Stairlift Installation Cost

The cost of installing a stairlift is between $3,000 and $5,000.

In this guide

Types
Installation considerations
Brands
Labor
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and cost
FAQs

How much does it cost to install a stairlift?

A chair lift, stair lift, or stair glide is a mechanism for transporting people up or down a flight of stairs when they cannot climb the stairs by themselves. This may include people who have arthritis, people who utilize walkers or wheelchairs, or those who cannot safely navigate the stairs for some reason, such as dizziness.

The chair lift is installed on the side of the stairs, and may consist of either a platform for a wheelchair to roll onto, or a seat for the user. When in operation, the lift will glide up or down the stairs, then stop safely at the top or bottom for the user to get off. Because stairs can be such a challenge for those with mobility issues, it’s generally recommended that you install a lift either before you actually need it, or soon after so it’s in place and ready for use.

Chair or stair lifts come in a wide range of options to meet different people’s needs. Some will accommodate the weight of a wheelchair, while others may need to move around a curve or bend. The average cost of a chair lift installed is around $3,000 to $5,000, although your cost may vary depending on the size of the lift, the type of staircase you have, and the type of lift you require.

Types

While lifts can be customized and changed in a number of ways to accommodate your needs and your home, there are some basic lift types and variations that can help you determine what type you’ll need and its final cost.

TypeUseCost
Battery operated liftUses a battery, rather than electricity to power the lift$2,000-$3,000
Straight liftCarrying the user straight up a flight of stairs with no turns$3,000-$5,000
Electric liftUses electricity to power the lift rather than a battery$3,000-$5,000
Stair elevatorUses a platform to carry a wheelchair user to the top of the stairs$5,000-$10,000
Curved liftCarrying the user up a flight of stairs that bends or curves before reaching the top$10,000


Installation considerations

When the time comes to purchase a stair lift, you’ll find that you have several considerations to make to ensure you get the best fit. These may include choices such as:

  • How the lift operates: a button or a joystick are two options; one may be easier for you to use if you have arthritis or other issues with your hands
  • Seat: some lifts have no seat, which may be easier to use for those who have trouble bending their knees, while others do have a seat for those that find it easier to rest
  • Rails: some lifts have safety rails attached, which can make you feel more secure as the lift moves
  • Height: most lifts function are made to take you up or down roughly 15 steps. More or fewer steps may mean a custom lift.
  • Width: lifts are available for narrow stair cases, and lifts are also available which fold out of the way for users who live with other occupants not using the lift.
  • Energy source: batteries need to be changed, but will still function in the event of a power outage. Electric units cost more to run, but do not require as much maintenance
  • Weight: lifts do have a weight limit; some heavy-duty lifts are available to hold wheelchairs or users up to 350 pounds. Otherwise, weight limits may be under 200 pounds for most units.

Brands

BrandProsCons
AmeriGlide ($1,000-$6,000)DIY options available, simple, affordable modelsVery basics lifts
Savaria ($3,000-$5,000)Smallest, slimmest models available, good for narrow staircasesNot as many options for curved or custom stairwells
Acorn ($3,000-$5,000)Many options available, including custom and heavy-dutyMost lifts have weight maximums with a max of 350 on even the heaviest
Arrow ($3,000-$10,000)Can be used on stairs of any distanceAttaches to stairs, so it requires specialty installation


Labor

In the vast majority of cases, labor is included in the cost of the lift, which is installed by the manufacturer or by the dealer you purchase from. If you choose not to have the manufacturer install the lift, some kits can be installed by a carpenter or experienced handyman. In these cases, you can expect to pay around $70 an hour, with the total job taking around 4 hours to complete, for a total of around $280 on average for a straight lift; curved lifts should always be installed by the manufacturer.

In most cases, the lift will install on the wall of your staircase, but some models install on the treads. In either case, this is usually done on the inside wall, leaving your handrail 1 intact for those who may need it. You will need to have an electrical outlet near the top or bottom of the stairs at a cost of $200 - $750; an electrician can install one or you at around $65-$85 an hour if necessary.

If your stairs curve or bend, you will need a custom rail built and installed. For this reason, you will likely need your staircase measured prior to order to get the best fit. In most cases, it’s also a good idea to measure the height and width of your staircase prior to ordering as well to ensure it fits. Every installation will vary depending on the size of the unit, its configuration, whether it is installed on the wall or treads, and whether you have an electrical outlet already installed. You can expect the installation to take a minimum of three to four hours to complete, and possibly longer if a custom job is necessary.

Enhancement and improvement costs

  • Some manufacturers also make waterproof, outdoor lifts that enable you to access your backyard or to enter your home if you need to climb several steps. Prices start around $5,000 and go up for an outdoor lift.
  • For those that have trouble bending their knees, standing lifts are available which do not have a seat. There is little to no difference in cost usually ($3,000-$5,000).
  • All lifts have weight limits, with most under 250 pounds. Heavy-duty lifts are available which allow users up to 350 pounds, the cost for a heavy-duty lift starts at $4,000.

Additional considerations and cost

  • Most modern stairlifts come with a battery backup or a battery as the main system. These batteries may wear out over time, and cost around $15.
  • When using the chair lift, no one should also be using the stairs for safety reasons.
  • Reconditioned or refurbished stairlifts are available from some companies for a lower cost. Some start under $1,000.
  • Your lift should be checked yearly by an engineer to help maintain it. This can cost around $70 per hour.
  • Some lifts are available with a DIY kit at a lower cost, starting at around $1,000. The same lift with installation may cost $3,000 or more.
  • Warranties are available from most manufacturers for 1 to 2 years on average, with some companies offering extended warranties of 5 to 10 years; always ask what is available at time of purchase.
  • Medicaid does not cover stair lifts. However, there are states that offer Medicaid waivers that may offset the cost of the lift. There are also VA cash grants available for veterans who wish to make home improvements that can cover the cost of the lift.
  • Check with your local municipality to find out if you need a permit to install the lift; permits are not generally required, but may be depending on your area.
  • Some options, such as those sold by AmeriGlide, can be purchased with a DIY kit, for less, which enables you to install the lift yourself or to find your own contractor.

FAQs

  • Can the stairlift be moved?

Most stair lifts are made for the area it is installed in. Some may be able to be moved if they are on straight stairs; curved or custom models may not.

  • How long does it take to install?

Expect it to take at least three to four hours or longer for installation.

  • What happens if the power goes out?

Most modern chairs come equipped with a battery for backup in case of power outage.

  • Is the speed of the chair adjustable?

Some chairs may have an adjustable speed, but many do not.

  • How much is an Acorn stairlift?

Acorn stair lifts typically cost between $3,000 and $5,000 installed.

  • How much is an elevator for a house?

The cost of an elevator for a house is between $10,000 and $20,000.

  • How much are chair lifts?

The typical cost of a straight chair lift is around $3,000-$5,000.

  • How much does it cost to put in an elevator?

The typical cost of an elevator is between $10,000 and $20,000.

  • Is a stairlift always possible?

In most cases, yes. Narrow and curved stair lift options are available, as well as those that need to be installed on the treads, rather than the walls.

Was this guide helpful to you?
  

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Handrail: A long bar designed for a person to hold onto, giving them support. They are usually found on the sides of staircases, and can also be found in bathrooms, for example, to help persons with disabilities

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

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Ashburn, VA
+14%
Athens, GA
-9%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Benicia, CA
+30%
Brandon, FL
-5%
Bryn Mawr, PA
+31%
Carolina, PR
-59%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Delray Beach, FL
-2%
Denver, CO
+1%
Elizabethtown, KY
-26%
Englewood, OH
-8%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Hollywood, FL
0%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Lansdowne, PA
+26%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Madison, WI
+13%
Mauston, WI
-34%
Mc Cook, NE
-49%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Mooresville, NC
-15%
New Haven, CT
+22%
New York, NY
+77%
Oakland, CA
+36%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Pocahontas, AR
-63%
Pompano Beach, FL
+2%
Portland, OR
+11%
Poway, CA
+8%
Prattville, AL
-38%
Salem, SC
-17%
San Diego, CA
+11%
San Jose, CA
+33%
Santa Barbara, CA
+8%
Savannah, GA
-12%
Seattle, WA
+9%

Labor cost in your zip code

Methodology and sources