A stair lift is the perfect solution if you are having trouble getting up and down the stairs, but want to remain in your home as you age. At Lifeway, stair lifts are our specialty! These FAQs are compiled from the most common questions we've heard from customers throughout the years. Asking questions about the product, installation, and service is very important because it will help you better determine whether or not it is the best solution for you or your loved one. Also, it will help us make the best possible recommendation to help you safely navigate the stairs at home.
What is a stair lift?
A stair lift is a motorized chair that travels along a track on a straight or curved staircase. It operates on battery power and uses a rack-pinion drive system to provide a safe and easy way to get up and down the stairs for those with limited mobility. A stair lift is also commonly referred to as a chair lift, stair chair lift, stairway lift, or stair glide.
Can I buy a stair lift if my stairs have curves or turns?
Yes, there are specific stairway lift models that are designed to fit staircases that have curves, turns, or intermediate landings. These types of models have rails that are custom designed to fit the exact design of your own staircase.
How does a stair lift work?
A stair lift is a product that is very easy to operate! A person can ride up or down the stairs by holding a button down or pushing a switch that is located on the armrest of the chair. As the user holds down the standard rocker switch or optional toggle switch, the chair lift smoothly travels up or down the stairs.
How do you get on and off the chair safely?
A safe entry and exit are at the top of our priorities for every customer. The seat at the top will swivel onto the landing, or an optional rail overrun can be used to get on and off safely. At the bottom landing, the chair is always on the floor-level for a safe exit and entry.
How much weight can a stair lift carry?
The weight limit for our Bruno Elan stair lift is 300 lbs, and our Bruno Elite model carries up to 400 lbs. The heavy-duty model that we sell, which is the Harmar Pinnacle SL 600 HD, can carry up to 600 lbs.
How much space does a stair lift take up?
Our stair lifts run on a rail that can be installed within 5" of the wall, leaving ample space in the stairway. When not in use, the stair lift’s arms, seat, and footrest can be flipped up so they do not obstruct the stairs. When the seat is folded up, it is 12" from the wall, railing, doorjamb, or other obstruction.
If I have a narrow staircase, will the lift still fit?
Yes, in almost all cases the lift will fit. Our experts can help you determine if there is an issue at all with the width of the staircase.
How far does the rail stick out past the bottom stair?
The rail of a straight stair lift sticks out approximately 16 inches and a curved rail will stick out approximately 20 inches.
This is because the track has to go all the way to the floor for a safe and easy exit. If this is an issue for your home, a manual or power folding track can be added. (See video below.)
Can I try before I buy?
Yes, and we encourage you to do so! All locations, except for Indiana, have showrooms with fully operational equipment that we sell and install, including stair lifts. At your local showroom, you can test ride a lift before deciding to buy one. Many of our customers have found the showroom to be extremely helpful because it allows you to do an in-person comparison of different stair lifts. Pictures and videos are great, but there’s nothing like being able to see and test out the actual product. You will be able to confirm whether or not this is the right solution for your needs and situation.
Call (844) 882-3664 for more information or to schedule an appointment. Drop-ins are also welcome, and after-hours appointments in the evenings and on Saturdays are available.
What is the best stair lift for my family member or friend?
We carry a few different stair lifts models for straight staircases as well as those that have curves, turns, or intermediate landings. One of our consultants will match the appropriate stair lift for the person(s) that will be using it, by taking into account the user’s mobility, weight, and height.
How soon can you install a stair lift?
Depending on your Lifeway location's stair lift inventory, we can install your straight stair lift as quickly as the next day, in some cases even the same day. For curved or custom stair lifts, installation can be finished in 2-4 weeks. Our curved lifts are engineered to fit your stairway precisely; they are not modular in design as others are in the market. This ensures a smooth ride that outlasts other lifts.
How long does it take for a stair lift to be installed?
On average, it usually takes 3-6 hours for a stair lift to be fully installed and ready to use. The time of installation will depend on whether it’s a straight or curved stair lift. After the lift is installed, our technicians will take the time to help you learn how to safely operate the lift.
Can a stair lift be installed outside? If so, will it be protected?
Yes, there are models that can be built on a straight or curved outdoor staircase. Outdoor stair lift models are just like indoor models. The only difference is that the outdoor models are built to withstand the outdoor elements. There is also a cover that comes with the lift to protect it when it is not in use.
Can I install a stair lift myself?
Technically, you can install a lift yourself, but the stairs lifts that we sell can only be installed by our own technicians. We have our own certified and factory trained technicians that install hundreds of lifts a year to ensure they are safe, secure, and don’t void warranty. Lifeway technicians are also licensed, which is actually a requirement in many states for the installation of a lift in a residential space.
Is my wall strong enough to support a stair lift?
Stair lifts are installed on rails mounted to the treads of the stairs and do not need a wall for support.
What is the stair lift attached to when installed? Will it ruin or damage my walls?
A common misconception about stair lifts is that they are attached to the walls. However, when installed they are actually attached to the treads of the stairs, not the wall. There are no structural changes are needed for a stair lift to be installed in your home.
Do you have to remove the railing when you install a stair lift?
In most cases, the railing does not needs to be removed.
How much does a stair lift cost?
Pricing for straight stair lifts starts at $2,200 installed for a used stair lift and new stair lift pricing starts at $3,000, plus installation. Outdoor straight stair lifts are $5,500 range. Curved stair lifts are individually made to fit your stairway, so prices will vary, but typical costs range between $9,500 and $16,000. For more information, see our page about stair lift pricing. For an exact quote, please call us at (844) 882-3664.
Does Medicare cover stair lifts?
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of a stair lift because they do not consider it to be durable medical equipment. This may change in the future, but for now, this is how Medicare stands on the issue. Find alternative funding sources ›
Are there rental options available?
Yes, Lifeway does offer rental stair lift options. A rental is also a great choice when it is unknown how long the lift is going to be needed. For example, if your parent just had knee surgery, a doctor may advise that they do not use the stairs for a few months. While it could just be a few months of recovery, it could be an extended period of time that the stairs are unsafe to use. If it is decided that the rental is needed for the long haul, there is a purchase option.
To learn more about how our stair lift rental program works please feel free to call us at (844) 882-3664 or visit our rental stair lifts page.
What warranty do you offer on stair lifts?
- Indoor straight stair lifts have a 2-year warranty on parts & batteries and a limited lifetime warranty.
- Indoor curved stair lifts and all outdoor stair lifts have a 2-year warranty on parts & batteries and a 5-year warranty on major components.
For indoor curved stair lifts and all outdoor stair lifts, Lifeway also provides an additional warranty on the motor—lifetime coverage for the original owner at no additional expense.
In addition, we offer a 1-year labor warranty on all new stair lifts that we sell and install.
Warranty information provided above is applicable to new stair lifts only. Please contact us to learn about our used stair lift warranties.
Do your stair lifts work on electrical power or battery?
For maximum safety, our stair lifts are battery-powered. Stair lifts come with a battery charger that plugs into a wall outlet.
What are the electrical requirements?
A common household 110-volt outlet is all that is needed.
If it storms and the power goes out, will my lift still work?
Yes, because the lifts are all battery-operated. The lift will be able to provide you with ample trips up/down the stairs after the power goes out.
What kind of batteries are in a stair lift?
Our stair lifts use two 12V batteries, which ensure dependable performance even in a power outage.
How long do stair lift batteries last?
How long the batteries in your stair lift last depends on many variables, including the weight of the user, the frequency of usage, and the incline of the stairs. As a general guideline, batteries usually need to be replaced after 1-3 years with heavy use, and 3-5 years with light use.
Does a stair lift require servicing? How often? How much does it cost?
Yes, at times stair lifts do require servicing, such as battery replacement or repair of a malfunctioning part. Preventive maintenance will help minimize unexpected repair calls. Lifeway provides a free first-year service and battery replacement, and also offers preventive maintenance programs for purchase.
What is the most common thing to go wrong with a stair lift?
Mechanical issues are the most common problems with stair lifts. If you experience a mechanical problem with your stair lift, it can usually be fixed with a minor adjustment by one of our technicians. The second most common issue is battery replacement.
Can a stair lift be removed?
Yes, stair lifts can be uninstalled within a couple of hours if they are no longer needed.
Can I sell a stair lift back to you when I no longer need it? How much will I get for it?
If you have one of our straight stair lift models, you may sell it back to us when you no longer need it. We will properly remove the unit, and pay you an amount that is determined by a number of factors, including use, condition, and age.
Are your stair lifts made in the USA?
Why is ISO9000 important to consumers?
ISO 9000 is a set of international standards on quality management and quality assurance developed to help companies effectively document the quality system elements to be implemented to maintain an efficient quality system. The Bruno stair lift is the only ISO9000 manufactured unit on the market. The product was manufactured using strict quality standards.