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How to choose the best stair lift for your home

You have stairlift questions. We have answers.

Find answers to frequently asked questions about straight stairlifts, from funding information to installation, service and even what gardening zones are suitable for outdoor stairlift models.

Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? Contact us to get connected with your local Savaria Home Access expert.

Savaria Stairlift FAQ - Photos - Curved

General Stair Lift FAQ

A stair lift, also called a stairlift, stair chair, chair lift, or stairway lift, is a seat that runs along a motorized carriage and rail on the treads of stairs. Stair lifts are a great solution to help people with mobility issues age in place.

There are two types of stair lifts: ones designed for straight staircases and ones designed for staircases with curves or intermediate landings. Both types may feature outdoor packages depending on the stair lift model.

Straight stair lifts are designed for a single flight of straight-run stairs without any turns or landings. They are installed quickly and are less expensive than curved stair lifts. These can vary from very simple units like the Savaria K2, or more cutting-edge technologies like our Handicare 1100 model.

Curved stair lifts are designed for staircases that feature a turn, curve, or intermediate landing. They are also a great option to consider if you would like out-of-the-way parking for the chair at the top and/or bottom of your stairs. Some models like the Handicare Freecurve even offer powered upgrades including an automatic folding footrest, power swivel, and folding rail hinge.

Stair lifts typically use a rack and pinion drive system with a battery-operated motor that moves the chair up and down the stairs along a rail. Did you know the patented multi-drive system on the Handicare 1100 straight stairlift eliminates the traditional geared tooth rack? We use next-generation stairlift technology to give you a quieter, smoother ride. And thanks to no geared tooth rack, the rail is virtually maintenance-free.

A simple, straight stairlift can often be installed within 24-48 hours of the assessment by your Savaria Home Access expert. Because of the complexity of a curved stairlift, the process is a little bit longer, and involves three steps:

  1. Photo measuring session: using the revolutionary Savaria PS4D photo measuring system, your Home Access expert will take very precise measurements of your staircase. They may even be able to use PS4D to show you a realistic 3D rendering of your stairlift on your stairs before you place your order!
  2. Manufacture: using data from PS4D, we custom fabricate the rails for your curved stairlift at our North American manufacturing facility.
  3. Installation: your Savaria Home Access expert can install your new stairlift in about a day in most cases. Very complex staircases may take a little longer.

Get in touch with a Savaria Home Access expert to book your free assessment.

Typically, if you need a wheelchair or depend on a walker or rollator, you should consider a wheelchair lift instead of a stair lift because you’d need a separate mobility device at each level—you can’t take it along for the ride on your stairlift! However, you may be able to use a stair lift if you can easily transfer to it and are able to move about a level of your home without your mobility aid (or want to have one on each level, of course!). Consult your healthcare professional or Occupational Therapist about your unique needs before making a purchase.

It may be possible to install a stair lift outdoors, depending on your local conditions such as temperature and proximity to salt air. Many stair lifts are designed with durable materials to withstand rain, snow, and other weather. Generally speaking if you live in gardening zones 6-10 (USA) or 5-7 (Canada), your outdoor Savaria stairlift should be good to go! In colder climates, you may be able to install your stair lift in a garage for additional year-round weather protection. In extreme cold, there may be restrictions on outdoor installation.

For straight-run stairs, the Savaria K2 and our Handicare 1000 come with water-resistant, UV-protected outdoor packages. For curved stairs, our Handicare 4000 outdoor model is a versatile option.

Get in touch with your local Savaria Home Access expert to determine if an outdoor stair lift can be installed in your area.

You may be able to rent a straight stair lift from your local Savaria Home Access expert. On top of a base rental fee, there may be additional fees for installation and removal. Contact your Savaria Home Access expert to learn more.

A good curved stairlift—including all Savaria models—will include rails that have been custom made for the stairs it will be installed on, so these are usually not available as rentals.

Savaria has a network of Home Access experts near you that can help you through the process of purchasing a stair lift. Get in touch with us and we can connect you for a fast, free quote.

A straight stair lift is ideal for a straight-run staircase with no landings in the middle. If your staircase has curves, turns, or intermediate landings, you should consider a curved stair lift instead.

Medicare does not typically cover the cost of a stair lift. Medicaid will sometimes cover the cost since stair lifts are deemed medically necessary. Your local Savaria Home Access expert can help you determine what funding programs are available in your area.

Health insurance plans do not usually cover the cost of stair lifts. Contact your insurance provider for details about your specific plan.

There may be federal, state/provincial or local programs in your area that can help with funding your stairlift purchase, including Veterans Affairs in some cases. Many charitable organizations also provide funding in certain circumstances. Your local Savaria Home Access expert can help walk you through programs available in your area.

Stair lifts may be sales-tax-exempt or income-tax-deductible, depending on your location and circumstances. Contact your local Savaria Home Access expert to learn about more about stair lifts and taxes specific to your area.

Stair lifts are typically chargeable-battery-operated, so they can be used for several trips up and down during a power outage.

To avoid serious injury, a stair lift should never be installed, modified, or serviced by a non-professional. In many jurisdictions, a stairlift is a regulated safety device, and some regions may also require an inspection. DIY installation or repair of your stairlift may also void your warranty. Your local Savaria Home Access technician is a stairlift expert trained in the safe and correct installation and service of your stairlift. That’s why we only allow our stairlifts to be installed by our authorized dealer network.

The Savaria Home Access authorized dealer that installed your stair lift is the best place to call for service inquiries. If you can’t remember the name of the authorized dealer who installed your Savaria or Handicare model stairlift, give us a call toll-free at 1.888.333.5023 and our customer service team will be happy to help.

You should avoid using harsh cleaners on your stair lift. All you need is a damp cloth to wipe down the stair lift track and seat. Refer to your stair lift’s user manual for more information. Did you know our Handicare 1100 straight stairlift has a self-cleaning rail? Every time you ride your 1100, four brush heads constantly sweep dust and pet hair away from the rail!

We offer industry-leading warranties on our stairlifts. All Savaria models come with a 36-month manufacturer’s parts warranty. Our Handicare models come with a 24-month manufacturer’s parts and limited lifetime on rail and powertrain. Learn more on our warranty page, or talk to your local Savaria Home Access expert for more detailed information.

Every Savaria stairlift is designed, engineered and manufactured to meet the highest safety standards. That’s why we only allow our authorized Home Access experts to install and service our equipment.

To reduce the risk of injuries and accidents, avoid using DIY kits or trying to install or repair a stair lift yourself. Many dealers will refuse to service your unit—or may need to charge more to correct errors or additional problems caused by DIY work—and most manufacturers will void your warranty if you attempt to install or service it yourself.

Straight Stair Lifts FAQ

There are a number of variables that can affect the price of a stairlift. You may pay more for optional features, depending on the model. And installation costs can differ based on the condition of your staircase. With a brief consultation, our dealers can give you a solid estimate based on your home and your needs. Get in touch with your nearest Savaria Home Access expert for a fast quote.

The right stair lift for you depends on your unique needs and living space. A straight stair lift is suitable for a single straight run of stairs. The Savaria line-up of straight stair lifts means we have something for almost everyone—from basic mobility to models designed for very narrow staircases, or heavier-duty models, and even outdoor applications! You may also consider optional features such as a flip-up rail, powered folding footrest, and powered swivel seat. Your local Savaria Home Access expert can help you choose the right stair lift.

If your staircase has curves, turns, or intermediate landings, you should consider a curved stair lift instead.

A straight stair lift can be installed in as little as one hour. Installation time varies depending on the stairs, the model and any optional power features.

You may be able to purchase a used straight stair lift from your local Savaria Home Access expert. Make sure you work with an authorized and trained stairlift installer! Individual resellers (and that guy on Facebook Marketplace) often sell units that are not properly restored and inspected, and may not offer safe installation services. Stairlift installation and maintenance are not suitable DIY projects.

Curved Stair Lifts FAQ

Curved stair lifts are typically more expensive than straight stair lifts because many models feature a custom rail that is manufactured to fit your unique staircase and home layout. Prices may vary depending on the complexity of your project, the type of staircase and stairlift model and accessories or options you need to meet your short- and long-term needs.

Do other companies offer curved stair lifts made from prefabricated parts? Yes. But these typically do not work as well or provide the smooth ride you get with custom rail stairlifts because they do not give the best fit. You may also find this modular type of curved stairlift can take up a lot more room on your stairs.

Contact your local Savaria Home Access expert to book an assessment and get an accurate quote based on your home and your needs.

For the best fit and smoothest ride, look for a curved stair lift with a custom rail that’s made to fit the precise measurements of your unique staircase. Your Savaria Home Access expert will use our unique PS4D photo measuring tool to take a digital scan of your staircase, and then create a 3D rendering that can show you a preview of your stair lift on your stairs—switch between models, seat options and colors on the render in the app to select the perfect combination before you place your order! Book a free assessment.

Your curved stairlift from Savaria is suitable for staircases with curves, turns and intermittent landings—they can even accommodate pie-shaped and spiral staircases. The travel rail can be mounted close to the wall on self support posts or alongside the railing.

Beyond home use, a stair lift can be installed in a church, school, or any public building, if it is rated for public use and meets local code requirements. Contact your authorized Savaria dealer about your unique commercial project.

Because we custom manufacture our curved stairlift rails (right here in North America, too!) to fit the precise dimensions of your staircase using our revolutionary PS4D photo measuring system, your Savaria stairlift will provide a great fit even if your stairs are pie-shaped or spiral. However, some extremely narrow staircases (less than 30″ wide) can be more difficult to work with than others. Your local Savaria Home Access expert can conduct a free assessment to help identify the best curved stairlift model for your home and your needs.  

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