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Wheelchair Stair Lifts: General Information

Author: Ned D'Agostino

Published: 2009-02-09 : (Rev. 2016-01-19)

Synopsis and Key Points:

Information on wheelchair stair lifts a motorized means of carrying a person seated in a wheelchair up and down stairs.

Main Digest

Of all the means available to traverse stairs, the wheelchair stair lift is the most affordable and the simplest to install.

Basically, a wheelchair stair lift is a motorized means of carrying a person seated in a wheelchair up and down stairs. The motor is usually driven by an electric motor running off rechargeable batteries. It is installed over the stairs in such a way that the stairs can still be used in the usual fashion. There is no need of breaking down or reconstructing the existing building. It is the most affordable, and hence preferred, means of traversing stairs.

Price for a straight-running rack-and-pinion wheelchair stair lift is less than $5000. A curved stairway will lift that price to $15000. Other types of wheelchair stair lift will bring the price to $25000. Even so the price is appreciably less than that of a cage elevator for a single person, mainly because you don't need to reconstruct anything.

Wheelchair stair lifts are categorized by the type of drive system they use to be moved up and down stairs. The most popular wheelchair stair lift is of the rack-and-pinion system. It is ideal for quiet areas and light duty.

The cable-hauled wheelchair stair lift is the quietest among all categories and requires the least maintenance. The long cable tends to have a little play in it which makes its starting and stopping a little less than smooth.

Another type of wheelchair stair lift is driven by a set of running chains. A thumb on the wheelchair stair lift engages the chain which carries it up or down. Its noise and price puts it out of the popularity race.

A screw-driven wheelchair stair lift is driven by a set of screws. This is not very popular for individual use.

The rack-and-pinion wheelchair stair lift is the best type by far. It is the cheapest to install, requires no maintenance, and is emits very little noise. It is driven by a set of rotating pinion wheels which engage wall-mounted racks on both sides of the stairs.

A variation on the theme is the wheelchair stair lift that runs on tracks that are laid along the run of the stairs, on either side.

Mains powered wheelchair stair lifts are going out of fashion, the reliability and safety of rechargeable batteries making them more popular by the day. Wheelchair stair lifts require official clearance before they can be installed or put to use.

Looking down the stairs from a height while sitting in a wheelchair makes the wheelchair occupant a trifle nervous. To avoid this vertigo-like feeling, most wheelchair stair lifts have a system to turn the chair sideways or right around. Moreover, these wheelchair stair lifts have electronic systems which help in preventive maintenance, warning the user of potential problems before they actually materialize.

In short, the wheelchair stair lift is the best way for people with special needs for traversing stairs to do so on their own. The most appealing feature of a wheelchair stair lift is that it does not require any sort of building work. They are absolutely safe and reliable. The wheelchair stair lift is without doubt a godsend for anyone who cannot use the stairs on his own.

Stair Lift Terms

Reference: To learn more about the advantages of a stairway chair lift, go to You'll also read about how a vertical wheel chair lift, which is a lot like a small elevator, can increase the mobility of anyone who is confined to a wheelchair.

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