What is a Stair Lift?

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  • Written By: Garry Crystal
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2019
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A stair lift is a chair that is connected to a track, which is bolted onto the stair treads. No structural changes are necessary in order to implement a stair lift into the home. The stair lift has a number of purposes. It is most commonly used to carry up and down stairs people who may find difficulty in doing so themselves.

The stair lift can also be used to carry groceries, luggage and other heavy items up and down stairs. The power to propel the lift is usually normal mains power, although backup batteries can also be fitted in case of power failure. The stair lift can be situated on either side of the staircase.

A stair lift is a common fixture in the homes of elderly people. It provides peace of mind that the frail and elderly will not fall down the stairs. The stair lift also relieves the concern of an elderly loved one when you cannot be there to help him or her with the staircase. When the stairs become an obstacle for an elderly person, a stair lift is a cheap alternative to moving to a one-story home or an assisted living center.


A stair lift can be fitted to any type of staircase configuration. Many staircases are either straight or curved, or have a middle landing. Straight and curved staircases are simple enough, but if there is a middle landing, a separate stair lift may be required for each staircase. The stair lift is bolted directly to the staircase and requires rail brackets every 3 to 4 ft (about every meter).

When the lift is not in use, it can be folded up to save space. The chair on the lift usually has built in safety features such as a seat belt and a swivel seat lock. There are also obstruction sensors that prevent the lift from proceeding should anything be blocking its path. Finger pressure control on the operating pads ensure that the lift will stop if you take your finger from the button.

Stair lifts are designed to last for many years with minimal maintenance. The lift should also come with a manufacturer warranty should anything break down. It is a very sturdy piece of machinery and can accommodate weight up to 375 lbs (170 kg) in capacity.


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Post 4

Can this be installed in Puerto Rico?

Post 2

Love it! To the point, articulate, and interesting. Stair lifts are great. Thanks!

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