Porch Lifts – A Cost Effective Elevator

There are many types of medical aids available that can greatly improve a person’s mobility. Among them, the wheelchair is arguably the one that has most greatly benefited mankind. While the wheelchair is very versatile and many are made to be use off-road, there are still many obstacles that can hinder a wheelchairs movement. One of the most common and hardest obstacles for a person in a wheelchair to overcome is the staircase.

Some people who use manual wheelchairs are able to successfully descend stairs, but this can be dangerous and requires a high level of athletic aptitude. For most this is not possible and if you are in an electric wheelchair, then you can not safely do this, so will have to find another way around the stairs. For the stairs at your home, a vertical platform lift is often the best device to use, because it can allow you to safely use the stairs.

Vertical platform lifts are very similar to elevators. They are completely self contained units and are much less expensive than a residential elevator would be. A vertical platform lift can also be installed without too much home construction or structural changes to the home, but do require a strong base made out of wood or concrete. Most frequently you see these lifts on the front of a house, which is why they are commonly referred to as porch lifts.

Your average porch lift is capable of supporting well over 600 pounds. This means that you will rarely be limited to only allowing one person to ride on the lift or worry about exceeding the weight capacity. It is important to consider the weight of your mobility vehicle though, because many mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs weigh more than 200 pounds though, so you will want to consider the weight of the person who will be using the porch lift as well as the weight of their mobility vehicle.

Usually most porch lifts require some assembly, but some lifts come pre-assembled. One lift that comes completely pre-assembled is the AmeriGlide Hercules. It is shipped fully assembled and so it is only necessary to bolt the lift in place and plug it in. It supports an impressive 750 pounds, but can not lift as high as some of the other porch lifts on the market. It can span distances of up to 6 feet though, which is usually enough for most residential applications. Other lifts are available that can lift as high as 12 feet.

Porch lifts are very popular in commercial settings as well. They are often an easy an inexpensive way to make a building ADA compliant. Portable lifts are also very popular, especially in churches and schools. These models are not permanently installed and can be set up or moved in only a few minutes. Usually these lifts are not able to support as much weight or lift as high as other lifts though, but most support around 550 pounds.

The stairs can be hard to overcome if you use a wheelchair or mobility scooter, but if you choose to install a vertical platform lift, you will always be able to use them.