Read our 2020 stairlift reviews to discover the best stairlift company for your needs.
Our experts explore the strengths and challenges of all available brands so you can make an informed decision about the best stairlift for your home.
Which is the Best Stairlift Company? | Stairlift Reviews
Determining the best stairlift brand for your needs depends on the following factors:
- Configuration of staircase
- Comfort and aesthetic considerations
- Quality of brand confidence
- Options available if needed
Take time to read online reviews, research expert opinions and/or visit a dealer showroom. Trying a stairlift before buying one is a great way to test quality and comfort.
While the goal of a stairlift is to keep you safe on your steps, it’s also important to choose a brand that blends in with your home and offers long-term reliability.
Where are Stairlift Brands Manufactured? | Stairlift Reviews
Most stairlifts are built outside the United States. However, Bruno engineers and manufactures their stairlifts right in Wisconsin. European stairlift companies maintain an office presence in the US, but their stairlifts are designed and built elsewhere.
- Bruno – United States
- Savaria – Canada
- Acorn – United Kingdom
- Stannah – United Kingdom
- Handicare – Netherlands
“We try to represent the best quality products. Preferably made in the USA because American-made is important to our customers.”
– Stacy Spiller, Partner at Transitions Lift & Elevator.
2020 Stairlift Reviews
All in all, what are the major differences between the leading stairlift brands? The reviews below specifically break down the strengths and challenges of the top stairlift companies available on the market today.
Acorn Stairlifts | Review
General Observation: Chair feels less sturdy; unpadded seat.
Rail: Horizontal rail for straight stairlifts with exposed gear rack takes up more room on steps and attracts dirt. Curved rail is “modular design”, which often results in installations not fitting closely to corners/wall.
Options: No custom options for straight stairlifts except for folding rail.
Reviews: Many mixed online reviews.
Warranty: Stairlifts come with a 12-month warranty. Paid maintenance agreements are needed for longer warranties.
Models: Two indoor models; one outdoor model.
Sales: Sold through direct manufacturer representative.
Other: Sales process can be overly persistent.
Bottom Line: Good choice if a curved stairlift is needed within days (modular design exchanges superior ride quality for quick turnaround time).
AmeriGlide Stairlifts | Review
General Observation: Reseller of other brands, not a manufacturer. Known for inexpensive stairlift models offerings.
Rail: Horizontal rail for straight stairlifts with exposed gear rack, which takes up more room on steps and attracts dirt. Curved rail stairlift offerings are double tube designs also with an exposed gear rack.
Options: No options/customization for straight stairlifts.
Reviews: Few online reviews found; mixed.
Warranty: 2-years on components; 5 years on motor/gear – indoor only.
Models: As a reseller, many stairlift models available, including used.
Sales: Online sales.
Other: Concern over local support. Self-install available for straight stairlifts, but raises safety concerns for proper installation and service/maintenance assistance.
Bottom Line: Good choice when budget is a strong consideration, but keep in mind that they do not manufacture their own stairlifts.
Bruno Stairlifts | Review
General Observation: Premium brand known for reliability, design and a smooth/even ride.
Rail: Vertical rail with hidden gear rack on straight stairlifts is specifically designed to preserve more space on steps, reduce dirt in the gear drive and result in a more attractive appearance. Curved stairlifts also feature a vertical rail, which is hand-crafted for a precise fit and smooth ride.
Options: Multiple options on straight stairlifts: larger seat, larger footrest, power swivel seat, power folding footrest, folding rail and multiple colors/fabrics. Multiple options on curve rails also, including available rail color and rail positions.
Reviews: Strong number of positive online reviews.
Warranty: Limited lifetime* warranty on straight indoor stairlift motor, gear drive and rail; 2 years on components, 30-days labor. Curved and outdoor models: 5-year motor/gearbox and rail and 2-years on parts. (*Lifetime warranty in effect while original purchaser owns the lift.)
Models: Three indoor stairlifts; Two outdoor stairlift models.
Sales: Extensive factory-trained local dealer network.
Other: Engineered and manufactured in USA, veteran-founded and family-owned company.
Bottom Line: Best choice for overall high quality stairlift (Made in USA) with the most top-rated reviews.
Harmar Stairlifts | Review
General Observations: Chair design has a “medical” appearance.
Rail: Horizontal rail for straight stairlifts with exposed gear rack for straight stairlifts takes up more room on steps and attracts dirt. Curved features “double tube” model with exposed gear rack on tube rail.
Options: Varies by model – retractable seat belt, key lock, folding rail.
Reviews: Very few online reviews.
Warranty: Varies – Pinnacle model: 10-year on gear rack, 2-year parts, 1-year on batteries; Outdoor model: 3-year parts.
Models: Five indoor models; one outdoor straight model.
Sales: Large dealer network.
Other: Offers heavy-duty lift capacity model that handles up to 600 lbs.
Bottom Line: Good choice for extreme lift capacity up to 600 lbs.
Handicare Stairlifts | Review
General Observation: Overall wide variety of models.
Rail: Most models feature horizontal rail with exposed gear rack for most straight stairlifts – takes up more room on steps and attracts dirt. One straight stairlift model also features a “frictionless” drive. Curved stairlifts offer both single- and double-tube models with exposed gear rack.
Options: Hinged rail, power swivel seat, power folding footrest, “turn and go” turns seat to ride forward for narrow stairs, illuminated footrest.
Reviews: Few online reviews.
Warranty: Limited lifetime* warranty on motor, gearbox; 2-year on parts. To clarify, Handicare defines “Lifetime” as 10-year lifetime of product, non-transferable.
Models: Seven indoor models; two outdoor models.
Sales: Limited dealer network.
Other: Number of total model choices can add complexity to purchase.
Bottom Line: Good choice for very narrow curved staircases (as narrow as 27.2 inches).
Stannah Stairlifts | Review
General Observation: Solid quality chair varieties.
Rail: Straight stairlift models feature vertical rail with partially exposed gear rack. Curved stairlifts feature either a single or “double tube” model with exposed gear rack.
Options: Hinged rail on straight stairlift.
Reviews: Positive online reviews.
Warranty: Limited lifetime* warranty on motor, gearbox rail; 2-year on parts. Stannah defines “Lifetime” as 10-year lifetime of the product, non transferable. Only relates to stairlifts sold directly by Stannah. Warranty coverage for lifts sold through dealers may vary.
Models: Four indoor straight models; one curved indoor, one outdoor.
Sales: Limited local dealer network.
Other: Perched seat model available that alleviates need to sit down.
Bottom Line: Good choice for multiple color choices or a perched seat model.
Should I Purchase a Stairlift Directly or Through a Dealer? | Stairlift Reviews
Stairlifts are generally purchased through a dealer or a direct manufacturing representative.
Acorn uses a direct sales model, which means they employ a fleet of salespeople in order to cut out the “middle man”. The salespeople work from their own homes and travel to yours. A common complaint cited by consumers about the direct sales model is that salespeople can be “high pressure” before the sale. Afterward, customers noted a lack of responsiveness for post-sale service work.
Many other stairlift brands, including Harmar, Bruno, Savaria and Handicare, sell through dealers. Authorized dealers will also travel to your home, learn about your needs and provide a free quote. However, unlike direct manufacturer sales reps, many authorized dealers have brick-and-mortar showrooms where you can “try before you buy.” In addition, authorized dealerships are often family businesses with long track records in their communities. Because post-sale service support is a factor, you can count on them for future assistance.
“We have a showroom with at least five stairlifts on display, and we always encourage people to come in and try them,”
– David Kohll, Owner at Kohll’s Pharmacy
The size of a stairlift manufacturer’s dealer network can become important when seeking post-sale service. In the US for example, Stannah may only have one or two dealers who service an entire state or large region. By comparison, other manufacturers may have several dealers across a single metro area. Bruno and Harmar have large dealer networks which means multiple choices for purchasing and overall service.
AmeriGlide offers online sales but does not manufacture stairlifts. Rather, they are a reseller of used stairlifts and “white label” models for other companies. Again, proper installation and access to post-sale service are important concerns when purchasing a stairlift online.
Should You Buy a Used Stairlift? | Stairlift Reviews
Even though it is possible to find used stairlifts through online, warranties are only valid with the original owner. In addition, potential improper installation is a major concern. Because stairlifts are a product designed to keep you safe on your stairs, it’s generally unwise for a layperson to install a stairlift – no matter how “handy” they may be. For example, improper hardware torquing or incorrect securing of safety pins can result in the chair coming loose or falling off. Stairlift rails not cut well can create a fall hazard at the top landing.
To clarify, self-installation can put the life of the chairlift user at risk.
“Stairlifts are a product that gives you your house back. You can find stairlifts that are inexpensive, but always remember it should be a long-term solution to keep you safe,” explained HME Mobility & Accessibility President Robert Boscacci. “We strive to sell only the best product lines and provide the best client service, so we sell only Bruno stairlifts. However, we also service Handicare and Acorn in order to help the customer.”
Many dealers keep an inventory of used stairlifts for customers with financial constraints. While the manufacturer’s warranty will not cover a used stairlift, some dealers add their own warranty program. Stairlift rental is also an option offered by many dealers.
By purchasing through a reputable dealer, you will have the peace-of-mind provided by professional installation.
How to Discern Stairlift Reviews | Stairlift Reviews
Make sure you can trust the stairlift reviews you read online. Look for stairlift brands with large quantities of online reviews – especially those collected via a third-party review source that verifies purchasers.
First-Party vs. Third-Party Stairlift Reviews
First-party stairlift reviews are testimonials from users that a brand collects themselves. You will often only find positive first-party reviews because brands tend to feature their “raving fans.”
Stair lift reviews collected through a third-party are more impartial and provide insights from verified consumers. Unlike first-party reviews, these customers may like, dislike or feel neutrally toward the product in question.
Check the date, or timestamp, of a brand’s stair lift reviews to ensure the review flow is consistent over time. Beware of red flags such as reviews only coming in over a short period of time and then stopping.
Look at the total volume of stairlift reviews, since the size of the review pool matters. Generally, total review volume can not only help indicate the size of the brand, but also the confidence of their purchasers over time. With this in mind, gravitate toward stair lift brands with a large number of reviews to ensure the highest degree of confidence.
Since people from around the United States and Canada purchase stairlifts, the reviews should represent a wide variety of locations. For this reason, make sure a brand’s stairlift reviews are dispersed across the country. For example, it would be irregular for a national brand to have reviews clustered in only a few states, provinces or a single geographic region.
Negative Stairlift Reviews
Keep in mind: every brand has online detractors. As a result, negative reviews will be a part of even the most beloved products.
However, beware of stairlift brands that have a disproportionate amount of bad ratings. Determine the overall proportion of negative-to-positive reviews and see if you can find trends. In general, complaints feature consistent themes, so it’s important to determine how severe the complaints are and if the trend is going away or coming to light.
In the same way online shoppers tend to ignore over-the-top negative reviews for clothing or restaurants, you will need to ignore reviewers who are obviously acting in bad faith.
Our Featured Experts | Stairlift Reviews
Taking time to read stair lift reviews from consumers online is indeed a great way to gather a wide breadth of opinions on a brand and product.
Another important means of gathering details is hearing the opinions of the stairlift business owners in the US and Canada who represent multiple brands, and have sold, installed and serviced stairlifts for years. Many stairlift review websites feature “Review Teams” or “Expert Reviewers” who are not experts in the industry, but rather general “content writers” who know little or nothing of the product or industry. In such situations, the information about the products and brands tends to be factually inaccurate. Even though such review sites are created to look “impartial” and “credible”, they often are not.
Below is StairliftResearch.com’s panel of stairlift industry experts. Together, they boast decades of experience representing stairlift brands. At the present time, each of our experts owns stairlift companies in different geographic locations across North America and is considered a market leader by volume in their respective areas. Additionally, each member owns “brick and mortar” stores and employs a significant number of stairlift professionals who work with customers daily.
To summarize: the StairliftResearch.com Expert Panel has your back!
Brian Matthews is the president of Progressive Mobility and Medical. Progressive Mobility provides accessibility equipment and home modifications for the greater Pittsburgh area. Progressive Mobility has represented various brands of stairlifts since 1978. Brian holds multiple professional affiliations including Assistive Technology Professional (ATP), Certified Rehabilitation Technology Supplier (CRTS) and Master-Certified Environmental Access Consultant (CEAC).
Stacy Spiller is a partner at family owned-and-operated Transitions Lift & Elevator, with locations serving Louisville, KY; Lexington, KY and Cincinnati, OH. Over the years, Stacy has sold most makes and models of stairlifts. She is a licensed elevator contractor and manufacturer certified. Transitions Lift & Elevator’s goal is to help their customers meet their unique mobility and accessibility needs at home, church or other public buildings.
Robert Boscacci is the president of HME Medical & Accessibility in Vancouver, British Columbia. With over 65 staff and over 25 years in business, HME specializes in stairlifts, home accessibility modifications and rehab sales. One of the largest independent stairlift dealers in Canada, HME serves all areas in the lower mainland of British Columbia as well as central and southern Vancouver Island. The HME staff takes pride in leveraging extraordinary product knowledge to help find the best equipment to fit their customer’s needs and home.
David Kohll is a pharmacist and owner of Kohll’s RX in Nebraska. With multiple locations, Kohll’s Rx has been serving Omaha, Lincoln and western Iowa since 1948. Kohll’s features a Mobility Solutions Department to help answer questions and improve the lives of people with mobility challenges. The Kohll’s team has sold, installed and serviced various brands of stairlifts for over a decade.