows you to fold the track out of the way so it’s not a tripping hazard. All Bruno stair lift chairs fold away and park over a charging station on either side of the staircase.

Bruno stair lifts have standard integrated safety, including retractable seat belts, manual or power swivel up to 90 degrees at the end of your ride for safe exit, and obstruction sensors to avoid hitting obstacles. The rechargeable batteries that power the stair lift last 10 rides in the event of a power outage. Every stair lift also comes with two wireless remotes to call the seat if it’s on the other side of the stairs.

Bruno stair lift models

Accommodating up to 300 pounds, the most popular model is the Elan for straight staircases. Its basic design is the most affordable option and starts at $3,800 with installation.

Bruno also offers the Elite model, which accommodates curved staircases and up to 400 pounds. It starts at $11,000 with installation, which is significantly more than the Elan since the Elite is custom made to fit every turn on the staircase. It also offers more adaptive add-ons, like a larger seat and footrest for comfort, alternative park positions away from the top of the stairs, or customized seat colors to fit your home’s style.

Bruno’s manufacturers hard at work custom-making curved stair lift tracks
Bruno’s manufacturers creating custom tracks for curved stair lifts.

Bruno purchase process

The installation process depends on the dealer, although many dealers are the same. They typically send a professional to your home to take measurements and assess your environment and your unique needs. They will walk you through your options and calculate an exact quote.

Once you purchase the lift, the dealer orders the stair lift and works with you to schedule its installation. Bruno straight tracks can be installed in a matter of days after purchase, while curved tracks must be custom made and take at least two weeks.

The Bruno Elan model comes with a limited lifetime warranty. The lift’s major components (motor, gearbox, drive train, and rails) are covered during the entire life of the product while other components (seat parts and controls) are covered for two years. Labor costs for warrantied parts are covered for 30 days. The extent of this combined warranty on major and minor components is not common in the industry.

If you purchase the Elite or either outdoor variation, you get a five-year warranty on major components in place of the limited lifetime warranty. Otherwise, the coverage is the same.

Payment options

Bruno works with dealers all over the world to distribute their stair lifts. For specific price quotes and financing options, speak with your local dealer. You can visit a local dealer to see the Bruno lift options and, in some cases, see them in action. To find a Bruno dealer in your area, click here.

Customer service and reviews

Customers praise Bruno stair lifts for the same reasons we have. On Trustpilot, Bruno has 4.8 out of 5 stars based on 2,884 reviews. Reviews detail positive interactions with respectful sales representatives and installers, product quality and reliability, and quick installation. Bruno has an A+ rating with the BBB, and a customer review score of 1 out of 5 stars, but the customer rating is based on only six reviews. Negative reviews reflect issues with the dealer who sold the lift or failed operation after a dealer installed it.

Bruno customer service is only available via phone. You can call the brand’s 24/7 line at 800-454-4355. Our Reviews Team found it easy to reach an agent. When we called the customer service line, we were talking to an agent in fewer than five minutes. The agent took their time discussing the models with us and was knowledgeable about each product and its customizations.

Best Stairlift Dealer: Lifeway Mobility

Our Reviews Team awarded Lifeway Mobility “Best Stairlift Dealer” for its exceptional products and positive reputation. In addition to stair lifts, the company offers wheelchair lifts, ramps, home elevators, transfer systems and additional safety products designed as independent living solutions for those who need them.

Lifeway Mobility is highly regarded online by its customers. As a dealer, the company has a wide selection of straight and curved stair lifts for both indoor and outdoor use from reputable manufacturers, including popular models from Bruno and Harmar. Lifeway Mobility offers professional installation and robust warranty coverage, as well as service after installation.

Lifeway Mobility purchase process

To purchase a stair lift with Lifeway Mobility, you’ll begin by scheduling a free in-home evaluation. This can be scheduled online via the website’s free quote form or with a free consultation at any of the Lifeway Mobility locations. A stair lift expert from Lifeway Mobility will meet with you in person or virtually to learn more about your specific needs, take measurements, and offer recommendations. You can expect a free quote within a few days. If you’re interested in testing a stair lift before purchase, visit a showroom in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or San Francisco.

Lifeway Mobility team members are available to answer any and all questions as you consider your options. After the lift is purchased, you’ll be contacted to schedule the date and time of installation. Factory-trained technicians will install the lift and show you how to operate it safely. Straight rail models take between two and three hours to install, while curved rail models generally need an additional hour or two.

Warranties are offered for all of the stair lift models sold and installed by Lifeway, but coverage varies depending on the product model.

Payment options

Lifeway Mobility sells, installs, and offers maintenance on stair lifts from different brands. For specific price quotes, complete the contact form on the company website to schedule a free consultation. You can ask about financing options when you receive your quote. Lifeway Mobility also has a helpful list of funding sources on its website.

Customer service and reviews

Lifeway Mobility has an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where it has been accredited since 2017. There is a single one-star review from 2022, with the customer expressing frustration regarding service issues. On Trustpilot, Lifeway Mobility has an excellent rating of 4.8 stars based on 2,165 reviews. Customers have high praise for the professional experience, knowledgeable sales representatives and technicians, prompt installation times, and quality products.

Customer service is easily reached via the free quote request form on the Lifeway Mobility website or by calling 888-301-9315. The company also has showrooms in cities around the country. A full list of showrooms is available on the quote request page.

Most Supportive: Harmar

Harmar’s Pinnacle SL600 HD model with a white background

Harmar is our Reviews Team’s pick for “Most Supportive” stair lift because the brand’s SL600 HD Pinnacle model is the only stair lift on the market that can accommodate any body shape up to 600 pounds.

Harmar stair lifts

Harmar is a reputable company that sells a variety of products. From vehicle lifts to home wheelchair platforms, the brand develops mobility solutions to address almost any need—and home stair lifts are no exception.

The company’s newest line of straight stair lifts, the Pinnacle models, can safely accommodate up to 600 pounds. The SL600 HD (the 600-pound capacity model) has high back support, an extra wide rechargeable swivel chair, and a padded seat to ensure maximum comfort and support during your ride. In the event of a power outage, Harmar rechargeable lifts can last up to 60 rides.

But this model’s higher weight capacity has some tradeoffs. The fixed footrest and armrests may make it difficult to get in and out of your seat. While most other models can travel around 70 feet, this model will only safely support 40 feet of travel.

The biggest tradeoff is that higher weight capacities aren’t safe on curved tracks, so it’s difficult to find a curved stair lift that can accommodate all body shapes. The Harmar curved stair lift model, the Helix, can carry up to 350 pounds but does not have the same comfort options, like high back support or a wider padded seat.

Brittany Ferri, an occupational therapist based in Rochester, New York, noted she wished more companies would provide better seat accommodation options. “It’s hard to find brands that have high-backed seats. Most seats cut off mid-back, which is uncomfortable. High back support can be really helpful if someone needs the extra trunk support,” she said.

The purchase process

Harmar is sold almost exclusively at dealers nationwide. You can search the online directory by entering your desired product, your ZIP code, and the mile radius you’re willing to travel to find your nearest certified dealer. See below for an overview of this process.

Each dealer has their own purchase process, but most dealers who spoke with our Reviews Team specified that they will send an agent to your home to measure your staircase and present your options with a free quote. If you choose to move forward, you will work with the dealer to arrange installation, but the timeline varies between dealers depending on your track shape. All custom tracks are manufactured in the Harmar Florida facility, so curved lifts could take a few weeks.

To find a Harmar dealer near you, you must search the online directory by selecting your desired product, your ZIPcode, and the mile radius around your ZIP code that you’re willing to travel.
The Harmar online directory to find local dealers.

You can also find Harmar products with online dealers and retailers like AmeriGlide and USAmedicalsupply.com at starting prices as low as $4,495. Both offer financing options, although you will need to purchase professional installation separately.

When you purchase a Harmar stair lift, you also get a warranty that varies between products. The Pinnacle SL300 and SL600 models come with a limited lifetime warranty on major components (drive system and structure), which covers malfunctions and faulty operation for the lifetime of the system. The rechargeable battery is covered for one year. Curved stair lifts differ and have an additional two-year warranty on parts excluding the drive system and structure.

The SL600 HD model has a different warranty. While you won’t get the limited lifetime coverage, it’s still substantial. You get 10-year coverage on the gear rack, three-year coverage on all other parts, and one-year coverage on the battery.

Payment options

You’ll need to ask your local stair lift dealer if they offer financing options. Harmar advertises a partnership with CareCredit financing, so can ask your dealer how you can apply if other options aren’t available. Online retailers may offer different financing options, so you can apply at checkout.

Customer service and reviews

Harmar has an A+ rating on BBB, but it lacks accreditation and has no reviews or a customer review rating. On Trustpilot, the brand has 4 out of 5 stars with 39 reviews, but they reference a variety of products. Our Reviews Team searched for specific product reviews on Amazon and Ebay with no luck, which makes it difficult to get an overall sense of customer satisfaction with Harmar products.

When we called Harmar, our Reviews Team only waited about five minutes to talk to a representative over the phone. The representative directed us to the website to find a dealer who could help us learn more about specific installation and pricing information.

You can reach customer service at 800-833-0478 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET. You can also reach Harmar by submitting a feedback form on the brand’s contact page, and a representative will email you back, which will take at least 24 hours.

Best Option for Arthritis: Stannah

Stannah’s standing chair, the Sadler, for both straight and curved models with a white background

The Stannah Sadler stair lift was designed to accommodate people with back, hip, or knee pain by eliminating the need to squat in and out of a chair every time you use the lift. The Sadler’s “perched seat” design lets you sit in a shallow seat that keeps you on your feet, allowing you to lean rather than sit during your ride. This unique design earned it our Reviews Team’s pick for “Best Option for Arthritis.”

Stannah’s perched seat option, parked at the top of the stairs.
The Stannah perched seat option has an adjustable height so you can lean on a tall seat instead of sitting down.

Stannah stair lifts

While Stannah sells many standard stair lift designs similar to other brands with swivel seats and remote call systems, the brand also offers design options to help ease pressure on joints. The Sadler stair lift is an adjustable high seat, about barstool height, that allows you to lean on it comfortably during your ride without having to squat. The seat is non-slip, so you feel supported at all times. For added safety, Stannah uses an immobilizer seatbelt, which must be locked in before the stair lift will operate.

Stannah also pays attention to detail. All lifts have joystick controls on the armrest for easy operation, so you don’t have to press small buttons or switches. You also never have to bend down to fold up the footrest. When you fold the armrests, the footrests will automatically fold up as one unit.

The Sadler is available in both straight and curved track designs, but there’s a catch. Customer service warned our Reviews Team the Sadler design needs a two-rail track for support, which is considerably more costly than a one-rail track. Most straight stair lifts are one-rail, so if you want a Sadler seat, you could pay several thousand dollars more in manufacturing costs. If you’re looking for a curved stair lift, the track already comes with two rails so the price difference isn’t as steep.

Unlike most stair lift companies, Stannah offers the option to rent a stair lift. After six months of renting a Stannah stair lift, you have the option to continue renting or purchase as part of a rent-to-own program. Doing so helps spread out the initial cost of a stair lift.

Stannah also offers used or refurbished stair lifts, which the company checks, tests, and reconditions to ensure safety. Refurbished stair lifts also come with the same 12-month warranty as new stair lifts.

The purchase process

Stannah has options to buy online or through a local dealer.

To buy a new or reconditioned lift or rent a lift online, you first have to see if Stannah technicians are available in your area. Select the Let’s Get Started button at the top of the page to begin. You’ll be asked to enter your ZIP code and follow the prompts, which we found to be user-friendly with in-depth explanations of options and transparent pricing.

Stannah lets you opt in to an exclusive online Deluxe Package for an extra $795, which upgrades you to an automatic power swivel and access to 32 different fabric options. Before you check out, you’ll be prompted to book a survey visit to get professional measurements.

 Stannah’s online purchase process section asking for your ZIP code.
Enter your ZIP code to see if the Stannah online purchase process is possible for your area.
Stannah’s online purchase process section asks for stair shape to better understand your staircase for stair lift manufacturing.
Follow the prompts to customize your stair lift to your staircase and unique needs

To order the Sadler or outdoor stair lift, or to get help measuring your unique staircase, you’ll need to get in touch with a representative. You can do so by calling Stannah customer service or by submitting your information on the Get a Quote page online. The brand will send a technician to survey your staircase, measure it, and discuss your quote for free.

Once your order is finalized, Stannah will schedule installation. Installation costs are bundled into your price. It takes about five business days to have straight stair lifts delivered, but it takes three to four weeks for curved stair lifts because of the custom manufacturing process. But installation itself takes only a few hours.

You also have the option to buy Stannah stair lifts from a dealer, which may have its own purchase process, although most are similar to the Stannah in-home surveying process.

Every Stannah stair lift also comes with a warranty, but only if you register your stair lift online within 30 days of purchase. Stannah offers a lifetime warranty on all the critical components of your new stair lifts, including the motor, gearbox, and rail. This covers any replacement parts during your ownership in addition to any services that require Stannah to visit your home for repairs, inspections, re-installations, etc., if your lift breaks down. You get the same coverage with a rental, but you do not get a warranty if you buy a reconditioned lift.

Payment options

Stannah works with you to finance your stair lift. You can ask the surveyor for Stannah financing options when you receive your quote, or you can work with a Stannah dealer to find a financing option that works for you.

Customer service and reviews

Stannah has a great reputation on Trustpilot, with 4.7 out of 5 stars and 2,234 reviews. Many customers praise the quick installation process and friendly technicians, although there are a few reviews regarding broken parts with wear. On BBB, Stannah has an A+ score with 3.37 out of 5 stars but only 19 reviews. They’re mostly positive, but a few reviews mention bad experiences with pushy sales reps and slow removal services.

When our Reviews Team called customer service, they helped us understand their pricing and products. There were no hold times, so we were able to speak with an agent within one minute of calling.

You can reach customer service at 888-967-4348 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or Sundays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET. Stannah also has the option to speak to a live agent using the online chat feature. When we used it, we received a reply in about five minutes with thorough explanations to our questions.

Most Adaptable to the Home: Access BDD

Access BDD’s curved stair lift model, the Flow X, from a birds-eye view.

Access BDD is a new brand to the United States that announced its partnership with Next Day Access dealers across the nation in 2022. Its stair lifts are well-known in the United Kingdom and mainland Europe as award-winning home mobility solutions. Here’s why the brand’s stair lifts are “Most Adaptable to the Home.”

Access BDD stair lifts

The most popular lift from Access BDD is the Flow X. It offers the same basic building blocks as most traditional stair lifts, including swivel seats and a remote calling system, but it goes the extra mile in aesthetics and adaptability. This attractive model can fit on straight and curved stairs using a sleek, single-rail track. It offers adjustable folding footrests, a fold-away joystick control, and a minimal design that saves space in the home.

Surprise features allow the Flow X to fit in nearly any staircase. It swivels en route for more comfortable clearance in small spaces up to 24 inches wide. It’s one of the only stair lifts on the market that can climb up to 70 degree inclines for those steep staircases, while competitors can only accommodate around 50 degrees. In general, European stair lifts are better able to accommodate steeper inclines.

Unfortunately, the Flow X technology can only support up to 275 pounds, making it one of the least supportive models in this review for all body types. That being said, the brand does state on its website it is willing to make any seat, footrest, and armrest modification needed to improve user accessibility. Expect any customizations to the original design to come at a price.

The purchase process

Access BDD stair lifts can be purchased through Next Day Access and through approved BDD dealers. You can search for a dealer near you on the company’s website. The brand has a nationwide network that began distributing the Flow X and the HomeGlide, which is the older line from Access BDD.

To purchase a stair lift, you’ll need to find your nearest Next Day Access location on the brand’s website. If there’s one close to you, visit the company’s showroom or give them a call to take advantage of their free home safety evaluations. You can get a free quote with a Next Day Access expert and schedule a professional installation, often the next day. Installation takes only a few hours.

When you purchase an Access BDD product, it comes with a lifetime warranty covering the entire product for replacement parts and labor in case of breakdowns or malfunctions.

Payment options

You can’t get financing through Access BDD, but you can get help through Next Day Access. The dealer offers financing through Home Equity or a different financing partner depending on your location.

Customer service and reviews

It’s difficult to get a picture of customer satisfaction. Access BDD doesn’t have a presence on BBB, Trustpilot, or Google Reviews. It does have a small presence on Facebook, with about 1,700 followers and a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars from nine reviews. One review complains about long delivery times, while others highly recommend Access BDD and praise product quality.

Our Reviews Team had a good experience emailing Access BDD customer service, which is based in the United Kingdom. We received a same-day response that directed us to the right dealer in the United States. You can also call Access BDD at +44 (0) 1642 853 650, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. GMT. But the brand’s main line is an international number, so you will be charged international rates.

Most Affordable: AmeriGlide

AmeriGlide’s Rave 2 straight stair lift model with white background

Our Reviews Team selected AmeriGlide as “Most Affordable” because the brand offers straight stair lifts at a starting price of roughly $1,500 without installation costs (see below for approximate installation costs), and curved lifts at a starting price of $7,199 with installation costs. These starting prices are significantly less than other brands on the market—the starting price for the AmeriGlide straight lift is the lowest on this list by more than $1,000. While purchasing and installing any stair lift comes with a hefty price tag, AmeriGlide also offers financing options at checkout, which not all manufacturers do (all brands in this list offer some form of financing, either directly from the manufacturer or through a third-party dealer).

AmeriGlide stair lifts and purchase process

Purchasing a stair lift through AmeriGlide is a unique experience compared to other manufacturers. Most manufacturers distribute their stair lifts through dealers, but with AmeriGlide, you can purchase straight from the brand’s factory online, which eliminates the middleman and has the potential to save you money.

If you purchase directly from AmeriGlide, you’ll need to provide the measurements listed below, or you can choose the Measurement Service, which costs $150. If you decide to do the measuring yourself, AmeriGlide offers a Staircase Measuring Guide.

Measurements required by AmeriGlide for stair lift installation.
The measurements AmeriGlide needs to manufacture your straight stair lift.

AmeriGlide stair lifts are sold with basic features: a rechargeable swivel stair lift chair that lasts 60 rides during a power outage, obstacle sensors, a track, charging station, and two wireless remotes to call the lift. Although our Reviews Team appreciates the lower initial cost, there are a number of add-ons to customize your lift to your home’s needs, including additional track length at either landing, longer brackets for a more secure track and steadier ride, and folding rails to accommodate doors that block landings.

AmeriGlide doesn’t always include installation fees. For its most popular straight stair lift model, the Rave 2, you have to select an installation option for professional help measuring and placing your lift. This can add between $599–$749 to your checkout price. Or you can choose self-installation, which is free of charge but not recommended for this model due to its unique design. Curved stair lifts require professional installation, which is included in the cost. It takes a few weeks to manufacture and ship all stair lifts, but installation should only take a few hours. See below for an overview of AmeriGlide installation costs.

  • Self installation: Free
  • Nationwide installation: $599
  • Nationwide installation and measurement service: $749
  • Double stair lift installation service: $437.50 (per stair lift)
  • Stair lift removal and disposal: $499

The AmeriGlide warranty includes 30 days for batteries, two years for component parts like circuit boards, and five years for the drive train (motor and gearbox) and gears.

Payment options

AmeriGlide offers financing through its partnership with Bread. Be aware that annual percentage rates range between 6.99%–29.99% depending on your approval. You can apply online at checkout.

Customer service and reviews

Customers report mostly positive experiences with AmeriGlide, rating the company 3.4 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot with 460 reviews. Positive reviews praise helpful customer representatives before purchase, but negative reviews report lack of customer support when changing an order or servicing faulty parts. Some reviewers report difficult assembly with self installation. The popular AmeriGlide Rave 2 model has many positive reviews on Amazon, with 59% of reviewers rating the model 5 out of 5 stars, and 21% rating it 4 out of 5 stars.

AmeriGlide customer service is only available via phone at 800-790-1635, and is open Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET. When our Reviews Team spoke with a customer service agent, we found them helpful and kind. They emailed us brochures and measurement guides to help lead us through the measurement and purchase process. One agent even provided his cell phone number in case we had any specific questions later.

Pros and cons of stair chair lifts

Pros

Cons

What are stair lifts?

A stair lift is a home modification that helps people navigate staircases with less risk of falls. Most stair lifts on the market are very simple but expensive devices. Cost often starts between $3,500 and $15,000 for the seat and track depending on the shape and size of your staircase.

Stair lift basics and features

Almost all basic, modern stair lift models are composed of the same building blocks:

Bruno’s tracks compared to Acorn’s tracks. Bruno’s tracks have a more vertical profile, while Acorn’s tracks have a wider track.
Bruno tracks have a more vertical profile.

Stair lifts also come with a few basic features:

Most modern stair lifts incorporate additional features to optimize your safety. Keep an eye out for these features that separate the good options from the best:

How much do stair lifts cost?

The cost of a stair lift depends largely on the shape of the track, straight or curved, which has a major influence on the manufacturing and installation process.

Straight stair lifts costs

Because the tracks are easy to make and install, straight stair lifts are the most affordable option and often start around $3,500 for product and installation. Some manufacturers like AmeriGlide offer lower stair lift cost options, with starting costs at $1,499, although consumers rarely pay less than $3,000 with added customization and installation fees. Track length is the only major variable, so straight tracks can be stocked in advance and cut to size for nearly any straight staircase. Some stair lift companies can measure and install a straight stair lift within a few days, even the next day if it’s urgent.

Curved stair lifts costs

Alternatively, curved stair lifts are more expensive and often start around $10,000 for product and installation. These tracks have a higher price tag because they need to be custom made. In most cases, a professional needs to visit the home to take detailed measurements for track manufacturing and proper fitting.

Every bend in the track adds to the cost of manufacturing and installation, so the end cost could be up to $25,000 for multiple landings or spiral staircases. From order to purchase, you’ll be waiting a few weeks before your stair lifts can be installed, but the actual install can often be completed in a day. Keep in mind that curved stair lifts may have a different weight capacity than straight stair lifts.

Outdoor stair lifts cost

If your stairs are outdoors, there are chair lift options that can weather the elements. Outdoor stair lifts typically start between $7,000–$15,000 with installation. They’re similar to the indoor straight or curved stair lifts, but they’re made with weatherproof materials and encasings to protect the circuits and motor.

Even if it seems like a simple, straight stair lift, you should still have a professional come out for a consultation and to take measurements. Uneven terrain and unstable surfaces like gravel can influence manufacturing and installation decisions, so outdoor stair lifts do require extra safety consideration.

Cost of perched or standing stair lift chairs

If your joints feel better standing during your lift, you can choose a standing stair lift. Despite the name, standing stair lifts place you in more of a “perched” position with a barstool-height seat to keep you on your feet during the ride. This way, you don’t have to squat into a chair each time you need to use the lift. Standing stair lifts are also great solutions for small spaces since they have a more narrow profile.

You can find perched seats through some brands like Stannah or Handicare, but not everyone offers this option. Adding a perched seat to your lift could add a few thousand dollars depending on the brand and track accommodations to support the higher seat.

Wheelchair lifts cost

Wheelchair lifts, or incline platform lifts, are not as common in the home. But they are sold by some trusted stair lift manufacturers like AmeriGlide and Access BDD, starting at around $12,000 with installation depending on the type of lift. Access BDD is able to curve its wheelchair lift or place it outdoors, but this adds to the cost. Although wheelchair lifts are more expensive, they may be worth the investment, especially for caregivers who would otherwise need to transfer the person to and from a seated stair lift.

Access BDD’s wheelchair lift option, the Supra Linea, on the staircase.
The Supra Linea wheelchair lift from Access BDD

Incline wheelchair lifts in the home can support at least 550 pounds and have built-in safety features like handles and platform boundaries to keep the person and wheelchair in place. Controls are located on the platform on the side of the rail with similar ease-of-use as a chair stair lift.

If you have a power wheelchair that pushes you over the weight limit, a vertical platform lift is another option. These are like home elevators and can accommodate up to 750 pounds. They may require a partial renovation, but the product itself can be less costly than a wheelchair lift. For example, residential platform lifts from AmeriGlide start around $4,000–$7,000, not including installation. All vertical lifts should be installed by a state-permitted professional, so installation fees vary greatly between states.

How to buy stair lifts

When buying a stair lift, you can either start by contacting a stair lift company, or visiting a stair lift dealer in your area. If you purchase directly from a stair lift company, you’ll deal directly with the company for installation, repairs, and maintenance. If you purchase from a stair lift dealer, you’ll likely deal directly with the dealer for installation, repairs, and maintenance, but it varies by dealership.

Once you’ve decided on a supplier, buying a stair lift requires two main steps:

Step one: measuring for a stair lift

Buying a stair lift starts at staircase measurements. Both straight and curved stair lifts require exact measurements for a perfect fit.

Online stores like AmeriGlide give you the option of measuring your staircase yourself before purchase, although this can be difficult and leaves room for error. When our Reviews Team reached out to customer service for guidance, they provided us with a pamphlet to measure straight stair lifts. They also referenced their online guide for measuring curved stair lifts, which is trickier because it accounts for turning space. The benefit to the AmeriGlide buying process is you can buy your stair lift and specify customizations as soon as you have your measurements using the brand’s online checkout. But you may be left wondering if your measurements were accurate.

AmeriGlide’s measurement guide for measuring straight stair lifts with illustrations on how to measure.
The AmeriGlide measurement guide for straight stair lifts.

Accurate measurements are critical to the fit and function of your stair lift, so it’s best to leave it to the pros. Most manufacturers sell their products through local dealers who will measure and install your lift for you. Many dealers send a professional to your home to perform a complimentary survey of your staircase. They’ll gather the information necessary to give you a price quote, including the following:

Once you agree on the model, customizations, and price, you can purchase the lift right there with the professional. Then, you’ll move forward to the manufacturing and installation process.

Note: Charging stations need to connect to an outlet at the top and bottom of the stairs. If there are no outlets available, you will need to hire an electrician to install these before the chair lift is installed.

Step two: manufacturing and installing the stair lift

If your staircase is straight, the manufacturing time is quick because straight tracks can be made in advance and cut to size. Some manufacturers or dealers can have them ready for next-day installation. If you have a curved staircase, you may be waiting a few weeks until they can manufacture and ship the track because they are custom made to fit your unique staircase.

Manufacturers like AmeriGlide let you install your stair lifts yourself unless you pay for professional installation, which can add between $599–$749 at checkout. Most dealers we’ve spoken to advise against self-installation, due to safety concerns. Many states (Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin) require you to have a permit to install any type of lift. Noncompliance can result in hefty fines, like Nevada’s $5,000 penalty.

Professional installation is the safest option for your home and your wallet. Most manufacturers and dealers roll the installation price into their initial quote, so you don’t have to worry about additional fees. Installation takes less than a day to complete, sometimes as little as four hours. The track is placed first and attached securely to your stairs. Then, the charging stations are installed at the top and bottom of the staircase, so the stair lift can charge while not in use in either position. Finally, the seat is installed and ready for a test run.

Stair lift warranties and maintenance

You should hire a professional to service and safety check your stair lift annually. This service is often provided by the manufacturer or dealer who sold you the lift. Depending on your warranty agreement, this service may be covered one or two times per year.

Note: If you self-installed your stair lift, most companies will void your warranty because they do not want to claim liability for possible faulty installment.

Warranties

Stair lifts come with varying warranty lengths depending on the seller. For example, the manufacturer warranty from Stannah only covers stair lifts bought directly from the company. If you bought from a dealer, the company might offer a different warranty agreement.

Warranties also differ between stair lift characteristics and parts. Ask your dealer or look online to get a full picture of the warranty, including warranty coverage and a timeline for the following variables:

All warranties only cover manufacturing and installation defects on parts. Warranties will not cover damage by the user like using harsh cleaning products on electrical components, so read your manual on how to properly care for your product.

Maintenance

Most stair lifts are expected to last about 10 years, but most manufacturers claim longer product lifetimes with proper care and maintenance.

Day-to-day maintenance is simple. Most devices only require a quick dusting of the track and stair lift chair using a dry cloth. Do not use a damp or abrasive cleaning equipment because it can damage the lift.

A yearly scheduled servicing appointment will take a few hours at most with the service team thoroughly checking that each part is fully operational. This includes the gearbox, battery, and circuitry. Some gears need yearly lubrication, while others like Harmar have nylon polymer gear racks that don’t require lubrication at all. Further maintenance requirements largely depend on the brand, so check your stair lift manual, or ask a professional for further information.

How to save money on stair lifts

Stair lifts are expensive, but they can mean the difference between aging safely at home and moving out. What are some cost-saving strategies to help lower this financial barrier to home accessibility?

Ask your insurance company

Stair lifts are rarely covered by insurance, but it’s worth asking. Private and government policies, including Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) and Medicare Part B, require a doctor prescription and substantial documentation that prove medical necessity to consider coverage. Long-term care insurance may also cover a portion of the costs associated with a stair lift. Speak to your insurance provider for more information.

Medicaid offers a Home and Community Based Services program, which could provide for at least partial coverage. Medicaid programs are state-dependent, so you need to call your local office to see what programs are available to you.

You can also check NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp tool to see if there are programs available in your community. You just have to provide your ZIP code and select the help you’re looking for.

Get a tax deduction

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. You can find more information on the IRS website.

Some states also offer various tax credits for home modifications that help older adults age in place, such as Virginia’s Liveable Home Tax Credit or Maryland’s Independent Living Tax Credit. Check with your state’s tax authority for state-specific tax credits.

Purchase a used stair lift or rent instead

Many manufacturers and dealers have used stair lifts at their warehouses. We called 101 Mobility, a dealer with locations across the United States, about its used stair lift inventory. Our Reviews Team was told that the dealer has a long waiting list, but used stair lifts work just as well as a new lift for a fraction of the cost—sometimes as low as $2,600 including installation for a straight lift. Curved lifts can be purchased used, but they’re more difficult to fit due to the customized nature of the product. Keep in mind that warranties are different for used lifts than new ones, so ask a professional for those details.

Rental lifts are available for temporary use and can also be found with some manufacturers and dealers. 101 Mobility told our Reviews Team that rental pricing for lifts ranges between $145–$500 per month, with a $500 installation fee, but exact price depends on the dealer’s location and characteristics of the lift. The dealer also told us rentals are a great option for those who aren’t sure if a stair lift is right for them, because you can try it out for a few months before purchasing. Depending on the retailer, the initial rental agreement will last about six months before you have the choice to continue renting month-to-month or purchase the lift at a used price.

You can also check out Amazon or Ebay for used stair lifts, where there are options for as low as $650, but you need to be sure they’re in working condition. To be extra safe, make sure you hire a professional to install it. Your lift won’t be covered by any warranty because secondhand stair lifts are a liability.

Finance the stair lift

Although this may not save you money in the long run, some manufacturers or dealers offer financing options to lower the initial cost barrier. You can check with the stair lift’s retailer to see how you can apply. If you do qualify, you’ll pay an upfront fee followed by monthly payments until the stair lift is fully paid off.

Seek out charitable programs

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.

Who are stair lifts best suited for?

People with mobility impairments are at an increased risk for falls and injuries, which makes people with mobility impairments most in need of stair lifts.

Falls are an increasing problem among older adults, leading to more than 2 million yearly emergency room visits, according to the CDC. [3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trends in Nonfatal Falls and Fall-Related Injuries Among Adults Aged ≥65 Years — United States, 2012–2018. Found on the internet at: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6927a5 With most falls among older adults occurring at home, stair lifts could be a lifesaving preventive measure for those at high risk. [4] Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). Addressing Falls Prevention Among Older Adults, Part I. Found on the internet at https://www.hss.edu/conditions_addressing-falls-prevention-older-adults-understanding.asp To help measure your risk for falls, take this quick and easy Falls Free CheckUp.

A number of factors and conditions can contribute to an increased falls risk, according to the CDC, including: [5] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Facts about falls. Found on the internet at https://www.cdc.gov/falls/facts.html

Stair lifts not only help the person using it, but also family, caregivers, and nurses who provide assistance. Caregivers who tend to those with high-level mobility needs are able to transport or supervise the person up or down the stairs with less physical effort and safety risk. For those who are recovering from a major event like surgery or trauma, a temporary stair lift can give you access into your home or to your second floor during rehabilitation.

Brittany Battle, a doctor of physical therapy at Duke University Hospital, is heavily involved in discharge planning at the hospital. She shed some light on the number of patients discharged home who need extra assistance. “Skilled nursing facilities have become more selective in accepting patients due to staffing shortages, bed availability, and insurance challenges. Instead, patients are going home from the hospital with higher assistance needs. Home modifications could help increase their safety and independence, and now, we often recommend 24/7 able-bodied assistance to ensure patient safety in their home environment,” she said.

Ferri warned that a stair lift doesn’t negate the need for a caregiver for those who need the extra cognitive and physical support. “A stair lift could be great for someone who has many medical needs that can be addressed in the home by a caregiver. They can help facilitate stair lift use, like making sure they’re strapped in and pressing the right buttons. That’s when I see the most success,” she said.

Stair lifts should not be the go-to solution for everyone, as there are lower-cost solutions for some. “A lot of people don’t realize that first floor setup is a possibility,” Ferri said. “It might be difficult because of space, but it could be worthwhile to invest in a hospital bed on the first floor instead.” If first floor setup isn’t possible, a stair lift could still be a good idea.

For help from a professional, you might turn to an occupational therapist. An occupational therapist can provide a home assessment and make recommendations for home modifications that allow aging in place. These changes could involve modification to the main level of a home for optimal function, inexpensive options for bed placement, and bathroom modifications, such as elevated seats, improvised lighting and grab bars. To find an occupational therapist with expertise in home modifications, visit the Home Modification Occupational Therapy Alliance (HMOTA). The HMOTA is a worldwide network of occupational therapists that specialize in home modifications. An occupational therapist can also help you decide if a stair lift is right for you, and if so, what stair lift product best meets your needs.

What to look for in the best stair lifts

When you’re looking to buy a stair lift, your top priorities should be price and safety. The best stair lifts on the market involve professionals in the buying process who can help you measure your staircase for accurate fit and talk you through your options, including pre-owned and rental lifts.

Your next priority should be making sure the lift is best for your unique needs. When browsing a manufacturer or dealer’s website, you’ll find many customizations and bonus features that seem like a good idea, but how do you know which ones are worthwhile?

Stair lift chair options

Some brands have different chairs to choose from for comfort and style. It’s nice to have options so you’re happy with the way a stair lift looks in your home, but more importantly, so you feel good using it. You shouldn’t have to be uncomfortable every time you ride, so get a seat that feels right for you. Consider wide or narrow seats and upholstery texture for comfort. Brands like Stannah offer the “standing lift” option with a perched seat or a slightly reclined seat position for a more secure feel.

Most seats can swivel toward the walkway as you prepare to exit the stair lift. This can be a manual swivel where you clamp the lever and physically turn the seat like an office chair, or it could be a power swivel, which can be automatic or controlled by your armrest controls. Swivel seats are a great feature that add extra safety to your stair lift by directing you away from the stairs as you exit, and power or automatic swivels are most convenient for the user.

Control options

Controls can be a big deal for those with reduced dexterity, such as arthritis in the hands and fingers. Small buttons on your armrest are not always ideal, so you’ll want to look for joystick controls instead.

Most brands have separate controls, called a calling system. The controls can be mounted on the wall or in a remote control. This is an important feature if you have others in the home also using the stair lift. Imagine needing the lift but it’s on the opposite side of the staircase—now what? The calling system eliminates this problem by allowing you to “call over” the seat.

Safety features

The best stair lifts take extra steps to ensure your safety. Obstruction sensors and retractable seat belts from Bruno are two great examples of reducing hazards using safety features. Some lifts, like Stannah, have weight sensors to ensure the user is fully on the lift before moving.

A major aspect of user safety on a stair lift is making sure the lift is well-maintained.

Battery

Most modern stair lifts are powered by rechargeable batteries that charge while resting at their power stations at either end of the staircase. Home power-operated stair lifts are outdated because they are not reliable during a power outage and could potentially leave you stranded. Rechargeable batteries can keep your stair lift running for several days, like the Harmar SL600, which can last 60 trips without a recharge. Most rechargeable batteries last between three and five years and cost $30–$50 to replace.

How we chose the best stair lifts

Based on our expert consultations and research, we determined the following factors to be important for our readers when shopping for a stair lift:

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.

Bottom line

Stair lifts aid in mobility from one floor to the next and serve as a tool to prevent falls in the home. Although they’re expensive, there are options like buying used, renting, or financing your lift. In many cases, stair lifts are permanent solutions for older adults with significant problems with mobility and an increased risk of falls. In other cases, they’re a temporary measure during a rehabilitation process. Caregivers also benefit from stair lifts to help reduce the need for assistance and create a safer alternative to stair navigation. No matter the use, a stair lift can drastically improve your quality of life.

The market is full of many reputable stair lift brands, but these picks have cleared our reviews process as the best and safest quality. Be sure to consider each one, as they all have unique nuances. A stair lift that fits one person doesn’t fit everyone, so make sure you pick the one that’s right for you and your mobility needs.

If you’re concerned about your falls risk, Battle advised: “Contact a physical therapist for an evaluation first, because there may be simple things that we can address before making a modification to your home that you may not need. As always, consult with your doctor.”

During an assessment, a medical professional can pinpoint your falls risk, including medication interactions, lower body weakness, or poor balance. They can also develop a plan to help you feel more confident in your mobility, which can involve engaging in prescribed exercises or adjusting your medications—so you can proactively work to prevent falls.

Frequently asked questions

Usually, no. Medicare, particularly Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part B, may consider coverage if it’s been deemed medically necessary by a doctor with a prescription.

Straight stair lifts start at $3,500 with installation. Curved stair lifts start at $10,000 with installation. Outdoor stair lifts start between $7,500–$15,000 including installation, depending on the track shape.

Insurance does not typically cover stair lifts, but it depends on your insurance plan. It never hurts to ask your insurance company because they may cover a portion if the lift is deemed medically necessary by a doctor with a prescription. If you have long-term care insurance, check with your insurance provider about coverage for stair lifts.

AARP’s Medicare Advantage plans do not usually cover stair lifts, but they may consider coverage if deemed necessary by a medical professional with a prescription.

Curved stair lifts can start at $10,000 and can be as much as $25,000 depending on the number of curves and location of your staircase in the house. Because they are custom made, they require careful measurement, manufacturing, and installation efforts that hike up the price.

A stair lift is a home modification that helps people navigate staircases with less risk of falls.

A stair lift is designed with a seat so you can sit down as you’re moved up the stairs. Chair lifts for stairs, also called vertical lifts, are platforms that help people who use wheelchairs move up to the next floor while still seated in their chair.

The maximum weight capacity for a stair lift typically ranges between 264 and 400 pounds. However, some brands, like Harmar and AmeriGlide, can support up to 600 pounds. It’s important to choose a stair lift that comfortably supports the weight of the user while also considering the specifications of the staircase where it will be installed.

Acorn stair lifts are known for their simplicity and cost-effectiveness, offering straightforward models with essential safety features. While Bruno stair lifts are typically more expensive, they provide a wider range of customizable options, including more advanced features and has a reputation for durability and comfort. The choice between Acorn and Bruno largely depends on individual needs, budget, and the specific configuration of the staircase.

Have questions about this review? Email us at reviewsteam@ncoa.org.

Sources

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Found on the internet at http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars
  2. Jager TE, Weiss HB, Coben JH, Pepe PE. Traumatic brain injuries evaluated in U.S. emergency departments, 1992–1994. Found on the internet at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10691071/
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trends in Nonfatal Falls and Fall-Related Injuries Among Adults Aged ≥65 Years — United States, 2012–2018. Found on the internet at: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6927a5
  4. Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). Addressing Falls Prevention Among Older Adults, Part I. Found on the internet at https://www.hss.edu/conditions_addressing-falls-prevention-older-adults-understanding.asp
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Facts about falls. Found on the internet at https://www.cdc.gov/falls/facts.html
Nicole Hernandez is a writer and physical therapist who empowers people to make informed decisions about their health as a writer and clinician. She has written for NCOA, AginginPlace.org, and physical therapy clinics to educate readers on fall and injury prevention, rehabilitation, home modifications, and other clinical themes including hearing aids and medical alert systems.
Brittany Ferri Headshot
Brittany Ferri Medical Reviewer
Brittany Ferri, PhD, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, author, writer, and business owner. She specializes in mental health, teletherapy, geriatrics, and medical writing. Clinically, she has worked in assisted living facilities, hospitals, and home health agencies. She attended Quinnipiac University for her Master’s and Saybrook University for her PhD in Integrative Mental Health.
Kathleen Cameron
Kathleen Cameron Reviewer
Kathleen Cameron, BSPharm, MPH, has more than 25 years of experience in the health care field as a pharmacist, researcher, and program director focusing on falls prevention, geriatric pharmacotherapy, mental health, long-term services and supports, and caregiving. Cameron is Senior Director of the NCOA Center for Healthy Aging, where she provides subject matter expertise on health care programmatic and policy related issues and oversees the Modernizing Senior Center Resource Center.
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