Having a home elevator can be life changing for many people. Elevators can help reduce the strain of carrying items up and down stairs, assist those with mobility issues, and help aging homeowners stay in their own homes as issues such as arthritis arise. There are three types of elevators that can be added to the home, with two versions available for retrofitting an existing home. They can be built into the home to appear decorative and concealed, or they can be added right out in the open, installed solely for functional purposes.
The two most common types of elevators installed in the home today are hydraulic and pneumatic. On average, expect to pay around $50,000 to have a pneumatic type of elevator installed in your home. The lowest project cost would be an estimated $15,000 for an installed cable-driven elevator. At the higher price range for the project, you could pay around $100,000 for a custom cable type of elevator installed. The majority of elevator installations in the home run between $35,000 and $60,000.
|Elevator Installation Cost|
|National average cost||$50,000|
The size of the elevator directly impacts the project cost. Building codes in most areas limit the size of a residential elevator to 18 sq.ft. or less in size. To accommodate a hydraulic elevator of these dimensions, an area 5 sq.ft. must be able to be blocked off. Hydraulic units are built into your home. They may be concealed behind a door or a bookcase, and most are decorated or finished to appear as though they have always been a part of the house.
However, vacuum or pneumatic models take up less space; 3’x4’ is usually sufficient room for one occupant in a wheelchair, which most smaller pneumatic elevators are designed to carry. Even larger models may only hold one or two occupants at a time, and most have weight limits of 450 to 500 pounds. Pneumatic systems are a clear or transparent tube that is out in the open in the home. They have fewer features or decorative options, but because of this take up significantly less space and cost less to install. They can also be placed in areas that have less room.
Simple units that only fit one or two people have a space-saving design. Diameter and weight capacities are modest because they assist a single person living in the home who has mobility issues. Larger elevators are better choices for those who have the space to accommodate the size requirements. Heavy-duty elevators for the home typically accommodate wheelchairs and will accept a total capacity of up to 1,400 pounds.
|1 Person||350 lbs.||$15,000 - $20,000|
|2 People||500 lbs.||$25,000 - $30,000|
|3 People||900 lbs.||$35,000 - $40,000|
|4 People||1,100 lbs.||$45,000 - $50,000|
|5 People||1,250 lbs.||$55,000 - $60,000|
|6 People||1,400 lbs.||$60,000 - $65,000|
Ultimately, five types of home elevators are available today. Depending on the manufacturer, there may be variations within these types, but the basic mechanics remain the same. Of these five, hydraulic and pneumatic are the most commonly found in homes.
|Type||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Cable Driven||$15,000 - $35,000|
|Hydraulic||$22,000 - $53,000|
|Geared Traction||$25,000 - $38,000|
|Chain Driven||$27,000 - $62,000|
|Gearless Traction||$29,000 - $55,000|
|Pneumatic||$35,000 - $60,000|
Cable-driven models cost between $15,000 and $35,000 on average. In a cable-driven system, a cable is wound around a turning drum, which raises and lowers the elevator. This drum requires significant space in addition to the shaft but has a relatively small footprint 1 overall. It is most commonly used in new builds but can be added to existing homes easily. They are similar to the elevators you find in office buildings, hotels, and other commercial buildings, requiring a mechanical room to operate. A drawback is the cable can break, requiring a replacement schedule every five years.
On average, a hydraulic type of elevator for the home will cost $22,000 to $53,000. With a hydraulic system, you have a piston that moves inside a cylinder to power the elevator and control its motion. Since the entire power system for these models is inside the shaft, they do not need a separate mechanical or machine room. Plus, the controller is compact, easily fitting inside a little cabinet on the wall beside the unit. There are two hydraulic systems: holed and holeless. Holed systems need the cylinder to go down into the ground, so they require the construction of a pit, while holeless systems do not need a pit. Cables need replacement every five years to remain operational.
Geared traction elevators cost in the range of $25,000 to $38,000 for home models. To operate, the motor has a gearbox attached to it and uses a pulley system to lift and lower the cab. Geared traction models have a slower speed than gearless types and travel a maximum of 250 feet. A key benefit of geared traction elevators is the type has low energy consumption levels.
On average, a chain-driven unit costs $27,000 to $62,000. In chain-drive systems, a counterweight attached to a chain travels in the opposite direction of the elevator car. This requires the shaft to be much larger, although it does not need a separate motor room like the cable-driven system does, saving space in the home. They function similarly to cable-driven systems, but the chains are stronger than cables. This elevator is more durable and longer-lasting, requiring less maintenance and fewer repairs. However, they are loud to operate, making them not suitable for most residential elevator projects.
Gearless traction elevators cost the homeowner from $29,000 to $55,000 on average. Gearless traction systems work by moving along a track, with a counterweight system that works to raise and lower the elevator. They are one of the best options for existing homes, rather than new builds, since they do not take up much space and have no need for pits or mechanical rooms. They require extra space at the top of the elevator, however, to store the mechanical parts responsible for moving the unit. Most private residences may not be able to use this type of elevator, making it a preferred choice for commercial projects.
Pneumatic models tend to be the most expensive home elevator, costing between $35,000 and $60,000. Pneumatic systems use a vacuum tube to pull the car up or down. They take up the least space but are highly visible. When it comes to pneumatic models, there is no need for a pit or machine room, which makes them relatively simple to retrofit into homes. A drawback would be that it can’t be hidden and must remain highly visible in the home.
The cost of installing an elevator varies depending on how tall your property is and how many floors need to be serviced by the unit. If you have one in a three-story home, it will cost more than the same model in a two-story house because more labor and parts are needed during the installation process. In general, the cost of installing an elevator goes up by about $10,000 on average for each additional story. Prices in the table below are based on a pneumatic elevator installation.
|Number of Floors||Average Cost (Installed)|
|2-Story Home||$38,000 - $55,000|
|3-Story Home||$48,000 - $62,000|
|4-Story Home||$55,000 - $70,250|
There are numerous manufacturers of residential elevators. The one you choose should ultimately be based on how well their particular elevators will meet your needs.
|Brand||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Easy Climber||$12,000 - $16,000|
|Stiltz||$20,000 - $25,000|
|Inclinator||$25,000 - $35,000|
|Savaria||$28,000 - $36,000|
|Crystal||$30,000 - $40,000|
|Stratus||$32,000 - $45,000|
|Pneumatic||$35,000 - $60,000|
|Otis||$40,000 - $50,000|
Easy Climber units are among the most affordable options on the market and run homeowners an average of $12,000 to $16,000. Easy Climber aims to provide reliable home elevators to their client base. Their products don’t require a shaft for installation and can be installed on any type of load-bearing wall 2. All models operate quietly and can be sized to fit a wheelchair. Since rewiring isn’t required, nor major construction, an Easy Climber home elevator cost will not require remodeling.
The total Stiltz home elevator cost will run an average of $20,000 to $25,000. Stiltz manufactures simple, affordable home elevators and lifts. Most models are meant to accommodate anywhere from one to three passengers. Larger models have higher weight maximums and are designed for wheelchair accessibility. Stiltz home lift costs are minimal because of the space-saving designs and self-contained drive systems.
An Inclinator unit costs an average of $25,000 to $35,000. Each model is made to order to give customers as much control over the design as possible. Besides choosing size and style, buyers can add important safety features like gates. Due to the custom nature, multiple drive options are offered.
Savaria models fall in the price range of $28,000 to $36,000. The company specializes in space-saving, high-end models for private residences. Some models like the Telecab need no hoistway for installation and serve up to two stops. The Telecab elevator cost is at the lower end, with an average price of $28,000 installed. Other models such as the Infinity and Gearless have higher weight maximums, different cab options, and can traverse multiple floors up to 50 feet.
Crystal units cost an average of $30,000 to $40,000. Crystal home elevators are considered a custom option for those wanting a luxury lift. Buyers can not only select the size of the elevator but also customize lighting and design elements. Machine rooms are not required since Crystal uses self-contained equipment pieces.
When you purchase a Stratus elevator, you will spend roughly $32,000 to $45,000. They are ideal for those who need an elevator for only two floors in the home. The models use an electric drivetrain to keep noise to a minimum. Most Stratus models require very little maintenance and don’t need a machine room.
A Pneumatic home elevator cost will be between $35,000 and $60,000. Pneumatic's products have compact designs to allow homeowners more options when deciding where to place the elevator. They can accommodate up to four stops, with most designs having a weight maximum between 350 and 500 pounds.
On average, the Otis home elevator price will range from $40,000 to $50,000. Otis is one of the most well-known manufacturers around the globe. They produce a large number of lifts and elevators for commercial and residential purposes. Tey can be built with new construction or retrofit. The company also specializes in providing compact options, including those for apartments. Residential models from Otis work on buildings measuring up to 12 meters 3.
Home elevators come in a very wide range of cab styles. Some are extremely plain, with glass, plexiglass, or metal walls. Others may have custom cab designs available or a range of different options, including decorative wood paneling in several finishes and colors.
Choosing a glass cab for a home elevator is a stylistic choice. Glass models rely on the same mechanics as metallic and wooden elevators. A residential glass unit cost may be slightly lower than wood models with pricing under $15,000 for single passenger versions.
Ultimately, small and shaftless elevators tend to have plain or non existent cabs, and cost less overall, while elevators with larger cabs have more decorative and nicer options, but costs will start at least $10,000 higher. Elevators with cabs usually have options for wood paneling, as well as metal walls. Costs are usually negligible between the different cab models, as each company usually has their own. If you wish to have a custom built elevator cab, options may include tile, wainscoting, wood paneling, and faux painting, any of which may increase the cost significantly, with many custom options costing $100,000 or more.
The same is true with the exterior of the elevator. Shaftless models have either a clear tube or door, or a basic folding door and will cost less, while a more decorative or concealed cab will cost significantly more. If you truly wish to conceal the elevator, it can add as much as $27,000 to the final price tag.
Homeowners will typically consider three main styles for a new elevator: modern, Victorian, and vintage. Most companies allow customers to choose style features, such as specialized cab materials and lighting options. To make the elevator have an antique appearance, you may pay more for the project.
|Style||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Modern||$20,000 - $40,000|
|Victorian||$35,000 - $55,000|
|Vintage||$37,000 - $65,000|
Modern home elevators have an average price of $20,000 to $40,000. They will have a sleek design with features such as chrome trim and recessed lighting 4. Many modern units are constructed with glass entrances. Modern elevators have the option to be constructed into the home or placed on load-bearing walls.
A Victorian model will cost an average of $35,000 to $55,000, depending on the features and brand selected by the homeowner. Victorian elevators have a classic style but will include modern features for convenience. Design features include brushed metal styling with aluminum trim pieces. Glass panels are also a common feature and hydraulic drive systems.
An old-style elevator is also referred to as vintage style home elevators and can cost anywhere from $37,000 to $65,000. These units are designed to look like they were styled from the early 20th century or even the late 19th century. Wood panels are common in an old-style elevator, with choices that include mahogany, oak, and walnut. Suspended lighting fixtures also usually come standard in vintage style models.
The majority of residential elevators are installed by the manufacturers or companies that sell them. This is because each type of elevator is unique not only to the manufacturer, but also the setting it will be installed in.
In many cases, the cost of installation is included in the total cost of the elevator itself, particularly for those models which are easy to install and do not require a shaft or significant construction. Installation costs can vary widely depending on the location, the type of elevator, whether it requires a shaft, and how many floors the elevator needs to climb. Expect installation costs to start around $8,500 and go as high as $35,000 for some larger jobs.
For units that do require a shaft or significant remodeling of the home, you may be given a total cost for the elevator only after a representative has been out to view the space and you have selected the model you desire.
Shaftless models are fairly easy to install, and can usually be put in within one to three days. An elevator that requires a shaft and a machine room, however, can take three to four weeks to install, and may include not only cutting holes between the floors, but also building a room for the machinery and for the cab. Most cabs, even those that are custom built, will arrive either assembled or nearly so, making the biggest part of the labor being the modification of your home, which is usually included in installation by the company. However, some companies may require additional carpentry work at $55 to $70 an hour. Check with the installer to be sure before purchasing.
If you already have an elevator system and want to replace it, you can save money on the overall project. It depends, however, on the kind of elevator you are replacing, whether you change it to a new type, and how much work needs to be done. Replacing an elevator can be as cheap as $10,000, or it can go up to $50,000 or more. For example, shifting to a different style, such as a cable-driven system to a hydraulic elevator, usually adds between $5,000 and $10,000 to the project cost.
The installation process for your elevator also varies widely depending on the type and location. For shaftless units, installation may be as simple as positioning the lift, running the electricity, and cutting and finishing the holes between the floors. For those requiring a shaft, the process varies depending on whether you need a separate machine room, if the shaft will be concealed, and where the shaft will be located.
If you need a shaft, the general procedure involves pouring a concrete pit, with 12-inch thick floors and 8-inch thick walls. Door openings will be cut, which can be as wide as a hallway or as narrow as a standard door. Cabs cannot be larger than 18 sq. ft. If your unit requires a machine room, this is installed next. The machine room size varies depending on the motor but requires a door opening of at least 30 inches wide for access. Hydraulic lifts need the machinery installed either above or below the elevator inside the shaft. In either case, the electricity is run to the area, and then the cab is built in place.
Elevators with hydraulic lifts and cable drums also require an access panel built into the cab so that regular maintenance can be carried out. The majority of modern elevators are also equipped with a backup battery system in case of power failure so that you never lose access. These modifications are usually built into the total cost.
All elevators will require a permit and inspection to ensure their safety. ASME safety codes are in place to ensure that your unit is installed properly and will function as it needs to. Your technician should instruct you in the use of the elevator and show you the various access points prior to inspection and use so that you are comfortable with the process. In many cases, overrides or safety devices may be recommended to help your elevator be more secure. Over speed valves are recommended for hydraulic lifts in particular; they sense when the system may be accelerating in speed to failure, and will halt the lift in place. Many of these types of precautions are included in the price of the elevator, although some may cost an additional $2,500 and more if they are not.
In new construction, the elevator can be installed virtually anywhere, as you can build to suit. However when adding an elevator to an existing home, you may be more limited in where you can install it. Pneumatic lifts can be placed nearly anywhere. The “shaft” is a tube that can be placed in the middle of a room, against a wall, or hidden away behind a closet, depending where you have space.
Hydraulic lifts, however, need significantly more space. They are also designed to be enclosed or concealed, so they have more restrictions in location. Some people choose to build a shaft into existing spaces, such as family rooms, simply taking away from their existing living space. Others choose to use areas such as closets, stairwells, atriums, or to build onto the exterior of the building, bumping out the footprint 1 to install the elevator.
In any of these cases, accessibility should be the number one concern; how easy is it to get to and from the elevator, and how much space are you sacrificing from the rest of your living area. Most installers can advise you on where the best location may be within your home based on the type of elevator you are considering.
An outdoor model can be a good option for those with a more limited budget. Installation costs for this elevator range from $8,000 to $20,000, with installation included, making them much cheaper than pneumatic or hydraulic interior elevators. Typically, outdoor elevators are made from durable metals like aluminum that withstand the elements and outdoor temperature changes. They are available with various platform sizes and features to suit your home and needs.
MRL elevators cost an average of $45,000. Machine room models have a higher price tag of at least $60,000. Homes can have a machine room or machine room-less (MRL) elevator. An MRL unit cost will be much less than a machine room type. An MRL unit requires fewer working parts and operates without a machine room installed at the top of the hoist. Commercial properties tend to have machine room elevators, but residences can have them too.
Machine room models take up more space than MRL types. MRL elevators have compact designs and measure approximately 25 percent smaller than machine room types. The lifts require less power to operate and will use approximately 30 to 40 percent less energy than machine room elevators.
A downside of MRL systems is that they can be more costly to repair. Parts are harder to come by than machine room style elevators. Installation may also be more expensive for MRL types depending on what size and brand you choose.
The easiest time to add an elevator to a home is during new construction. The shaft can be added anywhere at this time, giving you more options for things like size, concealment, or decorative features. An elevator with a cable drum, which gives you more flexibility for size, can be put into a new home, because you have the room to install the motor behind the lift itself. Cable driven elevators tend to cost less than hydraulic units, making them the better choice for new construction, with a total cost of $25,000, rather than $40,000 for a hydraulic elevator, meaning that you can get a custom model that is concealed for less if you build in new construction.
Retrofitting an elevator into an existing home is possible, but depends largely on the amount of space available. Hydraulic lifts take up more space and require a shaft to be built, as well as room for the machinery, which ends up driving the cost to a minimum of $40,000. This cost can go up much higher if additional construction is necessary to fit the elevator and conceal it, up to $100,000 in some cases. Pneumatic lifts take up less space and can be added nearly anywhere, but are very visible within the home. They can be retrofit nearly anywhere for around $35,000, making them the most affordable choice when retrofitting, although the smallest and least attractive.
Elevator home maintenance will help extend how long the unit lasts in the home. Warranty coverage is very important when selecting a new home elevator. You want to have coverage for at least five years following your purchase in case any issues arise. Many brands have designs to reduce maintenance like grease-less drive trains. Talk to installers about what steps you need to take to keep your home elevator working properly.
Maintenance for the homeowner should be done routinely to troubleshoot issues. Confirm all buttons and lights are working in the elevator. The door should close and open properly with each use.
Elevator maintenance contracts are a good idea if you plan to install a new lift. On average, you’ll pay around $350 per year to maintain a service contract with an elevator technician. The contract includes an annual inspection and basic upkeep for the unit. Any repairs needed will cost extra.
Elevators can be expensive, especially if being retrofit and not part of a new build. If the cost is prohibitive, there are ways you can finance the installation.
For some people, credit cards may offer the best choice, particularly if you have a card that offers 0% interest for a set time. This gives you a chance to pay off the elevator or a large percent of it with no interest.
Bank loans for home improvements and home equity loans are also possibilities. Banks have varying interest rates for home improvement loans, so check around. A home equity loan takes the value of your home and lets you use it toward improvements that may improve its value. This may also have varying interest rates.
Some elevator companies offer financing options. These may also have varying interest rates, so research this option carefully. There are sometimes small grants available for homeowners who need to make changes to their homes to improve their mobility. Check with your town or city hall to see if there are options available in your community.
While some elevators are strictly utilitarian and have no customization or design options, other models can be custom-built to your specifications. If you want to have an elevator that matches the rest of your decor and fits in well with the rest of your home, this is an option that may work for you. Custom designs start around $55,000 installed and can go as high as $100,000.
Some units function simply with a single switch you hold up or down. Others can have electronic panels, however, that allow a greater ease of use, including calling the elevator for a second user and the ability to simply push a button rather than holding a switch. These panels add $700 to $1,500 to the total cost.
The average cost of the installation of an elevator is around $35,000 and $50,000.
The cost of a pneumatic vacuum unit is around $40,000.
Commercial models have costs starting at around $50,000, and may go up from there depending on the number of floors being serviced.
The average cost of installing a stairlift is around $3,000 to $5,000.
The cost of an elevator for a 3 story building can range from $25,000 to $55,000 depending on type and location.
The cost of each additional floor from a standard two stop model increases by about $10,000 total, with most ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 depending on type of unit.