How much does it cost to install a stairlift?
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Stairlift Installation Cost Guide
Updated: August 18, 2022
Whether due to injury, old age, or other issues, some people find staircases quite difficult to get up and down on their own. Fortunately, stairlifts or chairlifts exist to ease the process, allowing the user to take a seat and be transported comfortably and safely up or down the stairs in a matter of seconds. Ideal for older people, arthritis patients, those who use wheelchairs or walkers, or individuals who struggle with stairs for other reasons, chairlifts make it easier to get from one floor of a home to another.
The national average cost of installing a stairlift ranges from $3,000 to $5,000. Most homeowners spend about $4,000 on a standard straight stairlift installed. On the low end of the spectrum, you can have second-hand models installed for around $2,000. At the high end of the spectrum, you could spend as much as $20,000 on a high-end, custom stairlift designed for a curved staircase.
|Stairlift Installation Cost|
|National average cost||$4,000|
New Stairlift Prices by Type
You can expect to spend between $1,000 and $20,000 on your stairlift based on its type. Stairlifts come in various types, depending on where you want to install them. Some stairlifts are designed for standard straight staircases, while others are made for staircases with curves and platforms. No matter which type of stairlift you buy, they all come with key features like swivel seats, safety belts, a back-up battery power source, flip-up footrests, and folding rails. The table below shows some common stairlift types, along with average costs:
|Stairlift Type||Unit Cost (Installed)|
|Portable||$1,000 - $4,000|
|Straight||$2,000 - $8,000|
|Standing||$2,500 - $10,000|
|Outdoor||$4,000 - $12,000|
|Platform||$5,000 - $20,000|
|Curved||$8,000 - $20,000|
A recent innovation in stairlifts is the concept of portable or mobile stairlifts. Averaging between $1,000 and $4,000, these stairlifts work like wheelchairs, but they can also go up and down stairs. They have a set of treads on the back and a battery that charges between uses. To go up the stairs, the treads fold out onto the staircase. Buttons divert power to the treads, allowing them to rotate and pull the chair up or down as needed. An operator must push the buttons and guide the stairlift in the right direction, so these stairlifts cannot be used alone. They are especially useful for caregivers and ambulette personnel.
These stairlifts are the easiest to install and the most affordable, costing between $2,000 and $8,000. The straight stairlift is the most common kind because most homes are fitted with traditional, straight staircases that do not curve or bend. The price you pay depends on the type of stairlift, its features, how many stairs you have, and the length the lift needs to travel. These are generally installed alongside the stairs near the molding, so they are out of the way when not in use.
The average cost for standing stairlifts ranges from $2,500 to $10,000. Standing stairlifts allow you to stand on a platform, ideal for those who have flexibility or movement issues that make sitting down and standing up difficult or painful. These are generally installed on straight stairlifts. However, you may find standing models that can be used outdoors or on curved stairways, which would increase the cost substantially. This type of lift can be installed along the railing on the wall. It usually has a foldable platform, so it is out of the way when not in use.
Outdoor stairlifts cost between $4,000 and $12,000. Stairlifts are not just for inside homes and buildings. They may be fitted to outdoor staircases, such as patio steps, decks, or docks. These stairlifts function like the indoor ones but have to withstand the elements and resist corrosion, so they tend to be more expensive. Outdoor stairlifts provide extra mobility for people who need to get in and out of their homes easily. Ramps are another option. However, they cost almost as much and take up tons of space. A stairlift is a space-saving, long-lasting solution.
Wheelchair Platform Stairlift
Since they involve more materials and a longer installation process, platform stairlifts are costly, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. Platform stairlifts are designed for wheelchair users, offering large platforms on which the wheelchair is positioned for transportation up or down the stairs. These stairlifts are fitted to both straight and curved staircases. The costs vary greatly, depending on the staircase type and length.
If you need a curved stairlift to fit your staircase, it requires a much more unique design and a much higher cost of $8,000 to $20,000. If you have a curved staircase in your home that requires a stairlift attached, you need a large budget because these are the most expensive stairlifts. They must be designed in a special way to negotiate the curves of your staircase, and could take longer to install or require more costly materials. These are also commonly known as custom stairlifts because they need to be designed to match the exact staircase in question.
If the high price tag of a curved rail stairlift is a concern, consider looking into the idea of two straight stairlifts as an alternative solution. For example, if the staircase has an intermediate landing or it is tri-level home, you may be able to save money by having two straight stairlifts installed rather than one curved stairlift. It could save you thousands of dollars and still provide you with a safe alternative to climbing the stairs.
Stairlift Average Prices by Power Source
Stairlifts cost between $3,000 and $7,000, depending on their power source. These are divided into two main categories. Some are operated by batteries, while others are connected directly to an electrical power outlet, so they do not need to charge or be replaced. The other benefit of battery power is that if there is a power failure, the lift will still work. Electrical lifts cost more but require less maintenance. Ultimately, it is an individual decision because of all these variables. The table below shows the costs of each type.
|Power Source||Unit Cost (Installed)|
|Battery-Operated||$3,000 - $5,000|
|Electric||$4,000 - $7,000|
The national average cost for battery-operated stairlifts ranges from $3,000 to $5,000. Battery-operated lifts tend to be cheaper because they are simple to install, with no need for new wiring or power outlets. They are also cheaper to run in the long term because they do not significantly impact your utility bills. With a battery-powered unit, the chair charges up when it is not in use and is connected to a base station at the top or bottom of the stairs. Batteries require more maintenance because they need to be tested and even replaced over time, but some people don’t mind the extra expense.
You will spend between $4,000 and $7,000 on an electric stairlift. These lifts plug into outlets like any other electric appliance or item in your home, providing constant power and no need for charging. This means that electric stairlifts tend to be more reliable. They should come with back-up batteries if the power ever goes out while the lift is in use. They tend to be more expensive because you usually need to call in an electrician to install new wiring and a new power outlet as part of the installation process.
Stairlift Costs by Type of Seat
The type of seat impacts the cost of stairlifts. People spend between $2,000 and $20,000, depending on what seat they choose. Stairlifts come with a range of different seat types, and the seat you choose affects your comfort level when riding the lift. It also impacts how easy it is to use and how much space it takes up in your home. For example, models with collapsible seats take less space, while those with swivel seats are simpler to use. The table below shows the average costs for stairlifts with different kinds of seats:
|Seat Type||Unit Cost (Installed)|
|Collapsible||$2,000 - $20,000|
|Swivel||$2,500 - $20,000|
|Perch||$2,500 - $20,000|
|Angled||$3,000 - $20,000|
Stairlifts with collapsible seats cost between $2,000 and $20,000. This is one of the most common seat types, and it collapses or folds in on itself to save space when not in use. The footrests and armrests often fold away as well. This can be particularly helpful if you have a narrow staircase or share the home with other people and want to reduce the space your lift occupies. It also reduces the chances of someone tripping over the stairlift or bumping into it.
Stairlifts with swivel seats range from $2,500 to $20,000. A swivel seat can swivel around at the top or bottom of the stairs. This can be very useful because it allows the user to get to the top of the stairs, swivel the seat, and then step straight out onto the landing, rather than having to twist and turn their bodies to get out safely. When moving, the seat locks in place to prevent accidental swiveling, and some of the more advanced models offer automatic swiveling, while cheaper options need to be swiveled manually.
The average cost for stairlifts with perch seats is $2,500 to $20,000. Perch seats are one of the more recent innovations in stairlifts and are designed to save space, letting the user perch or lean against them and be transported up and down the stairs in almost a standing position. They may not be the best choice for those with severe mobility issues, but they can work well in very small or tight spaces where regular stairlifts cannot fit.
Stairlifts with angled seats vary in price from $3,000 to $20,000. With an angled seat stairlift, the seat is positioned to tilt back slightly when the rider sits. This provides more comfort and security while riding, allowing the user to feel perfectly safe and at ease whenever they need to use the seat. This can be a good choice for very elderly people and those with serious mobility problems.
Chairlift Costs by Brand
The cost of a chairlift ranges from $2,000 to $9,000, depending on the brand of the unit. This will also be impacted by the size, type, and nature of your chairlift. Some brands have specific styles. The Savaria is designed for curved staircases. Other brands like Acorn have several models from which to choose. You will have to compare each to them to see what you like best. Check out their brand reputation before you buy.
There are various brands to choose from when buying a new stairlift, with names like Stannah and Ameriglide being among the leading stairlift providers in America today. Some brands are cheaper than others. Certain brands have stronger reputations for providing high-quality, long-lasting stairlifts. Most of these brands are in a similar ballpark with pricing, while some offer basic solutions and others focus on custom mobility products. The table below shows some of the popular brands, complete with prices.
|Stairlift Brand||Unit Cost (Installed)|
|AmeriGlide||$2,000 - $5,000|
|Harmar||$2,000 - $5,000|
|Easy Climber||$2,000 - $6,000|
|Acorn||$2,500 - $5,500|
|Handicare||$2,500 - $5,500|
|Brooks||$3,000 - $4,000|
|Stannah||$3,000 - $6,000|
|Bruno||$3,000 - $6,000|
|Savaria||$8,000 - $9,000|
Average Cost of Stairlift Installation
In the vast majority of cases, labor costs are included in the stairlift cost because most lifts are installed professionally either by the manufacturer or the dealer you buy from. You may also choose to have a handyman or carpenter install your stairlift instead, ranging from $75 to $100 per hour. Standard straight stairlifts require around 4-5 hours to install, resulting in total labor costs of $300 to $500. Curved stairlifts are more complicated to install, so this process should be entrusted to the manufacturer.
In most cases, the lift is installed on your staircase wall, but some models install directly onto the treads. In either case, this is usually done on the inside wall of the staircase, leaving the handrail free for anyone else walking up or down the stairs. You also need to have an electrical outlet installed near the top or bottom of the stairs, which costs between $120 and $200. You may potentially save money on this by installing it yourself, but you need wiring and electrical experience to do the job correctly.
If your stairs curve or bend, you need a custom rail built and installed. For this reason, measure your staircase before ordering to get the best fit. It is also a good idea to measure your staircase’s height and width before ordering to ensure it fits. The installation cost and length vary depending on the unit size, its configuration, whether it is installed on the wall or treads, and if you have an electrical outlet already installed. Expect the installation to take a minimum of four hours to complete and possibly longer for custom jobs.
Stairlift Removal Prices
Some companies remove stairlifts at no additional cost. If you are required to pay, you can expect to spend $100 to $300 on removal, depending on how complex the installation is and how long the removal takes. Some people only need stairlifts temporarily or may need to be removed and reinstalled if the homeowners are moving. A stairlift may need to be removed from a home if the person using the lift has passed away and those buying or inheriting the home do not need the lift. If there is a chance that stairlifts can be reused, many mobility companies uninstall them at no cost or for a discounted rate. You may have to pay a handyman to repair holes or damage from where the stairlift was installed.
Pros and Cons
Stairlifts allow people to have more mobility at home, which means they can stay home longer and continue to live in their homes the way they always have. People who need help but are not ready to move find that this modification can be a great choice. Several styles and models are available, including something in every price range. These lifts prevent accidents and provide maximum safety. However, they tend to be cost-prohibitive to some since they are not covered by most insurance, including standard Medicare. Nonetheless, people generally find the perks to outweigh the potential disadvantages when deciding on a stairlift installation.
Safety is extremely important for stairlifts, so find one that keeps you safe when using it. When shopping for a stairlift, it is vital to ensure that the minimum safety features are included. All stairlifts must have a belt or restraint to secure the passenger. The best stairlifts tend to have easy-to-use seatbelts, ideal for those who have arthritis or weakness in the hands. Some come with harnesses that provide additional security and stability for the rider.
Many modern stairlifts feature sensors that detect objects in the path of the lift and stop it automatically when obstructions are detected. This reduces the risk of accidents and collisions that could damage the lift, harm the rider, or injure an animal or person in the lift’s path. Some advanced models come with extra sensors that detect when the rider is present in the chair. High-quality stairlifts should also have a keylock, which essentially functions like a child lock or safety lock. You can remove the key when the lift is not in use to prevent children from playing around with it and accidentally starting it up.
Second-Hand Stairlift Prices
If you want to save some money, you can purchase second-hand stairlifts for about 1/2 to 2/3 of full retail or $1,500 to $2,500 installed. Several companies resell stairlifts that are in perfectly good condition after refurbishing them and making sure that everything is in working order. These are usually former rentals or incorrectly ordered products and have undergone extensive safety checks to ensure they are working properly before being resold. This can be a great way to save money on this otherwise costly investment.
Stairlift Rental Cost
Costs for stairlift rentals range from $150 to $500 per month. You also need to pay a deposit, which varies from $500 to $1,000, and $800 to $1,200 in installation and removal costs. There might be a situation where you only need to temporarily use a stairlift, such as when recovering from an injury that prevents you from walking up or down the stairs safely. Several companies offer stairlift rentals, allowing you to temporarily have a stairlift installed in your home and removed after a certain time.
Stairlift Maintenance Cost
Annual maintenance for a stairlift costs $100 to $200. Stairlifts should be checked over by a professional once a year to ensure that they stay in safe working order. During these checks, a stairlift expert looks for any issues that need fixing before they become bigger problems. Many companies offer yearly maintenance check-ups as part of the package when you buy the stairlift. This reduces the costs for some people. Stairlift maintenance also includes inspecting and cleaning the rail, tightening the stair brackets and attachments, lubricating, and related duties that keep the lift working in optimal condition.
You will spend between $50 and $400 on various add-ons for your chairlift in addition to the cost of the lift itself. To improve the experience and convenience of your stairlift, there are various add-ons and enhancements you may choose to purchase. Although not required, these optional add-ons make the lift easier to use, safer, and more comfortable. Depending on your needs, you may choose to add any of them you like.
Remote controls are ideal for people who have limited mobility or will be operating the stairlift themselves. It offers added convenience and saves having to press a button on the wall or power the chair in another way. Some stairlifts have armrests and lift-up footrests for comfort and to ensure secure seating during the chairlift operation. Speed control is also available for those who want to ensure they are exercising maximum safety. Sensors detect items in the way of the chairlift that could result in damage or injury. The table below shows common add-ons and their average costs.
|Add-Ons||Additional Cost (Installed)|
|Remote Control||$50 - $150|
|Armrest||$50 - $150|
|Lift-Up Footrests||$50 - $200|
|Speed Control||$75 - $200|
|Sensors||$100 - $400|
Does Medicare Cover Stairlifts?
Medicare does not usually cover the cost of stairlifts because these items are generally considered ‘home modifications’ rather than ‘medical equipment.’ Some Medicare Advantage plans cover the costs of certain advanced stairlifts. Medicare’s approach to stairlifts is under evaluation and may change from one year to the next, so it is wise to look for the latest information before buying your next stairlift.
Enhancements and Improvement Costs
Prices for heavy-duty lifts start at around $5,000 and go as high as $20,000, depending on the weight limit and other features. Stairlifts typically come with a set limit of around 200 to 250 pounds. However, some heavy-duty stairlifts may also be purchased to lift heavier users or those in wheelchairs, offering weight limits of 350 pounds, 400 pounds, or more. Since these models have stronger frames, they typically cost more than average.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Simultaneous use. When one person is using the chairlift, other people in the home should avoid using the stairs at the same time because the space may be too narrow for two people to pass at once, which might cause accidents.
- Weight limits. Stairlifts have weight limits that need to be adhered to. Most units handle up to 200-250 pounds of weight, and heavy-duty units may be required for wheelchair users or heavier individuals.
- Warranties. Most stairlifts offer warranties for 1-2 years, but some companies go much further, offering 10 years or even lifetime warranties on their stairlifts. Be sure to check what kind of policy you get from your manufacturer before buying a lift.
- Permits. In most cases, you do not need a permit to install a stairlift, but there are some situations where permits are needed. Check with your local municipality beforehand.
- Insurance. Certain health insurance plans help pay for a stairlift, so contact your health insurance provider to see what they offer before buying a new lift.
- Grants. Some public organizations and other groups may have grants to help pay for stairlifts for those with limited income but need mobility solutions.
- Financing. Depending on which manufacturer you work with or where you shop, you may be able to get financing on a stairlift to make payments over time, so it is more affordable.
- Can I test ride a stairlift before purchasing one?
Yes, but it depends on where you live. There are a few stairlift dealers that have showrooms with fully operational stairlifts on display. This is a great way to determine if a stairlift is the right solution for you.
- What is the weight limit on an Acorn stairlift?
The maximum weight limit for Acorn stairlifts is 350 pounds (159 kilograms).
- How long does it take to install a stairlift?
Usually, stairlifts are installed in 4-5 hours, but it may take longer on a curved or extra long set of stairs.
- How much does it cost to service a stairlift?
Servicing for stairlifts costs between $100 and $200.
- Do stairlifts damage stairs?
No, as long as they are installed properly by trained professionals, stairlifts do not damage your stairs or home in any way.
- How long do stairlifts last?
This varies from one model to the next, but the average lifespan for stairlifts is about 10 years.
- Can a stairlift be moved?
Most stairlifts are designed to be installed and only used in that one area. Some straight stairlift models may be moved, but curved and custom models usually cannot.
- Is there an alternative to a stairlift?
Several alternatives to a stairlift are available, depending on the mobility needs of the user. Home elevators are among the most expensive option, but they can be installed for increased access. There are also special walkers for stairs, or you could choose to relocate to a single-level home.