To Rent or Purchase. That is the Question.

Having the ability to get up and down the stairs is often the tipping point for seniors who want to age in place and not be forced to relocate to elderly housing or assisted living. Unfortunately, adaptive equipment, such as a stairlift, is costly and not covered by Medicare and many other insurance plans.

However, in some situations you may have the option to rent rather than buy this life changing product. Certified Stairlift dealers are often equipped to handle purchases and rentals. However, not every situation qualifies for a rental. If your staircase is curved or has landings you may need a custom, curved rail stairlift. It is impossible to find a rental for this type of customized solution and purchase is the only option.

Typical Rental Requirements

If you are interested in exploring a rental stairlift, make sure you seek companies that include a free evaluation with their services. The dealer should be willing to come to your home, at no cost to you, to evaluate your staircase and determine if you qualify for a rental. Most dealers will require:

  • A straight, indoor staircase
  • A staircase with 10 to 16 steps
  • No intermediate landings

If your staircase conforms to these requirements make sure your dealer offers both a purchase and rental option.

Choosing the Right Stairlift

Whether you are planning to purchase or buy, you want to make sure your stairlift has the following safety features:

  • A seat that swivels and locks at both the top and bottom of the staircase to ensure safe loading and unloading
  • A battery backup to ensure operation in case of a power outage
  • A weight capacity between 300 and 400 lbs.
  • A keyed operation to prevent children from playing with the lift. Children should not be allowed to play with or operate a stairlift.
  • A seatbelt should come standard. Do not work with a dealer trying to rent or sell a stairlift without this basic feature
  • Safety features such as an overspeed governor and overload detection are highly valuable and will ensure that your lift will not operate unless all weight constraints are met, as well as preventing unauthorized acceleration

Most importantly, ensure that your stairlift is backed by a maintenance plan, ensuring that you won’t be left to fend for yourself should your lift need routine maintenance or emergency repairs


Some popular stairlift brands that exceed consumer and manufacturer standards include Bruno, Handicare, Savaria, and Harmar, who provide both indoor and outdoor stairlift systems.

Rent Versus Buy

When considering whether to rent or purchase your stairlift, consider that companies may:

  • Require a minimum rental of 3-4 months
  • Offer buy backs if you choose to purchase. These programs typically offer a percentage of the cost of the stairlift back within the first 3 years of the purchase.
  • Provide rent to own options which are perfect for folks looking for a long-term rental

Whether you rent or purchase, stairlifts can help you or your loved ones regain their independence and enable them to age in place. Use this information to better understand your situation and financial options so that you can make an informed rent versus buy decision.


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