Eldercare financial assistence locator. Discover all your options. Search over 400 programs.
Paying for Senior Care Logo
Our goal is to help families find the means to pay for senior care by providing objective information and interactive tools on our ad-free, easy-to-use and comprehensive website.  Read More

The Most Affordable Stairlift Brands of 2019

Page Reviewed / Updated - May, 2019

Shopping for a stairlift usually turns out being a time-consuming and difficult process that involves dealing directly with multiple salespeople. Many brands refuse to make prices for their most expensive models publicly available online, and some brands will not even expose the base prices of their least expensive stairlifts until an installation specialist can visit a shopper’s home for a private consultation. For these reasons, comparison shopping for a stairlift can be highly impractical.

To make stairlift purchasing a simpler and less mysterious process, we took a look at the eight top stairlift manufacturers in the U.S. to determine which of them offer the best buying experience and most affordable stairlifts for straight stairwells as well as curved or spiral stairs. Most of these brands also offer outdoor stairlift models, but because pricing information for outdoor models is typically unavailable, in this guide, we focus on indoor models only.

Of the seven stairlift brands we assessed, AmeriGlide, Handicare, Harmar, and Bruno emerged as the four most affordable stairlift brands to shop with in 2019. According to our assessment, while AmeriGlide offers the most affordable straight stairlift and industry-best cost transparency, Handicare, Bruno, and Harmar also offer some of the lowest-cost stairlifts available, as well as some of the most comprehensive warranties. Handicare, Bruno, and Harmar are also the most frequently carried by mobility equipment retailers across the country, making them both geographically and financially accessible by people of most income brackets.

An Overview of Our Ranking Methodology

Our guide to the most affordable stairlifts covers straight-track and curved stairlift models from seven of the top manufacturers in the country. This guide will rank the most affordable stairlifts by cost, but will also go more in-depth by ranking the companies based on cost transparency, warranty coverage, financing options, and price ranges for all of the brands’ available straight and curved models.

Most Affordable Stairlift Brand Metrics

Our rankings for the most affordable stairlift manufacturer brands are based on the following core metrics, all of which make up a percentage of each company’s final score:

  • Straight Stairlifts Price Range (30%): What is the price range for all models of straight stairlifts from each brand, and are shipping and installation fees included?
  • Curved Stairlifts Price Range (30%): What is the price range for all models of curving stairlifts from each brand, and are shipping and installation fees included?
  • Cost Transparency (10%): Is it difficult to obtain a brand’s prices without inviting a salesperson into your home? Are in-home consultations free?
  • Warranty Coverage (20%): How long are parts covered under each company’s warranties? For how long do manufacturer warranties cover fees associated with service visits?
  • Financing (10%): Does the manufacturer offer financing for stairlift purchases?

Most Affordable Stairlift Model Metrics

Our rankings for individual curved and straight stairlifts were calculated separately from our overall rankings for the most affordable brands. This way, prices for the most affordable stairlift models can be compared across all top U.S. brands. As curved lifts must be custom-made and are generally far more expensive than straight stairlifts, we have ranked the prices for curved and straight models in separate categories.

  • Straight-Rail Stairlifts: Our rankings include straight lifts that cost $3,000 or less. Straight models from five of seven major U.S. brands fell within this range.
  • Curved-Rail Stairlifts: Our rankings include curved lifts that cost less than $12,000. Curved models from four of seven major U.S. brands fell within this range.

Company

Overall Score

Most Affordable Models

Straight Stairlifts Score

Curved Stairlifts Score

Cost Transparency Score

Warranty

Score

Financing Score

AmeriGlide

7.2 of 10

The Horizon: 1st Place — Most Affordable Straight Stairlifts


The Platinum: 2nd Place — Most Affordable Curved Stairlifts

10

5.5

10

2.75

10

Handicare

5.9 of 10

The 950: 3rd Place — Most Affordable Straight Stairlifts (tied)


The 2000: 1st Place — Most Affordable Curved Stairlifts

3

10

5

7.5

0

Bruno

2.8 of 10

The Elite: 4th Place — Most Affordable Curved Stairlifts

1

3

5

5.65

0

Harmar

2.8 of 10

The SL350-AC: 2nd Place — Most Affordable Straight Stairlifts

4.5

0

5

4.75

0

Savaria

2.5 of 10

The K2: 3rd Place — Most Affordable Straight Stairlifts (tied)


The Stairfriend: 3rd Place — Most Affordable Curved Stairlifts

3

4.5

0

1

0

Stannah

2.4 of 10

The Scout: 4th Place — Most Affordable Straight Stairlifts

0

0

4

10

0

101 Mobility

1.5 of 10

Did not rank as affordable

1

No curved option available

5

3.25

0

The Most Affordable Stairlift Brands

AmeriGlide

AmeriGlide is our overall most affordable stairlift manufacturer. They are also our winner for the most affordable straight-track stairlift and our second place winner for most affordable curved lift. Being both a stairlift manufacturer and a major retailer of other mobility brands, AmeriGlide offers new stairlifts and the low-cost alternatives of rentals and factory refurbished models, as well as AmeriGlide-brand demo stairlifts that have been used solely for display and demonstration purposes.

Where most of the stairlift manufacturers covered in this guide are lacking in cost transparency and financing options, AmeriGlide offers up-front pricing for all available features with financing through FirstBank and PayPal. Comparison shopping with this brand can be done completely online without the need to invite a salesman into your home for a consultation and AmeriGlide stairlifts may be the easiest brand for people with a low-income to purchase.

AmeriGlide buyers have the option to self-install their straight stairlift or pay a fee of $575 to $725 for an AmeriGlide technician to perform their installation. Curved AmeriGlide lifts include the cost of installation in the base purchase price.

The Horizon Straight The Platinum Curved
Affordability Rank 1st Place: Most Affordable Straight Stairlifts 2nd Place: Most Affordable Curved Stairlifts
Base Price $1,689 $8,114
Maximum Weight Capacity 300 pounds Up to 352 pounds
Warranty Coverage 2 years parts 5 years drivetrain 2 years parts 5 years drivetrain
Key Features The AmeriGlide Horizon is the most affordable stairlift we covered and also comes with the highest degree of cost transparency for add-ons and upgrades. The AmeriGlide Platinum Curved costs over $2,000 less than the average curved stairlift and offers total cost transparency for custom curved rail segments.
Upholstery Options Vinyl Pleather
Seat Color Options Beige Blue, red or beige
Rail Color Options White White

Overview of AmeriGlide’s Most Affordable Stairlift Models

The Horizon Straight Stairlift

At $1,689, The Horizon is the only stairlift we could find that costs less than $2,000 when purchased new. This stairlift is AmeriGlide’s base model, though it comes with a complete profile of industry standard features and options such as safety sensors and space-saving upgrades like folding rails and manual seat fold-away. The Horizon can carry up to 300 pounds, and may be installed on straight stairways up to 55 feet in length with a cost of $50 per foot added beyond AmeriGlide’s standard straight-track length of 14.75 feet.

Unlike most stairlift dealers, AmeriGlide offers the option to self-install their straight-track models. However, for those who choose to have an AmeriGlide technician install their stairlift, which is usually recommended, a $575 to $775 fee will be added to the total cost of their purchase. This effectively brings AmeriGlide’s prices for straight stairlifts on par with our second and third place winners for affordability in the straight-track category.

The Platinum Curved Stairlift

AmeriGlide’s Platinum Curved model is our second place winner in the curved stairlifts category with a base price of $8,114. It comes standard with a suite of premium options that add seating comfort, aesthetic appeal, and a more comprehensive safety profile. AmeriGlide does not allow sales of curved stairlifts for self-installation but installation costs are included in the base purchase price. The Platinum Curved can be installed on stairs up to a maximum length of 19 feet and comes in three color options with an additional option to upgrade to a more ergonomic saddle seat.

AmeriGlide’s Cost Report

Score

Description

Straight Stairlifts Price Range: 10/10

AmeriGlide offers four indoor, straight-track stairlifts all for under $2,100, making AmeriGlide’s complete straight lift range more affordable than even the cheapest options from all other manufacturers covered here. However, for buyers who choose to have an AmeriGlide technician measure for and/or install their stairlift, added costs of $575 for installation and $200 for measurements must be accounted for.

AmeriGlide’s straight lifts include our most affordable straight lift overall, the Horizon, and various upgrades including a non-battery-powered lift, a space-saving model, and/or upgraded ergonomic seating. With such low base prices, individually-priced add-ons and upgrades are more likely to be affordable for AmeriGlide buyers. This brand could be the best option for people with limited budgets who have experience with carpentry or performing installations of mechanical equipment.

Curved Stairlifts Price Range: 5.5/10

AmeriGlide offers only one indoor, curved-rail option, the Platinum Curved. The cost of installation for the Platinum Curved is included in its base price of $8,114, making it our second most affordable lift in the curved category. The Platinum Curved can be customized with most upgrade features offered on their premium straight stairlift models, such as automatic seat-swiveling and seat fold-away — both ideal features for people with more limited mobility.

Warranty Coverage: 2.75/10

Of all stairlift companies covered here, only two of eight had less comprehensive coverage for their straight and curved models than AmeriGlide. AmeriGlide’s straight and curved-track indoor models include two years of coverage for non-cosmetic parts and five years of coverage for the stairlifts’ drivetrain. Drivetrain coverage is often given more importance than general parts warranties as a drivetrain consists of gears and other components that are subjected to the most friction and movement over time.

Cost Transparency: 10/10

While almost all stairlift dealers offer base prices over the phone or in person, most will not disclose costs for custom upgrades or installation contingencies without first providing an in-home consultation, and no other dealer provides base costs for new stairlifts online. AmeriGlide posts their prices online for everything from base stairlift costs to prices for installation in remote homes with concrete or tile floors. AmeriGlide is by far the easiest brand to shop online.

Financing: 10/10

AmeriGlide is one of the very few stairlift manufacturers to offer financing for stairlift purchases, making them a highly viable option for those on a tight budget. AmeriGlide has partnered with FirstBank to offer financing insured by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for buyers who are at least 62 years old and who own their home. Buyers who do not qualify for this particular line of financing may still receive six-month financing if they purchase their AmeriGlide lift online, using PayPal’s Bill Me Later option.

Handicare

Handicare is our second most affordable stairlift brand overall. While its straight track model, the 950, tied for third place in our most affordable straight stairlifts category, its curved model, the Handicare 2000 Curved, is the most affordable curved stairlift available from top US manufacturers.

Though Handicare’s most affordable straight-track option only scores 3 out of 10 points for its overall affordability, a low price range for curved lifts wins Handicare a perfect score in that category, solidifying this brand’s overall second-place position. Handicare also excels in the warranty category. While both straight and curved Handicare stairlifts only come with two years of general parts coverage, both have 10 years of coverage for their drivetrains and motors.

The 950 Straight The 2000 Curved
Affordability Rank 3rd Place (tied): Most Affordable Straight Stairlifts 1st Place: Most Affordable Curved Stairlifts
Base Price $2,580 $6,190
Maximum Weight Capacity 310 pounds 200 pounds 350 pounds with heavy duty kit
Warranty Coverage 2 years parts 10 years drivetrain 2 years parts 10 years drivetrain
Key Features The Handicare 950 offers easy to see, color-contrasted user controls and premium upgrade options, such as a Slide Track rail that saves space by moving the stairlift rail from the landing of departure as the chair moves. The Handicare 2000 comes with the buyer’s choice of three seat designs with different comfort styles and color options available for each.
Upgrade Options
Upholstery Options Vinyl Vinyl
Seat Color Options Sand Smart seat: Brown, wine, beige, midnight blue, forest green or Kelly green
Simplicity seat: Beige
Style seat: Brown, maroon or red
Rail Color Options White Ivory, beige, brown or your choice of powder-coated RAL color

Overview of Handicare’s Most Affordable Stairlift Models

The 950 Straight Stairlift

At $2,580, the Handicare 950 straight lift is tied for third place with Savaria’s base model in our most affordable straight lift category. The 950 offers a color-contrasted set of user controls, making them easy to operate for those who have reduced eyesight or early signs of dementia. Some premium upgrade options are available with the 950, such as automatic space-saving features like the Slide Track rail. The 950 comes with industry standard features, including a manual swivel seat and an array of safety sensors that stop the lift upon meeting obstructions.

The 2000 Curved Stairlift
At $6,190, the Handicare 2000 curved lift is fitted with all of Handicare’s standard features and offers more potential for upgrades than their least expensive straight-track model, including the option to choose the rail’s color from three factory standard options or the buyer’s choice of custom colors. The 2000 comes with a Simplicity seat, which has basic sand-colored, vinyl upholstery. For an additional fee, seats can be upgraded to either a Style seat, which offers an automatic swivel function, or the Smart seat, which features a more ergonomic design.

Handicare’s Cost Report

Score

Description

Straight Stairlifts Price Range: 3/10

Handicare’s range of four straight stairlift models start at a base price of $2,580 and run up to $3,680. While some manufacturers offer automatic functioning options for their higher-priced straight stairlifts, adding features such as a powered swivel seat, base prices for Handicare straight lifts include upgraded seating in multiple color choices, but with only manual features. Automatic functioning and other upgraded features must be added to the base price of Handicare’s straight stairlifts. This can include a body harness, push-button stowing, power swivel seats, and a Slide Track space-saving rail.

Curved Stairlifts Price Range: 10/10

Handicare offers two curved-rail stairlifts at a range of $6,190 to $8,590, and both come with a broad range of seating and color options. While these are some of the best prices in the industry, Handicare continues their pattern of only including manual functioning in base prices, as was also noted for its full line of straight-track lifts. Handicare’s more expensive curved stairlift, the Freecurve, is a space-saving option for very narrow stairs and includes an Active Seat that aids the user in sitting and standing.

Warranty Coverage: 2/10

Though Handicare’s indoor stairlifts all come with a 10-year warranty for their motors and drivetrains, coverage for all other parts only extends to two years. While it is advertised on HandicareUSA.com that they offer a lifetime drivetrain warranty, the warranties page states that the “life” of a Handicare stairlift only extends to 10 years.

Handicare scored an industry average score of 1.5 for its cost transparency. Though prices for a new Handicare stairlift can usually not be found online, prices are available by placing a call to Handicare customer service at (888) 637-8155 or to a retailer within their authorized dealer network. Sales representatives may offer base prices, though will most often withhold pricing for feature upgrades and likely final costs for curved lifts, instead offering a free in-home consultation to be conducted on the buyer’s schedule.

Financing: 0/10

Like most stairlift brands, Handicare does not offer financing to mitigate the high cost of a stairlift. However, Handicare lifts are sold by authorized retailers across the country who have the option to arrange financing for their customers. Most stairlift retailers do not offer in-store financing, and will instead suggest the use of a low- or no-interest credit card or state and local grants or loans.

Harmar

This American stairlift manufacturer tied with Bruno as our number three most affordable stairlift brand overall. Harmar stands out for its low-cost SL350-AC model, and for a high-quality brand, Harmar’s range of prices for straight stairlifts stays relatively low. Their most expensive straight lift, the Pinnacle Premium, scores a 7 out of 10 for affordability. Harmar’s cost transparency and financing options both received industry average scores, and in terms of warranty coverage, only two of the seven brands ranked here offer the same or more extensive warranties.

Though Harmar’s curved-track offering did not make our list due to its high base cost, Harmar is our second place winner in the most affordable straight stairlifts category. This manufacturer does not offer direct sales but instead utilizes a network of authorized dealers where Harmar models can be found in new, used, factory refurbished and rental options.

The SL350-AC Straight
Affordability Rank 2nd Place: Most Affordable Straight Stairlifts
Base Price $2,195
Maximum Weight Capacity 350 pounds
Warranty Coverage 2 years parts 10 years drivetrain
Key Features The Harmar SL350-AC runs exclusively on household electricity without the aid of a battery and its backrest is adjustable to three positions.
Upholstery Options Vinyl
Seat Color Options Beige
Rail Color Options White

Overview of Harmar’s Most Affordable Stairlift Models

At $2,195, the SL350-AC is our second-most affordable straight-track stairlift. The low price of this model stems from its exclusive use of household electricity. Most stairlifts utilize a battery that is continuously charged while the stairlift is powered on, which provides stored power for use in electrical outages to protect stairlift users from becoming stranded on their stairs.

While electrical outages do present a risk of being stranded for buyers of AC stairlifts, and while the SL350-AC does come with a somewhat outdated cable drive system rather than a modern rack and pinion drivetrain, this model offers a comprehensive profile of standard features, making its low price an attractive option for thrifty shoppers. The SL350-AC is suitable for stairs up to 25 feet long and inclines of up to 45 degrees.

Harmar’s Cost Report

Score

Description

Straight Stairlifts Price Range: 4.5/10

Harmar’s $2,195 AC-powered option is its most inexpensive model. Its second most affordable stairlift — a battery-powered option called the Pinnacle — jumps to a base cost of $2,995. Harmar’s next model up in price, the Pinnacle Premium, adds diagnostic indicator LEDs, a space-saving stowed profile of 10.5 inches, and an applicable track length of up to 70 feet, making the Pinnacle Premium one of the rare options for very long stairs. Harmar also offers the Pinnacle Heavy Duty upgrade option for straight stairwells. A Pinnacle stairlift with an added heavy duty kit carries up to 600 pounds — an industry best — and costs $5,695.

Curved Stairlifts Price Range: 0/10

Harmar has a single offering in the curved category. The Helix starts at a formidable base price of $13,999, and for an undisclosed additional cost, the Helix can be upgraded for outdoor installation. The Helix is Harmar’s most feature-rich option, and while nearly all stairlift rails are made from extruded aluminum, this model utilizes an unusual all-steel rail system that is ideal for outdoor use.

Warranty Coverage: 4.75/10

For Harmar’s most affordable straight lift, the SL350-AC, highly mobile drivetrain components are covered for 10 years. Both the SL350-AC and Harmar’s curved model, the Helix, come with only two years of coverage for other, less critical components, and the Helix receives a maximum of three years’ coverage for its drivetrain. Harmar’s higher-cost models come with a higher degree of coverage up to a limited lifetime warranty for its most expensive straight-track model, the Pinnacle Premium.

Cost Transparency: 1.5/10

Five of the seven stairlift brands listed here received a score of 1.5 out of 10 for their poor cost transparency, and Harmar is among them. While poor cost transparency should not dissuade buyers from considering making a purchase with any stairlift brand, it can make comparison shopping a much more time-consuming process.

Harmar dealers will readily provide pricing information over the phone or in stores, but they always advise potential buyers that a free in-home consultation is the only way to know the true cost of owning a Harmar stairlift. Costs for stairlift rails and feature upgrades are contingent upon a home’s particular layout and a stairlift buyer’s accessibility needs.

Financing: 0/10

Like most of the stairlift brands represented in our research, Harmar does not offer special financing arrangements to help consumers purchase stairlifts. It should be noted, however, that Harmar does not sell its products directly but instead utilizes an authorized dealer network made up of retailers who can choose to offer their own in-store financing. Still, it is uncommon for stairlift dealers to offer payment arrangements and most will suggest other options, such as zero-interest credit cards or state and local financial aid.

Bruno

Bruno Independent Living Aids is tied with Harmar as our fourth most affordable stairlift manufacturer overall. However, just as Harmar did not rank as affordable in the curved lifts category, Bruno Independent Living Aids did not rank as affordable in the straight stairlifts category. Bruno’s most affordable curved stairlift, the Elite Curve, wins fourth place out of four contenders in our list of most affordable curved stairlifts.

Aside from its relatively inexpensive curved stairlift, what helps raise Bruno’s affordability rank is its solid warranty coverage. Bruno’s straight stairlifts come with a limited lifetime drivetrain warranty whereas curved Bruno stairlifts, like the Elite Curve, offer five years of both general parts and drivetrain coverage.

The Elite Curve
Affordability Rank 4th Place: Most Affordable Curved Stairlifts
Base Price $10,500
Maximum Weight Capacity 400 pounds
Warranty Coverage 5 years parts 5 years drivetrain
Key Features The Elite Curve features a premium look and feel and audiovisual diagnostic readouts that make it easier to diagnose any problems should they occur.
Upholstery Options Vinyl or burgundy leather
Seat Color Options Tan, brown, maroon, charcoal or olive, or burgundy leather
Rail Color Options Silver or champagne

Overview of Bruno’s Most Affordable Stairlift Models

The Elite Curve

Many dealers note that Bruno stairlifts have a very solid build quality and this is evidenced by the higher-than-average weight capacity of the Elite Curve, capable of handling up to 400 pounds. At $10,500, the Elite Curve is the curved-rack version of Bruno’s more premium-level straight lift, the Elite. The Elite Curve comes with many of Bruno’s most high-end options, like a well-padded and highly adjustable seat. The Elite Curve also offers available upgrades for powered swivel seats and folding rails, as well as an upgrade to a wider seat.

Bruno’s Cost Report

Score

Description

Straight Stairlifts Price Range: 1/10

Bruno’s straight stairlifts had our next-to-lowest rank for price range affordability. Its least expensive straight-track model, the Elan, comes at a cost of $3,200, and its premium straight model, the Elite, costs $4,100. Our most affordable straight stairlifts are all $3,000 or less, so Bruno’s Elan missed the mark by only $200.

Curved Stairlifts Price Range: 3/10

Our most affordable stairlifts in the curved category all come at a cost of $12,000 or less, though $12,000 is considered by many to be the average base cost for a curved stairlift. Bruno’s only indoor curved model, the Elite Curve, has a price tag of $10,500, making it relatively inexpensive, and it comes standard with a suite of high-quality premium features that would satisfy most buyers.

Warranty Coverage: 5.5/10

While Bruno’s straight-track stairlifts come with an average of two years of general parts coverage and lifetime motor and drivetrain warranties, its curved model has five years of warranty coverage for all components. All other stairlift makers covered here provide shorter warranty terms than Bruno for general parts on curved stairlifts, while Bruno’s five-year motor and drivetrain coverage for its curved stairlifts represents a medium coverage term among other top U.S. manufacturers.

Cost Transparency: 5/10

Bruno’s cost transparency ranks as average among top stairlift brands, which means that while its prices are not easy to find on the internet, placing a call to a Bruno dealer makes prices readily available. It may be even simpler to obtain pricing for Bruno stairlifts than it would be for other brands that are either more expensive or less highly recommended. Authorized dealers of Bruno stairlifts offer base prices over the phone or in stores and provide free in-home consultations to help buyers understand the total cost of purchasing and installing a stairlift from this brand.

Financing: 0/10

Because Bruno does not offer direct-to-consumer sales, financing options for a Bruno stairlift are only offered by certain authorized dealers. Most stairlift dealers do not offer financing however, so buyers who desire a payment plan or financial aid typically turn to consumer credit or state and local agencies or nonprofits.
Savaria

Savaria — a Canadian mobility company making everything from home elevators to wheelchair lifts — ranks as our fourth most affordable stairlift manufacturer overall. While its specialty seems to be the production of elevators, Savaria’s stairlifts are all affordable options for frugal buyers. Out of the three lifts it offers, Savaria’s least expensive straight-track stairlift and its curved option both secured 3rd place for our most affordable straight- and curved-track categories.

What knocks Savaria down to its fourth-place overall affordability rank is relatively short-term warranty coverage. The warranties offered for this brand’s straight and curved models cover parts for three years, and while this is an industry average for general stairlift parts, Savaria also provides only three years of coverage for its stairlifts’ most vital components — the drivetrain and motor — while most other manufacturers provide more extensive warranties for these parts.

The K2 The Stairfriend
Affordability Rank 3rd Place (tied): Most Affordable Straight Stairlifts 3rd Place: Most Affordable Curved Stairlifts
Base Price $2,750 $8,800
Maximum Weight Capacity 350 pounds 350 pounds
Warranty Coverage 3 years parts 3 years drivetrain 3 years parts 3 years drivetrain
Key Features The Savaria K2 has a relatively small footprint of 10.75 inches when stowed and features LED indicator lights that alert the user of low battery life and other diagnostic issues. This stairlift can be fitted with an outdoor kit. The Savaria Stairfriend can be suitable for commercial spaces depending on state regulations.
Upholstery Options Vinyl Vinyl or synthetic leather
Seat Color Options Beige Beige
Rail Color Options White White

Overview of Savaria’s Most Affordable Stairlift Models

The K2

The Savaria K2 is tied with Handicare’s 950 model as our third most affordable straight stairlift. While these lifts do share a lot in common, such as their standard safety profile and manually operated chairs, at $2,750, Savaria’s K2 stairlift is more expensive by $130. However, the K2 offers a slightly slimmer, 10.75” profile than the Handicare 950 when stowed.

The Stairfriend

The Savaria Stairfriend is our third most affordable curved stairlift at $8,800. It is a relatively standard curved lift but for its potential for commercial applications and upgradeable seat. The Stairfriend is suited to longer stairs than some other curved stairlifts as it can accommodate lengths of up to 45 feet. Buyers have the option to purchase a larger seat that measures 21.5 inches wide and has a larger seat back than Savaria’s standard 20.5-inch seat.

Savaria’s Cost Report

Score

Description

Straight Stairlifts Price Range: 3/10

Savaria’s range of straight stairlifts consists of two options, the K2 and the SL-1000. At $2,750, the K2 is its most affordable lift, tied with the Handicare 950 as our third most affordable straight lift. At $3,450, the SL-1000 is Savaria’s straight-rail commercial option as it may be suited for public spaces in many areas depending on local accessibility regulations.

Curved Stairlifts Price Range: 4.5/10

Savaria’s single curved option, the Stairfriend, comes at a competitive base price of just $8,800. In keeping with industry norms, this model comes with free shipping and installation. It features a more generously padded seat than Savaria’s straight-rail K2 stairlift.

Warranty Coverage: 1/10

Savaria stairlifts all come with 36 months of warranty coverage for both the drivetrain and general parts. While three years of coverage on general parts is common for both straight and curved stairlifts, drivetrain and motor component coverage from other brands is typically more inclusive than Savaria’s three-year warranty.

Cost Transparency: 0/10

Savaria’s cost transparency is nearly on the same level as most other manufacturers’, but dealers may be less forthcoming with cost information. It is common for stairlift retailers to alert potential buyers of Savaria stairlifts’ less impressive build quality when asked about Savaria stairlift price ranges, and to instead suggest similarly priced models from other brands. However, like other stairlift brands, installation engineers who are factory-trained to install Savaria stairlifts are available for free in-home pricing consultations.

Financing: 0/10

On its website, Savaria.com, this brand states that four manufacturer-owned Savaria Direct Group dealers exist in the northern U.S. While Direct Group dealers across Canada may or may not offer financing, the one Savaria-owned dealer that we could locate in Denver, Colorado does not. Authorized dealers outside of the Savaria Direct Group each have the option of providing in-store financing on their own terms. However, financing for stairlift purchases can be hard to find, and most people who need help with such a purchase instead turn to creditors or state and local aid.

Stannah

Stannah is a family-owned stairlift manufacturer specializing in high-quality lifts that can be customized to fit with any home’s decor. Stannah stairlifts come with a high degree of customizability as well as a relatively high price tag, ranking this company in fifth place on our list of the seven most affordable stairlift manufacturers.

Stannah’s curved lifts did not rank as affordable due to its lowest-cost curved model, the Siena, being priced beyond our $12,000 affordability threshold. Its most inexpensive straight model, the $2,995 Stannah Scout, has a base cost that nearly exceeds our highest qualifying straight lift price of $3,000. The Scout won fifth place among four other contenders for our most affordable straight models.

The Scout
Affordability Rank 5th Place: Most Affordable Straight Stairlifts
Base Price $2,995
Maximum Weight Capacity 300 pounds
Warranty Coverage 10 years parts 10 years drivetrain
Key Features The Stannah Scout is the brand’s economy option, so it does not come with any premium features but is well-suited to narrow spaces, such as basement stairs.
Upholstery Options Vinyl
Seat Color Options Nut brown
Rail Color Options Pearl

Overview of Stannah’s Most Affordable Stairlift Models

The Scout Straight

Stannah’s economy option, the Scout, offers industry-standard features such as safety sensors and a manual swivel seat, with options to upgrade to space-saving features like a folding rail. The Scout has an unobtrusive profile when stowed, making it well-suited to narrow staircases such as you might find in a basement.

The Scout is not intended for users with high-level accessibility needs and does not offer a premium user experience, though Stannah ensures that even its least expensive stairlift comes with industry-leading mechanical functionality and high-quality parts.

Stannah’s Cost Report

Score

Description

Straight Stairlifts Price Range: 0.1/10

With its lowest base price for a straight lift set at just $5 below our $3,000 threshold for affordable straight stairlifts, Stannah manages to remain somewhat approachable by budget-conscious buyers. Above the price of Stannah’s low-cost Scout model are two more premium straight stairlifts. The Siena straight lift comes at a base price of $4,395, offering a range of three seating styles that include a base model seat available in multiple color options. Stannah’s Starla straight lift is its highest-trim premium straight model. It comes with Stannah’s widest selection of style and color options.

Curved Stairlifts Price Range: 0/10

Stannah lowest-cost curved model is the Siena, which comes at a cost of $12,000. There are two other curved models available from this brand — the Starla, at a base price of anywhere from $12,000 to $14,000, depending on options the buyer chooses, and the Sadler, Stannah’s most premium stairlift. Pricing for the Sadler may be hard to come by outside of an in-home consultation. The Starla and the Sadler offer custom options not available for Stannah’s straight-rail stairlifts, such as the buyer’s choice of rail color.

Warranty Coverage: 10/10

Stannah offers 10 years of parts and drivetrain warranty coverage for all new straight-rail stairlifts, contributing to this brand’s perfect warranty score. For its curved models, Stannah provides two years of general parts coverage and lifetime drivetrain warranties. One aspect of Stannah’s warranty coverage that also helped its score was its coverage of parts damaged through “normal wear and tear”. Most manufacturers will only cover parts that malfunction due to manufacturer error, but a wear and tear warranty is much harder to find.

Cost Transparency: 4/10

While Stannah does not list pricing for its stairlifts online, prices are available over the phone for most (but not all) of its models, including all straight-rail, indoor stairlifts. Stannah provides free in-home consultations to prospective buyers.

Financing: 0/10

Like most stairlift brands mentioned here, Stannah does not provide financing. Stannah is like most of our top stairlift brands in that its lifts are primarily sold through dealer networks where in-store financing may be found through individual retail chains. However, most retailers of stairlifts do not offer in-store financing plans, and buyers who desire a payment plan customarily use the traditional means of a credit card or loan.

Stairlift Brands that Did Not Rank as Affordable

101 Mobility

101 Mobility is primarily a retailer of stairlifts rather than a stairlift manufacturer, though it does carry private label branded models made specially for 101 Mobility by two of its top-selling brands. These models both carry the 101 Mobility name — the 101 Pinnacle by Harmar and the 101 Mobility Stairlift by Bruno. The high base costs of these lifts earned 101 Mobility a 1.5 out of 10 for overall brand affordability.

We could not include this brand in our rankings for either the most affordable stairlift brands or stairlift models as both of its straight-rail proprietary stairlifts cost over $3,000. However, 101 Mobility is one of the most prolific national stairlift retailers, with more than 70 stores across the country carrying four of our top stairlift brands. As well as 101 Mobility’s two private label models, this retailer offers new, used, and factory refurbished models from Bruno, Harmar, Handicare, and Savaria.

The 101 Mobility Stairlift by Bruno The 101 Pinnacle by Harmar
Base Price $3,400 $3,500
Maximum Weight Capacity 300 pounds 350 pounds
Warranty Coverage 2 years parts Lifetime drivetrain 2 years parts 10 years drivetrain
Key Features The 101 Mobility Stairlift comes with a wide, leather seat and manual levers that make folding the chair and footrest away easy to do without much bending at the waist. The 101 Pinnacle features an attractive, two-tone seat, a space-saving design and requires no greases or lubricants to maintain.
Upholstery Options Leather Vinyl
Seat Color Options Brown Two-tone brown
Rail Color Options Pearl White

Overview of 101 Mobility’s Most Affordable Stairlift Models

The 101 Pinnacle Straight Stairlift

The 101 Pinnacle is sold by 101 Mobility but it is manufactured by Harmar. It comes with a Harmar manufacturer’s warranty and is available for purchase across most of the U.S. It is touted as the narrowest and lightest model on the market due to its narrow, 10.5-inch folded profile. The 101 Pinnacle comes with the same standard features as Harmar’s Pinnacle stairlift, including safety sensors, manual folding, a manual swivel seat, and two call/send remote controls.

The 101 Mobility Straight Stairlift

The 101 Mobility Stairlift is manufactured by top-selling brand Bruno and is covered by the same manufacturer’s warranty as Bruno’s straight-rail models. Featuring leather upholstery and an onboard digital diagnostics display, this lift has an appealing and user-friendly design, and supports the same 300-pound weight capacity as Bruno’s lowest-cost straight stairlift.

101 Mobility’s Cost Report

Score

Description

Straight Stairlifts Price Range: 1/10

Private label branded stairlifts offered by 101 Mobility do not come cheap. At $3,400, the 101 Mobility Stairlift by Bruno is its least expensive proprietary model, and the 101 Pinnacle by Harmar comes at a cost of $3,500. This retailer does offer a range of straight stairlifts from four top brands that can be far less expensive, but 101’s own models did not rank on our list of the most affordable straight stairlifts.

Warranty Coverage: 3.25/10

Each of 101 Mobility’s straight stairlifts come with the same warranty coverage offered by the stairlifts’ manufacturers, Harmar and Bruno, for those brands’ lowest-cost straight models. Both of 101 Mobility’s stairlifts receive an industry-average of two years coverage on general parts. The 101 Pinnacle by Harmar receives 10 years of drivetrain coverage while the 101 Mobility Stairlift by Bruno receives lifetime drivetrain coverage. 101 Mobility provides a one-year service visit warranty on any new stairlift purchased there, so buyers who require service within their first year of ownership do not have to pay for repairmen’s labor or travel fees.

Cost Transparency: 5/10

While 101 Mobility does not offer prices online for either its private label lifts or stairlifts from other brands they carry, its in-store customer service representatives offer cost information over the phone, in stores, or with in-home consultations. Its cost transparency score of five out of ten reflects how frequent this arrangement is in stairlift sales.

Financing: 0/10

101 Mobility does not offer in-store financing. However, store representatives are trained to offer the most supportive, and most geographically specific customer service possible, which makes them a great source of information regarding financing and aid in the many cities where stores are located.
Acorn

Acorn is one of the largest stairlift manufacturers and dealers in the world, though we could not include it in our affordability rankings as Acorn does not provide prices except via in-home consultation. Unlike most other stairlift brands, new Acorn stairlifts are sold only directly through the manufacturer and are not carried in stores.

Used models from this brand are some of the most commonly found in the used/rental stairlift market, signaling that Acorn may be among the most frequently purchased stairlift brands. Acorn currently offers three stairlifts for straight, curved and straight outdoor stairs, boasting fast delivery and installation as well as a 14-day, no obligation return policy that is all but unheard-of in stairlift sales

The 130 Straight The 180 Curved The 130 Outdoor Straight
Base Price Prices available on in-home consultation Prices available on in-home consultation Prices available on in-home consultation
Maximum Weight Capacity 350 pounds 265 pounds 350 pounds
Warranty Coverage 1 year parts 1 year drivetrain 1 year parts 1 year drivetrain 1 year parts 1 year drivetrain
Key Features The 130 comes with industry standard features as well as perch, sit and stand seating options to accommodate people with reduced joint function. The 180 features faster-than-average installation and delivery thanks to Acorn’s proprietary FastTrack modular rails that do not require custom fabrication. The 180 Outdoor comes with a weather-resistant cover and keyed lock.
Upholstery Options Vinyl Vinyl Weather-resistant vinyl
Seat Color Options Beige Beige Beige
Rail Color Options Steel grey Steel grey Steel grey

Currently, the only way to find prices for Acorn brand stairlifts is either to set an appointment for an installation engineer to come to your home or otherwise to search for used Acorn models at reduced prices and quality. Acorn stairlifts come with some of the shortest warranty coverage terms of any manufacturer discussed here, at just one year of coverage for all parts.

A Complete Explanation of Our Metrics

Our ranking system for individual straight and curved stairlift models is relatively straightforward. We simply found models in either category from seven top U.S. manufacturers that cost less than a set maximum dollar amount. We then ranked each model from least to most expensive in either the curved or straight category.

For the straight rail category, we chose only stairlift models that carry a base price of $3,000 or less. For the curved rail category, we selected models that cost no more than $12,000 before added costs for things like feature upgrades and custom-curved rails.

However, our ranking system for the overall most affordable brands required a more detailed look at up-front and long-term costs associated with stairlift purchases from the selected manufacturers. Below are factors that affected each brand’s affordability score and rank.

Straight Stairlifts Price Range

This metric assesses average prices that buyers can expect to pay for a straight stairlift from each brand, regardless of which model they ultimately choose. The price range for straight stairlifts accounts for 30% of a stairlift brand’s overall affordability score and its rank for affordability amongst other brands. Thus, this metric carries more weight in overall scores than most others that we used as it is one of the most important factors in purchasing a stairlift.

  • Least Expensive Model Price: This metric gives each brand a score of one to ten for the relative affordability of its least expensive straight stairlift. The brand offering the least expensive straight-rail stairlift was awarded a rank of 10 for this metric and the brand offering the most costly base model received a rank of zero.
  • Most Expensive Model Price: This metric gives each brand a score of one to ten for the relative affordability of its most expensive straight stairlift. The brand offering the most affordable premium straight-rail stairlift was awarded a rank of 10 for this metric and the brand offering the most costly premium model received a rank of zero.
  • Installation Fees: Here, we asked the question of whether installation fees are included in the base cost of a straight-rail stairlift or if installation requires an additional fee.
  • Shipping Fees: Like the Installation Fees metric, this metric addresses whether each stairlift brand includes shipping fees in base costs for straight stairlifts or if this represents an added cost.
Curved Stairlifts Price Range

This metric assesses average prices that buyers can expect to pay for a curved stairlift from each brand, regardless of which model they ultimately choose. The price range for curved stairlifts accounts for 30% of a stairlift brand’s overall affordability score and its rank for affordability amongst other brands.

  • Least Expensive Model Price: This metric gives each brand a score of one to ten for the relative affordability of its least expensive curved stairlift. The brand offering the least expensive curved-rail stairlift was awarded a rank of 10 for this metric and the brand offering the most costly entry-level curved model received a rank of zero.
  • Most Expensive Model Price: This metric gives each brand a score of one to ten for the relative affordability of its most expensive curved stairlift. The brand offering the most affordable premium curved-rail stairlift was awarded a rank of 10 for this metric and the brand offering the most costly premium model received a rank of zero.
  • Installation Fees: Here, we asked the question of whether installation fees were included in the base cost of a curved-rail stairlift or if installation requires an additional fee.
  • Shipping Fees: Like the Installation Fees metric, this metric addresses whether each stairlift brand includes shipping fees in base costs for curved stairlifts or if this represents an added cost.
Warranty Coverage

Each manufacturer’s overall affordability score is partly determined by the length and inclusivity of its stairlift warranties. Because this metric can have a significant impact on long-term costs of stairlift ownership, it counts as 20% of each stairlift brand’s overall affordability score and its rank for affordability amongst other manufacturers.

  • For How Long are Parts Covered — Straight Lifts: General parts coverage for straight stairlifts generally includes mechanical (non-cosmetic) parts. The brand offering the longest term of coverage was awarded a perfect score of 10 for this metric. The brand offering the shortest term of coverage received a zero, ensuring that all scores are relative to industry averages.
  • For How Long are Parts Covered — Curved Lifts: General parts coverage for curved stairlifts insures mechanical, non-cosmetic parts in cases of manufacturer error. The brand offering the longest term of coverage was awarded a perfect score of 10 for this metric. The brand offering the shortest term of coverage received a zero, ensuring that all scores are relative to industry averages.
  • For How Long are Drivetrains Covered — Straight Lifts: Drivetrain coverage usually refers to both the drivetrain and motor. These parts are exposed to the most friction and movement throughout a stairlift’s use, so are often covered for a longer period than other parts. The brand offering the longest term of coverage was awarded a perfect score of 10 for this metric. The brand offering the shortest term of coverage received a zero, ensuring that all scores are relative to industry averages.
  • For How Long are Drivetrains Covered — Curved Lifts: Drivetrain coverage usually refers to both the drivetrain and motor. These parts are exposed to the most friction and movement throughout a stairlift’s use, so are often covered for a longer period than other parts. The brand offering the longest term of coverage was awarded a perfect score of 10 for this metric. The brand offering the shortest term of coverage received a zero, ensuring that all scores are relative to industry averages.
  • For How Long are Service Visits Covered: Even with warranty coverage, stairlift owners who require any repairs are usually billed for the repairman's labor and travel fees. Some manufacturers and dealers provide a term of reimbursement of these fees. While most brands provide no service coverage, earning them a score of zero for this metric, some dealers and stairlift brands offer up to 12 months of coverage. We based scores on the number of months within the first year of ownership for which each brand would provide service fee reimbursement, with our highest score of 12 months being equal to a perfect score of 10.
Cost Transparency

Our cost transparency metric demonstrates whether a stairlift manufacturer provides pricing information to the public without the need to engage a salesman or to invite specialists into the home for exact stairway measurements. This metric accounts for only 10% of each brand’s overall affordability score as cost transparency only affects a consumer’s ability to comparison shop for their best price. This metric consists only of yes/no questions, rendering scores of either 10 or zero, or in cases of partial affirmatives, a five.

  • Base Prices Available Online: Can sticker prices be found on the manufacturer’s website or on any dealers’ sites?
  • Feature Upgrade Prices Available Online: Can prices for any feature upgrades or custom rail options be found online through the manufacturer or dealers?
  • Base Prices Available Over the Phone: Are dealers and manufacturers forthcoming about their prices over the phone? Or do they only use phone contact as an opportunity to pressure potential buyers into hosting in-home consultations?
  • Free In-Home Consultations: Buyers may choose to have a sales representative come into their home to take measurements and advise the buyer of their actual costs to fit a sufficient mobility device to their particular space. With this metric, we ask: Is it free?
Financing

The financing metric was used as an indicator of how accessible a manufacturer’s stairlifts may be to lower-income buyers. As multiple avenues of financial assistance exist for those who cannot afford a large, up-front purchase of a mobility aid, this metric only accounts for 10% of each brand’s overall affordability score. This metric consists of yes/no questions only, rendering scores of either 10 for a ‘yes’ or zero for a ‘no’.

  • Is Financing Offered by Manufacturers: Does the manufacturer offer financing on stairlift purchases?
  • Is Financing Offered by Some Retailers: Do any retailers of the stairlift brand offer financing for purchases?

How to Find an Affordable Stairlift

In addition to looking at our rankings and scores, we recommend using the following strategies to find an affordable straight or curved stairlift.

Understand the Pricing Structure

When purchasing a stairlift, there are three main factors that contribute to a buyer’s total cost. They are the base cost, or sticker price that dealers advertise for each model, feature upgrade expenses, and final costs for stairlift rails.

Base Prices

The advertised price of any stairlift model, whether straight or curved, can easily prove unrepresentative of its final cost to the buyer due to elective upgrades and added incidental fees. Curved stairlifts are more likely to come with added fees for additional lengths of stairlift track and customized bends. However, base costs are still a good tool to help potential buyers get an idea of what range their final costs will fall into.

Feature Upgrades

Both curved and straight stairlifts can usually be upgraded to include features for greater seat comfort, a higher degree of accessibility or push-button functionality for things like seat folding and swiveling. While many brands offer limited upgrades for their most affordable models, there is a short list of upgradeable features that can be found with most top-brand stairlifts.

Common base-model prices include:

  • Manual swivel seats that allow the rider to turn toward their landing to dismount
  • Manual fold-away levers to stow the seat
  • Safety sensors to stop the chair on meeting obstructions
  • Diagnostic windows to display error codes

Common feature upgrades include:

  • Manual or automatic folding rails to save space
  • Push-button swivel seats that turn the rider for easy dismount
  • Automatic seat folding for easy storage
  • Upgraded seatbelts in retractable or harness configurations
  • More padded seats with more ergonomic designs
  • Color and upholstery options
  • Rail color options
  • Perch seats for people with poor joint mobility in hips and knees

Rail Costs

Though manufacturers offer standardized lengths of stairlift rail thought to fit the requirements of most homes, even straight rails must often be customized to a certain degree by cutting them down slightly or adding length. This process will incur additional costs, and curved-rail stairlifts come with higher added fees for the customization of a rail’s curvature. Most styles of curved stairs can be fitted with a custom curved rail, even including spiral staircases, but expenses can mount up quickly for people who have multiple stairwell curves and greater lengths to accommodate.

Account for Incidental Costs and Fees

It can be difficult to find exact cost information for incidentals until buyers agree to an in-home consultation. A brand-certified engineer can assess the individual circumstances of installing a stairlift in a specific space. For this reason, it is important for stairlift shoppers to use their in-home consultation to ask questions and ensure that their installation engineer understands their space completely.

Circumstances that may have the potential to add to the overall cost of a stairlift include:

  • Installation on tiles
  • Installation on cement
  • Home in a remote location that is difficult to access
  • Extra rail footage is needed on top of what the brand considers the standard length
  • Extra hardware needed to install added rail footage
  • Steep angles and tight curves
  • Uneven terrain (outdoors)
  • Load-bearing wall reinforcements for wall-mounted lifts
Consider the Long-Term Costs for Renting or Buying Used

Prices for rental stairlifts and used or refurbished units have not been included here thus far due to the broad variations in price among different dealers, brands, and geographical areas. And, the age of used and rental stairlifts adds yet another layer of unpredictability to costs.

Based on industry averages for rental fees, renting a stairlift is only likely to save money for those who will require a stairlift for no more than about six to seven months. For people who believe they will need a stairlift for more than six months but for less than five years, buying used carries less risk of breakdown and repair expenses than it would for longer-term users, who would be well-advised to buy new.

Buying a Used Stairlift

A used stairlift can cost anywhere from $100 up to about $800 less than buying new. However, purchasing a used stairlift at a significant discount of $400 or more usually indicates that the unit has not been factory reconditioned to replace old or malfunctioning parts. Very heavily discounted stairlifts are likely to have been used for years, and may even have been damaged by a previous user. On the other hand, factory refurbished stairlifts often come at a discount of just $100 to $300, but with prices for new stairlifts being what they are, every little bit can help.

Stairlift refurbishing consists of manufacturers buying back used stairlifts of their own brand for about 5% to 15% of the original purchaser’s cost and then reconditioning them in the same factories where they were originally made. Parts that are worn out, damaged, or nearing the end of their viable lifecycle are replaced. Refurbished models are then put through product testing to ensure that they are in acceptable condition, after which point they are certified as factory reconditioned and sent out to authorized dealers for resale.

Warranties for used or refurbished stairlifts may be offered by manufacturers and retailers, though buyers of non-refurbished units should still be cautious. Depending on the dealer of a used, non-refurbished lift, it may not come with a very comprehensive warranty, or any warranty at all.

Regardless, prospective buyers of non-refurbished stairlifts should first be certain that their machine will not be needed for any longer than five years. Among top manufacturers, the average ‘lifespan’ of a stairlift is often considered to be about ten years, and when purchasing a used lift, the dealer may be unable to provide an exact age of the stairlift in question. With refurbished stairlifts, age has much less impact on quality.

Renting a Stairlift

Stairlift rentals are usually only offered for straight-rail stairlift installations, and come with a host of startup costs as well as a monthly payment obligation based on which brand and model the renter chooses. Calculating the long-term total of these expenses usually demonstrates that stairlift rentals will cost the same as owning a new stairlift within an average timeframe of six to seven months.

Average Fees for Stairlift Rental

  • Installation: $350 to $600
  • Uninstallation: $200 to $400
  • Service and repair coverage: $100 to $300
  • Refundable security deposit: $200 to $800 depending on chosen model
  • Monthly rental fees: $180 to $300

For an example of the long-term costs associated with an average stairlift rental, take a look at the following comparison of renting vs. buying new:

Example A: A dealer of multiple stairlift brands offers the rental of a mid-level, straight stairlift such as Handicare’s 950 Straight, which carries a base retail cost of $2,580. This dealer does not charge for service call coverage, but renters must pay other one-time fees that correspond to the mid-level price of the 950, including installation ($475), eventual uninstallation ($250) and a refundable security deposit ($500), which comes to a total of $1,225 in startup fees alone.

The basic rental fee for this mid-level straight model is $240 per month. Our hypothetical renter’s startup fees, including their first month’s rental obligation, amount to $1,465 — a number already approaching the retail cost of our most affordable stairlift from AmeriGlide, which sells at $1,689 for the rare buyers who are able to avoid installation costs by self-installing their lift.

To clarify things a bit in the graph below, we have subtracted the $500 security deposit from our hypothetical renter’s expenses, as that amount will (ideally) be refunded to them after returning their rental. This brings the renter’s total first-month costs to $965, with ongoing fees of $240 every month thereafter.

Example B: A dealer sells a new Handicare 950 Straight at the branded retail price of $2,580. All initial consultation, shipping and installation costs for this stairlift are included in that base price.

The buyer opts to purchase this lift for a staircase that is equal in length to Handicare’s standard straight rail length, avoiding any potential fees for a longer or shorter-than-average rail that would need to be cut down or lengthened. The buyer requires no upgrades for added comfort or special features, making their total cost equal to the $2,580 base price of the Handicare 950 straight. This person owns their stairlift for a full year without any need for service visits that could impose fees for labor or parts.

Here is what the renter from Example A and the buyer from Example B will pay within one full year of stairlift use.

As you can see, renting a straight-rail stairlift can cost as much as buying the same base model brand-new within about 6.5 months. Rental is a great option for people who have a family member with low mobility visiting their home or who are recovering from a hospital stay. However, keeping a stairlift rental for longer than six or seven months is likely to cost as much as buying, even with the potential addition of uninstallation fees ($250) for a new stairlift that is no longer wanted.

Financial Assistance for Stairlift Purchases

HUD Reverse Mortgages

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) helps people of lower incomes finance certain purchases, such as home modifications and mobility equipment. They do so chiefly by insuring loans and mortgages so that lenders can give under what would otherwise be risky and costly circumstances for both the lenders and the borrowers involved. One of HUD’s main functions is to manage traditional reverse mortgages, otherwise called Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs). HECMs are structured and insured by the federal government for the benefit of people 62 and older as a way to borrow against the equity in a home once its mortgage is paid in full.

For those who own their home outright or have only a small remaining balance on their mortgage, a federally insured reverse mortgage note can be a low-risk means of covering a high-dollar purchase, such as the installation of a stairlift. People who require a curved stairlift to be custom-made for their home should consider getting a reverse mortgage, as these can easily cost upwards of $12,000. Each year, the federal government sets a maximum amount that a person can receive from a reverse mortgage, and as of January of 2019, that amount was $726,525.

Reverse mortgages are only available to homeowners whose main residence is the home to be borrowed against. Maximum cash amounts are determined partly by a borrower’s age, with older homeowners being qualified to receive a greater percentage of their home’s equity. To qualify, applicants must have sufficient resources to pay ongoing property costs, like taxes, insurance, maintenance, and repairs, but are not charged interest during the term of the loan and will never be charged a total amount that exceeds their home’s value. Reverse mortgages are typically repaid once a homeowner sells their home, moves or passes away.

The application process for reverse mortgages begins by meeting with a HUD-approved reverse mortgage (HECM) counselor. To determine if you qualify or to find more information on HECMs, find your local HUD office at HUD.gov or call (800) 225-5342.

Medicare Stairlift Financing

While original Medicare and gap insurance (Medigap) are currently unlikely to contribute to stairlift purchases, enrollees in Medicare Advantage may still be able to receive at least partial assistance with the purchase and installation of a stairlift.

As of 2019, Medicare Advantage plans are able to offer supplemental healthcare benefits in addition to the traditionally offered supplemental benefits for dental, vision, and hearing. What this means is that when a stairlift is a medical necessity, prescribed by a Medicare Advantage beneficiary’s physician, supplemental healthcare coverage could help with the costs of a new stairlift as it may be considered medical equipment.

For more information on what Medicare Advantage can offer or to find out if you qualify, visit Healthcare.gov or contact your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) to speak with an informed counselor about your options.

Non-Medicaid State Assistance Programs

For low-income earners and people with disabilities, there are nationally available funding sources from various nonprofits and other organizations which make it their mission to pay for home modifications and accessibility aids. For example, some options for low-income people with disabilities and the elderly include Rebuilding Together AmeriCorps and Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants, both of which aim to help people stay in their homes, even if they earn less than 50 percent of the national poverty line each year. Other, more specialized funding sources exist as well, such as The Individual Adaptive Equipment Grant, which provides funding for home or car modifications or for mobility equipment to people who have sustained paralytic spinal injuries.

To find assistance programs in your state and local area, contact your nearest Area Agency on Aging. AAA offices are federally coordinated resource and education centers staffed by representatives well-versed in the local and national funding sources available to seniors in their area.

Medicaid Waivers and State Entitlements

Medicaid is a federally mandated program administered by state governments, under which low-income people can receive partial reimbursement for healthcare services.

Because each state maintains its own arm of the national Medicaid program, it is very difficult to say whether stairlifts might be funded for the low-income and otherwise categorically needy individuals served by Medicaid in any one area. However, for Medicaid beneficiaries receiving their benefits via a Medicaid waiver, partial coverage is more likely to be within reach, as long as a stairlift purchase is designated as medically necessary by a physician.

Waiver programs are designed for people who can be assessed by a physician as nursing-home eligible based on their health profile and mobility needs. Waivers reimburse expenses for Medicaid recipients who wish to age in place at home with the benefit of home- and community-based services to provide their personal and medical care, allowing them to avoid residence in a skilled care facility.

Waiver programs are capped in most states, meaning they receive a limited amount of funding every year and thus can only accept a limited number of recipients. If you or a loved one may qualify for nursing home care, find out if your state’s waiver program can cover a stairlift purchase by contacting your local Area Agency on Aging, or visit Medicaid.gov to find your local Medicaid office locations.

The Department of Veterans Affairs

The Department of Veterans Affairs can help some veterans pay for medically necessary mobility equipment and home modifications. Though it’s true that many VA programs only offer resources to honorably discharged veterans who were wounded or sustained latently developing injuries during active duty, the VA provides many funding programs and they present a broad array of qualifying requirements.

As requirements can be highly varied and specific, finding out if you qualify for veterans’ benefits can be quite an ordeal, but for veterans who require a stairlift to remain in their family homes as they age, the VA can prove to be a valuable funding source. To find out if your stairlift purchase may qualify you for a medical equipment grant, a guaranteed loan, an additional pension benefit or other VA funding, call (877) 222-VETS or visit the VA online for more information.