Being prepared before you have someone come out to your home to take measurements for a stairlift estimate can save you a lot of trouble. Stairlifts are a product line that, with routine maintenance, are made to last for years. Therefore, be sure to get the one you want and need the first time. Be sure to consider the following before deciding on which brand and model to get.
Ask About Weight Ratings
It may seem odd for a device such as a stairlift, but some of them can have low weight ratings. This could be a problem for a larger person. Standard models are available that can lift up to 400 pounds with other models that can lift up to 600 pounds.
Make Sure to Have Two Call Buttons
You will have controls on the stairlift chair to move you up and down the stairs. However, you should have a call button at the top of the stairs as well as the bottom to move the stairlift. This is especially important when two or more people in the home will be using it. A call button is also useful when two people are working together to move a laundry basket or other item that can be placed on the seat to another floor. One person on the lower floor places the object on the lift while the other person on the upper floor receives it. The call buttons let you move the lift without being in the chair.
Curved or Straight Rails
A simple straight rail lift is less expensive than one that curves at the top or the bottom of the stairs. It is sometimes a necessity to have a curved design due to the flight of stairs. Sometimes, it may be more practical. Stairlift chairs swivel, and that is how you get in and out of them at the bottom and top of the stairs. However, a curved design can end the travel of the lift completely away from the stairwell instead of dropping you off immediately at the top. Having a rail design that makes your drop off point at the top of the flight of stairs completely away from the stairwell may be safer for those with balance issues.
Examine the Chair
It may be a short ride up or down your stairs for your new stairlift, but comfort in the chair of the lift is very important. Even more important is how secure you feel sitting in the chair. When riding up and down in the lift you should never have the feeling you may fall out of the chair. A seat belt should be available for those who have conditions such as seizures or narcolepsy. Also, maybe a chair is not the best thing for you at all. There are designs available where you ride in an almost upright position.
Indoor and Outdoor Lifts
Many people are unaware that there are stairlifts designed for outdoor use too. They are manufactured to withstand temperature extremes, and the chair cushions are made of marine grade vinyl to hold up to precipitation. An outdoor chair lift can be very helpful where a ramp is not practical due to site design and construction or user mobility issues.
Ask About Battery Life
Most stairlifts use a battery to power the lift motor. It automatically charges when the lift is at the top or bottom of the stairs. This ensures uninterrupted power during a power failure to prevent you from getting stuck on the stairs. Be sure to ask how long a charge will last if the power goes out as well as how often the rechargeable battery will need to be replaced.
Take the time to examine all of the available features and options. You do not have to pick all of the extras for your stairlift, but you may have a few things you consider indispensable. It is usually best to make a list and choose what you want up front. Adding an option later on may cost more than it does when the lift is initially installed or it may not be available as an upgrade.