How Much Does a Stair Lift Cost to Install?

If a homeowner or their family member is struggling to navigate the stairs, a stair lift can be a helpful solution. Installing a stair lift costs between $2,000 and $20,000, with the national average at $6,000.

By Katie Flannery and Evelyn Auer | Updated Oct 6, 2023 3:50 AM

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A black and green graph shows the cost of installing a stair lift:The typical range for stair lift installation costs is $2,000 to $20,000, with a national average of $6,000.

Photo: bobvila.com

Highlights

  • The typical range for stair lift installation costs is $2,000 to $20,000, with a national average of $6,000.
  • The primary cost factors for stair lift installation include the staircase and lift types, seat type, labor, power source, and brand.
  • Stair lifts can be beneficial for those who have health and safety concerns, who have limited mobility, or who are aging in place.
  • Further benefits to users include injury prevention, ease of use, and increased independence.
  • Stair lift installation is best left to professionals in order to ensure that the lift is both safe and reliable for the user.
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For anyone who is 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 and Angi, stair lift costs range from $2,000 to $20,000, with the national average at $6,000. The price can vary because of the style and length of the lift; a curved lift can cost between $9,000 and $20,000, but a standard straight lift might only cost between $2,000 and $9,000. The benefits of installing a stair lift outweigh the price for many homeowners. Having a stair lift ensures independence and safety for those who need it.

Factors in Calculating Stair Lift Cost

How much does a stair lift cost? There are a surprising number of factors that impact the price a homeowner will pay for this project. Costs can differ from the national average due to staircase type, shape, and length; installation and labor costs; lift and seat type; power source; and brand.

Staircase and Lift Type

Stairs come in different shapes, and there are varying stair lift types to accommodate them, including straight, curved, and platform. Straight stairs generally cost the least to fit with a lift, with the price coming in around $2,000 to $8,000. Curved staircases are the most costly and typically run $8,000 to $20,000. If the staircase has landings, the lift will require a longer track, and the overall cost will be higher. Homeowners can also opt for a pre-owned stair lift; costs for these start around $1,000.

Seat Type

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. The average stair chair lift costs $2,000 to $20,000.

  • Angled seat. Stair lifts with an angled seat can range in cost from $3,000 to $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.
  • Collapsible seat. A collapsible stair lift chair costs between $2,000 and $20,000 and is one of the most popular styles of lift seating. With this type, the seat (and usually the footrests and armrests) folds 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.
  • 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 partial 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.
  • 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.
A black and green table shows the cost of a stair lift per seat type.

Photo: bobvila.com

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 such as 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, installing new drywall 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 it was purchased from or someone from the manufacturer.

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Additional WorkAverage Cost (Materials and Labor)
Drywall installation$1,000 to $2,700
Drywall repair$300 to $800
Electrical panel repair/upgrade$600 to $1,800
Wiring installation$600 to $2,200


Power Source

Stair lifts 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. The cost of a battery-powered lift ranges from $3,000 to $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; however, it will require regular battery health checks.

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. Electric stair lifts cost more up front because they require more electrical wiring work, and they also cost more money to run. However, electric stair lifts don’t require as much maintenance as battery-operated lifts and can average between $4,000 and $7,000.

Brand

When customers are deciding on a stair lift, there are several options to choose from. Most manufacturers make both straight and curved lifts, but it’s essential for homeowners to check and ensure that the chosen brand creates a lift that will be the best fit. There are several trusted brands of home stair lifts, each with a slightly different price range.

BrandAverage Cost (Materials and Labor)
Acorn$2,500 to $5,500
AmeriGlide$2,000 to $5,000
Brooks$3,000 to $4,000
Bruno$3,000 to $6,000
Easy Climber$2,000 to $6,000
Handicare$2,500 to $5,500
Harmar$2,000 to $5,000
Savaria$8,000 to $9,000
Stannah$3,000 to $6,000


Additional Costs and Considerations

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

Electrical Work

Stair lifts that are electric-powered rather than battery-operated may require some additional electrical work at the time of installation. If there is no electrical wiring located close enough to the staircase for the lift to utilize, new wiring will need to be installed for a cost of $600 to $2,200. Further, if the home’s electrical system does not have the capacity to support the new stair lift, the electrical panel may need to be upgraded. This project costs between $600 and $1,800.

Drywall Repair or Replacement

If the stair lift cannot fit comfortably in the stairwell as is, some walls may need to be removed or altered as part of the installation. Building a new wall will cost $1,000 to $2,700, and repairing drywall will cost $300 to $800. For complex modifications to the wall or staircase, homeowners can bring in one of the best home renovation contractors to oversee this part of the project.

Renting vs. Buying

If a homeowner or their family member needs a stair lift for a short period while recovering from surgery or an injury, renting a lift is an option. Stair lift rental costs run from $300 to $500 per month, not including installation or removal fees. Many stair lift companies require a minimum 3-month rental agreement. Homeowners will want to 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 $2,100 and $3,900.

Rental FactorsAverage Cost
Deposit$500 to $1,000
Installation$400 to $700
Monthly Fee$300 to $500
Removal$300 to $600


Pre-Owned vs. New

Pre-owned stair lifts 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 costs range from $1,000 to $10,000. 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. 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 go up to $20,000 for a lift that can support over 400 pounds.

CustomizationAverage Cost (Materials and Labor)
Armrests$50 to $150
Heavy-duty lift installation$5,000 to $20,000
Lift-up footrests$50 to $200
Remote control$50 to $150
Sensors$100 to $400
Speed control$75 to $200
Track lengthening$50 to $75 per linear foot


Old Stair Lift Removal

Homeowners who are selling a home that has a stair lift may want to have the lift removed if the buyer will not need it. In some cases, a stair lift company will remove the lift free of charge, especially if it is in good enough condition to be resold. If there is a removal fee, it is likely to cost between $100 and $300. There may also be some damage to the stairwell or the wall that needs to be repaired once the lift has been removed, so it’s a good idea for a homeowner to budget for some minor repairs from a handyman.

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 $100 to $200, and some retailers provide 24-hour emergency service. Homeowners will want to ask the installer what services are offered.

A person uses a stair lift to go down the stairs.

Photo: depositphotos.com

Stair Lift Cost by Type of Lift

There are various types of stair lifts, and they vary by the kind of stairs they’re designed for and their power source. They also have different cost ranges, since some are more complicated to install than others.

Lift TypeAverage Cost (Materials and Labor)
Curved$8,000 to $20,000
Outdoor$4,000 to $12,000
Platform$5,000 to $20,000
Portable$1,000 to $4,000
Standing$2,500 to $10,000
Straight$2,000 to $8,000


Curved

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 and $20,000. For homes that have a staircase with one or more landings, an alternative to a curved lift would be two straight stair lifts, which could save thousands of dollars.

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Outdoor

Depending on the length, installing a stair lift for homes with outdoor staircases ranges from $4,000 to $12,000. Different materials are required for an outdoor lift to withstand extreme temperatures, rain, snow, dirt, and grime and still work correctly. It may be more cost-effective for the homeowner to build a wheelchair ramp depending on the size of the staircase.

Platform

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.

Portable

Also called wheelchair stair lifts, these lifts resemble wheelchairs with a ladder-like tread attached at the back. To use a portable lift, a second person must guide the chair from behind while the treads pull the seat down or up the stairs. Because these lifts are not permanent installations, they have a relatively low cost of $1,000 to $4,000.

Standing

Instead of having a seat, standing stair lifts have a small platform with handles so that the user can stand while being lifted up the stairs. This kind of lift is most often used on straight stairwells, but some models are compatible with curved staircases. Standing stair lifts can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000.

Straight

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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Do I need a stair lift?

Retrofitting a home for accessibility can come with a significant price tag. The cost to install a walk-in tub, widen doorways, and put in a stair lift can quickly begin to add up. However, these improvements can make day-to-day life simpler for those with limited mobility and are generally worth the cost. If a homeowner or a family member is recovering from an injury or surgery, has mobility issues, is frightened to navigate the stairs, or doesn’t have the strength to go up and down the staircase anymore, a stair lift may be the solution.

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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. If a homeowner or family member is experiencing knee or hip pain, joint stiffness, muscle weakness, or reduced lung capacity, or they are recovering from surgery, a stair lift is a great way to make the home more accessible.

Aging in Place

Many older adults prefer to remain in their own homes rather than move into a retirement community. One of the biggest aging-in-place design tips for homeowners to consider is to install a stair lift, as it provides the option to stay at home and utilize all levels of the living space instead of just one floor. Installing a stair lift is also a more affordable option than selling a home and finding a new one-story place to live in.

Stair Lift Cost

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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 a homeowner or family member is 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

A stair lift is generally quite easy to use: The user sits in the seat, fastens the safety belt, and holds the switch to go up or down the stairs. To stop the lift, they simply release the switch. Some stair lifts come with a remote, which is especially helpful if more than one person uses the lift. If the user is at the top of the stairs and the lift is at the bottom, the remote will power the stair lift up to them. 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. Similar to the independence that installing one of the best walk-in tubs can offer to those with mobility issues, putting in a stair lift can help restore a feeling of independence, as it allows the user to go about their daily tasks without needing assistance.

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, though 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 can be used. It’s always recommended that a professional handle new wiring and outlet installation. Homeowners can look up “stair lift installation near me” to find a qualified local professional. If any adjustments must be made to the staircase itself, it’s a good idea for homeowners to hire a contractor for this part of the job.

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How to Save Money on a Stair Lift 

The average cost of a stair lift is not trivial, and the additional fees associated with the installation can quickly add up. One way for homeowners to save money on stair lift costs is to buy the cheapest lift, but there are other ways to save without giving up any desired features.

  • 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.
  • Get only 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.
  • Look into 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 with a stair lift installation.
  • 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.
Stair Lift Cost

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Questions to Ask About Stair Lift Installation

Asking the right questions about stair lift costs can minimize miscommunication and save money. There are several questions that homeowners can 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 budget can be a daunting process. Knowing the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about stair lift costs can help guide a homeowner’s decision-making process.

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, Angi, Fixr, Bruno

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