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Which is the Best Stair Lift to Buy?

Posted on by John Burfield

Bruno Elite stair liftIf you’ve been thinking about buying or renting a stair lift, you’re probably wondering which model is the best one to buy. Ranking any type of product can be subjective and if you ask 100 people, you’re likely to get many different answers. However, when you compare several makes and models of popular stair lifts side by side, it’s not too hard to see which ones rank better than others.


What to Look For

When selecting the stair lift that is right for you, there are important factors to take into consideration.

  • Weight capacity
  • Safety features - seat belt, obstruction sensors, etc.
  • Hidden or open gear rack
  • Continuous charging
  • Comfort – Seat width, footrest width, distance between armrests, adjustable seat height, seat padding
  • Distance from the wall
  • Warranty
  • Standard and optional features – Power or manual folding rail, power swivel seat, power footrest, etc.
  • Average speed
  • Custom curved rail or modular curved rail – applies to curved stair lifts
  • Local service technicians
  • Consumer reviews

You'll notice that stairlift cost is not included on this list and there is a good reason for this. Often times, people fall into the trap of thinking that the least expensive option is always the best value. While this can be true when comparing some products, not all stair lifts are created equal.

Regardless of which chair lift that you choose, it will likely be a significant investment and the best value will be the model of lift that provides you the features and options that suit your needs, at a reasonable price – not necessarily the cheapest option. There is a reason that some stair lift models cost more than others. Many low cost or DYI stair lifts that you see advertised on late night T.V. or on the internet are of lesser quality than some of the more reputable brands and finding a service technician for these models can be a challenge.

Our Choice

When purchasing a stairlift, it is important to select one that will provide a reliable, conformable, and stylish ride. For this reason we recommend the Bruno Elite followed by the Bruno Elan. These models perform well in all of of the categories outlined above and are made in the USA.

If you find that these models are out of your budget, consider some the funding and financing options that may be available to you. While there are many quality stair lifts out their, you won't be sorry if you select one of these Bruno models.

Compare Straight Stair Lifts

Manufacturer Bruno Bruno Handicare Handicare Savaria Acorn
Stair Lift Model Elan Elite Simplicity 1000 K2 130
Stair Lift Image Bruno Elan Bruno Elite Handicare Simplicity Handicare 1000 Savaria K2 Acorn 130
Manufacturer Location USA USA UK UK China UK
Weight Capacity 300 lbs. 400 lbs. 310 lbs. 350 lbs. 350 lbs. 300 lbs.
Hidden Gear Rack on Rail Track            
Charges Anywhere on Track         (available as option) Top or bottom only
Adjustable Seat Heights            
Seat Belt            
Obstruction Safety Sensors            
Seat Swivels Full 90° at Top Landing            
Warranty on Major Components (Motor & Gearbox) Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime 36 months 1 year
Warranty on Parts 2 years 2 years 2 years 2 years 3 years 1 year
Rail Distance from Wall 5" 6" 6 ¼" 6" 9" 9–10"
Space Between Armrests 20" 20 ¼" 19" 19" 21"  
Average Speed 18 ft/min 25 ft/min 24 ft/min 24 ft/min 15 ft/min 24 ft/min
Painted Rail            
Rail Width Less Than 2.5"            
Manual Folding Rail            
Power Folding Rail            
Upholstery Choices            
Power Swivel Seat            
Power Folding Footrest            
Larger Footrest            

Compare Curved Stair Lifts

Manufacturer Bruno Handicare HAWLE Treppenlifte Acorn Harmar
Stairlift Model Elite Curved Freecurve H10 180 Helix
Stair Lift Image Bruno Elite Curved Handicare Freecurve Hawle Treppenlifte H10 Acorn 180 Harmar Helix
Consumer Affairs Star Rating 4.9/5 4.6/5   1.9/5  
Manufacturer Location USA Europe Europe UK USA
Weight Capacity 400 lbs. 275 lbs. 350 lbs. 265 lbs. 350 lbs.
Rail Type Custom-built, solid steel rail Single, tubular style steel rail Double, tubular style steel rail Modular rail, extruded aluminum Double, tubular style steel rail
Warranty on Major Components (Motor/Gearbox/Rail) Motor: 5 years Gearbox: 5 years Rail: 5 years Motor: 10 years Gearbox: 10 years Rail: 2 years Motor: 5 years Gearbox: 5 years Rail: 2 years Motor: 1 year Gearbox: 1 year Rail: 1 year Motor: 2 years Gearbox: 2 years Rail: 2 years
Warranty on Parts 2 years 2 years 2 years 1 year 2 years
Warranty on Labor (Provided by Lifeway) 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year
Gear Rack on Rail Track Covered Exposed Exposed Exposed Exposed
Rail Distance from Wall or Obstruction 7-9" 7-9" 6.3-9" 13.25" 7-9"
Average Speed 25 fpm 21.5 fpm 19.7 fpm 19 fpm 20 fpm
Max Rail Length Not Specified 115 ft. 131 ft. Not Specified 164 ft.
Arm Width 17.5-23" 22-23.5" 19-23" 19" 23.6"
Min. Staircase Width 31" 27.25" 30" Not Specified 31"
Folding Rail          
Rail Overrun for Top/Bottom Park Positions          
Rail Paint Color Options     Available (indoor only)    
Upholstery Color Choices          
Power Swivel Seat          
Power Folding Footrest          
Larger Footrest          
Seat Style Choice Standard or large   1 standard style seat   1 standard style seat
Can Be Installed Outdoors?          

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