Home Elevator vs. Platform Lift vs. Stair Lift

February 14, 2018

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When a loved one’s mobility becomes limited, we often find the stairs being the first obstacle for them. As conditions worsen, we have to consider our options. Can they live on one floor of the home and avoid the stairs altogether? Sure, they can. But who doesn’t want to sleep in the comfort of their own bed. Or worse, what if a bathroom doesn’t exist on the first floor? Perhaps moving to a one-story home or assisted living facility is a better alternative. However, moving isn’t just about leaving a house; it’s about leaving a home full of memories. Besides, moving costs and headaches can quickly add up, making it an unappealing choice. Thankfully, there are other solutions! These solutions allow your loved one to stay living in their own home while still having access to all floors.

Home Elevators

Just like the ones you find at the mall or at your doctor’s office, elevators are a luxury that can also be installed in your home. There are three types of residential elevators. Hydraulic elevators require more space for operation making it a better solution for new construction homes. Besides the size itself, it also requires a separate machine room. Traction elevators are the most common elevator, using steel ropes and a pully system to lift the elevator car. This is a great choice when trying to retrofit an elevator into your home. The last type is pneumatic, which uses air pressure to raise and lower the elevator (think of a bank drive-thru and the deposit tubes that send your money to the teller). This is also great for retrofit situations because a shaft isn’t required.

Home elevators can be as simple or as ornate as you desire. The basic cost of a residential elevator can range from $15,000 – $25,000 (plus the costs to build the shaft, machine room and any other renovation work). However, the fanciest of elevators can run upwards of $100,000 – but this also includes having music piped in and adding a finished interior to the structure, such as wainscoting or tile.

While a pricier investment, home elevators can increase the value of your home. But be prepared – this project can take up to six months to have completed. You’ll need to work with an architect for drawings, a contractor for building and a certified elevator contractor for installation.

home elevator

Vertical Platform Lifts

A vertical platform lift – also known as a wheelchair platform lift or porch lift – was specifically designed as a means to facilitate wheelchair users from getting from one level to another. The platform allows the user to easily roll themselves on before ascending/descending.

A vertical platform lift is most akin to an elevator by moving between floors vertically. However unlike an elevator, there is no shaft or enclosure, which provides an additional layer of safety by protecting the user from the edge. This is why you are probably most familiar with seeing these types of lifts installed outside a home. Porch lifts are a great solution when transferring someone just a few feet.

When installing a vertical platform lift, some structural modifications to your home will most likely occur to get it to fit. While cheaper than a home elevator, a ballpark figure for these types of lifts is $10,000 – $15,000 plus the cost of any renovations required. Installation usually takes just a few days.

wheelchair platform lift


Perhaps we’re biased, but we’re all about the stair lift. Also known as chairlifts, the entire contraption to get you up and down the stairs includes only a track, a motor and a seat. No renovations or remodeling necessary and no separate equipment to make sure it gets you where you want to go – simply plug it in to keep the battery charged. Oh yeah, did we mention? Stairlifts are battery-powered so you don’t have to worry whether you’re riding it when a power outage strikes!

Stairlifts can be installed both indoors and outdoors, providing a comfortable and safe solution to get up a porch or down to a basement. Chair lifts can fit most staircases while still allowing other loved ones the ability to use the stairs freely and without disruption. Operation is much quieter than elevators or platform lifts and the variety of seat styles, colors and options ensure a match to any homes’ décor.

The cost of a stairlift, fully installed, can range from $2,500 – $5,000 for a straight staircase and $8,000 – $15,000 for a curved or multi-story lift. Installation is completed in under four hours, making sure you or your loved one can be mobile, faster.

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The choice

While mobility issues are an unfortunate circumstance to have to deal with, fortunately there are a variety of options to choose from. Each includes its own set of benefits allowing you to find the right solution for you, your home and your wallet.

If interested in learning more about stairlifts, our mobility advisers are available to help. While answering any questions you may have, we can also set up a free in-home consultation. Simply call 888-637-8155 or email sales.us@handicare.com.

Want to learn more? Speak to one of our mobility experts today! Call 888-637-8155 or request a callback.


Source: https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/2021074/list/home-elevators-a-rising-trend, http://www.house-design-coffee.com/wheelchair-platform-lift.html

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