Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Home Stair Lifts

Adding a stair lift to the home can drastically increase the independence of you or your physically challenged loved one. With so many models and brands to choose from, buying a stair lift for the home can seem like a daunting task especially to the lay person who is unfamiliar with the various lift technologies available. It is important to have a basic understanding of how a stair lift operates so that you can choose the one that best meets your needs.

The basic operation is the same for most all stair lifts. The unit itself includes the seat and an enclosed electric motor that travels up a track which is securely mounted to the stair steps. Stair lifts are grouped into two general categories based on the type of drive train that propels them up and down the stairs. Rack and Pinion stair lifts use a system of gears to climb up the track while Cable Driven lifts use a pulley and cable system. Most stair lifts use the cable driven system due to the ease of maintenance.

Despite the increase in demand and the decrease in stair lift prices in recent years, it is still quite difficult to find a brick and mortar store that sells them. Nearly 90 percent of stair lifts purchased in the United States are purchased from online dealers and distributors. Purchasing online or by telephone can save you thousands of dollars without any sacrifices in service or warranty. When purchasing online, make sure that the dealer is authorized by the manufacturer to sell you a stair lift. This will insure that you are dealing with a factory trained representative that is familiar with the product.

Prices for new stair lifts can range anywhere from $1800 to as much as $3000 for heavy duty models. You will also need to add anywhere from $500 to $1000 for the installation of your new stair lift. If installing yourself, make sure that the instructions are viewable online or have them sent to you before finalizing your purchase. This will give you an idea of the difficulty involved and whether it is beyond your own abilities.

Richard Stark
Freelance writer and reviewer of mobility products. To learn more about stair lifts visit

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