How to Decide Between Renting and Purchasing a Stairlift

A question that is commonly asked among individuals looking for a stairlift is “Can I rent or buy this life-changing product?” The answer to that question is often; yes, you can! Certified stairlift dealers are often equipped to handle both purchases and rentals. These options are very situation-dependent however, and not everyone qualifies for rentals. If your staircase is curved, has landings, or is abnormally long, you may have trouble finding a rental product as these features require a custom curved rail stairlift.

Typical Rental Requirements

When searching for a company that may perform rentals or purchases, it is highly important that you ensure a free consultation is included with their services. This consultation (or evaluation) is what will determine if you even qualify for a rental option. Rental requirements are typically as follows (though exceptions do exist):

  • Straight (Indoor) Staircase

  • 10-16 Steps

  • No intermediate landings

If any of these facets apply to you and your stairs, you should check with the specific dealer that you are doing business with to ensure that you are covered by both rental and purchase options.

Choosing the Right Stairlift

When considering whether to rent or buy, it is also important to research the various brands and models that are available on the market. Many handicap accessibility dealers may not have the customer’s best interest in mind by renting them a low-quality stairlift that comes with little to no safety features, and possibly limited service or maintenance.

Some features that you should look for before you choose to rent a stairlift can include:

  1. A seat that swivels and locks at both the top and bottom of the staircase to ensure safe loading and unloading

  2. A backup battery ensuring the unit will operate even in the event of a power outage

  3. A weight capacity that you will suit your needs. A high-quality lift will usually be able to support between 300 and 400 lbs

  4. A keyed operation to prevent children from playing with the lift. Child-prevention is a staple in stairlift safety, as these highly technical machines were not designed to be operated by children

  5. A seat-belt should come standard. If the dealer who is trying to rent or sell you a stairlift does not include this basic necessity, you should drop them altogether

  6. Safety features such as overspeed governor and overload detection are highly valuable and will ensure that your lift will not operate unless all weight constraints are met, as well as preventing unauthorized acceleration

  7. Most importantly, ensure that your stairlift is backed by a maintenance plan, ensuring that you won’t be left to fend for yourself should your lift need routine maintenance or emergency repairs

Some popular stairlift brands that exceed consumer and manufacturer standards include Bruno, Handicare, Savaria, and Harmar.

Situational Constraints

Before deciding whether you want to purchase or rent a stairlift, it is important to recognize which option would be best for you depending on your finances and time constraints. Most companies require a minimal rental requirement of 3-4 months, due to the laborious installation and removal. Some companies offer buy-back solutions if you choose to purchase. These programs typically offer a percentage of the cost of the stairlift back within the first 3 years of the purchase. This option is often more useful for short-term rentals due to the lower return on investment that the customer is receiving. Other options that some dealers may offer could include a “rent to own” option. Think of this as financing, and is perfect for users who are looking to rent long term. After the payments made on the stairlift meet its purchase cost, the ownership is transferred over to the rental customer.

Whether you decide to rent or purchase, it is important to recognize the value and utility that a stairlift can bring to your life. Regaining vertical mobility has never been easier in this day and age, and with a stairlift installed into your home you are on the fast track to independence. The choice is now in your hands in regards to renting or buying, and with the right knowledge and know-how you should be able to make this decision with ease. Just keep in mind the situational, financial, and time constraints associated with renting a stairlift.