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Elevator Installation Cost

Elevator Installation Cost

National average
$40,000
(pneumatic elevator for one floor)
Low: $30,000

(hydraulic elevator with standard cab for one floor)

High: $50,000

(custom cable driven with a separate engine room)

Cost to install an elevator varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from elevator contractors in your city.

The average cost of installing an elevator in a house is $40,000.

In this guide

Home Elevator Cost by Type
Residential Elevator Cost Per Floor
Home Elevator Pricing by Brand
Labor Costs to Install a Home Lift
Elevator Style
New Construction vs. Retrofit
Home Elevator Size
Installation Process
Are Home Elevators Safe?
Where to Install a Home Elevator
Outdoor Elevator Lift Cost
Elevator Replacement Cost
Financing Options for Your Elevator Installation
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Additional Considerations and Costs
FAQ

How Much Does It Cost to Install an Elevator?

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. Hydraulic elevators have an average cost of $20,000 - $30,000 for the elevator itself, with installation pushing the total price to around $40,000 - $50,000 or higher. Pneumatic elevators are easier to install with a total cost of about $35,000 - $50,000 on average.

Home Elevator Cost by Type

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.


Home elevator cost by type

Home elevator cost by type


Elevator TypeProsCons
Cable Driven ($15,000-$30,000)Good for new construction and retrofitsThe cable stretches and can break, needs to be replaced every 5 years
Hydraulic ($20,000-$30,000)Doesn't require a machine room, better at retrofitting than cable-drivenCable must be replaced every 5 years
Chain Driven ($20,000-$50,000)Chain doesn't breakNoisy and impractical for residential installation
Gearless Traction ($20,000-$50,000)Less maintenanceNot practical for most homes, best used in commercial settings or very tall buildings
Pneumatic ($35,00-$50,000)Energy efficient and eco-friendlyVery visible and meant to be placed in the open


Cable-driven Elevator

In a cable-driven elevator, 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 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. They cost between $15,000 and $30,000 on average.

Chain-driven Elevator

In chain-drive elevators, 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 elevator does, saving space in the home. They function similarly to cable-driven elevators, but the chains are stronger than cables. This elevator is more durable and longer-lasting, requiring less maintenance and fewer repairs. On average, a chain-driven elevator costs $20,000 to $50,000.

Cost of Hydraulic Lift for Home

With a hydraulic elevator, you have a piston that moves inside a cylinder to power the elevator and control its motion. Since the entire power system for these elevators 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 elevator. 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. On average, they cost $20,000 to $50,000.

Gearless Traction Elevator

Gearless traction elevators 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 elevator. They cost $20,000 to $50,000 on average.

Pneumatic Elevator Cost

Pneumatic elevators 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 home elevators, there is no need for a pit or machine room, which makes them relatively simple to retrofit into homes. However, they tend to be the most expensive home elevator, costing between $35,000 and $50,000.

Residential Elevator Cost Per Floor

The cost of installing an elevator varies depending on how tall your property is and how many floors need to be serviced by the elevator. If you have an elevator 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.


Residential elevator cost per floor

Residential elevator cost per floor


Number of FloorsAverage Project Cost (for a pneumatic elevator)
2-Story Home$35,000-$50,000
3-Story Home$45,000-$60,000
4-Story Home$55,000-$70,000


Home Elevator Pricing by Brand

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.

BrandProsCons

Easy Climber - hydraulic

($10,000-$15,000)

Installs very quicklyHighly visible

Stiltz - cable driven

($15,000-$20,000)

Small footprint 1

Good for retrofits or new builds

Quiet operation

Limited in height of the operation

Crystal - hydraulic or cable driven

($20,000-$30,000)

Custom madeFewer options for retrofitting

Inclinator - hydraulic or cable driven

($20,000-$30,000)

Several cab styles and drive systems to choose fromMade to order, so long build and installation times
Stratus - hydraulic ($20,000-$30,000)QuietCan only travel 15 feet


Labor Costs to Install a Home Lift

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 elevators which are easy to install and do not require a shaft or significant construction. Installation costs can vary widely depending on the location of the elevator, the type of elevator, whether it requires a shaft, and how many floors the elevator needs to climb. Expect installation costs to start around $4,000 and go as high as $50,000 for some larger jobs.

For elevators 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 elevators 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 $70 an hour; check with the installer to be sure before purchasing.

Elevator Style

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.

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 as 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 elevators 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 elevator 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.

New Construction vs. Retrofit

The easiest time to add an elevator to a home is during new construction. The elevator 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 elevators, making them the better choice for new construction, with a total cost of $20,000, rather than $40,000 for a hydraulic elevator, meaning that you can get a custom elevator 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 $45,000. 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.

Home Elevator Size

The type of elevator you choose can ultimately impact its installation and final cost due to size and what features you may desire.

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 elevators 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 elevators 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 elevators may only hold one or two occupants at a time, and most have weight limits of 450 to 500 pounds. Pneumatic elevators 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 place in areas that have less room.

Installation Process

The installation process for your elevator also varies widely depending on the elevator type and location. For shaftless elevators, installation may be as simple as positioning the lift, running the electricity, and cutting and finishing the holes between the floors. For elevators 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 elevator 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.

Are Home Elevators Safe?

All elevators will require a permit and inspection to ensure their safety. ASME safety codes are in place to ensure that your elevator 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 elevator 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 additional $1,000 and up if they are not.

Where to Install a Home Elevator

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 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.

Outdoor Elevator Lift Cost

An outdoor elevator can be a good option for those with a more limited budget. Installation costs for this elevator range from $2,000 to $15,000, 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.

Elevator Replacement Cost

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 $5,000, or it can go up to $50,000 or more. For example, shifting to a different style, such as a cable-driven elevator to a hydraulic elevator, usually adds between $5,000 and $10,000 to the project cost

Financing Options for Your Elevator Installation

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.

Enhancement and Improvement Costs

  • While some elevators are strictly utilitarian and have no customization or design options, other elevators 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 $50,000 installed and can go as high as $100,000.
  • Some elevators 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 $500 to $1,000 to the total cost.
  • Many elevators sold for homes today are known as two-stop elevators, meaning that they access two floors. If your home needs more than one floor accessed, you may need a three or four stop elevator, which can increase the total cost by about $10,000 per floor.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Numerous factors influence the cost of your elevator. These include the elevator type, chosen machinery, location, the dealer you purchase your elevator from, options, and your home’s architecture.
  • Some areas may have higher costs for both the elevator and installation. Some homes may require more carpentry or electrical work for installation. Always get at least three quotes for each elevator and installer to ensure you are getting the best deal for your area.
  • While elevators are expensive, there are subsidies and tax benefits that can significantly lower the cost of the project. Any medical expenses over 7.5% of your income can be written off for a substantial savings. See your accountant for more information.
  • Elevators can increase your home’s value, particularly when built during the initial house construction or are custom-made. You may recoup a minimum of 50% of the total cost at the time of resale and even more in some areas.
  • Pay attention to the elevator location not only for use but also for installation to protect your furnishings.
  • Elevators should always be installed by a certified professional. If the company you purchase from does not install, ask for a list of recommended installers that know their product.
  • Your elevator should be inspected annually to make sure it is functioning properly. Most companies that sell elevators will also schedule inspections as well. Inspection fees start around $75, and increase depending on the size and type of the elevator.
  • Elevators are subject to building permits in most areas, with permit costs starting around $200 to $1,000. Speak to your city or town hall for more information before you schedule installation.
  • Some custom elevators may include a phone line, which can enable you to call for help if necessary, with the cost of the custom design including the wiring necessary. Most standard designs are not equipped to have a phone added.

FAQ

  • How much does it cost to install an elevator in a house?

The average cost of installation of the elevator is around $10,000 for a total average cost of $25,000-$30,000.

  • How much is a pneumatic vacuum elevator?

The cost of a pneumatic vacuum elevator is around $35,000.

  • How much does it cost to install a commercial elevator?

Commercial elevators have costs starting at around $50,000, and may go up from there depending on the number of floors being serviced.

  • How much does it cost to install a stairlift?

The average cost of installing a stairlift is around $3,000 to $5,000.

  • How much does an elevator cost for a 3 story building?

The cost of an elevator for a 3 story building can range from $15,000 to $50,000 depending on type and location.

  • What is the additional cost to go basement to second floor?

The cost of each additional floor from a standard two stop elevator increases by about $10,000 total, with most ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 depending on type of elevator.

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Cost to install an elevator varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Austin, TX
+13%
Avon, CO
+7%
Bakersfield, CA
-6%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Baton Rouge, LA
+19%
Brigantine, NJ
+29%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Canaan, NH
-3%
Cape Coral, FL
-9%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Denver, CO
+1%
Detroit, MI
+16%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Fontana, CA
+6%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fremont, CA
+35%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Garland, TX
+8%
Houston, TX
+24%
Irvine, CA
+23%
Joliet, IL
+25%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Laredo, TX
-31%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Mableton, GA
+10%
Mesa, AZ
-2%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Mobile, AL
-8%
Modesto, CA
-12%
New Orleans, LA
+35%
New York, NY
+77%
Newport News, VA
-12%
North Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Omaha, NE
-10%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Portland, OR
+11%
Roseville, CA
+6%
Saint Paul, MN
+20%
San Antonio, TX
-4%
San Diego, CA
+11%
San Francisco, CA
+53%
Santa Ana, CA
+20%
Seattle, WA
+9%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Stockton, CA
+4%
Labor cost in your zip code
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