Home Elevator vs. Stairlift: Which Is Best?

If you have a multi-level home and need help moving between the levels, a stairlift or home elevator can help you go from floor to floor more easily. You may be wondering which product is better, and the answer to which is right for you depends on a variety of factors. In this article, we will outline the key considerations when choosing between a home elevator and stairlift as well as the pros and cons of each product.

When to Choose a Stairlift vs. a Home Elevator

When deciding whether a home elevator or stairlift is better for you, you should consider the following factors.

  • Cost. Home elevators are typically more expensive than stairlifts. While the cost of a stairlift can range from about $2,800-$5,000 after professional installation (depending on the brand, features, etc.), a home elevator can cost anywhere from $10,000-$20,000 to purchase and install. If you decide to rent your stairlift, that can also be less expensive as you will only have to pay an installation fee of about $500-$750 and a monthly payment of $85-$400.
  • Space. Both stairlifts and elevators come in a variety of sizes and widths so that they can fit in your home. However, they require different kinds of space in your home. While stairlifts range in size to accommodate different types of stairways, home elevators require space above, behind, and below the elevator to accommodate the motor and elevator shaft. Certain stairlifts can also fold away while not in use, but an elevator needs a permanent home.
  • Appearance. While some stairlifts fold away, you still have to consider the railings, platform, and parts that may not be so easily concealed. Depending on the brand, the chair and stairlift may come in a variety of finishes and colors so the lift can complement your staircase. With home elevators, their appearance will depend on what type of elevator you purchase. If an elevator has a shaft, a variety of style choices can conceal the shaft from view and be applied to the elevator’s interior. However, pneumatic elevators are typically made of glass or plastic tubing as they are meant to be open, which makes them hard to conceal.
  • Installation. Stairlifts take less time to install; specifically, they can usually be installed in three to four hours. Elevators can take days or weeks to install depending on whether they need a shaft and what type of machinery they use.
  • Noise. While both stairlifts and elevators make noise, most stairlifts are created to make minimal amounts of noise. Elevators are typically noisier, and how much noise they make will depend on the type of elevator your purchase. Pneumatic vacuum elevators are typically quieter; however, cable-driven or standard home elevators can make a lot of noise. While you can install acoustic paneling to eliminate elevator noise; that is an added expense and should be something you consider.
  • Maintenance. While both home elevators and stairlifts require annual maintenance, certain elevators need to be inspected and require additional maintenance every five years.
  • Return on investment. Having an elevator in your home can increase your property value; an elevator can increase the value of your home by about 10%, which more than returns on your investment (in some cases). How much your home’s value increases can also be influenced by the design and type of elevator installed. On the other hand, stairlifts do not typically increase your home’s resale price or value as they are not highly sought after by buyers. In some cases, you may have to remove the stairlift when you sell to avoid limiting the number of potential buyers.

Pros & Cons of a Home Elevator

Another way to determine whether a stairlift or elevator is the best for you is to look at the pros and cons of each assistance option. The benefits of a home elevator are:

  • Location flexibility. While a stairlift goes in one place (i.e. on the stairs), a home elevator can go almost anywhere in your home.
  • Increasing your home’s value. As we mentioned, an elevator, especially one that compliments the design of the home, can increase your resale value.
  • Design and configuration customization options. Stairlifts come in many different colors and sizes, but elevators are even more customizable as they can be designed to match your décor and aesthetic.
  • Reliability. Home elevators can offer you peace of mind as they have additional safety features, such as a phone, emergency stop button, emergency lighting, etc. Not only do you avoid suffering a fall on the staircase but you are also protected and have access to help in the event of an emergency.
  • Independence. An elevator can allow you or your loved one to have independence and the freedom to move around in your home. Some stairlifts require another person to assist you.

On the other hand, home elevators do have some cons, such as:

  • Costly installation. Home elevators can be quite expensive.
  • Construction requirements. Your home will have to undergo construction to install the elevator, and the elevator will have to be installed and built with respect to building codes.
  • Long project timeline. As we mentioned, home elevators can take a long time to install. A lot of time must also be dedicated to choosing the location, selecting a brand and design, and making other decisions before installation even begins.

Pros & Cons of a Stairlift

The pros of stairlifts include:

  • Affordability. Whether you install or rent a stairlift, that is more affordable than a home elevator, and there are grants you can apply for that help cover the cost.
  • No construction or remodeling. Unlike with home elevators, you do not have to plan for construction.
  • Easy installation. Stairlifts attach to the tread of your staircase and can be easily attached and installed in hours.

However, stairlifts also have cons, including:

  • Having limited design options. There are not as many decorative styles to choose from with stairlifts, and depending on the size of your stairwell, a stairlift may take away from your interior design as the railing may need to be removed.
  • Not adding value to the home. Stairlifts do not increase property values.
  • Having smaller weight limits. Stairlifts have smaller weight limits than elevators do.
  • Allowing access to only one additional floor. Unless multiple stairlifts are installed on different stairways, you will only gain access to one additional floor in your home.

Still Need Help Deciding Between a Stairlift & Elevator? Speak with Our Consultants!

At 101 Mobility, our experts can help you determine whether a stairlift or a home elevator is the best possible option for your home and unique needs. Known for treating our clients like family, we are passionate about finding the perfect solution for your individual needs, and we aren’t afraid to think outside of the box to address your needs and concerns. From the initial consultation to the installation and beyond, we are prepared to support you as you make your home more accessible with either a stairlift or home elevator.

To schedule a consultation and learn more about our services, find your closest 101 Mobility location today!