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What are the Different Types of Stair Lifts?

By Modern60, Editorial Team

Last Updated on April 2nd, 2024

Senior Health & Wellness

What are the Different Types of Stair Lifts?

Stair lifts are battery-powered, motorized chairs that glide up and down a staircase on a rail mounted to the stair treads. These assistive devices can be installed both indoors and outdoors. These are generally preferred by people with limited mobility who cannot safely use the stairs at home. Stair lifts allow most individuals to stand, sit, and pivot without assistance. Here are the different types of stair lifts to learn about.

Straight stair lift

Straight stair lift

This is a simple and inexpensive stair lift that is installed directly along the side of a straight staircase. A couple of benefits and features of straight stair lifts are that they can be installed on either side of a staircase and have a retractable rail and seat, footrests, and armrests that fold up when not in use.

Curved stair lift

Curved stair lift

These stair lifts are customized to fit the unique curves of the stairs in an individual’s home. Since the design is tailored to a specific staircase, it is significantly more expensive than a straight stair lift. However, a curved stair lift can adapt to various requirements, including staircases encompassing multiple floors, staircases with a landing between floors, and complex spiral staircases.

Outdoor stair lift

Outdoor stair lift

These stair lifts could be straight or curved, depending on the specifications of the outdoor staircase. Outdoor stair lifts are crafted to be resistant to adverse weather conditions and extreme temperatures. They are also usually preferred for transportation to and from a porch, driveway, deck, or detached garage or shed. Outdoor stair lifts may contain features, such as a lock-and-key to keep them secure and a cover to ensure they are clean and protected from direct exposure to elements like dust, debris, rain, and sunlight.

Standing stair lift

Standing stair lift

Individuals who experience pain or inflexibility in their lower limbs due to complications such as illness, advanced age, or disability and find it challenging to sit and stand may benefit from a standing stair lift. This type of stair lift may include a tilted seat, an elevated seat, or a “barstool” designed seat that makes rising from a semi-seated position more comfortable. Alternatively, some stair lifts allow an individual to stand upright. Standing stair lifts can be customized for a straight or curved staircase and are usually fitted with features such as easy-to-use controls, a seat belt, and the ability to park on a landing.

Platform stair lift

Platform stair lift

This type of stair lift is versatile and can adapt to straight or curved staircases. It is ideal for those using mobility devices such as wheelchairs and walkers. Usually, a platform stair lift has an open platform, including doors, side or guardrails, and may also feature an enclosed platform stair lift resembling a home elevator. In both cases, a platform stair lift is typically large enough to accommodate two individuals.

Stair lift chair additional options

To improve usability, comfort, and safety, a manufacturer may offer various upgrades to a stair lift. Individuals should speak to the manufacturer about adding these features before initiating the stair lift installation process. A few options include:

Folding rail

Folding rail for Stair lifts
Source: Mobility Plus

A folding rail, whether manually or power-operated, is useful when there is a doorway at the bottom of the stairs or if the rail is placed in the middle of a hallway and can pose a tripping hazard for other visitors or family members. While they are usually added to straight stair lifts, some curved units may offer this feature.

Power folding footrest

Power folding footrest for stair Lifts
Source: Sunrise Medical

A standard power-folding footrest is usually added when the person using the lift cannot bend down to fold the footrest manually. When the seat of the chair is lifted, the footrest automatically folds with it. Similarly, pushing the seat down results in the footrest coming down. To make the process more convenient, an individual could opt for an arm-activated power folding footrest. This technology allows the footrest to be folded by pushing a button on the armrest. This feature could be helpful for several users as it lets them sit on the seat without initially having the footrest folded down.

Power swivel seat

Power swivel seat for stair lifts
Source: Swivel Seat

If an individual cannot safely swivel a chair manually, they can ask the manufacturer to install a power swivel seat. This is controlled by a switch on the chair’s arm, which will help a person move up and down a stairlift easily.

Larger footrest

Larger footrest for stair lifts
Source: Safco

Larger footrests could be selected if the existing one is too small. An individual could visit the nearby showroom to determine if they need to upgrade the size of the footrest.

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Editorial Team

The Editorial Team at Modern60 is a group of highly skilled professionals with diverse backgrounds in journalism, content creation, editing, and digital media. They bring a wealth of experience and expertise to ensure that every piece of content meets our strict editorial guidelines and quality standards. The team is dedicated to delivering accurate, well-researched, and engaging content across various subjects, including health, wellness, lifestyle, and current events. With their commitment to upholding the highest standards of journalism and content creation, the Modern60 Editorial Team is the driving force behind our mission to empower and inspire our readers.

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