If there’s anywhere we should feel safe, secure, and free to access what we need, it’s our home. If you or a loved one are facing mobility challenges within your residence and are considering ways to improve accessibility, stair lifts can present an excellent solution. However, they are not the perfect fit for every circumstance.
Fortunately, a range of stair lift alternatives achieve the same goal: convenient access to where you want to be.
Whether you’re looking for specialized solutions for wheelchair users, ways to maintain the aesthetics of your living space, or simply want to feel confident in your decision to move forward with a stair lift, we’ve got you covered.
You have options for making moving around your home easier, safer, and more comfortable! But before we dive into the alternatives, let’s take a moment to review the types of stair lifts available.
Already familiar with stair lifts? Skip to the Alternatives.
All homes are different, and there are three categories of stair lifts designed to accommodate various floor layouts and individual needs.
1. Straight stair lifts fasten to the stair treads and work well on straight staircases of any length. The stair lift chair can pivot outward for easy access, and the seat can fold up when not in use.
2. If you have a curved staircase, you will need a stair lift that curves with it. Curved stair lifts also work well for narrow stairways and areas with limited landing space.
3. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, lightly used and reconditioned stair lifts are often available. While these choices can be more cost-effective than purchasing a brand-new stair lift, they may take longer to install.
Stair Lift Advantages
There’s a reason many people choose stair lifts to meet their accessibility needs. In fact, there are many reasons. Advantages of stair lifts include:
- They are cost-effective and affordable
- Stair lift installation is construction-free
- Stair lifts increase independence in your home
- They are reliable and practical
- The chairs fold away when not in use, allowing safe movement around the staircase
- Stair lifts are customizable to fit your staircase and your needs
- Stair lifts prevent accidents
- They provide peace of mind to anyone worried about the ability to walk up and down the stairs
Stair Lift Disadvantages
Although stair lifts are an excellent mobility tool, they are not without potential drawbacks. Disadvantages of stair lifts include:
- Even though stair lifts are the least expensive option compared to other stair lift alternatives, straight stair lifts can cost between $2,500 and $6,000 and are not covered by Medicare
- Older homes with narrow stairways may be difficult to fit with a stair lift
- Individuals using the stair lift will engage in less physical activity
- Stair lifts do not accommodate wheelchairs
After weighing these factors, if you would like to purchase a stair lift, Arrow Lift is a trusted, family-owned business with more than 35 years of experience selling straight, curved, and reconditioned stair lifts. We have a wide variety of top stair lift brands that you can check out in person at one of our nationwide locations.
Stair Lift Alternatives to Regain Access to Your Home
Even if you think a stair lift might be the right choice for your needs, it’s always helpful to consider several options. Following are five top stair lift alternatives.
1. Shaftless Home Elevator
Shaftless home elevators are a space-saving and cost-efficient elevator option compared to full-size home elevators.
These home elevators are often ideal for homeowners who intend to remodel an existing home because they do not require a separate machine room or pit. This means less overall construction and a smaller footprint when the project is complete.
Shaftless Home Elevator Advantages
If you choose to install a shaftless home elevator, you can expect to enjoy:
- A smaller footprint that allows for more flexibility with the installation location
- Typically, less construction work than full-size elevators require
- Wider options with room for a wheelchair or walker
- A safe and reliable way to move between two stories in your home
Shaftless Home Elevator Disadvantages
There are some downsides to shaftless home elevators. They include:
- Shaftless home elevator cost can be as much as $30,000 or more
- There are limited customization options when compared to full-size home elevators
2. Full-Size Home Elevator
A full-size home elevator allows you to travel between floors easily. They can travel up to 50 feet vertically.
These installations are best for homeowners planning to remodel or design a new home and have the space for a moderately sized elevator. Typical residential elevators can accommodate houses with up to four or five stories.
Home Elevator Advantages
There are key advantages to installing a full-size elevator in your home. The benefits include:
- Introducing a luxury home feature
- Customizable options, such as interiors, doors, and more to match your design aesthetic
- Makes it easier to move to different stories in your home
- Space for multiple people, a wheelchair, or walker
Home Elevator Disadvantages
Purchasing a full-size home elevator is a significant commitment. Potential disadvantages are:
- Home elevators can often cost as much as $30,000 – $50,000 or more
- Installation involves major construction and, in some cases, home remodeling
Ready to move forward with a home elevator? To access the best brands for your custom elevator, check out Arrow Lift’s elevator design options. We will also provide personal construction coordination, excellent craftsmanship, and flexible design options to ensure your residential elevator is top-of-the-line. Contact us for more information!
3. Wheelchair Lift
Another stair lift alternative is the wheelchair platform lift. These lifts are for tight, low-rise spaces where full-size elevators are impractical. A wheelchair lift presents an excellent option for individuals who use wheelchairs or walkers to get around.
While they require some construction and potential remodeling, the installation process is less extensive than a residential elevator. However, they do involve more construction than a stair lift.
Wheelchair Lift Advantages
The advantages of installing a wheelchair lift include:
- Their compact design
- Wheelchair lifts provide a safe transition for people in wheelchairs and those with limited mobility
- They are perfect for tight and low-rise spaces
- Unique customization options
- They are more affordable and economical than a full-size house elevator
Wheelchair Lift Disadvantages
Wheelchair lifts cannot serve all mobility needs. Some downsides of wheelchair platform lifts include:
- They are not ideal for transporting from one story to another
- Not all homes have the space to install a wheelchair lift
If you are interested in purchasing a wheelchair platform lift, Arrow Lift sells and installs completely customizable wheelchair lifts. Whether you need access to your porch, deck, or inside your garage, Arrow Lift can provide the right lift to suit your needs.
4. Relocate Your Bedroom
For a different approach that does not involve installing a new accessibility lift in your home, you may have the option of moving from an upstairs room to a downstairs bedroom.
However, keep in mind that while moving into a downstairs bedroom might make it easier for you to get to your living room and kitchen, it does not solve the problem of helping get upstairs for other things, such as cleaning.
Benefits of relocating your bedroom include:
- You won’t have to travel upstairs and risk injury
- This is a good option for seniors living in a house with other family members who can retrieve items from upstairs if necessary
Moving rooms does not work for everyone. Potential disadvantages include:
- This action may require remodeling your home to add a bedroom and/or bathroom to the downstairs area. Adding a bedroom or bathroom to a house can cost anywhere between $25,000 and $100,000, which is much more expensive than adding a stair lift and costs about the same as adding a home elevator
- If you relocate your bedroom and you do not live with other people, it may not be practical to move downstairs
5. Move into a Smaller Space
Perhaps you don’t want to add a stair lift, elevator, or wheelchair lift in your home, and moving bedrooms simply isn’t practical. Your last option is to move into a one-story or assisted living home. This may be a great way to simplify and make transportation around your home easier.
Many people make the choice to downsize. Some of the advantages of downsizing are:
- Moving into a one-story house removes the hassle of stairs
- Relocating to a senior home means you will have 24/7 access to assistance, and you won’t have to worry about how you will get around
Common disadvantages of moving into a smaller space include:
- Many individuals do not want to leave their existing homes, especially if they have lived there for many years or even their entire lives
- The cost of just 1-2 months in assisted living is typically more than a stair lift
- The transaction fees of buying/selling a house usually exceed the cost of a stair lift
Choose the Stair Lift or Stair Lift Alternative that Works for You
Ultimately, whether you decide to add a stair lift to your home or implement an alternative, these suggestions will make moving around your living space easier and safer.
And, if you are in the market for a stair lift, home elevator, or wheelchair lift, Arrow Lift is the best place to look. Our family-owned company has been selling and providing professional installation of these transportation devices in homes and commercial buildings for over 35 years. With the largest selection of products in the stair lift and home elevator industry, we can help you find the product that works for you.
Not sure what you want to buy? No problem. Arrow Lift has showrooms located across the United States so you can see firsthand the different products available for purchase. Contact Arrow Lift today or visit one of our showrooms!