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The Bruno Elite SRE-2010 straight stairlift is a well-designed, full-featured and sturdy unit that is especially well suited to heavier individuals.

The Elite uses a powerful worm gear and rack-and-pinion drive system to move its carriage along a vertical anodized rail. The stairlift supports a maximum weight of 400 pounds, which is 50 to 100 pounds more than the standard models of other popular stairlifts. You can even choose wider seats and footrests for personalized comfort.

Both the footrest and seat of the carriage can flip and fold away when not in use. Even then, the stairlift is rather bulky, and its profile from the wall is 24 inches unfolded (15-1/8 inches folded). Therefore, the Elite is not for use on narrow stairs.

The stairlift’s footrest and padded, contoured seat are adjustable to suit the user’s height. Options include a larger seat pad, a power swivel seat, folding rails (manual or power) to avoid obstructing a nearby doorway and a power-folding footrest. The powered mechanism that turns the Elite’s seat and footrest can break down, however, and though Bruno’s warranty covers those parts, waiting for replacements can be inconvenient.

The Elite comes with two 12-volt batteries that are continuously charged from a household power outlet. The batteries keep the stair elevator moving even when there is a power outage. With a long charge strip that covers the length of its rail, the Bruno Elite also can charge its batteries anywhere along the staircase, whereas models such as the Handicare 1000 and the Acorn 130 only charge their batteries when parked.

Look out for powder-coating problems with the Elite’s anodized rail within the first year of use. Specifically, you may see peeling, a color change or flaking powder dust coming off the rails.

To accommodate households with multiple users, the stairlift has a call and send feature, directing the carriage to the top or bottom of the stairs as needed. You can call up and send down the carriage with the two wireless remote controls included in the package.

The Elite’ safety features include a retractable seat belt and sensors in the footrest that monitor the lift’s path and stop the carriage if there is an object in its way. An onboard diagnostic system continuously monitors the stairlift and issues both audio and visual coded alerts. The diagnostic reports aid maintenance and service.

Bruno’s lifetime limited warranty covers most parts for two years and major components, such as the motor, gearbox and rail, for the unit’s lifetime.

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