How Much Does a Stair Lift Cost? Breaking Down the Cost to Install a Stair Lift

If you or a family member are struggling to navigate the stairs, installing a stair lift can be a helpful solution. Stair lift costs range between $2,000 and $15,000, with the national average at $6,000.

By Katie Flannery | Updated Apr 7, 2022 2:50 PM

Stair Lift Cost

Photo: depositphotos.com

  • Typical Range: $2,000 to $15,000
  • National Average: $6,000

If you or a family member are having difficulty navigating up and down stairs due to an injury, illness, or mobility issues, a stair lift may be the solution. A stair chair lift is a motor-operated device that follows a track up and down the stairs to assist someone who is unable to navigate the stairs in their home. According to HomeAdvisor, stair lift costs range between $2,000 and $15,000, with the national average at $6,000. The price can vary because of the style and length of the lift; a curved or extended lift can cost between $9,000 and $15,000, but a standard straight lift shorter than 15 feet might only cost between $2,000 and $6,000. The benefits of installing a stairlift outweigh the price for many homeowners. Having a stairlift ensures independence and safety for those who need it.

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Factors in Calculating Stair Lift Cost

Many factors impact stair lift cost. Prices differ from the national average due to staircase type, shape, length, installation and labor costs, lift and seat type, power source, and brand.

Staircase Type, Shape, and Length 

Stairs come in different shapes, and there are varying stair lift types to accommodate, including straight, curved, platform, and outdoor. Straight stairs generally cost the least to fit with a lift, and curved staircases cost the most. If the staircase has landings, the lift will require a longer track, and the overall cost will be higher.

Installation and Labor

Installation costs can run between $1,000 and $5,000 for many stair lift models. Prices can be higher if the stairs are steeper than average or if the lift is installed on outdoor steps made of natural materials like earth or stone. On occasion, additional work needs to be completed to install a stair lift, which can drive up the installation price. For example, installing wiring can cost between $600 and $2,200, building a new wall can run from $1,000 to $2,700, repairing drywall is $300 to $800, and replacing or upgrading an electrical panel ranges from $600 to $1,800.

Labor costs are typically included with the installation price since stair lifts need to be installed by a professional from either the company you purchased the lift from or someone from the manufacturer. If you decide to hire a third party to install the lift, labor costs usually run between $75 to $100 per hour.

Type of Stair Lift and Seat

Stair chair lifts are available with different types of seats. The seat affects how much space the lift takes up on the stairway and how comfortable it is to ride. Here are some available seat options and the average prices.

  • Perch seat. A stair lift with a perch seat typically costs between $2,500 and $20,000. One of the newest advances in stair lift seating, a perch seat saves space by allowing the user to lean against the seat in a partially standing position while riding up and down the stairs. While these are not ideal for those with significant mobility or balance issues, this type of stair lift saves a considerable amount of space for smaller or narrow spaces where a standard lift wouldn’t fit.
  • Collapsible seat. Collapsible seat stair lifts cost between $2,000 and $20,000. One of the most popular styles of lift seating, the seat (and usually the footrests and armrests) fold up to save space when it’s not in use. This is an excellent option for those with a narrow staircase or who want to reduce the overall stair lift footprint.
  • Angled seat. Stair lifts with an angled seat can range between $3,000 and $20,000. Angled seat lift chairs tilt backward slightly, so the user feels more stable while using the lift. These are popular for those with significant mobility issues.
  • Swivel seat. The average cost for a stair lift with a swivel seat is $2,500 to $20,000. A swivel seat pivots at the bottom or top of the stairs to allow the user to get out of the lift without twisting. The seat locks to prevent turning while moving up and down the stairs. Some high-end models will swivel automatically, and others must be moved manually.
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Power Source

Stairlifts can be battery powered or connected to an electrical outlet. Battery-operated lifts can work during a power outage, and the electric-powered ones need a battery backup if the power goes out. Electric stairlifts will cost more up front because they require more electrical wiring work, and they also cost more money to run. Electric stair lifts don’t require as much maintenance as a battery-operated lift; however, a battery-operated lift needs regular battery health checks.

Brand

When deciding on a stair lift for your home, there are several options to choose from. Most manufacturers make both straight and curved lifts, but it’s essential to check and ensure that the brand you choose creates a lift that will work for your needs. Here are a few trusted brands of home stair lifts and their average prices.

  • AmeriGlide: $2,000 to $5,000
  • Acorn: $2,500 to $5,500
  • Bruno: $3,000 to $6,000
  • Stannah: $3,000 to $6,000
Stair Lift Cost

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Additional Costs and Considerations

When budgeting for stair lift costs, it’s helpful to know any additional price factors and considerations that can increase the total cost. These can include pricing differences with renting or buying, buying a new or pre-owned lift, customizations and add-ons, outdoor lifts, and maintenance costs.

Renting vs. Buying

If you or a family member need a stair lift for a short period while recovering from surgery or an injury, renting a lift is an option. The cost to rent a lift runs from $300 to $500 per month, not including installation or removal fees. Many stair lift companies require a minimum 3-month rental agreement. Keep in mind that the installation fee can run from $400 to $700, removal can cost between $300 and $600, a refundable deposit ranges from $500 to $1,000, and the 3-month rental averages between $900 and $1,500.

Pre-Owned vs. New

Pre-owned stairlifts are available to buy for a reduced price. These lifts have been previously rented and are in excellent condition. The lifts are subjected to rigorous inspections to ensure they’re safe and in good working order. The overall price can vary depending on the brand, model, and type, but average savings can range from $500 to $1,500 off the cost of a new lift. It may be challenging to find a pre-owned stair lift for a curved staircase, however, since the lift track needs to be custom-made.

Customizations and Add-Ons

Custom add-ons to a stair chair lift will increase the overall price. Some of these customizations may be necessary, such as a custom track for a curved staircase or a staircase with multiple landings. These customizations can add between $1,000 and $10,000 to the installation price, depending on the complexity of the stairs. Some straight stair lift tracks can accommodate up to 70 feet, but anything longer can add $50 to $75 per linear foot. Stair lifts can typically handle users up to 250 pounds, but a heavy-duty lift may be needed for those who use wheelchairs or weigh over 250 pounds. Purchasing a heavy-duty stair lift can start at $5,000 and range up to $20,000 for lifts that can support over 400 pounds.

Outdoor Stair Lifts

Depending on the length, installing a stair lift outside can range from $2,000 to $10,000. Different materials are required for an outdoor lift to withstand extreme temperatures, rain, snow, dirt, and grime and still work correctly.

Maintenance

It’s recommended that a stair lift be professionally inspected once a year to ensure it’s in safe working order. Stair lift companies usually offer yearly maintenance inspections for between $100 and $200, and some retailers provide 24-hour emergency service. Be sure to ask the installer what services are offered.

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Stair Lift Cost Types

There are various types of stair lifts, and they vary by the kind of stairs they’re designed for and how they’re powered.

Battery-Operated vs. Electric Stair Lifts

The cost of a battery-powered lift ranges between $3,000 and $5,000. The price reflects the ease of installation because the lift doesn’t need additional wiring. A battery-operated lift will charge when it’s not in use at the charging station at the bottom of the stairs. While a battery-operated lift will save more money in electricity costs in the long run, this type of lift requires regular battery checks and maintenance.

Electric stair lifts can average between $4,000 and $7,000. An electric lift plugs into an outlet to power it up and down the stairs. If there is no outlet in the stairwell, one will have to be installed, which will raise the overall installation cost. This type of stair lift typically comes with a backup battery in the event of a power outage.

Straight Stair Lift

Straight lifts are the most common type of stair lift. They’re fitted to a straight staircase that doesn’t bend or curve. These lifts are the easiest to install and typically run between $2,000 and $8,000.

Stair Lift Cost

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Curved Stair Lift

Curved stair lifts are the most expensive type of lifts. They are custom-designed to fit the contours of the staircase. These can run between $8,000 to $20,000. For homes that have a staircase with one or more landings, an alternative to a curved lift would be two straight stairlifts, which could save thousands of dollars.

Platform Stair Lift

A platform stair lift is designed for wheelchair users to maneuver up and down the stairs. A wheelchair can be placed on a size-appropriate platform to transport users to different floors. Platform lifts can be used with both straight and curved lifts, with the price dependent on the length and type of staircase. These can cost between $5,000 and $20,000.

Outdoor Stair Lift

Outdoor stair lifts can range between $4,000 and $12,000. These lifts must withstand harsh weather conditions and still work properly, so the price is generally higher than for straight indoor lifts.

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When to Consider Getting a Stair Lift

As we age, stairs become more challenging to navigate. If you or a family member is recovering from an injury or surgery, have mobility issues, are frightened to navigate the stairs, or don’t have the strength to go up and down the staircase anymore, a stair lift may be the solution.

Health and Safety Concerns 

A stair lift is a safe way for those with health and safety concerns to navigate stairs. Going up and down the stairs can be dangerous and result in serious injury for those with mobility and balance issues. A motorized lift is the safest option for accessing different levels of the home.

Reduced Mobility

Joint pain can make climbing the stairs difficult. Suppose you or a family member are experiencing knee or hip pain, joint stiffness, muscle weakness, reduced lung capacity, or are recovering from surgery. In that case, a stair lift can help regain independence.

Aging in Place

Many seniors prefer to remain in their own homes rather than move into a senior living community. A stair lift provides the option to stay at home and utilize all levels of the living space instead of just one floor. A stair lift is also a more affordable option than selling a home and finding a new one-story place to live in.

Benefits of Getting a Stair Lift

Joint pain, stability issues, lack of strength, and limited mobility can accompany aging and make stairs difficult. A stair lift is a worthwhile investment and has many benefits.

Injury Prevention

A stair lift can help prevent an injury due to falling while navigating up or down the stairs. Those with balance issues may have trouble judging the distance between steps and trip and fall. A stair lift has a built-in safety belt that will keep the user safe and avoid injury while transporting them to different levels of the home.

Ease of Use and Comfort

Most users find a stair lift easy to use: sit in the seat, fasten the safety belt, and hold the switch to go up or down the stairs. To stop the lift, simply release the switch. Some stair lifts come with a remote, which is especially helpful if more than one person uses the lift. If you’re at the top of the stairs and the lift is at the bottom, the remote will power the stair lift up to you. The seat is padded and comes with adjustable padded armrests and footrests to ensure a comfortable experience.

Independence 

Sometimes stairs can prevent someone from using all the levels of their home, limiting them to living on one level. A stair lift can help restore a feeling of independence, as it allows the user access to all stories of the home since stairs will no longer be a hindrance.

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Relatively Affordable Aging in Place Option

A stair lift is a brilliant solution for those who prefer to age at home instead of moving to an assisted living facility or a senior living community. Although the expense of installing a stair lift can quickly add up, it is less expensive than moving to a single-floor home.

Stair Lift Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

While it may be tempting to buy a DIY stair lift to save some money, installing a stair lift as a DIY project is not recommended. Even though it’s easy to use and operate, a stair lift is a complex piece of assistive technology. It needs to be professionally installed to ensure the user’s safety. Professional installers undergo rigorous training, and they’re qualified and experienced to install the lift in as little as 4 to 5 hours. It may take a bit longer to install a lift on an extra-long set of stairs. Since a staircase rarely has an electrical outlet nearby, new wiring may need to be installed before the stair lift. It’s always recommended that a professional handle new wiring and outlet installation.

How to Save Money on a Stair Lift 

Stair lift costs can be high, and the additional fees associated with the installation can quickly add up. One way to save money on stair lift costs is to buy the cheapest lift, but there are other ways to save without giving up the options you want.

  • Get at least three quotes. Getting multiple quotes from reputable companies can help you get the best price on stair lift costs.
  • Negotiate. Some companies offer promotions and will negotiate the installation price to fit within your budget.
  • Only get what you need. The extra bells and whistles that come with high-end stair lifts are tempting, but the additional costs can quickly drain a budget. Ask for itemized pricing on the stair lifts you’re interested in so you can cut the add-ons that you don’t need.
  • Medicare coverage. Standard Medicare doesn’t cover stair lift costs, but specific Medicare Advantage plans might. This coverage changes year to year, so it’s essential to see what expenses are covered when installing a stair lift.
  • Research grants. Look to see if there are stair lift grants in your area. If you qualify, it can help save on installation costs.
  • Go used. Purchasing a previously used stair lift can save significantly more money than buying a new lift.

Questions to Ask About Stair Lift Installation

Asking the right questions about stair lift costs can minimize miscommunication and save money. Here are some questions to ask when pricing installation for a stair lift.

  • Is your company insured?
  • Do you have referrals?
  • What kind of training do the installation professionals have?
  • Who will install the stair lift?
  • What kind of stair lift do I need?
  • Do you provide an itemized estimate?
  • What is the total cost?
  • Is the lift easy to use?
  • What are the stair lift safety features?
  • Will other people still be able to use the staircase?
  • What maintenance programs do you offer?
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FAQs

Deciding on stair lift installation while staying within your budget can be a daunting process. Here are some frequently asked questions about stair lift costs to help guide you in your decisions.

Q. Does Medicare pay for stair lifts?

Original Medicare does not pay for stair lifts, although some Medicare Advantage plans may assist. This coverage changes from year to year, so check with your state’s program to see what is covered.

Q. Does insurance cover stair lifts?

Insurance typically does not cover stair lifts, although some types of disability or auto insurance may pay some of the cost due to injury or disability. Always double-check to see what your insurance plan says about stair lifts.

Q. Is there an alternative to a stair lift?

Some alternatives to a stair lift include moving to a one-story home or a senior living community, relying on others to help go up and down the stairs, living in one level of your home, remodeling your home, or installing an elevator or stair climbing aid.

Q. How do I qualify for a free stair lift?

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, research to see if it will cover part or all of the cost for a stair lift. The coverage changes from year to year, so check often. Medicaid, VA Health Care benefits, and grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development offer assistance for stair lift installation costs.

Q. Can a stair lift be fitted to any stairs?

Stair lifts can be installed on just about any staircase, although some may be more expensive because the lift needs to be custom-built to accommodate the curves and turns.

Q. How long does it take to install a stair lift?

A straight stair lift can be installed in about 2 to 3 hours, and a curved lift can take between 4 and 5 hours or more, depending on the difficulty or length of the staircase.

Sources: HomeAdvisor, Fixr, Bruno, HomeServe,

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