The Top 5 Stair-Assist Chairs

Written by | Updated July 12, 2019

 

Even though they’re part of everyday life, stairs can be hazardous—especially for people with limited mobility. Thankfully, stair-assist chairs provide a safe way to move up and down stairs, reduce caregiver stress, and provide independence. For those who live in multi-story homes, stair-assist chairs can be indispensable.

If you’re considering getting a chair lift for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to take your time considering features, costs, and manufacturers—which is why we’ve outlined the best stair-assist chairs and what you should keep in mind while shopping for one.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Stair-Assist Chair

Because every person, home, and lifestyle is unique, it’s important to keep your personal considerations in mind when purchasing a stair-assist chair. Here are some things we considered while looking at the top stair-assist chairs.

Dimensions

Many stair-assist chairs fit any type of stairway, but curved stairwells may require custom chairs. Some manufacturers ask you to measure your stairway before purchasing a stair-assist chair, while others will send an employee to measure your stairwell.

Safety

Make sure the stair-assist chair you purchase meets the highest safety standards and has safety hitches that ensure it won’t move until it’s securely locked. Your stair-assist chair should include brakes, safety belts, and sensors that stop the chair if an object is in the way.

Mobility

For some people, stepping off a stair-assist chair onto the top step may be difficult. To help with this, look for a chair that swivels to an appropriate angle. Some chair lifts can swing to ninety degrees, while others offer a wider range of movement. To add usability for all users, make sure your chair also has a soft start and stop and easy-to-use controls.

Comfort

Your stair-assist chair should have a comfortable backrest and large footrest. You can also find specialized models for users with specific ailments—which may come with ergonomically designed seats or adjustable seats and footrests.

Weight Capacity

Most stair-assist chairs have a maximum weight capacity, which is often up to 400 pounds. Make sure to find a stair-assist chair that offers the right weight capacity for the user and will not put too much strain on your wall.

Power

Stair-assist chairs either plug into an outlet or use batteries. Most newer models that use outlets have cords that run along the track and stay out of the way. If you use a battery-powered chair, most manufacturers recommend replacing the battery each year, and you’ll want to check how many times you can use the chair between battery charges.

Installation

Some chair lifts are easy to install onto the stairs yourself, while others may require you to hire a professional who can ensure proper track alignment. If this is the case, ask if the manufacturer can send someone to install it for you.

Cost

Most stair-assist chairs designed for straight stairs cost $3,000–$5,000, while chairs designed for curved stairs can cost $8,000–$15,000. Medicaid helps cover these costs in some states, and you may be eligible for a tax deduction if your stair-assist chair is medically required.

Top Stair-Assist Chairs

1. Bruno Elite Indoor Stairlift SRE 2010

Bruno is known for its high-quality and stylish stair-assist chairs. The Bruno Elite Indoor Stairlift SRE 2010 is a straight stair-assist chair with a maximum capacity of 400 pounds. Its arms, seat, and footrest all fold to create more space. It also includes two twelve-volt batteries.

Pros

  • Six different upholstery options
  • An adjustable footrest
  • A wireless call-and-send feature
  • Continuous charge strips

Cons

  • No ability to function on curved stairways

Buy from Dealer

2. Harmar SL600 Pinnacle Premium Stair Lift

The Harmar SL600 Pinnacle Premium is an indoor straight stair-assist chair that is known for its high-quality upholstery and signature wide seat. Also, its patented system can make up to sixty trips if the power goes out.

Pros

  • Uses less power
  • Folds to just eleven inches deep
  • Can run twice as many trips as some other stair-assist chairs if the power goes out

Cons

  • Has a unique system, so you may struggle finding parts for repairs
  • Has a maximum capacity of 350 pounds

Buy from Dealer

3. Stannah Sadler

The Stannah Sadler is an elegant and comfortable curved stair-assist chair. It is ideal for people with limited flexibility in the hips and knees because it lets them maintain a more upright position. Its slim design also makes it a good match for homes with narrow stairs.

Pros

  • Distributes weight better with tilting seat design
  • Fits a wide variety of curved stairwells
  • Requires only one hand to pull and secure the seat belt

Cons

  • Requires professional installation
  • Has an exclusive tilting-perch seat that’s costly to repair

Buy from Manufacturer

4. Handicare 2000

The Handicare 2000 is a great choice for homes with curved, steep stairs. You can choose from several types of seats and stairway options—a spiral, ninety-degree angle, or 180-degree angle. Its standard weight limit is 254 pounds, but the heavy-duty version can carry up to 302 pounds.

Pros

  • Accommodates a wide range of staircases
  • Includes options like a deluxe extra-wide seat, powered seat swivel, and folding footrest
  • Has eight parking options

Cons

  • Charges 24-volt batteries only at the top and foot of the rail rack
  • Has uncomfortable seat padding after extended use

Buy from Manufacturer

5. Acorn 180 Stairlift

The Acorn 180 Stairlift is a highly customizable curved stair-assist chair. It can be installed in a wide range of staircases, including those with multiple landings. Unlike other curved stair-assist chairs, it comes with modular rails that allow for quick installation and removal, and won’t damage your home’s structure.

Pros

  • Reduces risk of structural damage to your home
  • Has an elegant, extruded aluminum rail

Cons

  • Has a maximum weight capacity of 266 pounds
  • May require costlier repairs and maintenance due to custom parts

Buy from Manufacturer

Stair-assist chairs can make independent living more comfortable and safe. These stair-assist chair options all help ensure safety, even when caregivers or family members are not at home.

*SafeWise has conducted impartial research to recommend products. This is not a guarantee. Each individual’s unique needs should be considered when deciding on chosen products.

Written by Hillary Johnston

A proud mother of four, Hillary is passionate about safety education. She holds a degree in Public Health and Disaster Management. Learn more

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  • Eamon Brooks

    Hi, thank you Hillary, for your time in writing this very informative article. I have two parents; that would be considered elderly. But, my Dad because of either inherited or playing football in his youth? He is now, and has been for over a year in a home. Where ” they were going to get him walking again”. Yet, they had know strong persons(orderlys) to help him up nor care. So, by myself, not any of my 5 other brothers are helping my Dad get a professional chair lift company to come and install one; so he can come home to a new home we bought. After, selling out lifelong home in Boston, Ma. Also, Due to my Dad being 6’1″ and now 340 lbs. I know special lifts are needed… Right?

    Now, I took a two week vacation. To come home and check on my mom. Come to find out; one of my older brothers convinced my mother to hirer ” Am-Ramp” out of South Boston, Ma. And they came at 6:30 am and were at my mom’s house till 7pm. And only finish half the job. See when you look at the staircases: it’s straicase going down(about 6-7 steps) and another staircase going up same (6-7 steps) . they only did side going up. They also told my mother they could not do one curved rail; which i spoke with other comoanies that said they could. And they are changing my my 70 year old mom, “7,000 to 10, 000 depending on how it goes.” As the older of the (2) men that came to do the job. They also swore and cursed loudly in the house, and my mom heard they. I got there and asked them basic questions about the lift? Because I know the dimensions. And, i know my Dad, who is 74 and now over weigh badly, would not fit in the chair they install. My answer” let up do the work. ” in a rude tone. Can you please help me? Im affraid they are taking advantage of my mothers age and no knowledge of these matters. Side note. I myself had already install all the electrical and power they needed. Being my a Electrician; with the hekp of my Uncle; Electrician of 25 years.

    It is clear they are not doing their job right. Also the chair looked “yellowish” and the hald held controllers too. I think its ‘refebished’. I asked if so? They said ” no. It’s brand new.” It’s not. They had seriou problems that day.

    I know its a lot to ask? But i love my parents. And my Dad can not come home till it is safe for gim. Is there any Agency i can contact to help me ? Soneone that can regulate this compa9? And advocate for the Elderly? Thank you
    Sincerity E.M. Brooks