Those of us who have experienced mobility challenges understand firsthand how much stairs can limit how you move about your home. However, there are solutions out there that can help you or a loved one maintain independence and mobility within your home.
Stair lift technology has come a long way since its inception and choosing the right stair lift for your home is key. Stair lifts fall into two primary categories: straight and curved. Both types of stair lift function similarly, and have the same basic components. The key differences are best understood by the differences in how these components are manufactured.
Straight stair lifts are designed for stairs that have no curves, bends, or landings. They offer a straight path from one level in the home to another and have a rail that can be customized to fit the length of the stairs in your home. Curved stair lifts, in contrast, are manufactured for stairs that have landings, curves, or bends. They travel along a rail that is designed specifically for the bend in your home’s staircase and customized for your needs.
The Rail Shape
The stair lift rail determines the path that the chair will take to travel from one floor to the other. Straight stair lifts operate along a rail without bends, turns, or curves in it. Although these rails cannot go around a corner or around spiral stairs, they can be customized to retract at the base of the stairs. This feature makes straight stair lifts more adaptable to homes designed with narrow entrances or walkways near the bottom landing.
Curved stair lifts, however, are manufactured with customized rails designed specifically to fit the bends and curves of your staircase. They can curve around large landings as well as pie-shaped or spiral staircases.
Top Landing Finish
For a straight stair lift, the chair is designed to rotate at the top of the stairs for a safe exit. Most chairs can be upgraded with a power-assisted swivel to allow the chair to automatically turn when the rider reaches the top landing. All straight stair lifts offer a manual or powered rotation at the top of your stairs, to ensure that you are able to enter and exit the chair safely.
Curved stair lifts, however, are often designed with an “overrun” at the top of the staircase when space allows. This feature allows you to “park” the chair on the top landing in a place that is out of the way of the staircase entrance. This means that you can safely exit at the top landing without the need to rotate the chair.
The installation timeline for most straight stair lifts is relatively short. At Arrow Lift, most straight units can be installed in about one to two weeks. Since straight stair lifts are not custom-built to the staircase, they can sometimes be installed even faster if there is an urgent need.
The curved stair lift timeline is a little longer. Our team does a detailed survey of your home’s staircase layout and dimensions. We then design a rail that is custom fit to those specifications. Your stair lift is then built, and can often be installed in as little as 4-6 weeks.
Both straight and curved stair lifts are fit to the specific staircase they are installed on and can be customized with various features to suit your needs. Most of our straight stair lifts cost between $3,000 and $4,500, including professional installation and a warranty. Curved rail stair lifts require a more complex rail design that is custom-built for your stairs. With that in mind, the price to build and install a curved stair lift starts at around $12,000.
What Straight Stair Lifts Offer
Most of the stair lifts installed today are straight. If you’re in the process of finding a stair lift for your home, or a loved one’s home, the best place to start is with a free consultation. During your consultation, a stair lift expert will help walk you through the options that are best suited for you and for your home. Some of the primary features you can expect your straight stair lift to include are:
- Continuous battery power to remain operational for several trips during power failures.
- A chair that folds up and out of the way when the stair lift is not in use.
- Fast installation since many models are kept in stock.
- A chair that is safe and secure to ride, with weight capacities up to 400 lbs on some models.
- Construction-free installation of your stair lift because it attaches directly to the stair treads, not your walls.
Most importantly, straight stair lifts offer advanced safety features allowing for peace of mind and can be customized to fit straight-line stair lengths of any size. The addition of a retractable rail allows the rail to fold up and out of the way when the stair lift is not in use and prevents potential tripping hazards. We even have the ability to install straight stair lifts outdoors if your home has exterior stairs that you need assistance with.
What Curved Stair Lifts Offer
Curved rail stair lifts are far more complex in nature and design than their straight rail counterparts. They must be custom-built to fit your stairway and any landings you may have. The chairs fold up when not in use to create additional space and attach to the stair treads, like the straight options. However, there are additional features to consider with curved stair lifts, including:
- Rails manufactured to fit your home, allowing you to park your chair away from the entrance to the top and bottom of your staircase.
- Customizable rail colors to suit your home’s design aesthetic.
- An expanded upholstery selection for additional customization.
In addition to the added versatility that curved stair lifts offer, they also offer the same advanced safety features and a no-construction installation process. And just like the straight stair lift, the curved stair lift operates on battery power, so it will continue to operate for several trips, even if the power in your home fails.
The Arrow Lift Difference
At Arrow Lift, our goal is to provide you with a safe, cost-effective solution to stay in the home you love. Our stair lift experts will work with you to choose the right style of stair lift to suit your home. Our team of highly skilled technicians will install your stair lift in as little as one to two weeks, depending on the style.
We’ll start with a free, no-obligation consultation that allows us to make informed recommendations so that you get the stair lift that works best for your needs, your budget, and your home.
If you are interested in learning more about stair lifts and how they can help, now is the perfect time to schedule a consultation with one of our professionals to discuss your options. Contact us today for a free consultation.