Sunday, September 26, 2010

Buying a Wheelchair Lift

Buying a wheelchair lift can be a daunting task, especially if you are newly disabled or are purchasing a wheelchair lift for a loved one. There are many types of devices that are referred to as wheelchair lifts but most fall into two broad categories; vertical platform lifts or vehicle lifts.

The most elaborate and expensive type of wheelchair lift is the vertical platform lift. You may have seen this type of wheelchair lift at a commercial building or government office. This type of lift allows the wheelchair user to roll on to a platform and activate a lift mechanism by using controls mounted on the frame. A vertical lift can cost several thousand dollars and requires an expert to install. Additional inspections fees may also be associated with the installation of one of these lifts, depending on local codes and ordinances.

If you are planning on buying a vertical lift, be sure to verify the building codes in your area before laying down the cash. It would also be a good idea to bring in a private contractor to verify that you will be able to safely install the wheelchair lift on your existing structure while still complying with local codes.

Another type of wheelchair lift is the vehicle lift. There are literally hundreds of variations of the vehicle lift. Some types are only for vans with side entry. Other types utilize a boom to lift the chair into the rear cargo area of a smaller mini-van or SUV. The type that you require will depend on not only your needs, but on the type of vehicle that you own.

Most vehicle lifts sold today are of the smaller variety that is primarily used for lifting power wheelchairs or mobility scooters into the trunk of a car or the rear of an SUV. These lifts use a boom or swing-arm to lift the device up and over for easy loading. Then boom itself can be motorized or manually operated and will require a special docking device designed to couple with the specific type or brand of power wheelchair or scooter that you are using.

Now that you have a clear understanding of the types of wheelchair lifts on the market you can now begin searching for a distributor that will be able to meet your needs. More and more consumers are finding that, even with large items such as wheelchair lifts, shopping on line can safe you hundreds of dollars. Often the installation or measurement can also be included, since many on line resellers have nationwide networks of installers.

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