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Health
11 Apr 2024

Stairlift or homelift: Which is best for your mobility needs?

Molly Govus
Health Sector Specialist
blogPost

When it comes to enhancing mobility within your home, options like stairlifts and vertical homelifts offer invaluable solutions. Navigating through your home should be effortless and safe, especially if mobility challenges arise. If you'd like to enhance your home’s accessibility, you may have encountered the choice between a stairlift and a homelift. 


These mobility aids offer distinct advantages, but determining which one suits your needs requires careful consideration. So, which one suits your needs best? Let's delve deeper into the features, benefits, and considerations of each to help you make an informed decision.


What is a stairlift?


A stairlift is a motorised chair or platform that travels along a rail installed on a staircase, providing individuals with mobility challenges a safe and convenient way to navigate between floors. Here's a closer look at how stairlifts work and their key features:


Operating mechanism


Stairlifts are typically powered by rechargeable batteries or mains electricity. The chair or platform is attached to a track or rail that is mounted along the staircase, and users can control the movement of the stairlift using a joystick or remote control.


Types of stairlifts


There are various types of stairlifts available to suit different staircase configurations and user preferences. These include straight stairlifts, which are designed for staircases without curves or landings, and curved stairlifts, which are custom-built to navigate bends and turns.


Safety features


Stairlifts are equipped with several safety features to ensure a secure and comfortable ride. These may include seat belts, safety sensors to detect obstacles on the staircase, swivel seats for easy entry and exit, and emergency stop buttons.


Installation


Stairlifts are typically installed directly onto the staircase, rather than requiring structural modifications to the home. This makes them a practical and convenient accessibility solution for many households.


How much does a stair lift cost?


When considering affordability, stairlifts often emerge as the more budget-friendly option compared to homelifts, costing around £2,000 to £6,000 on average. 


With their simpler installation process and minimal maintenance requirements, stairlifts offer accessibility without compromising safety or functionality. Whether navigating straight or curved staircases, stairlifts provide a cost-effective solution for individuals seeking improved mobility within their homes.


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What is a homelift?


A homelift, also known as a residential lift or vertical homelift, is a compact lift system installed within a home to provide vertical transportation between floors. Here's an overview of the features and benefits of homelifts.


Design and functionality


Homelifts are designed to blend seamlessly with the architecture of the home, offering a discreet and stylish accessibility solution. They can accommodate wheelchairs, mobility scooters, or multiple passengers, making them ideal for users with diverse mobility needs.


Customisation options


Homelifts can be customised to suit the specific requirements and aesthetics of the home. This includes options for different finishes, materials, and cabin sizes to complement the interior design seamlessly.


Safety and reliability


Homelifts are equipped with advanced safety features, including emergency stop buttons, battery backup systems, and safety sensors to prevent collisions and ensure a smooth ride between floors. They undergo rigorous testing and certification to meet industry safety standards.


Installation and maintenance


While homelifts require professional installation, they can often be fitted without major structural modifications to the home. Routine maintenance and servicing ensure optimal performance and longevity of the lift system.


How much does a homelift cost? 


In contrast, homelifts provide unmatched convenience and customisation options, albeit at a higher initial cost. Professional installation for a stairlift can cost between £500 to £1,500. Structural modifications, if needed, may range from £500 to £2,000. Customisation features can add anywhere from £500 to £2,000 to the overall expense.


Despite this, the long-term benefits of homelifts in terms of accessibility, reliability, and aesthetic integration into the home may justify the higher upfront investment for those prioritising comprehensive mobility solutions.


Factors to consider when choosing


When choosing between a stairlift and a homelift, several factors should be considered. These include your home's layout, mobility requirements, budget constraints, and aesthetic preferences.


Mobility requirements


Assess your mobility needs and consider factors such as the number of stairs you need to navigate and whether you require access to multiple levels of your home.


Space availability


Evaluate the space available in your home for installation. Stairlifts are ideal for homes with limited space, while homelifts require sufficient room for construction and operation. Having said that, homelifts generally require less space than traditional elevators and can often be installed without major structural modifications.


Budget considerations


Determine your budget and explore the cost of both stairlifts and homelifts. While stairlifts are generally more affordable, homelifts offer long-term value and accessibility.


Aesthetic preferences


Consider the design and aesthetic appeal of each option, ensuring it complements your home's décor and style.


Who benefits from a stairlift or homelift?


Stairlifts and homelifts serve as invaluable aids for individuals facing mobility challenges, offering a safe and convenient way to navigate stairs within their homes. 


Seniors


As individuals age, mobility issues can arise, making climbing stairs difficult or unsafe. Seniors who experience joint pain, muscle weakness, or balance issues may find stairlifts and homelifts immensely helpful in maintaining their independence and navigating their homes comfortably.


Individuals with disabilities


For individuals with physical disabilities that affect their ability to climb stairs, such as those with mobility impairments or conditions like multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy, stairlifts and homelifts provide essential accessibility and enable them to move freely between different levels of their homes.


People recovering from surgery or injury


After surgery or injury, mobility may be temporarily compromised, making stairs challenging to navigate. Stairlifts and homelifts offer a practical solution for individuals recovering from orthopaedic procedures, allowing them to avoid strain and reduce the risk of falls during the rehabilitation process.


Those with chronic health conditions


Chronic health conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, or respiratory disorders can impact mobility and make stairs daunting. Stairlifts and homelifts provide a supportive means of transportation for individuals managing chronic health conditions, promoting independence and reducing the risk of accidents.


Factors to consider when installing a stairlift


When installing a stairlift, consider factors such as professional installation, structural modifications, and customisation features. Professional installation typically costs £500 to £1,500, while structural modifications range from £500 to £2,000. Customisation features can add £500 to £2,000 to the overall expense. 


Stairlifts typically require routine maintenance by qualified technicians at least once a year to ensure optimal performance and safety. Regular servicing helps identify any potential issues and addresses them promptly, reducing the risk of breakdowns and prolonging the lifespan of the equipment.


Are there any alternatives to stairlifts and homelifts? 


If you’re on the fence about whether to invest in a stairlift or homelift for your property, there are a few other alternatives you can consider instead before you commit to a stairlift. 


Wheelchair ramps


For individuals who have difficulty using stairs but prefer to remain in their wheelchair, wheelchair ramps offer a practical solution. Ramps can be installed indoors or outdoors to provide barrier-free access to entrances, patios, or other areas of the home.


Residential inclined platform lifts


Similar to stairlifts but with a platform instead of a chair, residential inclined platform lifts are designed to transport individuals and wheelchairs up and down straight or curved staircases. These lifts offer versatility and can accommodate users with varying mobility needs.


Redesigning living spaces


In some cases, modifying the layout of the home to eliminate the need for stairs may be the best solution. This could involve relocating bedrooms, bathrooms, or other essential living areas to the ground floor or adding an extension to accommodate accessible living spaces.


Assistance from caregivers


For individuals with limited mobility who require occasional assistance, having a caregiver or family member available to provide physical support when navigating stairs can be an alternative solution. This option may require careful coordination and communication to ensure safety and comfort for all parties involved.


Compare stairlift providers with help from SpotDif 


Choosing between a stairlift and a homelift depends on your individual mobility needs, space availability, budget considerations, and aesthetic preferences. Stairlifts offer practical accessibility for navigating stairs, while homelifts provide full accessibility to multiple levels of your home. 


At SpotDif, we compare hundreds of stairlift providers to find you the best deal on your stair lift. Take a look at our price comparison tool, or contact us today to get started. 

author
Molly Govus
Health Sector Specialist
My goal is to help you make the most informed decision for your health needs. No smoke, no mirrors — just research-led guidance and money-saving advice.
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