Stair lifts, sometimes referred to as chair lifts or stair gliders, are equipment installed at stair railings, that help a person travel up and down the floor. The assembly consists of a carriage that moves on the railing alongside the stairs. These devices are very useful for elderly people and those with disabilities which hamper a normal stair climb, as it helps in convenient floor-to-floor travel. For those thinking about buying a stair lift, you need to decide on the right model, owing to the many types available. The following section of the article will help you in making the right choice as per your home transportation needs.
Different Types of Stair Lifts
According to the Setup
Basically, there are three kinds of stair lifts that are classified as per the setup; namely straight, curved and outdoor. Straight ones are installed on straight staircases, are easy to install, and are readily available with manufacturers. Curved stair lifts, as they are assembled on curved staircases, are the most complicated and difficult to install. This is why the prices of these setups are much higher than standard ones. Outdoor ones are simply those which are fixed on stairs at the back and front of the house, gardens, and patios. These are made using durable materials, considering the fact that they are exposed to heat, wind and dust.
According to User's Position
The classification of types can also be done according to how the user is positioned on the stair lift. Sitting stair lifts are the most common ones, which consist of a seat mounted on the mechanical assembly. In a situation where the user is unable to bend his knees or sit on a chair, standing ones are used. The user just has to stand on a flat platform which moves up and down the staircase. A not so common one is the perch stair lift, that comprises a cushion support at the back and a flat platform at the base. These styles are most appropriate for people who can neither bend their legs nor stand without a support. Wheelchair lifts are those which have a wide platform, so as to allow a person on a wheelchair to travel.
According to Power Supply
Stair lifts are capable of running on either AC or DC power, depending on the model. If a stair lift is AC-powered, there are cables going from inside the rails to the carriage from the power source. So there is continuous powering of the device, regardless of where it is on the railing. Another mode of power supply is DC. The battery fitted in the assembly needs to be recharged by positioning the carriage on charging points on the railing. Those powered by the battery source run even if electrical supply is not present.
According to Weight
There are standard stair lifts as well as heavy-duty ones. The main difference between the two is that heavy-duty models have the capacity to handle more weight and are sturdily built. The seats and components are kind of thicker in size and the motor is more powerful to transport an overweight person. These machines can carry weight from 375 lbs to 500 lbs. Along with being tough, they are also stylish and attractive.
According to Mechanics
There are different systems fitted in the railing for transportation. Carriages can be driven by cables, a screw-driven actuator, a chain, or a rack and pinion setup. Nowadays, almost all stair lifts come incorporated with a rack and pinion system. Chain, cable, and screw-driven actuator systems have become outdated due to their disadvantages. For example, cable driven systems do not have smooth motions and may start and stop with a jerk. Likewise, chain systems can make a lot of noise if not maintained properly.
This is a very generically mentioned classification of stair lift types. A stair lift model in one category can be counted in another category. For example, a standing stair lift can also be a curved one, or a sitting can even be an outdoor lift. You can choose from a variety of brands such as ThyssenKrupp Access, Minivator, Stannah, etc.