Stair Lift Cost and Other FAQs

If you’re new to stair lifts, you probably have many questions. To facilitate your investigation process, we’ve compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) regarding stair lifts. This is perhaps the fastest way to get you up to speed and comfortable with stair lifts.

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How much do stair lifts cost?

The national 2018 starting cost for installed straight-run indoor stair lifts began at $3,000. (Our installed prices were below this cost, plus there’s no sales tax).

If the stairs curve or have landings, expect to pay 4 - 5 times the cost of a straight run unit. (Although in some landing situations, clients have opted to go with two straight units).

What drives the cost of stair lifts?

Several factors can drive the cost of a stair list:

  • Brand’s business model - nationally advertised stair lifts and those sold through salesrooms generally cost more. See Why Ameriglide Stair Lifts Cost Less.
  • Lift Capacity - loads greater than 300 lbs require more robust drives, motors and components, all costing more.
  • Length of rail required - standard rail allowance is generally 14 ft.; extra footage costs extra.
  • Mounting surface - wooden stairs are less costly to drill into than concrete, steel, tile, etc.).
  • Type of Stairs - stairs with bends, curves or landings require special measurements and factory (custom) bent rails and cost more; straight-run lifts cost less.
  • Usage - indoor vs. outdoor; units operating in the elements require special weather-proofing; (lifts inside attached garages are considered inside units).
  • Options - client requested add-ons (e.g. color, automatic features, locks) vs. standard lift amenities.

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Will Medicare help pay for a stair lift?

No, but if you itemize your taxes, check with your tax preparer. If you’re able to deduct the cost, get a written recommendation your doctor for. Also the VA has been known to help certain vets (and their spouses) who served during (not necessarily in) certain war/conflicts.

What is the warranty on stair lifts? 

Warranties will vary by brand. Average industry (and Ameriglide) warranty have a 5 yr. guarantee on the drive unit, 2 years on components and 30 days on batteries. In general stair lifts are very reliable.

Longer and extended warranties can be somewhat of a ploy, as years of carefree operation are possible when load capacities are observed and track rails kept clean and lubricated.

But for own protection, we strongly suggest that your stair lift plugs into a surge protector. This device would help avoid “frying” the electronics from “Acts of God” (lightning strikes) or utility line work mishaps, neither which are covered by warranty.

What about used or refurbished stair lifts? 

While you can purchase used and refurbished units for less money, these lifts carry either limited or no warranties. Oftentimes we can make you an attractive offer on a new unit with a full warranty.

What are the electrical requirements? 

Our lifts run from a standard 3-prong (grounded) outlet. This outlet can be located at either the bottom or the top of the stairs. If there is no outlet within 8 ft. of either end of the track, we have certified electricians available.

Will the door at the top of my stairs close?

Yes, plus the stair lift needs to be on the same side of the step where the door is hinged, with the door swinging away from the stairwell (vs. into).

How do you get off the stair lift at the top? 

Most stairlifts are equipped with seat swivel levers that turn and lock the seat 90 degrees into the landing at the top. This ensures that feet are securely planted on the top landing and that the seat does not move.

How safe and reliable are stair lifts? 

All new units sold within the U.S. must meet certain federal safety regulations, which include seat belts, over-speed governors (for braking if the downward speed exceed limits) and track sensors for stopping the unit should the lift make contact with an item in the track area. In addition, most units today are powered by safe DC current, so chances of electrocution and/or fire is remote.

As for reliability, when properly installed, operated within weight capacities and maintained (i,e, track rails kept lightly lubricated and clean from dirt & pet hair) a stair lift should operate with very little servicing.

Will installing a lift ruin my walls?

Our lifts are installed onto the steps with support brackets. These brackets are secured to your steps using wood screws.

What’s the best stair lift?

Ask 10 different stair lift owners, and most likely you’ll get 10 different answers. From our research, we concluded that functionally, all stairlifts are about the same. We say this because:

1) all lifts must meet the same government safety regulations and,

2) offering features beyond these standard requirements would not be cost competitive.

We also determined that the difference between happy and unhappy stair-lift owners was generally not due to the unit. Rather, satisfaction came from their overall experience with sales, installation and support personnel they dealt with throughout the process. This is why we assume responsibility for the entire process and do not sub contract the work. (For more on stair lifts see About Us, Ameriglide and the Stair Lift Industry).

Finally, aside from drive systems (cable, rack & pinion or worm) or power supply (electrical or battery powered), all standard stair lifts are all basically the same.

How long does the installation take?

A professional straight-run stair lift installation may take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours.

How can I tell how the lift will fit on my stairs?

While you can visit some showrooms and even ride up three or four steps, we bring prototypes to your home for pre-evaluation. You’ll see where the rail will be placed and the actual space the lift will take up on your stairs.

I am wheelchair bound. How would a stair lift help me get up my steps?

For those who cannot easily transfer from a wheelchair to a room chair, a platform lift may be in order. Since there are various options available, call us to discuss your need.

Is a stair lift a DIY project?

For some people and some models, yes; but expect to spend 6-8 hours on instructional reading/viewing, tool gathering and actual installation. Also be forewarned that: 1) videos and documentation are not necessarily synchronized or up to date with the latest engineering changes; 2) the company’s world-wide call-in support “team” at most is no greater than two or three individuals and 3) this team is not available evenings nor weekends. 4) Moreover, call-in priority is first given to their subcontracted installers, which puts DIY’ers in the back of their que. 5) Finally, damages incurred to the drive carriage or components during your installation are your responsibilities.

Do you service/fix other stair lift brands?

While Ameriglide the Horizon, Rave, & Rubex models dominate our sales, we can provide service on Acorn 120, 130 & 180, Bruno Elite, Easy Climber, Handicare, Harmar SL300 & SL600, Legacy, Savaria, Silver Cross, Stannah, Summit and other models as our expertise grows.

Why do Ameriglide stair lifts cost less?

The US stair lift industry is very competitive and regulated by certain mandated federal safety laws. As a result, stairlifts are rather homogeneous. To complete, stair lift companies have developed various business models:

Some companies use traditional brick & mortar dealer showrooms. These lift dealers not only have sales and service payrolls, but also rent / lease, inventory, franchise, utility and insurance expenses as well.

In an attempt to achieve brand name recognition, e.g. Acorn and Easy Climber, use extensive TV and/or printed advertising campaigns. Their sales reps are commissioned, not employed by the brand. Installations as well are then handed over to a commissioned third-party subcontractor.

In both cases, brand-name advertising or dealer showrooms, each strategy ultimately result in higher prices for the customer.

In 2001, Ameriglide adopted a factory direct business model; i.e. selling stair lifts directly to certified dealers and DIY’ers. This eliminated overhead costs such as advertising, leases, franchise fees, inventory and distribution. In doing so, they offer lower prices in order to achieve greater market share; plus, there’s no sales tax.

Are you located near me?

We normally serve a 40 mile radius of Mentor, including the counties of Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, the city of Solon and nearby communities.

 For a no-hassle estimate, please call Jim at 440-667-8827.