Top 5 Home Elevators: A Complete Guide

David Bolton

/

August 25, 2020

General Retirement
Top 5 Home Elevators | Retire Fearless

Whether you're a homeowner with limited mobility as a result of injury, surgery, or just age, a homeowner interested in enhancing convenience and value to your property, or an elderly person looking to age in place and maintain your independence in your home, having a home elevator would make your life a lot simpler.

Your family is, without a doubt, full of sweet memories and it's reasonable that you would want to live in it as long as you possibly can. Unfortunately, aging might come with various mobility issues that can make it no longer possible to use the stairs. Installing a home elevator may be one of the things that you need to age in place and ensure that you stay in your home as long as possible.

While it may be tempting to look for simpler options such as selling your property when a family member has difficulty with mobility, installing a home elevator can be one of the best moves. So if you're planning to age in place, an elevator will not only free you from the risks of falls but will also be functional to those with mobility limitations just as it would be for anyone else.

Over the years, the costs, safety, features, and efficiency of home elevators have improved significantly. However, they remain a huge investment. For this reason, this guide will help you decide whether or not a home elevator is a smart investment for your situation. We'll review the best home elevators currently available in the market. At the end of this comprehensive guide, you'll be more confident when it comes to buying an efficient elevator for your home.

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Things to Know about Home Elevators

If you live in a multi-story home, you'll be more concerned about using the stairs safely, especially as you grow older. The fact that you may be on a wheelchair or mobility scooter may make things even more difficult if you're physically challenged and have to navigate stairs to move within your home. So having your bedroom or bathroom on the second-floor can seriously limit your living space.

In most cases, one of the options is to sell your home and look for a one-story alternative. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, especially if you've been planning to age in place. As such, installing an appropriate home elevator is becoming the best solution for most seniors. Not long ago, home elevators used to be a sign of wealth but it's becoming more attainable to many people. This is because they're now available in different styles, designs, and price ranges.

Here are some of the things to know about home elevators.

Types of Home Elevators

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a perfect home elevator. One of them is, of course, the drive system of the elevator. This is the system that raises and lowers the elevator and it's what defines elevators today. Some of the most common types of home elevators include:

Pneumatic Elevators - These types of elevators rely on a vacuum system that's within a tube to power their movements. This means that there's no need for a pit or machine room. As such, pneumatic elevators are among the simplest to fit into an already existing home.

Hydraulic Elevators - Traveling inside a cylinder, these types of elevators are powered by a piston. The power system is housed inside the elevator shaft and so it doesn't require a machine room. It must, however, be designed by a controller that's generally fitted in a cabinet on a wall just near the elevator.

Machine Room-Less Elevators (MRL) - Also known as traction elevators, these types of elevators work by gliding up and down a track. This is a great option for already existing homes that do not have enough spaces for machine rooms or pits. However, there must be some additional space over the elevator to accommodate the components needed to raise and lower the elevator.

Chain-driven Elevators - These are types of elevators that use chains to lower and raise the car of the elevator. They do not require machine rooms and are perfect for compact spaces. They're also more durable than cable-driven elevators.

Cable-Driven Elevators - They're similar to chain-driven elevators that require a shaft, a control system, and the elevator itself. They generally resemble those elevators found in commercial buildings. They, however, take much space due to the machine room and shaft and are thereby perfect when built together with the house rather than in an existing home.

Home Elevator Costs

Needless to say, the costs of home elevators include installation costs of installation, the cost of buying the elevator itself, as well as the costs of buying complementary accessories. If you want to install an elevator in an already existing home, you might as well take into consideration the retrofitting costs that might run into thousands of dollars.

Here's a breakdown of the costs.

Installation costs - This may cost you about $20,000

Chain-drive elevators - This can cost you $18,000

MRL elevators - Can cost around $15,000

Pneumatic elevators - The may cost around $35,000

Home modifications - May cost around $4,000

Labor costs - This may differ from area to area

Number of Stops - A basic elevator will come with two stops but each additional stop may cost an extra $1,000

Taxes, Permits, and Shipping - These may depend on your location

Things to Consider when Choosing a Home Elevator

It's easy to get confused when choosing the right elevator. Here are a few things to consider.

Consider Your Needs

The most important thing to consider when shopping for a perfect home elevator is your condition or situation. This will determine the type of style, space, or weight capacity that you need. Do you need a home elevator that can accommodate a wheelchair, a scooter, or a walker? How many people or weight capacities can it accommodate? Does it need a machine room, pit, or hoistway? By appropriately answering these questions, you'll make an informed choice on the best elevator for your needs.

Noise

We all do not love noisy gadgets in our homes so it's important to find out the amount of noise you can put up with. For example, vacuum elevators are some of the loudest elevators while hydraulic elevators are among the quietest. In other words, the noise levels can vary depending on the type of elevator.

Elevator Safety

Safety is one of the most important things to consider when looking for an appropriate home elevator. Home elevators should have a redundant power source to prevent it from free-fall if there's a power failure. It should have a sensor that prevents the elevator from moving if the door or anything is in a dangerous situation. There should be keys that limit child access to the elevator. Again, there should be no gaps, spaces, or holes that might be dangerous to small children. More importantly, the elevator must adhere to safety standards put in place by the American Society of Mechanical engineers. 

Style

Home elevators come in different shapes, sizes, and styles to suit your preferences. Do you want transparent, covered, or elevators that blend with your surrounding? You're spoilt for choice.

Installation and Maintenance

It's important to choose an elevator that's easy to install and maintain. If you need a fully customized elevator, keep in mind that it may take about eight weeks to manufacture , ship, prepare for installation, and install. There might be other things such as inspection that may be done once or yearly. Maintenance is also a crucial part that you have to consider. You certainly do not want an elevator that might be a liability in the long run.  

So what are the Best Home Elevators?

With very many types and styles of home elevators, it can be quite difficult to pinpoint the best home elevator for your specific situation. Things can become even difficult if you consider the fact that there are different technology, installation costs, and price points. Luckily, we've done the hard work for you thanks to our comprehensive analysis of the best home elevators out there. Better still, these home elevators are designed with the average person in mind. 

Savaria Elevators - Offers Good Value

Over the last three decades, Savaria has become one of the leading and best manufacturers of home elevators and lifts. Their elevators have been used around the world thanks to their efficiency in enabling access for wheelchair users, as well as individuals with mobility issues.

While the company originally focused on manufacturing wheelchair lifts for those with disabilities, it has expanded its scope and now offers ceiling lifts, stairlifts, support surfaces, commercial elevators, patient lifts, adjustable beds, wheelchair accessible minivans and many more.

Today, Savaria remains one of the best choices for those looking for home elevators with great features such as high weight capacity and minimalist design. The best thing about Savaria is the level of versatility that it gives you. It offers six models that range from basic to elegant. Most of these models are eye-catching, space-saving, efficient, and affordable. This means that Savaria's models can allow you to find a perfect blend of comfort and price for both your needs and situations.

The models include:

  • Eclipse: This is a cab elevator that does not need a machine room like normal elevator drive systems. This means that they will require shorter installation times while taking less space in your home.
  • Gearless: This is designed with durable rubber rollers and high-density ropes. This is essential in ensuring that it's noiseless for those using it and those in the nearby rooms.
  • Vuelift: Offering 360-degree views, this is a round, glass elevator with a drive system that uses a curving drum drivetrain, which is vital for smooth starts and stops.
  • Infinity: This is a luxury cab elevator that's designed to use a hydraulic drive system that offers a quiet and smooth ride.
  • Telecab: This is the most basic of the Savaria models. It requires the least space and it's the cheapest to install although a square hole has to be cut through the adjoining rooms. Unlike other Savaria models that make six stops each, Telecab only makes two stops.
  • Zenith: This is a top-of-the-line home elevator that's based on Savaria's commercial-grade elevator. It's probably the best in ride quality and quiet operation.

Pros

  • Savaria home elevators are one of the most diverse home elevators
  • They're highly customizable to fit within your available space
  • The installation is done by factory-trained technicians
  • They come with high weight capacities
  • Comes with a 3-year warranty

Cons

  • The three-year warranty excludes more than it includes
  • Difficulty in obtaining pricing information
  • You also have to create a login account to access the dealer search site

Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators (PVE) Home Elevators - Most Eco-Friendly

Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators LLC is the designer and manufacturer of only air-driven home elevators in the world. Founded by CEO Juan de Ledebur in 2002, this company is widely known for manufacturing sleek, tabular designs that have become a common feature in the homes of the rich and famous.

That's not all' PVE is known for manufacturing some of the most environmentally-friendly home elevators in the world. These home elevators are capable of achieving a vertical rise of up to 50 feet and can have as many stops as five. They also do not require machine rooms, pits, or any pre-construction shaft. This means that the home elevators are easy to install and installation can be done in two or three days.

Currently, PVE home elevators are available in three models including single models, wheel-accessible models, and three-passenger models. Each model is uniquely designed in such a way that it will augment the value of your home without necessarily consuming lots of space. These elevators operate like vacuum tubes and are based on a simple physics principle. They're versatile and require little maintenance while giving you a 360-degree view of your homes as you travel up and down.

In essence, PVE's home elevators bring to the fore revolutionary and modern designs that are ideal, especially for seniors with compact homes. For younger homeowners, you'll enjoy these elevators' elegant look and minimal maintenance.

Pros

  • These home elevators are designed with efficiency in mind: fewer installation hours, no engine room, and few construction materials required.
  • The three models that can accommodate one to three people and even upgraded to a foldable seat making these home elevators quite versatile and unique. They can also travel up to five floors.
  • These home elevators are perfect for both small and large homes since they can fit almost anywhere! It doesn't matter whether you have a small or large home, these home elevators will still look elegant.

Cons

  • It's unfortunate the PVE home elevators are a bit noisy. In other words, they operate at 85 decibels, which is nearly comparable to an actual vacuum cleaner.
  • While one of the PVE's greatest assets is their compact designs, this can prove to be disadvantageous, especially for those who are uncomfortable in small spaces or for plus size seniors.

Inclinator Home Elevators - The Most Experienced

Founded almost a century ago in 1923, Inclinator Home Elevators began when a self-taught engineer C.C. Crispen decided to help a neighbor who was restricted to an upstairs bedroom. Mr. Crispen invented an inclinator and patented an electric-powered folding wooden chair that rolled up and down on a steel rail fastened to the stairs. The company grew steadfastly and expanded into the home elevator business with the first model launched in 1928.

The company has so far expanded all over the world and remains one of the most experienced home elevators in the world. The company's commitment to quality service and workmanship is unwavering. Today, the family-owned company is on an excellent mission to ensure that homeowners with mobility challenges can easily access every floor within their homes.

This manufacturer is known for delivering the safest, high-customizable, and most reliable home elevators in the market. Their home elevators can uniquely fit in various spaces with an advanced degree of accuracy. The manufacturer's Elevette model is the most customizable home elevator in the market today. This model gives you the versatility you want for your home elevator:

  • Different Drive System - The Elevette model is available in MRL overhead, hydraulic system, and cable drum.
  • Cabin Styles - You can choose for the five available standard cabin styles for walls, handrails, ceilings, cabin operating panels, and lights.
  • Gates and Doors - They have gate openings on one or two sides with 18 different configurations available.

In essence, this company offers home elevators that are skillfully crafted to make them easily customizable, safe, and reliable.

Pros

  • These home elevators are very flexible and can be easily customized.
  • They're stylish, reliable and safe
  • You can get all-glass options 

Cons

  • These home elevators require either hoistway or machine room, which requires a large space to operate.
  • Navigating the company's website is quite challenging

Nationwide Lifts - The Best Customer Service

Founded by brothers Tom and Andy Darnley in 2003, Nationwide Lifts is a countrywide retailer and manufacturer of residential and commercial elevators. This company is operated in a franchise with stores in major cities across the country. They also work with affiliate companies to ensure that their home elevators are available in areas where they do not have franchises. While this brand originally concentrated on selling elevators manufactured by other companies, it also started manufacturing its exclusive line of home elevators in 2017.

This brand is widely recognized for offering the best warranty for home elevators. It offers five years of coverage on electrical parts, a decade of coverage on mechanical parts, and a year of coverage for labor costs.

This is a company that's always driven by customer satisfaction. They'll give you the chance to explain your needs and assess your home and situation so that they can offer you the best option and solution.

Pros

  • This brand prioritizes customer service to ensure that the customers' feelings are heard and valued.
  • It offers high weight capacity as it's the only elevator that can perfectly carry a weight of up to 1,500 pounds.
  • Nationwide Lifts offers exclusive elevator designs, as well as other elevators from other companies.
  • Nationwide Lifts makes it simpler for those who are looking to finance their home elevator projects.

Cons

  • The interest rate of financing a home elevator from Nationwide Lifts can be so high.

Stiltz Home Elevators - Offers a Simplistic Design

With its headquarters in the United Kingdom, Stiltz was founded in 2010 by Australians Cameron Peter, Lachlan Faulkner, and James Gillespie. Initially, the company had its factories in China but has since expanded in Europe and the United States. This brand is widely known for manufacturing unique and innovative home elevators that can easily fit into your home.

This brand focuses on manufacturing amazing home elevators that will help you age in place even when the stairs become too much. Most of this company's models are spacious enough to carry two or three people, as well as a wheelchair.

This company takes immense pride in offering simple and affordable designs that are easy to install. They're generally known to be quieter than the more noisy traditional hydraulic elevators or the modern vacuum elevators. This is because the brand's home elevators operate with an electrically powered overhead winding drum system that's small and quiet.

You also get the versatility of choosing elevators that are either colored or transparent depending on your individual preferences. This is of great importance, especially if you do not want your guests to notice the elevators until it is shown to them. So if you want a home elevator that's compact and can perfectly blend in any space, Stiltz might be your best option.

Pros

  • The fact that these home elevators use dual rails removes the need for a shaftway.
  • This is one of the cheapest home elevators out there. 

Cons

  • They're generally built with continuous touch, so it won't move unless your finger is on a touch button.

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