What Factors Should One Consider When Buying A Stair Lift?

red straight stairlift

A stair lift, or otherwise known as a chair lift, is a mobility solution for the physical impaired. In layman terms, it facilitates the transportation of an individual up or down a flight of stairs. If you are a home owner in need of a transportation between different levels of your home, then a stair lift could be the answer you need.

A stair lift does not operate on its own. Instead, its system is made of various components such as the rails, seat and power supply. As such, it can be difficult for first time buyers to properly evaluate the effectiveness of a single chair lift.

This article has been written to serve as a guide for first time stair lift buyers. It covers the most important factors to consider when purchasing a chair lift.

Factors to Consider when Buying a Stair Lift

When choosing a stair lift product or company, it is important that you evaluate the following criteria:

  • How is your staircase structured?
  • What is the estimated battery life?
  • Availability of electricity or power sockets?
  • Maintenance required to ensure operational status?
  • Reliability or reputation of the chosen installation company?

Staircase Structure

The first factor that you need to consider is the structure of your home’s staircase. If your house has a single flight of stairs that is straight and of average width, then most stair lift models should work. However, if it is structured differently or if your house has multiple flights of stairs, then a custom solution may be needed.

Houses that have 3 or more levels should consider a platform glass lift instead due the extended time needed to go from ground level to level 3. Additionally, having a stair lift that caters to 3 or more levels would not be cost efficient.

Having that said, it is still possible to have a stairlift fix from ground to level 3 if a glass platform lift installation is not feasible.

The availability of space at these areas must be sufficient to accommodate the chair and the user. Additionally, the parts of the rail at these areas will have to be custom made according to the dimensions of the staircase.

Another case that necessities custom rail work would be houses that feature curved staircases. Depending on the curvature of the staircase, a custom rail will have to be created for the stair lift. In particular, the base track needs to be bent and joined at precise angles to fit your staircase.

Finally, while a chair lift does consume much space, it does not fit all staircases. In the event that your staircase is overly narrow, a store away solution can be implemented. This involves building a retractable function where the rail can be stored away when not in used. Alternatively, you may wish to consider installing a platform lift instead to bypass the staircase.

Estimated Battery Life

All modern-day stair lifts are powered by built-in portable batteries. This enables them to operate at distance from your home’s power supply while also being able to work in the event of a power trip.

When not in use, the batteries are usually charged via the rail that has a battery charger at its end. While these batteries do allow stair lifts to operate without direct electrical power inflow, they are not designed for prolong use in this manner. Instead, your chair lift should be plugged in and turned on at all times.

Similar to any other battery, your stair lift’s batteries have a finite number of charge cycles. Once you have used up the charge cycles, the battery will no longer be operational. Continual usage under these conditions would place the user at risk as a power shortage could leave him or her stranded on your staircase.

Assuming a typical daily workload, your chair lift’s batter should last for around 2 years. At which point, you will need to contact stairlift suppliers for a replacement battery.

Availability of Electricity or Power Sockets

As mentioned previously, stair lifts require electrical power to operate. The flow of electricity goes from your home’s power supply to the rail and finally to the battery.

What this means for you is that a power supply needs to be near your staircase in order to charge the chair lift.

Maintenance Required

Like any piece of machinery, a chair lift requires regular maintenance. Before purchasing a stair lift, we recommend that you check with the supplier about the maintenance needed for the given model. Common maintenance practices include:

  • Cleaning and lubricating the chair lift’s track
  • Performing a visual inspection of all mechanical moving parts – check for loose parts
  • Checking the working condition of all gears
  • Tightening of all mounting bolts

The list we have provided is non-exhaustive. Certain models or installations of stair lifts may require different maintenance works and frequencies. It is thus recommended that you check with several chair lift companies on the types of maintenance needed for their stair lifts.

Reliability of the Stair Lift Supplier

Finally, the quality of the chair lift and its installation needs to be considered. In this aspect, hiring the right stair lift supplier and installer is critical to ensuring that you have a fully functioning and enduring chair lift.

When determining the reliability of the supplier, you should find out about where the chair lift was designed in. We recommend relying on stair lifts that were designed in the United Kingdom as the UK is renowned for craftmanship in this industry.

Additionally, it is important that you look at the quality of the installer. In which case, testimonials, past projects and case studies should have you differentiate the good from the average.

How Tai Hee Engineering Trading Can Help

Tai Hee Engineering is one of the leading chair lift companies in Asia. Since 2006, we have been bringing the latest accessibility equipment and technology from Europe to Asia. Over the course of more than 500 private and commercial projects, we have successfully provided mobility solutions to our clients. We provide sound advice for all clients and recommend the appropriate product that best caters to their needs. Enquire about our electric stair lift products today.

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