When the stairs become inconvenient and dangerous, it's time to consider a home elevator or stairlift. Both will make your life a little bit easier and safer, ensuring that you don't need to avoid the staircase or move to a new home, but there are massive differences concerning the installation time, cost, and the space that they require.
To help you decide whether a stairlift or home elevator is right for you, we've listed a few pros and cons for each.
Home Elevators vs. Stairlifts: The Most Cost Effective
Stairlifts are quite a bit cheaper than home elevators. The average straight stairlift will set you back between $2,000 and $5,000, while a home elevator costs anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000. It's a massive price difference and if you're just looking for a cost-effective way to maintain your independence, it's a no-brainer.
But of course, there's more to it than that, otherwise, everyone would use stairlifts and home elevators wouldn't exist!
Home Elevators vs. Stairlifts: Accessibility and Safety
A stairlift gets you from one floor to the next. Simply strap yourself into the seat, hit the button, and wait for it to descend or ascend. It's not difficult to use and it's designed to provide complete safety and comfort as you navigate the staircase. It's not quick, but if you have mobility issues, it's much quicker and safer than trying to navigate the stairs yourself.
But what happens if you have items to carry up the stairs? What happens if you're a wheelchair user? That's where home elevators come in. They are big enough to accommodate you, your wheelchair, and a few other items, making them much more practical for people who live alone and can't call for help when they need to transport heavy items.
You can even choose your own design to ensure that it looks just like a stylish residential elevator, with multiple decor options to consider and plenty of ways to personalize it.
As far as overall safety goes, home elevators are generally safe for all users. On the other hand, a stairlift may be problematic for wheelchair users. After all, while the risks of walking to a chair, strapping yourself in, and waiting for it to finish its ascent and descent is minimal, it becomes considerably more dangerous if you have to transfer yourself from and to a wheelchair at the beginning and end of your journey.
Home Elevators vs. Stairlifts: Installation
Both stairlifts and home elevators have an extensive installation process. They take up space in your home, require a lot of work, and are very expensive. However, the home elevator requires much more work and there are several different options to choose from, including pneumatic, hydraulic, cable-driven, and chain-driven.
The type you choose will depend on the size and age of your home.
Home Elevators vs. Stairlifts: Home Value
A stairlift likely won't add any value to your home and it may also deter younger buyers. It's an addition to your home and it can always be removed and discarded, but it can also be somewhat of an eyesore. Unless you're selling to older homebuyers, it's probably not going to help you when it comes to selling your house.
A home elevator is a different matter entirely, though, and will almost certainly add value. Estimates suggest that it could add up to 10% to the value of your home. Not only is it a great addition for handicapped buyers and seniors, but it's one that may appeal to younger buyers. After all, it's not an eyesore, it doesn't take anything away from the home, and it's a useful addition to have.
Summary: A Home Elevator vs. a Stairlift
So, we've looked at the pros and the cons—now what? Should you opt for a home elevator or a stairlift?
It really all depends on your personal preference and your budget. If you are a wheelchair user with limited upper-body strength, you will most likely be better off with a home elevator. However, if you don't have $20,000+ to spare, it's not really a decision you can afford to make and a stairlift is better than nothing.
If you are not a wheelchair user and only have one floor to ascend, the stairlift is the most cost-effective option that will meet all your needs.
Go through a list of the pros and cons and consider the safety features, accessibility options, cost, and availability, and speak with a few stairlift and home elevator companies to find the best solution.