How Much Does a Stairlift Cost?
As we get older, we often lose our physical strength and ability to move as freely as we once did. It happens to all of us, eventually – and most of us worry about what happens when we get older and cannot get around our own homes the way we used to. The good news is that for those who want to age in place, there are home accessibility options that can be quite affordable, especially when compared to the cost of assisted living. One of those modifications is installing a stairlift.
Stair assist devices can be an ideal solution for those who live in a home with two or more floors and want to be able to freely access all the rooms of their abode. A stairlift can help provide independence for aging homeowners, impart peace of mind to their loved ones, and save money over time. Let’s look at the costs of installing a stairlift — we cover short-term and long-term costs, as well as the return on investment over time.
Factors That Determine the Price of a Stairlift
There are several factors that determine the cost of a stairlift, both in the short-term and over time. Some of those influences include the following:
- Straight vs. curved stairlifts. A stairlift for straight stairs is usually more affordable than one that is curved or has more than one landing.
- Range of distance. Cost is often impacted by how far the stairlift will travel. A stairlift designed for carrying an individual up three or four steps is going to cost less than one that glides up one or two (or more!) full flights of stairs.
- The installation space. Some stairwells are too narrow to accommodate a typical stairlift chair. Therefore, either the stairwell must be widened or you might need to install a customized lift. A low ceiling also creates these limitations.
- Parking position. When you are not using the stair lift, you will leave it in a parked position – usually at the top or bottom of the staircase. You can also choose to park it around the corner of the stairs, or opt for a fold-in chair, if you prefer to leave more room for stair accessibility. Alternative parking positions can impact cost.
- Special features. Choosing custom options, such as an upholstered chair that matches your existing home décor, railings, or foot rests, can add to the bottom line.
- Make and model. Similar to purchasing a vehicle, there are varying price points for different stairlift makes and models. For instance, the most basic model with no bells or whistles is almost always cheaper, while the higher-end model with luxury additions will have a higher price tag.
Keep in mind that Medicare and private insurance typically do not cover the costs of a stairlift. However, there might be other ways to pay for your home accessibility improvements.
Stairlift Costs by Type
The cost of a stairlift varies by the type of stairlift you need to have installed. Some homes have straight staircases while others have curved stairs. Additionally, some homeowners may require an outdoor stairlift, while others may desire or require customizations. Below we outline the price ranges you can expect for straight, curved, outdoor, and custom stairlifts.
Straight Stairlift Costs
A straight stairlift can be one of the most affordable options, thanks to the fact that it requires only one straight railing to operate. This type of stairlift is the easiest to install and many dealers will already have all the installation necessities on hand, including railings of an appropriate length for your particular set of stairs.
The price of a straight stairlift runs between $2,200 and $5,000. This ranges from a very basic chair at the lower price point to more advanced options, such as a powered swivel seat or a retractable rail, which drive up the cost.
Since straight stairlifts are typically not customized, going with a refurbished option is also a possibility. A certified pre-owned straight stairlift might cost up to $1,000 less than a new one.
Curved Stairlift Costs
The price range for curved stairlifts is a bit broader, thanks to the fact that this type of stairlift is customized to suit non-standard staircases. Installers must carefully ensure each rail lines up smoothly with your curved stairs. This often means extended time to create and install the stairlift.
Expect curved stairlift costs to range from $8,500 to $14,000. As with the straight staircase, the more basic models are at the lower end of that range. Keep in mind that this price range also takes into account the length and complexity of the stairs. A longer curved staircase and any bells and whistles or upgraded models will push the price up to the higher end of that range.
One added benefit of curved stairlifts is that they often allow for flexible parking options. Homeowners can often choose to park their stairlift around the corner and out of the way of the stairs. Unlike straight stairlifts, curved stairlifts are not often available as certified pre-owned, because they are custom built to the specifications of a particular shape and length of staircase.
Outdoor Stairlift Costs
Stairlifts created for outdoor use are hardy, durable machines built to withstand the elements. They can be installed with standard rails, or customized to suit an area with several stairs, landings and turns. They come with seat covers to keep the chair clean and dry, and might also come with small canopies or other coverings to protect the user from the elements.
Though pricing can vary depending upon the complexity of custom work or the simplicity of a standard set of home stairs, outdoor stairlift costs run typically between $5,000 and $12,000. Keep in mind that the lower end of the spectrum will be the most basic, standard stairlift equipment.
Custom Stairlift Costs
Technically, curved stairlifts are considered custom stairlifts – but what if you require additional or different customizations? Fortunately, there are many other ways to customize your stairlift to make it as comfortable and functional as possible for your home.
With these customizations naturally comes additional costs. Expect a customized stairlift to start at about $10,000. The price depends on the type and complexity of the chosen customizations. Custom features include power swivel seats, manual or power folding rails for more safety, colors that perfectly match your home décor, leather seats, and power footrests and armrests.
Pre-Owned and Refurbished Stairlift Costs
There are pre-owned and refurbished stairlift options available to homeowners looking to lower their installation costs. It can be tough to find a pre-owned or refurbished curved stairlift, as those are built to the specifications of a particular home’s staircase. However, it is usually quite easy to find a certified pre-owned straight rail stairlift, as these typically have standard measurements. Expect to pay between $2,200 and $2,800 for a pre-owned straight stairlift.
Refurbished and pre-owned stairlifts go through a rigorous testing process to ensure they are safe and ready to serve the homeowner. The manufacturer replaces worn parts and services all components to ensure the chair is secure and ready to use.
Rent vs. Purchase Costs
A stairlift rental is a temporary solution. If you will only need a stairlift while someone in the home is recovering from surgery, for instance, a rental is the ideal solution to the staircase challenges.
Rentals are usually limited to straight staircases, as they are of standard measurements. The most common stairlift rental is for a home with 10-16 steps, as well as no intermediate landings on the staircase. Most companies have rental agreements that minimum rental period of at least three months. On the plus side, in most cases the company will offer free or discounted service and maintenance on the lift during the time it’s in your home.
Stairlift rental costs depend upon several factors, including the length of the staircase, make and model of the chair, and the length of the rental period. You can expect stairlift rental costs to range between $50 and $200 per month. Keep in mind that if you have a curved staircase that requires a customized unit, a rental might not be an option for you.
Rent to Own Options
What if you want to purchase your stairlift after the rental agreement is up? Many companies will allow you to apply the rental payments to the purchase price. Some might even offer a rent-to-own program. If this is of interest to you, make sure to ask the stairlift company before signing your rental agreement if this is an option.
Your stairlift will likely run just fine without incident for a long time. But to be sure the chair is in top shape, yearly maintenance is a good idea. Many stairlift warranties include one annual maintenance visit, so be sure to ask about warranties available as you purchase your new stairlift.
A technician who specializes in stairlifts will conduct a thorough inspection, ensure the entire unit meets safety standards, replace any worn parts, install new batteries, and inspect the controls for continued easy operation. An annual maintenance visit will typically cost $300 or less, and can give you peace of mind when it comes to your safety.
Return on Investment for a Stairlift
When thinking about the return on investment for a stairlift, it is helpful to explore the costs of aging in place vs. assisted living facilities.
Unfortunately, long-term assisted living care is quite expensive. According to LongTermCare.gov, the national average cost of a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility is $3,628 per month. The average cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home runs $6,844 per month, while a private room costs $7,698 per month.
Those who want to stay in their homes longer rather than moving into assisted living facilities can turn to home accessibility modifications, like a stairlift. The initial cost of a basic stairlift is much less than the cost of even one month of assisted living care. A customized model can cost much less than a few months of care. Add in other home modifications, such as a walk-in tub, and the costs are still less than what you would pay for six months of assisted living. Since you can enjoy these home modifications for years to come, the return on investment becomes evident, while also allowing more independence.
To learn more about what accessibility measures you can take in your home, look over our home accessibility checklist.
Comparing Stairlift Prices
When exploring stairlift costs, it might be tempting to consider do-it-yourself options. However, remember that a stairlift carries very precious cargo – you or a loved one – up a flight of stairs. Falls from the chair, failure of a mechanism, or detachment of the rail are just a few of the ways a poorly-installed stairlift could spell disaster. It is important to choose a professional for the installation of your stairlift.
When you’re ready to compare quotes from reputable dealers and find the ideal professional installer for your stairlift, turn to Modernize for help. We can connect you to licensed, trusted local contractors in your area. Our Contractor Checklist can give you even more peace of mind that you’re choosing the right professional to install your stairlift.