Handicare and Acorn are two massive stairlift companies based in Europe. They offer a large selection of stairlifts for individuals with mobility issues and have been in business for a very long-time. In this guide, we'll take a quick look at how these two stairlift manufacturers compare and see which one comes out on top.
Customer Reviews: Equal
On the ConsumerAffairs website, Handicare currently has a rating of over 4.5 and Acorn is sitting on a disappointing 1.9. Does this mean that Handicare customers have a much better experience overall? That's the conclusion that several other Handicare vs. Acorn comparisons have drawn, but it doesn't tell the whole story.
Customer reviews don't always provide an accurate representation of a company. It seems like a ridiculous statement to make, but it's true, and it all comes down to how those reviews are generated.
At the time of writing, Handicare is listed as an Authorized Partner of ConsumerAffairs. This means that the company pays a fee and, in return, ConsumerAffairs helps them generate reviews. It doesn't mean that the reviews are fake, but that they are collected on behalf of the company.
Let's use Trustpilot as another example, as it is the exact reverse of ConsumerAffairs in this particular instance. Handicare has 30 reviews and a 2.4 rating while Acorn US has over 2,100 reviews and a 4.7 rating. In this case, the company with the low rating (Handicare) is not part of the premium program and the company with the high rating (Acorn) is.
Every time a customer places an order through the Acorn website, they will be logged into the system and scheduled to receive an email in 2 to 3 weeks (the timeframe can vary and is set by the company). That email will ask them about their experiences and prompt them to leave a review. There's no incentive, but that prompt is usually enough to convince a small percentage of users to leave a review.
As most customer experiences are positive (we're talking about huge and established stairlift companies, after all) the prompts will typically return a very high average rating.
If you take those prompts away, as is the case for Handicare on Trustpilot and Acorn on ConsumerAffairs, it means that every customer who leaves a review has not been prompted. They searched "Handicare reviews" or "Acorn reviews," browsed the results, found a site that offered reviews of one or both of these companies, signed up for an account, verified their account, and then wrote a review.
That's generally not a process that customers commit to if they have something positive to say. You usually don't go through all of those steps only to say, "Great company, well done." On the other hand, if they wronged you in any way, and you want to get "revenge" on them, you'll certainly complete those steps.
You can never underestimate the power of an incredulous consumer, and that's why you should never read too much into review sites that don't ask all customers for their opinions.
That’s why there is no clear winner when it comes to reviews.
Warranties = Handicare
Handicare offers a limited lifetime warranty, but that doesn't mean the warranty lasts forever. It is actually restricted to a period of 10 years, which is defined as the product's estimated lifetime, and there are exceptions for outdoor stairlifts. Furthermore, that only applies to the gearbox and the motor, with a two-year warranty applied to everything else.
Still, it's more than you will get with Acorn, as the Acorn warranty lasts for only 12 months.
The Range = Handicare
Both Handicare and Acorn offer straight and curved stairlifts in addition to outdoor models. However, while Acorn only has one option for each, Handicare has several. In addition to a range of standard features, including the ability to fold away when not in use, Handicare models are available in a variety of colors and finishes.
The Acorn website definitely has the edge, and you'll find much more information relating to the chairs, but when it comes to sheer variety, it's hard to look past Handicare.
The Price = Equal
The amount you pay will ultimately depend on whether it's curved or straight and indoors or outdoors, but straight stairlifts cost between $2,500 and $3,500 while curved stairlifts can cost as much as over $5,000. There is very little separating the two stairlift manufacturers in this department.
You can contact both of them by phone and speak with an authorized dealer. They will discuss pricing, professional installation, and features with you. They can also highlight the features of their straight and curved stairlifts and help you make your decision.
Acorn Stairlifts vs. Handicare Stairlifts Overall = Handicare
With a 10-year warranty, many options for straight or curved, an abundance of safety features, and an affordable base price, it's hard to look past Handicare, but don't dismiss Acorn just yet. Acorn stairlifts are also made to a very high standard, are incredibly affordable, and the company has great customer support.
If you're in the market for a new stairlift, speak with both of these companies, compare the warranty offers, prices, and accessibility solutions, ask about professional installation, and go with the one that offers the best value for your money.
You should also include stairlifts like the Savaria K2 and brands like Ameriglide and Stannah in your comparisons. There are many great stairlift companies out there and they all have something unique to offer people with limited mobility.