Step Lifts vs. Stair Lifts

Considering purchasing a step lift or stair lift for your home or building? In today’s market, there are so many different types of lifts available that it can be hard to know which is right for you.

At Sheridan Lifts, we have years of experience in helping our clients pick the right lift for their needs, and we’re confident we’ll be able to do the same for you.

In this guide, we’ll explore:

  • The differences between step lifts and stair lifts
  • The advantages of installing each lift type
  • The disadvantages and what you should bear in mind before the installation

Whether you’re looking for a personal residential lift or an access lift for a commercial building, we can help! Keep reading, or get in touch with the experts at Sheridan Lifts to find out more.

Stair Lifts vs. Step Lifts: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to choosing between a step lift and a stair lift, the biggest difference between them is who they are intended for. You’re most likely to find stair lifts in residential homes and step lifts in public buildings, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, there are many types of home lifts, including step lifts, that can be installed in residential homes.

Stair lifts are targeted towards individuals who need mobility assistance and use mobility aids such as frames or walking sticks. Individuals classed as ambulatory wheelchair users, which means they may still have some capacity to walk in limited circumstances but require wheelchair assistance, could also very much benefit from stair lifts. 

Step lifts, on the other hand, are targeted towards wheelchair users and those who need to remain in their wheelchairs when travelling between floors.

Stair lifts also generally move alongside an existing staircase, taking passengers up diagonally. Step lifts are a platform that will lift the passenger vertically from one floor to the next.

Stair Lifts: The Pros and Cons

Step Lifts vs. Stair Lifts

Advantages of Stair Lifts

Quick Installation

Stair lifts are generally quick and easy to install – the lift installation process can be completed in only a few days after the initial consultation process. This is great news if you need to improve the accessibility in your home quickly – for example, for medical reasons.

Versatile for Any Home

Stair lifts are a very versatile mobility aid and can be put on almost any set of stairs. Both curved and straight stair lifts are popular and a common installation for the team at Sheridan Lifts.


While a stair lift is a considerable investment for many people, it is considerably cheaper than a step lift or other types of home lifts. The biggest expense is usually installing the electrical outlet and motor at the bottom of the staircase, as this does sometimes require additional electrical work.

Disadvantages of Stair Lifts

Complex Installation Can Take Longer

While most staircases are simple to install stair lifts on, in some cases (particularly narrow, tight, or very curved staircases), the installation process can be a little more complex.

Space Concerns

Stair lifts can take up a lot of space in the stairwell, particularly if you have fairly narrow stairs. This can make life more difficult for people using the stairs and may have safety implications for users of the stairs.

Step Lifts: The Pros and Cons

Step Lifts vs. Stair Lifts

Advantages of Step Lifts

Efficient and Safe for Wheelchair Users

Step lifts are safe and easy-to-use lifts for people with disabilities, particularly wheelchair users. Step lifts feature a flat floor and a gate, which remains shut for safety while the lift is moving. Most step lifts will be right next to a set of stairs and can be installed as both indoor and outdoor lifts.

Adds Value to Your Home

Residential step lifts in particular can add real value to your building and increase property values, as well as make your property more attractive to potential buyers. Both in the luxury property niche and for buyers looking for their forever homes, a lift is a standout feature for buyers.

Safe Movement of People and Goods

As well as safely transporting people to other floors in a home or building, step lifts are very flexible and can be used as goods lifts too. For users who have difficulty with their mobility, this additional support with carrying things from floor to floor can be incredibly valuable.

Disadvantages of Step Lifts

More Space Needed

The amount of space needed for a lift to go alongside a staircase can be considerable, so you’ll need to be confident you have enough space for the lift floor. While space-saving lifts and bespoke lift options are available, wheelchair lifts will have a minimum size required to accommodate your wheelchair comfortably and safely.

Cost Considerations

A step lift is considerably more expensive than a stair lift installation. Many people find the value comes back to them when they sell their homes in the future, as well as the priceless freedom that comes with improved independence. 

However, it is still a high upfront cost, which you’ll need to be confident you’re willing to invest in a step lift.

Accessibility Lift Installation with Sheridan Lifts

At Sheridan Lifts, we’re passionate about helping our customers with their accessibility – both at home and out and about! To learn more about the differences between step lifts, stair lifts, and other types of accessibility lifts, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team!