5 Key Comparisons
This is a detailed comparison to help you decide which is best for you or your loved one. We look at cost, lifestyles, home renovation requirements, features, safety, quality and more. Stairlifts and shaftless elevators (also known as Homelifts), are frequently compared and our goal in this is to help you make the best decision for your specific needs.
Safety is of course paramount when considering a mobility solution, but homeowners also want things that look good. Something that looks as though it is part of the home (house pride is a very strong motivating factor). Solutions that are more attractive and discrete, are more appealing. It is very difficult to blend a stairlift in to a home design, whereas a Homelift is smart adaptive design. When not in use a Homelift can be hidden from sight by sending it to a different floor.
Safety and performance are paramount when considering a mobility device. How it looks or blends into the home should be a minor consideration, but for many it still ranks highest; especially those setting their pride aside, because they need the assistance that these systems provide.
Any device will show evidence of their existence, but which one can you live with?
One of the most common (and least visually appealing) forms of mobility assistance devices that’s used to help residents move from one floor of a home to another.
There are some benefits to using stairlifts, such as the cost (it’s the lowest price option for these type of home lift systems), the rail only protrudes 6 inches into the stairs, and it’s easy to remove if needed. In many cases, homeowners can also customize the chair upholstery to match the existing décor.
However, residential stairlifts are always in constant view; especially if the stairway in your home is located at the front entranceway, which is often the case. They can also only be installed on the stairway, which may not be ideal in certain home designs.
In addition to those issues, most TV ads and brochures show very elderly users operating these types of stairlifts, but what about middle-aged homeowners that simply have bad knees or hips? For some people, these negative stereotypes can reduce the enjoyment of actually using the stairlift once it’s been installed.
With all these limitations and disadvantages, are home stairlifts really worth the value?
- Rails only protrude 6” into stairs
- Easy to install & remove
- Customization options for matching décor
- Always in view
- May not blend well with interior designs
- Can only be installed on stairways
Comparatively, luxury home lifts provide more than enough value to justify adding them to your home.
While residential home lifts take up a larger footprint within the home and require certain installation specifics, these types of systems can also be used a dumbwaiter or moving closet when it’s not being utilized to move people.
In most cases, home lifts can be designed to be discreetly hidden when not in use and blend into the aesthetics of the residence; although there will still be some evidence of its existence when sent to the opposite landing.
Many homeowners find these systems more appealing than stairlifts because of their highly modern and luxurious appearance. Glass or transparent walls can be used, so that riders can see out while they travel.
And, best of all, Cambridge Elevating can reuse flooring from the aperture cutout for the floor plug so it matches the upper landing’s flooring and the rest of the room.
With all these benefits, we believe residential home lifts offer more than enough value to make them worth the additional costs over those of less appealing systems like stairlifts.
- Modern & stylish
- Transparent wall options for better visuals
- Flooring can be reused to match top landing’s floor style
- Larger footprint than a stairlift
- Requires installation specifics (i.e., space requirements, construction, etc.)
- Evidence of its existence when sent to the opposite landing
The right home accessibility modifications can add value to a home, rather than detract from it. A universally designed bathroom or a home elevator can make your home accessible for everyone; effectively widening the home’s audience of potential buyers.
Seniors in Canada are living longer than previous generations and wish to age in place. Thus, the need for move-in ready housing is growing dramatically, making the investment in the right modifications a smart one.
In many cases, when considering the lowest cost alternatives for mobility assistance at home between floors, stairlifts often come to mind; especially because they’re inexpensive to run once they’re installed.
However, these systems can get expensive when dealing with curved or U-shaped stairways, because they require custom curved units that are much more costly.
Residential stairlift systems are easy-to-install and uninstall when you’re either purchasing a new home or selling your existing one. They also don’t require a lot in regards to construction costs, apart from covering up the attachment holes in the stair treads.
Unfortunately, these systems can actually detract from your home value, and it has limitations for people with severe mobility challenges (i.e., can’t accommodate wheelchairs, walkers). It also doesn’t function well for transporting good or heavy items between floors.
- Easy-to-install & uninstall
- Inexpensive to run
- Detracts from home value
- Serious user limitations (i.e., no wheelchairs, scooters, or heavy goods)
- Custom curved units are very expensive
Of these two options, there’s no doubt that residential home lifts provide the most utility and value for most homeowners.
While they offer less value for first-time home buyers (due to the construction costs required), they are a fantastic option for young families that have lots of things to transport between floors. Not to mention that it’s safer for transporting children and strollers, rather than risk tripping on stairs.
In some cases, because of the size of these units, they can cannibalize valuable space in smaller homes, but it does add another level of safety and convenience for people that are hoping to age in their homes or have older guests regularly visit.
As a benefit to the additional costs of installation, luxury home lifts do add resale value to the home for future sales, but we believe the benefits of being able to future proof your home and age in place are the biggest value-adds for these systems.
- Move-In ready for aging in place or future proofed homes
- Can accommodate carrying heavy cargo along with riders
- Adds resale value to the home
- Construction costs are unavoidable
- Less value for first-time home buyers
- May cannibalize valuable space in smaller homes
Operational Ease & Safety
Falls at home result in 85% of injury-related hospitalizations for seniors each year in Ontario, and the stairs is the most common place where those falls occur (more than bathroom or bedroom).
Stairlifts are an easy-to-use, cost-effective option for homeowners with reduced mobility, but there are still a few reasons why a stairlift might not be the best solution.
From an operational use standpoint, home stairlifts are relatively easy-to-use. They plug directly into a 120v outlet and has battery-powered remote controls, helpful for attendants to remote call or send the unit when it’s needed or not in use.
They are also fairly safe – for riders. Riders have a seatbelt to secure them while riding and a footrest sensor that prevents pinch points for both riders and pets. However, the rails from the stairlift can actually pose a tripping hazard for other occupants in the home.
Also, riders will need to have two wheelchairs in their home, since the system doesn’t accommodate carrying the chair up and down the stairs. This means, they’ll need to have wheelchairs available at each landing, which can be frustrating. Not to mention the dangers posed by transferring to/from wheelchairs at the top of landings.
For some riders, the constant pressure controls necessary to operate the system can be a frustrating headache as well. Riders require some dexterity, in order to operate the toggle/control paddle independently, which may not be an option for those with limited hand control or strength.
- Seat belts to secure riders while travelling
- Will fit the stairway of any new home & most existing homes
- Footrest sensors prevent pinch points to riders and/or pets
- Transferring to/from wheelchairs can be dangerous
- Potential tripping hazard for others in the home
- Constant pressure controls may be difficult for some to operate
On the other hand, residential home lifts have many more benefits, as well as less of the same types of challenges. There are some constant pressure controls, which may still be difficult for users with dexterity issues. However, luxury home lifts can be equipped with buttons on the handrail, which will give users leverage to assist with pressing necessary buttons.
Most models are wheelchair friendly (except the 750 model), and they include safety sensors on both the top and bottom of the car, which will automatically stop the lift if obstructed. There’s also a safety feature built-in that allows for safe emergency lowering in the event of a power outage.
The step-free entrance makes these luxury home lifts a barrier-free experience – no trip hazards are always a plus. An in-car phone for emergencies (and for convenience), as well as optional fold down seats are additional features that many homeowners appreciate as well.
- Safety sensors stop the unit when obstructed
- Step-free entrance – no trip hazards
- In-car telephone
- Emergency lowering for power outages
- Fold down seat is an option
- Constant pressure controls difficult for some
- 750 model not wheelchair friendly
A stairlift is largely a bolt-on device; whereas a home lift should be viewed as a renovation project that adds to the functionality of the home.
Both devices need 120v to operate them, but in regards to preparatory work necessary for installation, the similarities end there.
Stairlifts admittedly require less home renovations than a home lift system requires and doesn’t require any permits, but it does have its own set of requirements that must be met to keep it affordable.
For example, residential stairlifts need to be installed on a stairway that’s wide enough to accommodate the system, and it must be plugged into the nearest electrical outlet. If an outlet isn’t close enough nearby, one will have to be added to allow the system to function.
Any railings in the way or other obstructions must be removed, before the system can be installed. Also, if the system isn’t designed or installed well, it can cause the stairlift to operate unevenly; in some cases, this can cause the stairlift to get stuck, or even cause the rider to fall off.
When required, the stairlift can be easily removed, if the homeowner moves and wishes to take the system with them to their new residence.
- Usually requires no/minimum construction or renovations
- No permits necessary
- Easily uninstalled
- Electrical outlet required nearby
- Curved stairs require more attachment points
- Leaves holes in stair treads when removed
Conversely, a luxury home lift system will require a permit in most cities, which means engineering drawings will be required and thus additional time/money.
When adding a residential home lift to a completed home, there will be renovations required to add in the aperture and electrical systems needed for the home lift. This can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks (more in some cases), but this is a great opportunity to add other accessibility home modifications, while the home life construction is being completed.
The key to using these systems effectively in a home is to find a location that doesn’t cannibalize important space or rooms, and which requires no (or minimal) rerouting of other key house services (i.e., HVAC, electrical systems, plumbing, etc.).
- Increases the resale value of the home
- Opportunity to complete other accessibility projects
- Total project cost is still less than moving
- Renovations required before installation
- Project duration is about 6-8 weeks
- Difficult to fit into smaller homes
What if one’s mobility decreases to the point of needing an assistive device like a walker or wheelchair. Is the stairlift still the best option?
Also, is a stairlift the right device to move items from one floor to the other for someone with reduced mobility?
When they’re in-stock, and under the right in-home conditions, stairlifts can actually be installed very quickly (the next day potentially). They’ll also fit into most new homes, as their stairway width is more generous than the designs of some older homes.
However, it can only carry a single rider at a time, and stairlifts don’t accommodate lifting any type of cargo alongside the rider. It can also become an obstacle on the stairway for other occupants in the home that aren’t using the stairlift.
They are fairly versatile for installation and uninstalling purposes, as they can easily be added or removed from most stairways. These systems are a good choice for homeowners with sore joints or trouble managing stairs, but they can become essentially useless for people in the future if their condition worsens, or for users that require mobility assistance devices (i.e., wheelchairs, walkers, etc.).
- Helps seniors negotiate stairs
- Cost effective (only in straight stairways)
- Quick delivery (only on straight stairways)
- 8–10-week lead time needed for curved models
- Curved units cannot be re-purposed
- Limited capacity: one rider, no mobility device, no cargo
Home lifts are more versatile than stairlifts for usage purposes, in many cases. These systems act like a vertical hallway, easily transporting people and goods from one floor to another.
The 507lb capacity of our residential home lifts allow homeowners to transport heavy or bulky items, aging pets, or multiple people to different levels of their home.
They’re easy to enter and exit, regardless of whether users just have trouble with stairs, need help carrying something to a higher/lower floor, or require mobility assistance devices like wheelchairs, walkers, or scooters.
Luxury home lifts can also be sent to opposing floors with the remote control, to hide the unit from view when it’s not in use.
- Carries multiple rides, bulky/heavy cargo
- Can accommodate mobility assistance devices
- Can be hidden from view when not in use
- May not be able to fit in every home
- Footprint may cannibalize space/rooms in smaller homes
- Small renovation required for installation
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Top-Quality Elevators & Seamless Installations
Our customizable residential elevators are made with top-quality, locally sourced parts. We never compromise on the quality, and we’ll only use the best, most reliable parts in your home elevator.
The versatility in our designs means we’ve got home elevator styles that fit perfectly into almost any type of home. This saves you time and money avoiding expensive renos to make room for your lift.
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The customizable designs of our residential elevators are perfectly suited to any home.
Our modern home elevators are designed for form and functionality, so they’re easily installed into existing homes or added into plans for new builds.
Our standard Manufacturer’s warranties or extended warranty options give you confidence that we’ll back our product’s quality.
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We’re the leaders in residential elevators. Through our innovative designs, we’re setting a new standard for home elevator services.
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Using our Remote Monitoring Technology, you can relax knowing the key systems within your elevator are always taken care of.
Designed Your Way
Over 9 million design combinations are available to customize your elevator so that it suits both your mobility needs and décor.
Predictive maintenance uses data analysis to predetermine when components or systems require service and prevent breakdowns.
Elegance and reliability
Elegance and reliability
Experience is everything when producing a system that will be an integral fixture in your home.
Since the beginning, our elevator designs have constantly improved based on feedback from our local and third-party installation crews.
We bring elegance and reliability to home elevator services, and we make every effort to go above-and-beyond our competition.