Bruno is America’s most popular home stair lift. There’s no denying the quality of its products but how does it compare to other top rated stair lifts like the Stannah? What follows is a quick review.
Bruno Stairlifts was founded over 20 years ago by Michael R. Bruno and his wife Beverly and has grown to become one of America’s leading manufacturers of mobility aids. The company is proud to be ISO-9001 Certified, which is one of the most stringent and widely recognized quality standards in the world.
There are many manufacturers but most only make straight stair lifts. This is because the technology used is simpler and installation is straight forward, which keeps costs down. Bruno makes both straight and curved models for both home and outdoor use. Also, all its units are installed by its factory trained network of dealers. Bruno, like Stannah and others, does not recommend self installation even for straight models.
But how does a Bruno product rate against others on the market? In order to review against others in the industry we will review the Bruno Electra-Ride Elite stair lift. This unit is the company’s premier, and most expensive straight model.
The Seat of the Electra-Ride Elite can be adjusted from 19″ to 24 1/2″ as can the height of the footrest. This makes this seat one of the most flexible on the market. The cushions are also deep and comfortable. The armrests can be independently lifted up to allow easy access and the armrests, seat and footrest can be folded up to free up room when not in use. A retractable inertia lap belt is fitted as standard. This seat is very good and is one of the best on the market. If there is one complaint it’s about folding up the armrests, seat and footrest; these have to be done separately requiring, not only 3 operations, but reaching down and folding the footrest can be difficult for someone with mobility problems. The seat offered as standard with the Stannah stair lift (both the Solus and Sofia models) allows the user to fold up all three parts by just moving the armrests; a thoughtful feature that should be implemented by all stair lift manufacturers, including Bruno.
The Electra-Ride Elite can operate at a maximum inclination of 45 degrees, which is the industry norm; Again Stannah out does the Bruno as it can handle an inclination of up to 52 degrees. However, the Electra-Ride wins hands down when it comes to carrying weight: it can handle up to 400 lbs; just about everyone else can handle at most 300 lbs.
The rail of the Bruno Electra-Ride Elite fits to a nice snug 5″ from the skirting on the stair case. This is far less than most other brands that typically require about 8-9″. But the Stannah beats the Bruno again, requiring only 95mm (3.7″) clearance.
The rail is made from steel and extruded aluminum and uses a rack and pinion drive system. Rack and pinion is now the industry norm; before cables where used to pull the chair but these gave a less comfortable ride and had the problem of a trailing cable – incidentally, Summit stair lifts still use this system.
Not only does the Bruno give the user a smooth ride, it is also quiet and is as quiet as any other models on the market.
The company offers 3 standard lengths of the rail; 16′, 20′ and 24′. The industry norm is a maximum of 20′, so they are ideal for staircases that are that little bit longer. Buying a long straight rail that is standard will be cheaper than having to have a longer specially made.
This is the part of the stair lift that attaches the seat to the rail. What’s a really nice feature of the Bruno stair lift is that you can adjust the speed of the carriage. This comes as standard and I don’t know of any other manufacturer that gives you this option.
The carriage also comes with all the safety features you need. There are footrest safety switches as well as final end stop bumper at each end of the rail. As an optional extra you can have an overspeed safety brake to prevent the chair from uncontrolled descents. It’s a shame that the brake governor is not fitted as standard as it is with the Stannah.
It comes with rocker controls fitted in the armrest, which must be kept, pressed down to operate. There are also two wireless call/send controls. These controls are pretty much the industry norm.
Installation of the Electra-Ride Elite is very straight forward as it is a DC battery powered appliance. No special wiring is required. Note: many companies promote self-installation of straight models; Bruno doesn’t. You should always have one installed by a qualified technician.
In conclusion, the Bruno stair lift compares favorably with other top rated appliances. In fact, the Stannah stair lift is the only one that can really offer a better appliance, but a Stannah is more expensive than a Bruno. Many consumer reviews are favorable, which is what you’d expect from this quality manufacturer.