Top 3 Stair Lifts in Canada - Seniors Bulletin Ratings
Do you need a Stair Lift?
As people grow older, the body becomes weaker in a lot of ways. Activities that used to be carried out routinely become difficult. Other activities that require a great deal of mobility like climbing for example become more and more difficult until eventually, seniors need help climbing the stairs at home and in other places as well. There is also an increased likelihood of accidental falls occurring whether it is as a senior is ascending a flight of stairs or when the senior is descending. Stair lifts are a very viable alternative for the use of people who have trouble maintaining their balance, especially on a staircase.
Family members looking to ease the struggles of their loved one and simultaneously reduce the risk of falling at the same time and seniors that want to maintain their level of independence and have begun to resort to the use of technological solutions known as Stair lifts to meet their mobility needs.
What is a Stair Lift?
A stair lift (also known as a chair lift) is a mechanical device that provide customers with an efficient solution to the problem associated with the climbing of a staircase. Fundamentally, a stair lift is designed to provide mobility aid to people with issues or complications interfering with their ability to climb a staircase, usually loved ones with impairments due either to injury or age or even both. Stairlifts provide a safety measure to guide against falls from a staircase and give customers peace of mind.
Asides from use in the home, stair lifts are also used in nursing homes and they can also be used to provide accessibility solutions to seniors who are residents of an assisted living facility.
Features of a Stair Lift
A stair lift is made up of several parts all carefully put together to ensure the comfort and the safety of customers.
When about to choose which stair lift to buy, all these features should be considered to ensure that you eventually end up purchasing a stair lift that is perfect for you or your loved one.
- The Seat/Chair
The chair of a stair lift is arguably its most important part. It is the part that determines how comfortable people are when they use the stair lift. Fundamentally, the chair is what carries people up and down the stairs. The chair of a stair lift is customizable and it can be changed to meet the preferences of the customer, for example, the seat height can be adjusted to match the needs of each person.
Some manufacturers offer swivel seats that can be rotated to allow users to step out on a flat area rather than on steps they’ve just ridden up. These swivel seats are usually controlled manually using a manual swivel. Some manufacturers, however (e.g handicare) provide customers with a power swivel seat that swivels automatically. A power swivel seat is especially advantageous in situations where it may not be possible to operate the swivel manually. Some manufacturers in a bid to provide a measure of added security offer another kind of stair lift seats that are intended to recline somewhat as the user sits down.
- Collapsible Seats
Some stair lift manufacturers offer seats with a power folding feature that makes the seat of the stair lift fold up when they are not in use. As a result of this, they take up less room thereby ensuring that the stair lift poses less of a tripping risk to the movement of people.
- Armrests And Footrests
For additional security and convenience, manufacturers include armrests and footrests in the stair lift structure. Some stair lift models feature a power folding footrest. The power folding footrest is designed to automatically collapse at the push of a button and fold up once the stair lift is no longer in use.
There are a couple of other factors to consider when choosing which stairlift would be best for you. They include:
A joystick is generally used to control the movement of most stairlifts. The idea is that as long as the riders maintain contact with the joystick, the stair lift will move. Some additional controls like buttons and levers are also incorporated into the stairlift design to serve functions such as compressing the footrest or the seat. These controls are designed such that riders have no problems operating them when on the lift.
- Weight Capacity
Most stair lifts are designed to not exceed the standard weight capacity of 300 pounds. However, most manufacturers offer a couple of stairlifts that are capable of handling as much as 600 pounds to cater to the stair lift needs of customers or their loved ones
- Calling Mechanism
This is a feature that although common is not ubiquitous to all stair lift models. It is ideal for homes that have multiple levels of a staircase. The calling mechanism is utilized to call the stair lift to the level where it is needed. Some stair lifts make use of a wall-mounted calling mechanism, while others use portable remote control devices. In some models, the remote control is found on the arm of the stairlift.
Two DC batteries are used to power a stairlift, which is hooked directly into the mains. Stair lifts are designed to run on rechargeable batteries in case of a power outage or blackout.
There are also some safety features attached to the chair of a stair lift. They are:
- Seat Belt
The seat belt is designed to keep people in place and prevent them from falling off. Most manufacturers keep the stairlift seat belt design very simple. For those who desire extra security for their loved ones, however, manufacturers offer optional harnesses for a more secure restraint.
- Safety Locks
It is also common for stairlifts to come with a lockable key that, when removed, prevents unauthorized or unsupervised use. This is important for the promotion of safety in the house particularly if the stair lift is to be installed in a house with children.
To prevent damage to the lift or injury to the rider, most chair lift models are equipped with electronic sensors that detect other people or objects on the stairs. The sensors ensure that no one, no pet, and no object are in the path of the vehicle and the stairlift will automatically stop if there is an obstruction on any step. Some models also have alerting mechanisms that detect if your loved one gets up from the chair while it is still moving.
Stair Lift Model Types
Stair lift model types are determined by the kind of rail they run on. The tracks of a stair lift are what determines what the total cost of purchasing and installation will be as well as the possible locations of installation of the stair lifts in your home.
There are three major types of stair lifts and they are:
Straight Stair lifts
Straight stair lifts are stair lifts that run on a straight rail. The straight rail is the most common type of rail for stair lifts. A straight stairlift makes it possible to move up and down smoothly on stairs with no curves. A straight stairlift is the simplest kind of stairlift to install and it is also the least costly.
Some producers even allow their customers to measure and install their straight stairlift themselves. This is due in part to the fact that straight stairlifts are made up of easily accessible components.
Curved Stair Lift
A curved stair lift is ideal for installation on a staircase that has bends or landings. The stairlift can move in a straight line and can as well navigate bends on a staircase easily. A curved stair lift runs on a curved rail and its design which enables it to navigate bends makes it more expensive than the straight rail stair lifts.
Outdoor Stair Lift
Outdoor stairlifts only differ from their indoor counterparts in the materials which were used to construct them (and the rails). Due to environmental conditions, an outdoor stairlift is made of weather-resistant materials instead of just wood to guarantee its durability.
Although an outdoor stairlift can be designed as either a straight stair or a curved stair, most manufacturers only provide straight outdoor lifts to avoid the additional complications that come with the installation attempt of curved stair lifts.
Apart from these three major types of stair lifts based on the three types of stair rail design, there are also a couple of other rail designs with increased complexity but increased advantages. One of such is the folding rail.
The folding rail has an additional feature that makes it desirable. The end and beginning of folding rail can be manually or automatically packed away reducing obstruction and easing customers of having to go through the stress of packing them.
Can Stairlifts be fitted to any stairs?
A rail stair lift can be designed to fit on any kind of stairs in the home however as earlier stated, the type of stairs will determine the type of stairlift to be installed and by extension the cost of the installation process.
The major determining factors of a stair lift cost are the rail/track and the type of staircase to be navigated. Generally, a curved stairlift is more expensive than its straight rail counterpart. A straight stairlift, which has no landings and does not handle bends, costs between $3,000 and $5,000. A curved stair lift however has its cost ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 depending on the number of curves and the number of landings.
The Best Stairlift Companies In Canada
There are several stairlift providers in Canada however here is a list of the best ones highlighting their pros and their cons to help you make a decision on which you find most acceptable.
Comparing the Best Stair Lifts in Canada
Acorn Stairlifts is an American company with branches in both the US and Canada. The company offers straight, curved, and outdoor stairlifts that are affordable and reliable. Acorn stairlifts also offer free quotation services where at your request, they send an expert to your house to evaluate and determine the best stairlift solutions for you or your loved one as well as what it will cost you, and all this is done at absolutely no cost to you.
All in all, you probably want to be very careful and verify every piece of information you receive from their representatives. Other than that, their devices have been reported to work excellently.
- Stairlifts are designed to fit quickly and easily.
- Stairlifts fit into the stairs and not the wall and therefore require no structural changes to your home.
- Affordable and reliable stairlifts with low running costs.
- They also offer optional hinged rails to eliminate trips and accidents.
- There have been complaints from users about dissatisfaction with their customer service.
- Their sales representatives have been reported to give inaccurate information just to get buyers
Bruno stairlifts is a family-owned company headquartered in the US. Bruno stairlifts is a leader in industry innovation known for its unrelenting commitment to quality and safety. They offer both indoor and outdoor stairlifts with a signature stair lift design.
- Stairlifts are handcrafted to provide users with maximum comfort and safety.
- Unique vertical stairlift design allows stairlifts to be installed within five inches of the wall.
- Stairlifts are custom designed upon order which ensures they are perfect for your staircase.
- Weight capacity up to 400 pounds.
- Custom stairlift takes longer to build.
- The Elan SRE-3000 model may not be the best for users near the 300-pound limit as it is slightly unbalanced when used by such users.
- Stairlifts are generally quite expensive especially the elite models
Stannah stairlifts is a Uk headquartered company with a global presence in over 40 countries including Canada and over 750,000 stairlift installs. Stannah offers curved, straight, and outdoor stairlifts for users. They offer free quotes, efficient installation, and after-sales services as well as excellent customer service.
- Country-wide coverage in Canada
- Efficient troubleshooting system
- Stairlifts are made to fit you and your stairs.
- Free quotation service.
- Market-leading warranty
- No fixed price. Stairlift prices can only be gotten after the quotation.
- Communication is sometimes lacking.
- Although generally good, warranty options vary by dealer.
Silver Cross Stores
Silver cross is an accessibility and mobility product retailer with a history of providing solutions to mobility issues since 1993. The company is headquartered in Canada and operates stores in Alberta and Ontario. Silver cross also offers in-home assessments and showrooms with working demonstrator models for potential users to try out.
Full review here.
- Wide range of products and services
- Friendly and competent and professional customer service
- Delivery of products all over Canada
- Response time is slow occasionally
Handicare is a stairlift provider headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden with state-of-the-art manufacturing plants globally with a reach of over 20 countries including Canada. The presence of local Handicare offices all over Canada ensures nationwide coverage. Handicare offers straight, curved, and outdoor stairlifts for potential users.
- Lifetime warranty on some products.
- Free estimate on products
- Customer service is pretty good.
- The presence of local offices across Canada ensures a country-wide reach
- A wider range of stairlift choices than most of the competition.
- Easy and fast installation of stairlifts.
- Customer service could be better.
- Weight limitations on basic models limit use.
Home Stairlift Rentals
Home stairlift rentals is a local Canadian company mobility aid rental service committed to making independent living easier. They offer rental services on straight, curved, and outdoor stairlifts for people who are for one reason or the other unable or unwilling to purchase their own. They also have local offices across Canada enabling them to deliver services locally.
- Local offices and dealers ensure wide coverage in Canada
- Efficient and competent installation teams
- Good customer service
- If you are going to be using a stairlift for an extended period then this might not be the best option for you.
AmeriGlide Accessibility Solutions
Ameriglide incorporated is an American company that has its headquarters on the east coast of the southern US.
It was founded in 1989 and has established itself within that period as a major distributor of home medical equipment. Ameriglide offers a comprehensive array of mobility aids such as excellent stairlifts, wheelchair lifts, dumbwaiters, and others.
- Ameriglide ranks 4th out of all mobility aid sites which is a pointer to their quality of service.
- Great product design
- Quick and efficient installation
- Customer service is generally very helpful.
- Affordable stairlift options
- Fairly poor customer service towards the maintenance of products is a major concern among buyers.
- Ordered stairlifts usually take longer than the estimated time for delivery.
Savaria is a Canada-based company that is committed to the provision of mobility aids to help people maintain their mobility. Savaria provides a wide range of products from those needed in the home to those to be used outdoors and even in cars.
- Savaria has only recorded 3 customer complaints upon their listing with the Better Business Bureau. This speaks of highly competent and effective customer service.
- Stairlifts are of very high quality.
- Nationwide coverage for Canada
- Competitive pricing
- They offer only straight and curved stairlifts. No outdoor stairlifts.
- Stairlift options are restricted, despite the company’s extensive product line
So which is the best stair lift in Canada?
It depends on what features you are prioritizing – whether that be price, comfort, design or something else. We’ve reviewed over 15 Canadian and US stair lift companies and rated each one to help you pick the best stair lift in Canada for your needs.