A stairlift is a battery or electrically powered device that is installed on a stairway so those who have mobility concerns can safely ascend and descend their stairs. These devices help to prevent needless injuries caused by stairs and allow a person full access to all levels of their home. When shopping for these devices, there are 5 features of a stairlift or stair glider people should consider so they can be sure the type they choose will serve them well.
Do I Get a Battery or Electric Stair Lift?
The first feature people should consider when choosing a stairlift is whether they want a battery powered or electric model. The vast majority of models are battery powered, allowing them to continue operating even when the main source of electricity is out. These units must be plugged in continuously so the battery remains charged and does not drain. Should it drain, the battery may need to be replaced. Batteries typically last three to four years, depending on how well they are maintained.
Most of these units are low voltage and use minimal energy while trickle charging the batteries. The batteries will not die instantly in most models such as the Handicare 950. Instead the stair lift will begin to go up the stairs in half speed which is a good indication that the batteries need to be replaced soon.
Swivel seats are also an important option to consider, yet they are not available on all models. A swivel seat moves to the side at the bottom or the top of the staircase for easy access. This feature is especially important for those who may be wheelchair-bound as it allows a wheelchair to be pushed right up to the seat so a person is able to get into the seat without risk of falling.
Most standard model stair lifts are manual swivel, but you can upgrade to a power swivel seat on some stair lifts like the Handicare 1100 model. Power swivel is beneficial for people who don’t have enough power in their lower body to turn the chair manually. The seat is also adjustable to the height of the patient to accommodate a wide range of height and mobility issues. If you are really tall an extended seat post can be ordered on some models.
Folding seat options can be beneficial for many people since this allows the seat to become more compact while it is not being used. Many people prefer this option because it allows the seat to become less noticeable. When the seat and arms are folded, the lift does not take up as much room so it does not interfere with others going up and down the stairs in the home.
Some models take up more space when folded than others. If you have narrower stairs you may want to ask how much room the unit takes up when folded. They can range from 11” to 16”.
Types of Controls
The controls of a stairlift or stair glider are crucial for proper operation. Different models offer different types of controls. Some models feature controls in the foot rest area. Other controls are found on the arm rests. Luxury models often have a hand held remote that allows for full operation of the lift. It behooves a person to carefully try out different control types to see which one will benefit them the most.
The simple control on most Handicare models is easy to use. The paddle design is just pushed to the left or the right to go up or down the stairs. The Handicare stair lifts all come with 2 remotes, 1 for upstairs and 1 for downstairs. This is really helpful in situations where there are multiple users in one household.
A person will also need to decide whether they need a standard seat lift or an industrial model. Standard lifts typically do not hold over 300 pounds while industrial models can hold 300 to 600 pounds. These bariatric models can hold much more weight so a person can be safely lifted no matter their weight.
Handicare has a wide range of stair lifts for every size person. The Handicare 1000 is the perfect bariatric option for someone up to 440 lbs. and it’s even offered in an outdoor version.
Talk to Us About Your Stairlift Options
It is important people carefully consider these 5 features of a stairlift or stair glider to ensure they choose the right ones to meet their needs so they can use their stairlift safely and effectively, while feeling secure and comfortable. If you need help deciding what options to get on your chair lift for the stairs then talk to our sales representatives to further assist you in your decision. Call 410-882-4005
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