Many companies want to sell certain types of chair lifts for stairs with landings, but we encourage you to do more research. A straight stair lift is designed to take you up a single flight of stairs, but when you have 2 stairways and a landing (also called a transfer point), what is the best option between using 2 straight vs 1 curved stair lift?
Important Questions to Ask
Before getting into the pros and cons of a stair lift, and specifically choosing between a straight vs curved stair lift, here are some important questions about YOUR specific need:
- What is your long-term plan?
- Will the user(s) get stronger or is there a progressive health condition where balance and strength will diminish?
- Does, or will, the user have to transfer from/to a wheelchair?
- Is the user completely independent, or do they rely on a caregiver, family member or friend for help?
- Is there a door or main entrance on the landing between stair ways (as shown in the picture above*, left side)?
- What is the weight of the user? Stair lifts have weight limitations, and they differ between straight and curved stair lifts.
*The picture of the 2 straight stair lifts was not installed by Accessible Systems. It is used in this article solely for reference purposes.
Pros and Cons of 2 Straight Stair Lifts
- 2 straight stair lifts can be up to $4,000 cheaper in overall cost.
- Can accommodate more than 1 rider at a time. One can go up, while the other goes down.
- In some homes, the main entrance to the home is the landing between stairs. Upon entering the home, going up or down is a nice choice to have.
- Users that are mobility and physically challenged will have difficulty transferring from chair to chair in a landing.
- There is rarely room on a landing for a wheelchair or a helper.
- A doorway could also be blocked.
- Foot traffic on the landing could be hindered.
Pros and Cons of 1 Curved Stair Lift
- A curved stair lift can be designed to fit most any staircase or user to ensure the best fit.
- A curved stair lift won’t impede a landing, since it is typically positioned at the top or bottom of the stairway.
- A curved chair lift is typically higher-quality and is a more comfortable ride.
- There is no stop-and-transfer. A user glides on the chair in one sweep to their destination.
- If needed, a user can still stop on a landing, but doesn’t necessarily have to get off.
- The chair can wrap around the base of a stairway, tucking it neatly out of the way.
- More expensive, but with that price, comes a much higher quality chair with more power features.
- It can cost up to $4,000 more to install 2 straight vs 1 curved stairlift.
- Time is of the essence, so it can be great for one user, but when multiple people need it, it can take longer to move from floor to floor within a home.
Straight vs Curved Stair Lift Take-Away
Choosing between a straight vs curved stair lift all comes down to YOUR personal need and possibilities/limitations of your existing stairway(s) and construction of your home. An expert in home accessibility can determine the best stairlift solution and the best configuration for your home. The result of such an evaluation may surprise you.