The Top 5 Stair-Assist Chairs

We asked stair lift dealers, companies, and customers about their experience with stair lifts.
Best overall
Bruno Stairlift logo
Bruno
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Lifetime warranty on parts
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Holds up to 400 lbs.
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Only 3 chairs available
Best custom options
Handicare stairlifts logo
Handicare
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Lifetime warranty on motor and gearbox
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Holds up to 440 lbs. with heavy duty seat
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Wide selection of chair options
Best customer service
Acorn stairlifts logo
Acorn
  • Icon Pros  Light
    12-month warranty with annual maintenance
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Holds up to 350 lbs.
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Only 3 chairs available
Best for straight stairs
Harmar stairlifts logo
Harmar
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Warranty on batteries for one year
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Works in offices, public buildings, and homes
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Limited choices for outdoor or curved stairs
Best for budgets
AmeriGlide stairlift logo
AmeriGlide
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Reconditioned stair lifts available
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Price estimates up front
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Poor BBB rating

Bruno Stairlifts offers five models of indoor stair lifts. Each is customizable with features like power swiveling or an automatic folding footrest. These slim, sturdy chairs can hold up to 400 pounds without taking up the whole staircase.

Bruno works through dealers in your area who can visit your home to conduct a free assessment. It’s a friendly, family-owned company with customer-first policies.

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From our expert advisor

Our expert advisor, Sally Russell, MN CMSRN, CNE helped guide us towards the best stair lifts. She provided insight on stair lift features like backup batteries, safety belts, food rests, and railing—which helped us find the stair lifts with all the best qualities.



Compare stair lifts

Best overall Best custom options Best customer service Best for straight stairs Best for budget
Product or Brand
Bruno Stairlift logoBruno
Handicare stairlifts logoHandicare
Acorn stairlifts logoAcorn
Harmar stairlifts logoHarmar
AmeriGlide stairlift logoAmeriGlide
Estimated starting price
Maximum weight capacity400 lbs.440 lbs.350 lbs.600 lbs.600 lbs.
Number of straight stair options25156
Number of curved stair options12113
Lifetime warranty
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Learn more

 Info current as of 05/18/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Checklist
How is buying a stair lift different from other mobility devices?

Unlike wheelchair ramps or power scooters, stair lifts involve more customization, labor, and installation after delivery. There’s no one-size solution for the homes and people who use them.

So we weren’t able to provide exact prices for many of the models we looked at. Factors like your stair width, stair curves (or lack of), length, and features you want in a chair can all affect the price and labor for installation.

Best stair lift reviews

1. Bruno stair lifts: Best overall

Best overall

Bruno turns a complex purchase like a stair lift into a few easy decisions. The company has fewer options than others on our list, but each Bruno stair lift is customizable to suit your needs (or the needs of anyone using it).

Whether it’s for curved or straight stairs, indoors or outdoors, a Bruno stairlift comes with power options and a slim profile. For example, the Bruno Elan (our favorite) folds into a mere 12 inches wide, leaving plenty of space on the stairs when it’s not in use.

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From our expert

​“One of the things to have the person thinking about getting [stair lifts] installed—how wide are the stairs and how much space do others need to go up and down the stairs.”

“If the other people need more room than the chair allows them, it could put [those people] at risk of falling.”
—Sally Russell

Be sure to measure your stairway before opting for a chair. Narrow stairways could be more difficult to use for those not in a stair lift if the machine takes up too much space.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Lifetime warranty on major components
Pro Bullet Compact chairs save space
Pro Bullet Batteries work after power outage
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Only 3 chairs to choose from
Con Bullet No pricing on website

​Bruno stair lifts also come with their share of safety features to keep riders moving smoothly throughout their day. The Bruno Elan and Bruno Elite models each have a seat belt, easy armrest controls, and obstruction sensors to make the trip from floor to floor easy and safe.

These chairlifts charge their two 12-volt batteries at the top or bottom of the stairs (wherever they land) while at rest. So, in the event of a power outage in your home, the stair lift won’t be compromised.

Like most stair lifts, Bruno requires professional installation. The process may depend on the dealers in your area who work with accessibility devices like these. The dealer we spoke to said prices and installation time vary with the complexity of your staircase.

But, according to Brent from Accessible Systems, Bruno has the “best warranty.” After comparing Bruno to other top companies, we had to agree. Bruno was one of only a few with a lifetime warranty on major components like the gearbox, drivetrain, and rail. All parts are covered for two years after installation, and labor coverage warranty lasts 30 days after installation.

“They have the best warranty I’ve seen. They even have a warranty on the batteries, which is rare,” said a rep from Accessible Systems when we asked about the company.

Our pick: Bruno Elan

While prices will vary from customer to customer, stair lift cost for the Bruno Elan generally ranges from $3,000 to $5,000.

It has a weight capacity of 300 pounds and can swivel a full 90° to make entering and exiting easier. The seat is 15.75 inches wide and 16.75 inches deep, making it suitable for most riders while leaving enough room for others to use the stairs manually.

2. Handicare: Best custom options

Best custom options

With seven indoor stair lifts and multiple seat styles to choose from, Handicare is all about customization. The company offers five unique models of stair lifts for straight stairs, two for curved stairs, and two for outdoor stairs.

In addition to stair lifts, Handicare has a handful of other mobility and in-home care devices like ceiling lifts, slings, and floor lifts (to name a few).

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Specialized seating for hip pain
Pro Bullet Multiple upholstery colors to match your interior
Pro Bullet Built-in backup battery for power outages
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Special seat required for riders over 255 lbs.
Con Bullet Full customization options not available for every chair

Handicare has straight stair lifts but more customizable seat options for curved staircases. Both have the option of a Smart or Perch seat. Both the Smart and Perch seats are easy to clean, water resistant, and come in six color options.

Smart seats: The Smart seats from Handicare can adjust their height and width to accommodate different riders. You can also upgrade these seats to include a power swivel for entering and exiting the chair more easily. The Smart seats tend to work better for larger riders who may want to sit down fully.

Perch seats: The Perch seats from Handicare are best for those with pain or limited mobility in their hips and knees. As the name suggests, Perch seats don’t require riders to sit down completely. The shallow seat puts riders at a higher position, making the ride smoother and more comfortable. These seats are also better for narrow staircases because the seat is so shallow.

Handicare also has additional seat styles for curved staircases. In our research, we found that these curved stairs tend to have fewer options for chairs and styles. It was good to see Handicare providing more options for those with more complex stairs. The downside is, stair lifts for curved staircases tend to be more expensive and labor intensive.

In addition to the Smart and Perch seats, the curved stair lifts from Handicare come with options for the Style or Simplicity seats.

Style seat: The Style seat comes in three different color options and optional power features. You can add an automatic folding footrest, automatic swiveling, or both to your new chair.

Simplicity seat: The name says it all. The Simplicity swivel seat doesn’t come with color or power options. It’s a budget-friendly option for those with curved stairs who don’t need as many adjustments or features.

Our pick: Handicare 2000 Curved

Handicare has many seat options available for homes with a curved staircase. Of those, the 2000 Curved model is our favorite. This curved stair lift comes with more customization options down to the color of rails you use.

However, it does have a lower weight capacity than many chairs we encountered. The standard chair can handle up to 255 pounds. The heavy duty option can carry up to 302 pounds.

Because they’re expensive and complicated to install, curved stair lifts don’t generally come with a ton of custom options, so we chose the 2000 Curved from Handicare because it gives a little more personalization for such a big purchase.

3. Acorn: Best customer service

Best customer service

Acorn earns our spot for best customer service for several reasons. From reviews of friendly technicians arriving right on time to the company’s policies for protecting customers from COVID-19, we were impressed with Acorn’s dedication to its clients.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Offers technician check-in after one year
Pro Bullet 4+ star rating from more than 300 reviews
Pro Bullet Virtual surveys and other COVID-19 precautions
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Charges for extended warranty and check-ins after one year
Con Bullet Only 3 chairs to choose from

The company and its technicians have earned glowing reviews on Better Business Bureau for timely service and knowledgeable help. At the time of publication (April 2021), Acorn has earned over 4 stars from more than 300 happy customers.

Acorn also provides a check-in one year after installation to see how you’re enjoying your stair lift and provide complimentary maintenance if needed. Unfortunately, Acorn doesn’t provide a lifetime warranty like Handicare or Bruno. But you can extend your warranty beyond the first year and continue your annual repair services an extra fee.

Bell
Acorn’s response to COVID-19

Many older adults and those with disabilities are more vulnerable to COVID-19, so we’re glad to see Acorn taking precautions with virtual surveys and safer installations.

Our pick: Acorn 130

Acorn only has three chairs to choose from (two if you don’t count the outdoor version of the 130). We chose the Acorn 130 as our straight stair lift pick because it has an optional hinged rail option that limits obstacles, trip hazards, and changes to your home.

Along with the standard safety features like a seatbelt, backup battery, and safety stop, it folds away into a slim 12.25 inches when not in use. The Acorn 130 supports up to 280 pounds and has a 16-inch wide seat (wider seats available as well).

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Expert tip from Sally Russell
If you or your loved one using the stair lift needs assistance standing or pivoting in the chair, be sure to get an extended stair rail to provide a flat surface when entering and exiting the chair.

4. Harmar: Best for straight stairs

Best for straight stairs

Harmar has five straight stair lifts to choose from, three of which are suitable for homes, commercial buildings, and public buildings like churches and offices.

Part of what makes Harmar’s straight stair lifts so good is the built-in worm gear drive system. (No actual worms involved). This spiral part allows the system to move the chair smoothly up and down stairs continuously, making it suitable for straight stairs of any size.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet SL600HD has weight capacity of 600 lbs.
Pro Bullet Works with offices and public buildings
Pro Bullet Warranty on batteries for one year
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Limited choices for curved and outdoor staircases

This special dive system makes Harmar stair lifts a little stronger and smoother than others in its category. One chair in particular, the SL600HD can carry loads up to 600 pounds. Other chairs in the straight stair lift series can carry up to 300 and 350 pounds.

Harmar also offers a generous warranty on its chairs. All parts on your stair assist chair are covered for two years, the gear rack is covered for a decade, and the batteries are under warranty for a year. Only a couple other companies we saw covered batteries under warranty.

And on the Harmar website, you’ll find lots of helpful information about the individual stair assist chairs. Details like incline and speed aren’t as readily available on other sites we checked out.

Our pick: Harmar SL600HD

The Harmar SL600HD is the company’s heavy duty stair lift that carries up to 600 pounds. It also has a 24-inch wide seat to accommodate all riders, making it a good choice for doctor’s offices, nursing homes, and other public places. And with the helical worm drive built in, the SL600HD can carry passengers on steep stairs up to 45°.

5. AmeriGlide: Best for budget

Best for budget

Ameriglide provides lots of budget-friendly options for homes in need of a stair lift. The company even offers refurbished models for a deeper discount. Of the chairs we saw, the lowest price landed around $1,900. Compared to other brands with prices ranges starting around $3,000, this feels like a significant price cut.

Ameriglide’s straight stair lifts range from $1,900 to $6,000, while the curved models sit between $7,000 and $12,000.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Reconditioned stair lift available for discount
Pro Bullet Provides individual stair lift prices up front
Pro Bullet Wide selection of chairs
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Reports of missing parts
Con Bullet Poor BBB rating

Ameriglide provides prices up front. Many of the companies we researched provided only price ranges for their stair lifts. But the prices you see on the Ameriglide website may still be subject to changes for features like the seat or power swiveling.

Part of that price cut comes with stair lift chairs that are self installable. We like the idea of a discount, but it seems like a dangerous place to cut corners. If you decide to go with Ameriglide, be sure to opt for a professionally installed chair.

While those with installation experience may be able to, we recommend going with certified technicians. We saw reports of incomplete orders and missing parts for self-installed chair lifts from customers on BBB.

Our pick: Rave series

The Ameriglide Rave series consists of a straight stair lift and a curved stair lift. Both have wider seats and 350-pound weight capacity for larger users.

The Rave 2 straight stair lift can be self installed (if you have the know-how) or installed by an Ameriglide technician. It can handle straight stairs up to 70 feet long. And it comes with a backup battery or can plug into standard outlets in your house.

The Rave Curved comes with a lifetime warranty and a slim profile for narrow curves.

More brands we considered

Mobile Stairlift

Temporary situations like visiting relatives or recovering from hip surgery can leave anyone with a multi-level home in a tough situation. When you don’t need to install a full-fledged stair lift in your home but can’t leave a loved one without mobility help, consider a Mobile Stairlift.

These devices work like dolly carts but include seats that carry up to 400 pounds. The passenger buckles into the seat while one or more others pull them up the stairs or guide them down. The Mobile Stairlift is equipped with sturdy treads that grip onto the stairs for a smooth ride.

At around $3,000, they’re a much more affordable option than a stair lift but certainly not as comfortable or independent.

Final word

Because prices vary between dealer and brand, we recommend shopping around before deciding on one model. But, for all the variables, we chose Bruno for its sterling reputation and highly rated chairs. The company has fewer options but all three are custom-crafted to meet the needs of customers.

Aging in place or providing home care is expensive, but investments like a stair lift make independent living achievable.

How we reviewed the best stair lifts

We’ve reviewed a lot of safety gear in our day. With products like stair lifts and other accessibility devices, there’s no one solution out there for everyone, so we focused on the companies, their reputations, and options they provide for customers.

We spent a full day reviewing company warranty information, customer reviews, and installation processes. We also filled out quote forms for each company to get an idea of pricing and how they handle customer requests.

Additionally, we spoke with two representatives from different mobility dealerships to learn more about their products. Our expert advisor also gave us background and recommendations based on her medical experience.

Learn more about how we approach reviews like this one from our methodology page.

Stair lift FAQ

Yes, if prescribed by your doctor. Stair lifts fall under the category as durable medical equipment (DME). You may still need to pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount, but it can be partially covered.1

Stair lifts come with a lot of variables. Prices vary on the stair lift itself and what custom features or options you choose as well as where you live and which dealer you choose. The complexity of your stairs and your home’s location can play a part as well.

Yes. Each of the companies we included in this review offer at least one model for outdoor use. Outside stair lifts tend to be a little more expensive because they need to withstand weather and outdoor conditions, but you can add a stair lift outside of your home.

Related articles on SafeWise

Sources

  1. Medicare.gov, “Patient lifts.” Accessed May 18, 2021.
Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
As a renter, pet-owner, and woman living alone, Katie McEntire takes safety seriously. She’s tested devices like pet cameras, home security systems, and GPS trackers in her own home and devices in the name of safety. In addition to testing, writing, and reviewing for SafeWise, she also makes videos for the site’s YouTube channel. She’s been featured on publications like TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at Overstock.com and Top Ten Reviews.

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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