If stairs have become too much or you want to future-proof your home, a domestic home lift could be the answer. Read our guide to selecting the right home lift.
Home lifts – consumer tips
- Make sure you do your research – look for a well-established, reputable company
- Compare different products, look at the product design, functionality, and safety features
- Look for customer reviews on the home lift companies you plan to contact (try Trust Pilot or Google Reviews).
- Make sure the company is a member of a relevant professional body such as BHTA
- Find out what warranty and aftersales service is included
- Do not be pressured into buying – you have no obligation and should never feel pressured by a salesperson
Checklist - key questions to consider if you are considering purchasing a home lift
- Is the company reputable and been trading for a number of years?
- Did the salesperson talk you through the products thoroughly and give you all the information you require?
- Can the company provide evidence of customer reviews/testimonials?
- What is the payment schedule? (i.e. do you pay in installments?)
- Do they offer a money-back guarantee?
Advice and guidance:
- Were you advised of any building work required?
- Were you given advice on building applications and do they take care of this on your behalf?
- Did the salesperson give you advice on VAT exemption?
- Did the salesperson give you advice on Disabled Facilities Grants?
- Does the company provide a one-year guarantee?
- Does this include an annual service?
- Do they have a call-out service if your lift needed to be fixed?
- How long does it take for a repair person to arrive at your home?
- What are the costs of service and warranty after the initial cover has expired?
The home lift:
- Will there be plenty of room in the lift? Consider if the lift needs to cater for two people, a wheelchair, equipment, pets, etc.
- Is the lift noisy and how is it powered?
- Does it need a load-bearing wall?
- How much space will the lift take up in your home?
- Is the lift available in different colours to suit your home?
- Were you shown the controls and were you comfortable with the operation?
- What is the installation process and how long does it take?
- What happens if the power fails and you are in the lift?
- Does the lift have a battery back up?
- Has the lift been tested to the correct standards?
- Does the lift have obstruction sensors?
Four steps to consider when choosing the right home lift
Home lift companies will need to visit you at home to talk to you about your specific requirements, look at what space you have available for the home lift, and accurately quote for the installation and building work that needs to be done. Follow these four steps to ensure a smooth and stress-free process:
Step 1 – take advice from a healthcare professional
If you are unsure which mobility products would work best for you, you may want to seek the advice of an Occupational Therapist (OT). They will come to your home and carry out an assessment, advising you of the best products to assist your mobility. Their primary focus is your safety, especially when you are moving around the home. You can arrange an appointment with an OT through the NHS or you can contact the Royal College of Occupational Therapists. You can also visit Which? Later Life Care website for further advice on an OT assessment or contact DLF, a national charity which gives you impartial advice on independent living.
Step 2 – Do your research
It’s always good to shop around when looking for mobility solutions. To help you make a shortlist of companies to contact, you should first ensure they are a member of a professional body such as the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA). You can also check that your home lift supplier complies with the European Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC which allows products to have a CE mark, meaning the products can be sold throughout Europe. Another idea is to go online and read some reviews. You can look at sites such as Which? Trusted Trader or Trust Pilot. You can also go onto company websites or Facebook pages to read reviews.
Step 3 – Consider the future
There are many different options available and lots to consider. Many people may opt for a stairlift to travel between two floors which could currently be a suitable solution, but you should also consider the future. If your condition is likely to worsen, there is a chance that a stairlift may no longer be practical. If you have balance problems or if you require the use of a wheelchair, you will need to be able to transfer safely and independently. With a home lift, you will completely future proof your home.
Step 4 – Safety
You will find that some home lift companies go above and beyond in terms of safety. Some are fitted with additional features such as fire seals for full fire compliance as well as integrating with fire alarm systems. In terms of maintenance, find out their policy on servicing the lift and the cost of any repairs once your warranty has expired. Make sure you have all of the information so you can compare several home lifts.
Home lifts – understanding the benefits
Home lifts, also referred to as through-floor lifts are becoming a popular alternative to stairlifts, allowing easy access from one floor of your house to another. Home lifts are the ideal solution for anyone who finds using stairs difficult or wheelchair users who do not have the ability to transfer safely and independently to a stairlift seat.
Some home lifts have a very small footprint, so can easily fit into small spaces in the home. Many are designed to look contemporary and blend in with the style of your home. Home lifts can carry one or two people, have ample space for a wheelchair as well as being practical, enabling you to move large, heavy items between floors.
Comparing a Home lift v’s Stairlift
Whilst stairlifts are a suitable solution for many, they are not always a viable option due to the design of your staircase or if you struggle to safely transfer to the seat. If you are considering a stairlift, make sure you consider the following points:
- Do you expect your level of ability to change? i.e. would a home lift be more suitable than a stairlift in terms of future-proofing your home?
- Are there other people living in your home who might find having a stairlift hazardous due to not having sufficient space to safely use the stairs?
If you are a wheelchair user:
- You will require the use of two wheelchairs, one upstairs and one downstairs
- You will need ample space at the top and bottom of the stairs for your wheelchair
- Consider if you will feel comfortable transferring at the top of the stairs, especially unaided.
Warranty and Maintenance
A home lift should come with a minimum one-year warranty which includes parts and labour. Also, ensure the company has a service department who can come out to your home should your lift need to be fixed and ask how long this usually takes. Also ask what happens when your first year’s warranty runs out, can you purchase an extended warranty? Regular servicing is also advisable to ensure the safety features are working properly.
How much will a home lift cost?
The price of a home lift will vary considerably depending on the style, dimensions, size, and installation and building work requirements. Homelifts can cost anywhere between £10,000 and £20,000.
If you are registered disabled and need to make adaptions to your home, you can apply for a grant from your local council which is called a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). This funding can be used to cover anything that helps you to live an independent life. Find out more on the gov.uk website.
If you are registered disabled, you do not have to pay VAT on goods and services designed/adapted for use by people with disabilities. Find out more on the gov.uk website.