Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
The Stannah Sofia is a stylish stairlift with multiple customizable options. You can choose the color and material of the seat to match your decor. Stannah produces two variants of the Sofia: a straight stairlift and a curved stairlift.
While the straight stairlift has a maximum weight capacity of 340 pounds, which is comparable to the Acorn 130 Superglide, the curved model can only bear a maximal weight of 265 pounds, which is comparable to the Acorn 180. Besides this, the ability to adjust seat height in the straight model and the need for a winding rail for the curved model, the two models are identical.
This battery-powered stairway lift fits to stairs and not walls. It starts, moves and stops softly. The batteries in the carriage charge at the top and foot of the stairs when the stairlift is not in use. While this ensures that the stairlift is ready to go even during power outages, heavy use can leave the batteries depleted if the stairlift does not stay long at its charging bases. This is unlike some premium stairlifts that keep charging even when moving along their rails.
Most of the technical innovations of the Stannah Sofia are present in its seat. As with most handicap stairlifts, the Sofia's seat is padded, wide and comfortable. It also has a seat belt, key switch, safety sensors and adjustable arms. Besides these standard features, this stairlift has a seat-load sensor that ensures the carriage moves only when you are safely seated. In addition, there is a very sensitive tiller-shaped control for moving the stairlift. It takes a while to get used to the fine calibration of its control, and, with no way to adjust its sensitivity, those with shaky hands may find its sensitivity too high.
More on Senior Mobility
When it is not in use, the stairlift folds up out of the way at the foot and top of the stairs. It folds and opens up in a single step that involves pushing down or pulling up the seat. To make getting on and coming off this stair elevator even more convenient, the Stannah Sofia has a two-way powered swivel option. This may help you avoid the awkwardness of using the chair, but the power swivel may end up raising maintenance and repair costs.
The Stannah Sofia looks elegant and luxurious and has a broad two-year warranty, but its tiller control may put off people with limited dexterity, and its slowly charging battery does not stand up to heavy use.