A wheel chair stair lift is a very useful device to allow wheelchair-bound individuals to move around the house. However, these chairs are more expensive and more complicated to build that traditional stairlifts since the weight and width of the wheelchair have to be taken into consideration.
Wheel chair stair lift installation, particularly for a domestic setting, can be challenging. Unlike traditional stairlifts, the ones that are designed to accommodate wheelchairs should be mounted on load-bearing walls and not fixed to the stairs like the usual stairlift. In addition, lifts for wheelchairs require more space and a more sturdy support.
Stairlifts for wheelchairs should be able to take a minimum weight of 500 lbs. and the width should be at least 36 inches, unlike conventional lifts that only require a 22-inch width. Furthermore, enough space should be available at the bottom of the stairs to provide a landing space for the stairlift and allow the rider to get off the wheel chair.
Types of Stairlifts
Stairlifts are not necessarily for the exclusive use of wheelchair-bound individuals. People who have difficulties climbing stairs - older people, physically handicapped - can also be helped by stair lifts. Aside from a wheelchair stairlift, there are several more types of lifts that can be used in domestic and public buildings.
There are curved and straight, electric and battery-powered. Curved stairlifts are specifically designed for curved staircases and are more expensive to install since they need to fit the specifications of the stairs. In comparison, a straight lift is easier and cheaper to install. Stairs that run in a straight line from the bottom to the top can accommodate a straight lift.
Most conventional stairlifts, especially the more simple ones, can be operated by a remote control powered by batteries. However, for lifts designed to accommodate wheelchairs, more often than not, electric power is required. Again, this can be more expensive and more complicated to build.
Stair Lift Manufacturers
There are a number of companies that manufacture stairlifts of various kinds, including ThyssenKrupp, Savaria Concord, Acorn, Stannah and Garaventa among others. There are also used stairlifts that are commercially available, but finding one that suits the specifications of a particular stair might be difficult.
A wheel chair stair lift is a very useful device for the wheelchair-bound. However, installing one usually entails a lot of money and effort. If a member of the household is riding a wheelchair, having a straight, simple stair design will be a good first step to make installing a stairlift much easier.