When stairs become difficult to navigate, it can quickly make your dream home feel more like a frustrating nightmare. Fortunately, small home elevators can be an easy solution to some of the most pressing mobility problems that can limit the complete enjoyment of your home. You may think small elevators for homes are the stuff of a wild daydream. Wouldn’t it require an extensive (and expensive) home remodel? Fortunately, no.
Whether you’re looking for a viable post-operative mobility solution, or you’d just like a more convenient way to relieve your pet from tackling too many stairs, there are several types of small elevators for homes that can be a space-saving and cost-effective home addition.
Many find it surprising to learn that most small home elevators will fit into an already available space within your home without requiring a potentially invasive construction project. Each of the following three popular small elevators for homes can be a sensible and helpful choice to meet your small home elevator needs.
Small Home Elevator Options
While a standard commercial elevator is anywhere from 6’ x 8′ to 7’ x 11′, the average home elevator size is about 5’ x 5’. In comparison, small home elevators can be as small as 3’ x 3’. Thanks to their compact design and machinery, small home elevators typically do not need an associated elevator equipment/machine room or a specially dug elevator pit to house the elevator.
There are three main types of small elevators:
- Shaftless elevator. (about 3’ x 3’)
- Pneumatic vacuum elevator. (vary from approximately 3’ – 4.5’ round)
- Machine-room less (MRL) or inline gear drive (IGD) mini home elevator. (about 4’ x 5’ or smaller)
To get a quote on the right small home elevator for your home, visit an Arrow Lift showroom location or contact us today. Meanwhile, let’s dive into the details of these three popular small elevators for homes.
1. The Shaftless Elevator
The shaftless elevator serves two floors in a home and is often the most affordable small elevator option, thanks to its minimal construction requirements. Also known as a through-the-floor elevator, a shaftless home elevator leaves a small footprint and can be installed nearly anywhere with nominal construction. Most shaftless elevator installations require little preparatory work aside from cutting a hole between floors, reducing the cost of retrofitting a home with one.
Key benefits of a shaftless elevator include:
- A small footprint that enables installation nearly anywhere
- Minimal construction requirements that assist with speedy, and often most affordable installation
- Offer the shortest installation timeline
2. The Pneumatic Elevator
The pneumatic elevator — commonly called a tube elevator or vacuum elevator — uses air pressure to move its occupants through a cylindrical tube with a 360-degree view. Thanks to its air-powered operation, the pneumatic elevator requires little energy, with a self-supporting shaft design that allows up to five stops.
Key benefits of a pneumatic elevator:
- Luxurious experience with panoramic views
- Modern aesthetic that looks great in any part of the home
- Compact design that allows for fit in tight spaces
- Low environmental footprint
3. The MRL/IGD Mini Home Elevator
Essentially a smaller version of a standard home elevator, the machine-room less (MRL) or inline gear drive (IGD) mini home elevator requires only an electrical cabinet for its elevator controls. As with the other small elevator options, this eliminates the need to make space for a machine room.
Key benefits of an MRL/IGD mini home elevator:
- Most space-saving option that still feels like a traditional shaftway elevator
- Fully customizable interior, fixtures, doors, and gates
Other Home Lift Options
Small elevators for homes are a convenient and useful option for home mobility, but they’re not your only choice for long-term mobility needs. There are several other ways to move people and items within your home, some of which may be a better fit for your needs than a small home elevator.
Questions to ask yourself in determining the type of lift that will fit your needs include:
- Is your mobility priority items over people?
- Will you need to move a wheelchair or walker from floor to floor?
- Do you only have a small space that requires a lift?
With these considerations in mind, here are other popular available lift options:
Installing a dumbwaiter can be optimal if your only goal is to move items rather than people or pets. Dumbwaiters are ideal for multiple-floor homes and can go up to 50 feet or more. They vary in size from 20” x 20” x 30” up to 36” x 36” x 48”.
Key benefits of a dumbwaiter:
- Efficiently moves groceries, luggage, and other heavy items within a home
- Provides a safe and low-hassle way to move materials
- Small footprint allows for use where an elevator or other lift would not fit
Vertical Platform Lifts (VPLs)
Vertical platform lifts, also known as residential vertical wheelchair lifts, are ideal for a wheelchair user who only needs to travel a few feet, such as through a home garage or onto a porch, rather than up a flight of stairs.
Key benefits of a vertical platform lift:
- Engineered and designed to be wheelchair accessible
- Functional and reliable
- Have both indoor and outdoor applications
Stair lifts are another popular and cost-effective option to regain access to multiple floors within your home. Although not wheelchair accessible, stair lifts enable mobility for individuals who may find it difficult to navigate stairs. Stair lifts usually cost less than small home elevators and can be installed in just a few hours.
Key benefits of a stair lift:
- Can be installed on nearly any staircase, including curved or with landings
- Does not require additional construction
- Long-lasting and durable while also easily removable
The Practical Convenience of a Small Home Elevator
When you’re looking for a compact solution to meet your multi-floor mobility needs, the shaftless elevator, pneumatic elevator, or MRL home elevators each allow you to make the most of your uniquely available space. Each of these small elevators for homes offers a convenient and reliable way to enhance your home’s full enjoyment and functionality.
The value of a small home elevator is magnified when you work with a trusted elevator company like Arrow Lift. Family-owned and operated since 1985, our team is BBB accredited with an A+ rating. Request a free consultation with our industry experts today.