Curved Stair Lift Design and Options:
While there are a variety of manufacturers of curved stair lifts there are fundamentally only two styles of curved stair lift rail, the hollow tube design and the flat rail design. The hollow tube design can have either one or two tubes, depending on manufacturer. While inexpensive to produce this design does have some limitations, most notably weight capacity. Typically these hollow tube curved stair lifts will have a weight capacity of only 275-350lbs. While most people may never need to carry that much weight this range of lighter load ratings indicates an inherent lack of rigidity in this style of curved stair lift. Flexibility in a curved stair lift rail makes for an uneven and bumpy ride.
While all of these rail styles are rack and pinion drive, another characteristic of the hollow tube design is that the gear rack is exposed on the outside of one or both of the hollow tubes as opposed to hidden and protected like on the flat rail design. Because the gear rack on all curved stair lifts requires periodic lubrication what happens with the hollow tube design is that the lubrication migrates from the gear rack onto the rest of the tube resulting in a transfer to anything that makes contact with it such as a khaki pant leg, a white cat’s tail or a child’s hand. Specifically with the two tube design the upper rail is at the perfect height to appear as a handrail to a small child.
The rail design is used by two manufacturers although they approach it in opposite ways. One manufacturer has a modular system, often referred to as a “snap-rail,” while the other, Bruno Independent Living Aids, builds a truly custom rail that is accurate to within a few millimeters of the measurements of your staircase, resulting in a precise fit that preserves more room on your stairs. The “snap-rail” modular system is assembled on site from a kit made up from small pieces of fixed dimensions. Because this system is not custom the fit is never truly accurate, merely as close as they can get with standardized pieces of fixed dimensions. And because these standardized pieces have to be small so they can be combined to accommodate an infinite number of staircase configurations this results in more joints on a given length of rail, often every 16” to 24”, resulting in a less smooth ride.
Finally, because every staircase has the potential to be at a different angle of incline (typically from 28-45 degrees) there is no way to mechanically control the pitch of the chair using these standardized pieces. To overcome this problem the pitch of the chair is controlled with a gyroscope. As any stair lift climbs its rail it encounters landings that require transitions to keep the chair level as the rail changes pitch. This gyroscope is programmed at install to make these transitions. When approaching these transitions the gyroscope has to remember and make adjustments to the chair, slowing or even stopping while it makes these adjustments. This makes for a longer, uneven and often frustrating ride. And it can be even more frustrating when that gyroscope loses its program and has to be reprogrammed by a factory technician on a service call.
The Elite Curved Stair Lift manufactured by Bruno Independent Living Aids is truly a custom product. Measured with a camera and reflector system that is accurate to within a few millimeters, designed with CAD/CAM technology and hand built by dedicated craftsmen in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, USA, this lift is custom fit to your stairs. Bruno’s flat rail design has a 400lb weight capacity resulting in the smoothest ride of any curved stair lift available and, unlike the hollow tube design, the gear rack is hidden and protected under a flange to eliminate any lubrication migration. Unlike the “snap-fit” modular system the Bruno rail will have a joint every four to six feet (typically two joints on a standard length 90 degree curve, as opposed to seven or eight with the modular design). Also, unlike the modular design, the pitch of the chair on the Bruno Elite Custom Curved Stair Lift is mechanically controlled via a separate flange on the rail resulting in a perfectly level chair at every point on the rail with no slowing or stopping and starting while a gyroscope remembers what to do.
The Bruno curved stair lift provides the smoothest ride, the most accurate fit and the cleanest operation of any curved stair lift. When you also consider that it is 100% MADE IN THE USA the value is clear. There is no need to compromise when investing in your home and the health and safety of yourself or a loved one. The Bruno Elite Custom Curved Stair Lift provides the best value for your investment.