By Nicole Hernandez, DPT
Medically Reviewed by Brittany Ferri, OTR/L
Reviewed by Kathleen Cameron, BSPharm, MPH, Senior Director, NCOA Center for Healthy Aging
- Stair lifts are home mobility solutions for safer stair navigation. Whether they’re used temporarily or permanently, they’re a good option if you’re at risk for falls, and can help you stay safer in the home.
- Although stair lifts can be costly, there are ways to save by buying used or renting. Most dealers and manufacturers do have financing available, and there are local and government programs that can help.
- The best stair lifts of 2023 include Bruno, AmeriGlide, Acorn, Harmar, Access BDD, and Stannah.
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 While roughly 60% of falls occur in the home, many of those can be prevented, according to the Hospital for Special Surgery.2
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 are another home modification that can deliver safe and effective mobility solutions for you or your loved one while restoring independence. Stair lifts are motorized chairs that travel on a rail securely bolted to your steps, making it easier for those with mobility or other issues to climb stairs 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, and footrest for the user to ride up or down.
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 2023 and beyond.
A quick look at the best stair lifts of 2023
- Editor’s Pick: Bruno
- Most Affordable: AmeriGlide
- Best Customer Reviews: Acorn
- Most Supportive Design: Harmar
- Most Adaptable to the Home: Access BDD
- Best for Arthritis: Stannah
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
Table 1 The best stair lifts, as of January 2023
|Brand||Starting price (straight)||Starting price (curved)||Environment||Financing||Maximum weight capacity (lbs)|
|Bruno||$3,500||$11,000||Indoor or outdoor||Available via dealer||300–400|
|Ameriglide||$1,999||$7,999||Indoor or outdoor||Available||308–350|
|Acorn||$3,000||$10,000||Indoor or outdoor||Not available||264–350|
|Harmar||$3,700||$7,000||Indoor or outdoor||Available via dealer||250–600|
|Access BDD||$3,500||$10,000||Indoor only||Available via dealer||275–320|
|Stannah||$3,500||$8,500||Indoor or outdoor||Available||300–350|
Best stair lift brands of 2023
Editor’s Pick: Bruno
- Price for straight: $3,500 starting price with installation (varies between dealers)
- Price for curved: $11,000 starting price with installation (varies between dealers)
- Environment: Indoor and outdoor
- Weight capacity: Up to 400 pounds
- Financing: Depends on dealer
Bruno stair lifts earned our Reviews Team’s “Editor’s Pick” for 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 seats 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 $3,500 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 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.
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 4.7 out of 5 stars based on 2,548 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 Better Business Bureau (BBB), and a customer review score of 2 out of 5 stars, but based on only four 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.
Most Affordable: AmeriGlide
- Price for straight: $1,999 starting price without installation
- Price for curved: $7,999 starting price with installation
- Environment: Indoor and outdoor
- Weight capacity: Up to 350 pounds
- Financing: Available
Our Reviews Team selected AmeriGlide as “Most Affordable” because the brand offers straight stair lifts at a starting price of roughly $2,000 without installation costs (see below for approximate installation costs), and curved lifts at a starting price of $7,999 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 $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, except for Acorn, which offers no financing).
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.
AmeriGlide stair lifts are sold with basic features: a rechargeable swivel seat 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.
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 3.9 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot with 435 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 67% of reviewers rating the model 5 out of 5 stars, and 20% 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.
Best Customer Reviews: Acorn
- Price for straight: $3,000 starting price with installation
- Price for curved: $10,000 starting price with installation
- Environment: Indoor and outdoor
- Weight capacity: Up to 350 pounds
- Financing: Not available
Our Reviews Team gave Acorn stair lifts the “Best Customer Reviews” designation, because out of all the brands we’ve researched, it’s the only brand with nearly five stars on both BBB and Trustpilot. That’s no easy feat.
Customer service and reviews
Customers rave about Acorn stair lifts. BBB gives Acorn an A+ score, and the brand currently has 4.03 out of 5 stars based on 173 reviews. Our Reviews Team had to “load more” reviews several times before we saw anything less than a five-star review. Reviews praise the customer service team for their respect and knowledge. Customers also report satisfaction with the quick and clean Acorn installation process. The only negative review criticizes Acorn maintenance services in Iowa for not having tech teams available to fix their stair lift.
Acorn also has high ratings on Trustpilot, with 4.8 out of 5 stars from 2,811 reviews. Customers praise Acorn for professionalism and friendliness by thanking specific salesmen and technicians in their reviews.
When our Reviews Team called the Acorn customer service line at 866-873-6574, we also had a positive experience and waited two minutes to speak with a customer service agent. Without forcing any sales, the agent spent more than 10 minutes patiently answering our questions about the company’s purchase process and products. The Acorn customer service line is the only way to reach an agent, but it’s available 24/7.
Acorn stair lifts
The brand’s popular basic model, the 130 Stair Lift, comes with a rechargeable swivel seat, single-rail track, seat belt, rechargeable backup battery, and remote control calling system. It also has a diagnostic display on the chair that lights up when it detects issues like a poor charger connection at rest or an unlocked swivel seat.
The Acorn curved stair lift, the 180, comes with the same basic components as the 130, but with a few differences. The single-rail track sits slightly higher, which makes it more noticeable. The different track does have its advantages, including accommodating 20 more pounds than the 130 and adapting to almost any stair lift shape. The Acorn FastTrack system, which uses an adaptable modular rail, allows curved tracks to be installed in just a few days, unlike competitor brands that need a few weeks for manufacturing.
Both the 130 and 180 have the option to switch to a hinged rail design, which easily folds out of the way when not in use. Because this is a completely different rail than the FastTrack system, it could add at least $1,000 to your purchase depending on your staircase shape.
The most unique aspect of Acorn products is the brand’s Acorn Club app. After you purchase your lift, you can sign up for Acorn Club to keep track of your order and maintenance history. StairSafe, a new app feature, allows you and your loved ones to track stair lift activity to better understand usage patterns. For caregivers, this feature allows you to make sure everything is OK at home and provides peace of mind.
Acorn purchase process
The Acorn purchase process requires you to submit your email online or call customer service for measurement and picture-taking instructions. You’ll need to provide a handful of measurements, like overall length of the staircase including each landing, the width of the staircase, and clearance at the bottom and the top of the staircase. Acorn may request images to generate an accurate quote. An Acorn representative will perform a virtual home survey to generate your quote, or you can visit one of the brand’s office locations. Once you agree and purchase the stair lift, an Acorn technician will install it for you within a few days. No dealer is involved.
Your purchase comes with a 12-month warranty. This covers any parts or labor. Acorn will service the lift within one day of your call, any day of the year. Also included is coverage for a scheduled service toward the end of the 12-month period, when technicians may discuss their various extended warranty options if you’d like more coverage.
Acorn does not offer financing options, and it does not work with dealers who offer financing options, either. You can ask customer support about local programs in your area that offer assistance.
Read our full Acorn stair lifts review.
Most Supportive: Harmar
- Price for straight: $3,700 starting price with installation
- Price for curved: $7,000 starting price with installation
- Environment: Indoor and outdoor
- Weight capacity: Up to 600 pounds
- Financing: Refer to dealer
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.
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.
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 3.8 out of 5 stars with only two reviews. While both reviews are positive, they reference other 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.
Most Adaptable to the Home: Access BDD
- Price for straight: $3,500 starting price with installation
- Price for curved: $10,000 starting price with installation
- Environment: Indoor
- Weight capacity: Up to 320 pounds
- Financing: Refer to dealer
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 won the 2021 Retailers Product of the Year Award in the United Kingdom for its stylish yet functional appearance. Alastair Gibbs, managing Director of TPG Disable Aids, told Access BDD in a Q&A why he nominated the brand for the award: “Rather unfortunately stair lifts are usually seen as a ‘distress’ purchase, where they are the last resort before living downstairs or moving house,” he said. “The Flow X goes some way to dispel this theory as it is a machine that clearly has all the functionality covered but also delivers it with style and panache.”
The Flow X 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
At the moment, you can only purchase Access BDD stair lifts through Next Day Access and in select locations. 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 two-year warranty covering the entire product for replacement parts and labor in case of breakdowns or malfunctions. You can also opt to purchase the extended five-year warranty for added peace of mind.
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 1,000 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.
Best Option for Arthritis: Stannah
- Price for straight: $3,500 starting price with installation
- Price for curved: $8,500 starting price with installation
- Environment: Indoor and outdoor
- Weight capacity: Up to 350 pounds
- Financing: Available
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 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.
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.
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.
Stannah, unlike most stair lift companies, 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.
Another unique offering from Stannah is the option to purchase a used or refurbished stair lift. Refurbished stair lifts also come with the same 12-month warranty as new stair lifts.
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 4.6 out of 5 stars and 1,386 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 3.3 out of 5 stars but only 13 reviews that are mostly positive with a few 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.
Pros and cons of stair lifts
- Offer a safe solution for stair mobility in the home
- Fit almost any staircase, both indoor and outdoor, without damaging the walls
- Financing options available from most manufacturers or dealers
- Used or rental stair lifts available as a more affordable option
- Safe and reliable on any staircase shape (when professionally installed)
- Operate on battery power even during power outages
- Customizations to improve functionality or add style offered by many brands
- Cost several thousands of dollars or more
- Little to no insurance coverage or public programs to help offset the cost
- Turnaround time from purchase to installation can take weeks, particularly on curved lifts
- Take up a lot of space on the staircase
- Not always pleasing to the eye
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:
- Seats, armrests, and footrests can be folded away when not in use. Most seat units can swivel 45–90 degrees to safely enter or exit the stair lift. Most, but not all, seats are adjustable to accommodate multiple users in the same household.
- Tracks can have one or two rails depending on the brand or model. Some tracks are wider than others, which can be a major consideration if you have narrow staircases. A hinging track is a good option for those with doorways blocking the bottom landing. This allows you to fold the track away when not in use. But hinged tracks lower weight capacity by about 50 pounds, because a hinge is a pivot point that creates a weak spot on the track.
Stair lifts also come with a few basic features:
- Seat belts help keep you secure in your seat during your ride. Some are retractable, so the belt hides in the seat when not in use.
- Controls are found on the armrest, so you control your travel direction. The style of controls (joystick, button) depend on the brand and model. It’s more common now to find separate controls as well, either mounted on the wall or as a remote control, to call the stair lift to you when it’s on the opposite landing.
- Rechargeable batteries ensure the stair lift is operational during a power outage. Power stations are installed at the top and bottom of the staircase so the chair is always charging when at rest.
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:
- Electronic sensors can detect obstacles on the staircase, sending the chair back to start position until the obstacle can be removed for safety.
- Hinged tracks can fold away when not in use to reduce tripping hazards.
- Stair lift apps are specific to certain brands and are relatively new features in the industry. For example, the Acorn Club app has a StairSafe function to help keep track of maintenance and stair lift use.
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 cost options, with starting costs at $1,999, 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 stair 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.
Perched or standing stair lifts cost
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.
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:
- Measuring for a stair lift, which typically requires a professional from the manufacturer or dealer to survey your staircase, walk you through your options, and give you an accurate price.
- Manufacturing and installing the stair lift, which occurs a few weeks (or days, in some cases) after purchasing your lift from the manufacturer or dealer.
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.
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:
- Staircase measurements
- Environmental considerations, like terrain if the stair lift will be placed outdoors
- Staircase placement, specified to fit along either side of the staircase
- Personal preferences, like upholstery color or seat style
- Other desired and available features, like a remote control calling system or alternative armrest control placement
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 stair 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.
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:
- Track shape (straight or curved)
- Track location (indoor or outdoor)
- Specific parts (gearbox, circuitry, motor, batteries, rail, seat)
- Replacement parts
- Professional servicing
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.
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 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 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 With most falls among older adults occurring at home, stair lifts could be a lifesaving preventive measure for those at high risk.4 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
- Lower extremity and trunk weakness
- Balance difficulties
- Frequent dizziness
- Vision problems
- Use of certain medicines, especially if they interact
- Active lower extremity injury
- Energy conservation needs, often seen in those with multiple sclerosis or lung and heart conditions
- Neurological conditions, like a stroke or Parkinson’s disease
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?
Some brands have different seats 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.
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.
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. Acorn provides added peace of mind by keeping track of maintenance records for you on your AcornClub app.
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:
- 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 who offers 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 like 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 assessing 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.
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
Have questions about this review? Email us at email@example.com.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Found on the internet at http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars
- 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/
- 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
- 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
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Facts about falls. Found on the internet at https://www.cdc.gov/falls/facts.html