What is the Difference Between a Stairlift and a Platform Lift?

When it comes to enhancing mobility within your home in Boise, the terms stairlift and platform lift might seem interchangeable. However, while both are designed to assist those with mobility challenges, they serve different needs and are suitable for various environments. Understanding these differences will help you make an informed decision about which equipment best fits your lifestyle. This blog post explores the distinctions between stairlifts and platform lifts, aiming to help you identify the perfect solution for your home.

What Are the Key Differences Between a Stairlift and a Platform Lift?

The primary distinction between “stairlift” and “platform lift” lies in the functionality and design of the equipment. A stairlift typically features a seat that transports an individual up and down the stairs, securely attached to a rail system. This solution is ideal for those who can transfer to and from the seat with minimal assistance.

In contrast, a vertical or inclined platform lift is designed to accommodate a person in a wheelchair. This type of lift moves vertically or at an incline that matches the slow of your staircase to bridge height differences, offering an alternative to stair navigation. For those who require constant use of their wheelchair or mobility aid, a platform lift allows them to move between levels without transferring from their chair.

Installation of Stairlifts

Stairlifts are installed directly onto your staircase, with minimal structural modification needed. They are an excellent indoor solution, allowing users to maintain independence and safety within their homes. On the other hand, platform lifts require a level surface with a clear path of travel vertically to the next floor (for a vertical platform) or a much larger bottom landing and wider staircase to fit an inclined lift. Inclined lifts may also require reinforcing the walls within the stairwell. Installation is often done outdoors due to its ability to cover greater distances and withstand environmental elements.

stair lift getting installed

Usage of Stairlifts

Although outdoor models are available, Stairlifts are primarily used indoors to help individuals overcome the challenge of navigating stairs within homes or buildings. These devices are particularly beneficial for those who find stairs a barrier to accessing different residence levels. The design of stairlifts ensures that they can be installed on virtually any type of staircase, including straight, curved, or even spiral staircases.

The compact nature of the chair used on the stairlift means that when it's not in use, it can be folded away, thus minimizing the space it occupies and ensuring the staircase remains accessible to others. This makes stairlifts essential for promoting independence and safety at home, providing a reliable and efficient way for individuals with mobility issues to move freely around their living spaces.

Why Would Someone Choose Either a Platform Lift or a Stairlift?

Stairlift Advantages

Firstly, stairlifts are designed to provide a safe and reliable means of ascending and descending stairs, significantly reducing the risk of falls for those with mobility issues. This enhances independence and confidence in navigating multiple levels of a home. Additionally, stairlifts are remarkably space-efficient; many models feature folding seats and armrests that minimize their footprint when not in use, preserving the stairway for use by others. Cost-wise, stairlifts are a practical investment, often more affordable than the alternatives. Stairlifts can be installed very quickly since 101 Mobility often have them in stock. If they need to be removed, there is little to no permanent impact to the home.

Vertical Platform Lift Advantages

Platform lifts offer a unique set of advantages for improving accessibility both indoors and outdoors. These lifts can transport users over longer distances vertically, making them an ideal solution for larger outdoor spaces or multi-level public and residential buildings. One of the critical benefits of platform lifts is their versatility. Platform lifts are designed to withstand the elements, making them suitable for outdoor installations. They can provide an essential link between different garden levels, outdoor decks, or access to elevated entrances. Their robust construction allows them to safely carry a wheelchair or mobility scooter, making them an invaluable asset for individuals who rely on these aids for mobility. An added benefit of vertical platform lifts is that they are ADA compliant and can serve all ability types. Their structural change to the home can have a positive impact on the resale value of a home.

What Other Equipment Can Increase Mobility Inside Your Home?

Beyond stair and platform lifts, Home Elevators and modular wheelchair ramps significantly enhance mobility. Home elevators offer a blend of utility and luxury for multi-story homes. At the same time, modular wheelchair ramps provide customizable access solutions, ensuring that regardless of your home’s layout, there is an accessibility solution available.

Schedule a Free In-Home Consultation With 101 Mobility Now

101 Mobility is proud to provide high-quality accessibility equipment that can quickly improve how you or your loved ones move throughout the house. We offer wheelchair ramps, stairlifts, home elevators, and platform lifts that are uniquely designed to complement the layout of your home. Whenever your needs change, 101 Mobility is your partner in accessibility. Our technicians can easily travel to your Treasure Valley or Magic Valley home. Schedule your free consultation online or call us at (208) 271-9559 to get started.

woman using chair lift