Stair Lifts for the Elderly and Disabled: Prices, Rentals, Medicare

by KeithTax

A stair lift may allow you to live at home and enjoy life more. Undertsanding the different stair lifts helps you choose the right one for you.

Stair lifts can change your life for the better without breaking the bank. Living in your own home is the ultimate goal of most seniors and disabled persons. Stair lifts are not a one size fits all. Installing the right lift will give years of trouble free freedom within your own home.

Disability or age can force you to either move to a single story home or consider a stair lift to remain in your current home. Residential elevators and platform lifts are very expensive, costing $10,000 and up. A stair lift can cost under $2,000, but some cost up to $4,000 and more. Before choosing a stair lift for your home you need to review several issues. In this article we will discuss installation, power supply, drive type, track/rail, seat, accessories, and service and repair. A proper stair lift will increase your quality of life. The choices you make today will serve you for years to come, providing comfort and safety. You can stay in your home with a chair lift. Make it the right one.

Drive Type

There are four drive types available: cable, screw, chain, and rack & pinion.

Cable: A strong steel cable is used. Some people complain the ride is not smooth, especially starts and stops.

Screw: A rechargeable battery runs the screw and provides a powerful and smooth ride.

Chain: Heavy-duty stair lifts may use a chain which can be noisy.

Rack & Pinion: Provides a smooth and comfortable ride. The gearbox should be hidden to protect curious children. Requires lubrication periodically.


The first consideration is installation. Many stair lifts are manufactured for easy installation. Still, you should be comfortable installing your chair lift. You can have the manufacturer install your chair lift if you like. If you decide to install your own chair lift, manufacturers include dimensions and installation instructions.

Power Supply

You have a choice of power supplies: home supply AC or rechargeable DC batteries. Some people consider AC less reliable as the power cable must trail the chair and can short out. Several states require a qualified electrician for AC powered stair lifts. DC powered stair lifts can only be charged at the base station located at either end. There are two charging stations available: static charging positioned at each end of the rail and flexible charging anywhere on the rail.

Stair Lifts and Home Elevators


The track is secured to the stairs and made of steel or aluminum. Aluminum is easier to use and interchangeable. Steel is used in specialty situation such as curves stairs and commercial application


An important consideration is the seat and the radius of swivel. Your application will determine the best seat: 90 or 180 degree swivel. Seats come equipped with a locking mechanism for operations. A lever releases the lock.


There are several accessories available for your stair lift, and include: hinged rail, seat belts, sit and stand frame, power swivel seat, bridging platform, and power folding foot rest. Personal needs will determine which features are required or necessary.

Service and Repair

It is important to know the service requirements of a chair lift before purchase. If you are comfortable with minor service requirements, you can save some money. Inquire about cost of service, maintenance, and repairs to avoid and surprises.

Final Note

Your chair lift can give you decades of quality service and allow you to live in the home or apartment of your choice. Taking a few moments now can assure you are happy with your chair lift purchase.

Updated: 02/29/2012, KeithTax
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KeithTax on 02/29/2012

Good to see you, Nelle. Thanks for sharing your real life experience.

Nelda_Hoxie on 02/29/2012

Great advice Keith. I think for many of us who's homes are not suited to one-floor living, will find stair lifts to be the key to staying in our home. I found this out this winter when I had emergency surgery and haven't been allowed to climb stairs for the last 4 months. Our house has no bedrooms down stairs and the rooms aren't large enough to be converted into a bedroom. I've been staying with my niece who does have first floor bedrooms.

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