Wheelchair lifts for buildings (AKA stair lifts) are often far more practical than adding a wheelchair ramp or otherwise overcoming the barrier of stairs, since a wheelchair lift requires less space than a wheelchair ramp. Wheelchair lifts inside your home or in any building can either be inclined, to follow the slope of a stairway or vertical, lifting the wheelchair directly up to the next level.
Wheelchair lifts can be expensive, but they are definitely worth the price. Plus, you might be able to get some or all of the cost covered through programs designed to assist the disabled. Some of these programs include: state vocational rehabilitation agencies, veterans' benefits programs, Centers for Independent Living, etc.
The 6 Types of Wheelchair Lifts
Wheelchair lifts can be expensive, but remember that they're here to make your life better. Here are the 6 types of wheelchair lifts:
- Mobility Scooter Lifts
- Electric Wheelchair Lifts
- Manual Wheelchair Lifts
- External Mobility Scooter and Wheelchair Lifts
- Internal Mobility Scooter and Wheelchair Lifts
- Manually Operated Mobility Scooter and Wheelchair Lifts
Mobility Scooter Lifts
Mobility scooter lifts are used primarily for transporting your electric scooter. Lifts that include the word "Universal" can be used to transport both electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Otherwise, the lifts are specifically designed to only carry electric scooters.
Electric Wheelchair Lifts
Electric wheelchair lifts can be used to transport power wheelchairs. Lifts that include the word "Universal" in their title can be used to transport either an electric wheelchair or a mobility scooter. Otherwise, the lifts are specifically designed to only carry an electric wheelchair.
Manual Wheelchair Lifts
A manual wheelchair lift can be used to transport a folding manual wheelchair on the outside of your vehicle. These lifts are either motorized or manually operated. Motorized lifts cost more of course. Manual wheelchair lifts can be installed on almost any vehicle because they are compatible with ball mounts and Class I, II, and III hitches. However, they are not strong enough to support the weight of an electric wheelchair or mobility scooter.
External Mobility Scooter & Wheelchair Lifts
External wheelchair and scooter lifts are specifically designed to mount to the rear end of your vehicle using a trailer hitch, which means that your wheelchair or scooter will be securely transported on the outside of your vehicle. External wheelchair lifts are the right choice if you don't have enough room inside your vehicle for storage or if you simply want to save the space in your vehicle for other things, like groceries. Because your electric wheelchair or mobility scooter will be riding on the outside of your vehicle, be sure to also purchase a cover to protect it from the elements.
Internal Mobility Scooter & Wheelchair Lifts
Internal mobility scooter and electric wheelchair lifts are designed to lift and store your wheelchair or scooter inside your vehicle for easy transportation. The vast majority of internal wheelchair lifts are installed inside your vehicle. However, there are a few that can be attached to your vehicle's trailer hitch. An internal wheelchair lift provides the most secure method of transportation and the most protection from the elements (rain, dirt, snow, flying rocks and road debris, etc.). An external wheelchair lift is a great choice if you have the extra room inside your vehicle. Lifting your electric wheelchair or mobility scooter inside your vehicle can be more time consuming when compared to using an external lift, however all the internal lifts on the market are quite hassle-free. There are even some models that offer a "Drive-Thru" internal wheelchair lift that have a platform that extends from inside your vehicle to the outside of the vehicle. These are great because you can simply drive onto the platform and press a button to load it inside your vehicle.
Manually Operated Mobility Scooter & Wheelchair Lifts
Manually operated mobility scooter and wheelchair lifts are like other lifts, except that they need to be manually operated. These lifts have no motors and thus do not need to be connected to your car's battery. This makes installing the lifts far easier than a non-manual lift. While they do not require power, they do require a bit of force to lift them up and off the road. Because they don't have motors, they are much cheaper though.
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