Stair Glides vs. Stairlifts

What is the difference between a stair glide and a stairlift? It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it's a little less interesting than that as there isn't a difference. A stair glide is a stairlift. It's simply another name in an industry notorious for confusingly named products.

For example, some insist that the term "stairlift" or "stair lift" is an all-encompassing term that denotes a machine used to help an individual navigate a staircase. It is something that "lifts" them up the stairs, and so it's an umbrella term that also includes wheelchair lifts (AKA platform lifts and vertical lifts) and even home elevators.

If that’s true, this means that a stair glide is just a specific type of stairlift, whereby a seat is secured to a straight or curved rail, and that just makes things even more confusing. Let's be honest, when you hear "stairlift," you don't picture fancy home elevators or platform lifts. You picture a tailormade slow-moving chair complete with a swivel seat, security sensors, and remote control. You think of Stannah Stairlifts, Acorn Stairlifts, and you might even think of outdoor stairlifts. 

So, to clarify, a stair glide is a stairlift. That might not have always been the case, but it's definitely true now. In fact, if you search for the word "stair glide" on Google, it generates results relating to "stairlift." It's not a "we think you mean..." situation, but rather Google has just merged the two together—and merged they should remain!

On another note, the terms for "stairlift" and "lift chair" have also been commonly confused, and understandably so. In this case, we are talking about two different products. The only thing they have in common is that they are aimed at individuals with mobility issues and involve both a chair and ascension.

A stairlift, as previously mentioned, is fitted to a staircase either indoors or outdoors and is either straight or curved. A lift chair is basically an armchair with a lift function. It's a comfortable chair just like any other, but as soon as you tap a button on the remote control, it "lifts" and makes it easier for the user to leave the chair.

Lift chairs and stairlifts are only two of the many things that people with limited mobility can use to make their home a safer and more accessible place.