The difference between a stairlift and a home liftPublished on 2022-01-10
The advantages of having a lift at home are endless and there is a suitable solution for everyone’s needs. However, when it comes to buying a lift for your home, the first thing that comes to mind is often a stairlift but a stairlift is not always the solution that best meets your needs. If you are considering buying a lift for your own home or if you are looking for more information on some else’s behalf, you can definitely get some guidance here. Below, we explain the difference between a stairlift and a platform home lift and perhaps touch on a few things that you may not have thought of.
Stairlift: ‘A stairlift is a chair that is propelled by an electric motor along a rail attached to the staircase. Such a lift is primarily intended for people who cannot go up or down by themselves. In general, the installation of a stairlift does not require any structural work’.- wikipedia
Platform lift: A platform lift is a system that travels vertically from one level to another in a safe and efficient manner. A platform lift is delivered with a ready-made shaft, but can also be placed inside a masonry shaft. The platform moves up and down along guide rails inside the shaft, driven by an electric motor.
The main difference is that a stairlift makes you travel along your existing staircase, while a platform lift lifts you up vertically through an opening in the ceiling. Whereas a stairlift can only be installed on the stairs, a home lift can be installed almost anywhere in the house.
When you are looking for a lift for your home, it is important to first have a clear idea of what you want to use the lift for. Do you only need to transport people or should the lift also be accessible for wheelchairs and walkers?
A major benefit of adding a lift to your home is improved accessibility. For those who have problems climbing the stairs or moving between floors due to limited mobility (something that occurs in half of the 65+ population), a lift in the home can be a perfect solution.
A stairlift is primarily intended to move people from one floor to another. It is not possible to take a wheelchair or walker with you.
In contrast to a stairlift, a platform lift can be used for multiple purposes. The home lift not only allows you to move from one floor to another but can also serve as a means of transport for your shopping bags or other goods.
The choice of a lift in the home also depends on the space you have available in your home.
A stairlift is installed directly on your stairs and therefore only takes up space on and around the staircase. The rail is permanently attached to the staircase and at the end of the rail, there is a chair, which in most cases can be folded up. Depending on the width of your staircase, it will remain more or less accessible for other residents. When the stairlift is in use, the stairs cannot be used by other residents.
A home lift can be installed anywhere in your home where there is room to make an opening in the ceiling. It doesn’t matter if it is in the stairwell, the kitchen, or the living room. It is even possible to install a lift on the outside of your house, so you don’t lose any space inside.
Contrary to common belief, a home lift does not need to take up a lot of space. Cibes smallest home lift, for example, has a floor area of approximately 1m2 and fits next to, or at the centre of almost any staircase.
The stairs can still be used by fellow residents without any problems while the home lift is in use.
The price of a stairlift or home lift will in most cases be a big part of the final decision. If you only look at the purchase price, the stairlift will be the cheaper solution. Depending on the type of staircase, the number of curves, and the number of floors, the price can vary by thousands of euros. But even for home lifts, there is a big price difference between a basic model and a fully customized lift with many options.
When you look at the price difference, it is also worth looking at the longer term. Adding a platform lift to your home increases the value of your property and buying a home lift is a sustainable, long-term investment. While a stairlift has an average lifespan of 10 years, a platform home lift will last for 30 years and while a stairlift is often removed by the next owner when the house is sold, a platform lift often stays in place.
Installing both a stairlift and a home lift can increase safety in your home. Stairs can be dangerous, especially for older people. Installing a home lift or stairlift can prevent falling accidents.
While a stairlift will not allow you to bring a wheelchair or walker with you to the next floor, a home lift (depending on the size) can. With a stairlift, you will need to transfer from your walker or wheelchair on the first floor to take the stairlift to the second floor where you need to keep another wheelchair or walker waiting for you to transfer again. With a home lift, there is no need to transfer, which reduces the risk of falling and injuring yourself. You roll or ride into the lift on one floor and do the same again on the next.
The installation of a stairlift often does not require any structural modifications. Your staircase is measured, and depending on your staircase, the (tailor-made) stairlift will be ordered.
Depending on where you want to install a home lift, different structural modifications are required. Cibes home lifts only require a low lift pit of 50 mm. If no pit is possible, you can also place the lift directly on the existing floor and add an access ramp. An opening in the ceiling between floors to install the lift must be made and an electrical connection made available, but these are minimal architectural changes, which in most cases can be executed within one day.
Enhancing your interior
While the image of a stairlift is that it is only for the elderly, a home lift has a much more exclusive image. A residential lift is not only functional but can also be made into a cool architectural feature. That is why the home lift is often viewed as a luxury object in interior design. Nothing screams style, elegance, and luxury like a private lift which takes you directly up to your beautiful lounge or master bedroom. With the many options for finishes and materials on offer you have the possibility to create a lift that truly enchances your interior.
What is the best solution?
Of course, one could say that a home lift is the best solution if you only look at real estate value, but there is no easy answer to this question. What is the best solution for you depends entirely on your wishes and situation. For one person a stairlift may meet their needs, whereas for another it may not. By adding a platform lift to your home, you will get all the conveniences of a stairlift, but also the additional advantages of a home lift, and this may be a better fit for someone else.
Weigh up all the pros and cons for yourself and choose the lift that best suits your situation and user needs. Would you like more information about our home lifts? Then contact us or request a free quote.