The best stairlifts are designed to increase your sense of independence and mobility at home, and while stairlifts are typically used by the older generation, they can be indispensable for people of any age who find it tricky to use the stairs at home. The top stairlifts come in a range of different styles to suit not only your mobility needs, but the layout of your home too. And that includes stairlifts for curved stairs, as well as some options for narrow staircases.
If you are thinking about investing in a stairlift this year, it’s worth noting that they usually come with a weight capacity of around 250-300lbs. That said, in our guide to the best stairlift companies and products we have included a bariatric stairlift that can accommodate weights of up to 600lbs. Unsure which is the right stairlift for you? Well, there are several things to consider, including the stairlift’s overall ease of use, the safety features on offer, and what the warranty entails.
There could be other things that you haven’t thought of yet, such as whether you need a sit-stand 'perch' seat - these generally make it a little easier for you to get in and out of the stairlift. The good news is that the best stairlift companies now offer a range of products at different prices, and are clear in advance about what costs you may entail. Buying a stairlift isn’t something you should rush into, but if you do have an emergency need, we have also featured a stairlift company below that offers a rapid installation service.
For more ways to stay independent at home, take a look at our guides to best walk-in tubs and the best electric wheelchairs. Or, to move around freely indoors and outside, read our guide to the best mobility scooters.
The best stairlift companies and products to consider now
1. AmeriGlide: Best stairlifts for value
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There are only seven AmeriGlide stairlifts, but that includes chairs for indoor, outdoor, straight and curved staircase options. Every stairlift is listed with the base price of the lift, so you have a good idea of what you’ll be paying. AmeriGlide also lists costs for extra features and accessories, but not installation costs.
This is because you would be responsible for installing your AmeriGlide stairlift. However, AmeriGlide designs its stairlifts to be easy to install without the help of a professional, and has detailed instructions on its website and packaged with the stairlift.
Each AmeriGlide stairlift is clearly priced online, including add-ons, and is the only stairlift company we reviewed that lets you buy directly through its website. Part of the reason its lifts are lower priced than others is that it uses aluminum rails instead of steel. It's worth noting that AmeriGlide stairlifts are only covered by a one year warranty.
2. Stannah: Best curved stairlifts
Every curved Stannah stairlift is custom made for your home. Though the selection is limited, each stairlift has several seating options including heated chairs, to make them more comfortable.
Its perch-style seats are helpful for those who need more assistance getting up and down from a traditional chair. How? The perch enables you to stay more upright and puts less pressure on your knees, hips, and backs.
Stannah stairlifts don’t include bariatric models, but the brand does offer indoor and outdoor stairlifts. Stannah dealers and service technicians are friendly and helpful, and every stairlift comes with a 10-year warranty.
3. Harmar: Best stairlifts for heavier users
Every Harmar stairlift mounts to either your existing railings or to the ground instead of the wall to cut down on the time and renovations needed to install your lift. The patented quiet drive system keeps the lift steady while in motion and is safely encased to keep oil and residue from falling on your floors. Harmar stairlifts include additional safety features like motion sensors, seatbelts, and key locks.
You can choose up to six different chair colors to match the decor of your home or office building. Most Harmar stairlifts work in either a private home or in a commercial building, including residential living facilities. The best stairlift offered by Harmar, the Pinnacle Heavy Duty, holds up to 600lbs.
4. Acorn: Best stairlifts company for fast installation
Acorn is the best stairlift company to choose if you need a stairlift installed quickly. The whole process of purchasing and installing an Acorn stairlift takes just a few days, with some areas offering next-day installation once the stairlift has been purchased.
The batteries of Acorn’s stairlifts should last for five years before needing to be replaced. However, many existing users complain that Acorn's stairlift batteries tend to die within two years of purchase. And in order to fix the problem, you’ll need to open an issue ticket with Acorn then wait for a technician to get around to visiting you with the part you need replacing.
Best stairlifts FAQ
How to choose the best stairlift for you
We have been evaluating stairlifts for several years, which means we know what to look for in the best stairlifts, and what you should consider to ensure you're picking the right one for you. Here are the most important things to keep in mind:
Weight limits: Every stairlift has a maximum weight limit with most holding between 300-350lbs. Lifts that hold more than this are known as bariatric stairlifts. On average, bariatric units hold up to 400lbs, but there are some companies that offer models that hold up to 600lbs.
Rails: Some stairlifts have a single rail system while others have two. Rails are either curved or straight depending on how your stairs are laid out. Depending on the company stairlift, rails may be mounted to your walls, existing stair rails, or to the stairs themselves.
Power source: Most stairlifts include a battery pack that recharges while the lift is parked. This is the best power source since the stairlift will still work during power outages. However, it can be difficult to replace these batteries since most companies don’t sell them directly to consumers. You can choose a stairlift that uses electrical power and simply plugs into an existing electrical outlet in your home.
Safety features: The two biggest safety features to look for are seatbelts and object sensors. Sensors pick up when there is something in the way of your lift and will stop before you bump into it. The best stairlifts have sensors that stop for both alive and inanimate objects. Seatbelts keep you in place while the stairlift is in motion. Some of the best companies have programed their lifts to stay put until the seatbelt has been properly used.
Another popular safety feature is a key lock. This prevents others from using your chair, but can also keep curious children safe if they decide to climb on or play with the lift.
Warranty: The best stairlifts always come with a warranty, but the length and type of warranty varies greatly between brands. The industry standard is a one-year warranty, but we’ve found high-quality stairlifts that last a long time and therefore come with an extended warranty. Some companies include a five, or ten year warranty, for example, with a couple guaranteeing their top of the line stairlifts with a lifetime warranty.
How much do the best stairlifts cost?
Because of the different types of stairlifts and the number of options available with each, it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact cost. However, you can find a straight lift for as little as $1,000, but it is more realistic to pay around $3,000.
When it comes to the best stairlifts for curved, platform and switchback staircases, you can expect to pay much more, possibly double the amount of a straight stairlift. Expect to pay more for any home renovations needed before your lift is installed, and a few hundred to $1,000 more for the actual stairlift installation.
Are stairlifts covered by Medicare?
Stairlifts are considered home improvement pieces, much like adding a spare bedroom. As such, stairlifts are not covered by Medicare Part B, which covers Durable Medical Equipment, or Medicare Part D, which covers medicine only.
A handful of the best health insurance companies will cover a portion of the cost of a stairlift if it is prescribed as a medical device from your physician. However, this only applies to the lift itself, and not the maintenance or home renovations needed for the stairlift to be installed.
Are the best stairlifts tax deductible?
While the stairlift itself may not be tax-deductible, the cost of the renovations needed to install the lift may be. The IRS lists, in great detail, construction costs that can be claimed. These include widening doorways and hallways, installing railings and support bars, moving or modifying electrical outlets and installing lifts.
Because we are not tax experts, we recommend speaking with an accountant or an IRS representative to learn more about what qualifies for a deduction.
Can you rent a stairlift?
Yes. Several stairlift manufacturers allow you to rent a lift for a little while, which is helpful if you need one for a recovery period following an accident or surgery. The terms and conditions for renting a stairlift vary and are overseen by a dealer in your area.
Typically, you have to pay fees for installation, de-installation and a monthly maintenance fee with a three-month minimum. If your need for a stairlift is expected to last less than a year, then do the math and figure out if renting would be less expensive than buying.
For extra peace of mind at home, take a look at our guide to the best medical alert systems, which can be used with the best fall detection devices to help you stay safe at home.