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How Much Does it Cost to Install an Elevator or Chairlift?

Install an Elevator or Chairlift Costs
Average reported costs
$5,380
based on 50 cost profiles
Most homeowners
spent between
$3,590 - $8,855
Low cost
$1,500
High cost
$12,000
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In multilevel homes, installing either an elevator or a chairlift can be an option. Although both are often expensive additions to a home, they can serve to increase the total value of the property and make it more accessible for residents. Since the expense of installing either an elevator or a chairlift can be daunting, breaking down the cost of each gives potential buyers a better understanding of what influences prices and which option will be best for their house and budget.

Reasons to Install an Elevator or Chairlift

There are a number of different reasons that a chairlift or an elevator might be installed in the home, but the biggest of all is accessibility. Some homeowners face an injury, accident or simply old age that means stairs are no longer an option. In these cases, having an elevator or a chairlift reduces pain and ensures that homeowners can remain in the home they know and love despite any physical ailments.

Aside from issues of mobility, both elevators and chairlifts can increase the total value of a structure. Built-in mobility options like these can help the property stand out to a greater range of buyers who might not otherwise consider a two-story or taller house. Finally, it is worth noting that having an elevator in the home doesn't have to be entirely practical. Although expensive, an elevator can add a feeling of luxury to a home and push it to a higher level of overall appeal.

Types of Elevators

In homes where elevators are the best choice, there will be the option of selecting between hydraulic elevators and pneumatic elevators. Hydraulic elevators are the most popular option, and they are also the most expensive to construct and maintain. Hydraulic elevators run by using a hydraulic arm that physically lifts and lowers the elevator cab itself. This kind of elevator is relatively quiet, at least compared to the cable elevators in larger apartment buildings. It is often large enough for multiple passengers or two wheelchairs to fit side by side. A pneumatic elevator is a relatively new option that is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its affordable cost, minimal maintenance and speed of installation. The cabs of pneumatic elevators are made from glass, which lends a contemporary look to the home and can provide a view as passengers ride up or down between floors. Although there is technically a third option for elevators, cable-operated elevators are generally too large, too noisy and too expensive to consider for a private residence.

Elevator Cost Breakdown

On average, it will cost $20,000 to add an elevator into the home. This may seem like a substantial amount of money, but it covers a range of different steps from the purchase of the elevator to the extensive amount of installation required as well as the necessary steps to ensure that the elevator is secure. The first expense will be the cab itself, which is the area where passengers will ride. The height of the cab can range from just over six feet up to 12 feet, but the larger the cab the more expensive it will be. The gates, or entry doors that open and close at each level, will also be responsible for some of the cost. Another major cost will be either the hydraulic arm or the pneumatic system as well as a safety feature that slowly lowers the elevator should the system fail for any reason. Additional costs will include the electronic panels, the phone installation for emergencies and an inspection proving the elevator meets safety standards set by the National Safety Codes for Elevator Safety. Of course, professional installation will also be a significant cost to consider. Thankfully, elevators needed for medical reasons may qualify for tax deductions, which will reduce their total cost.

Additional Factors That Can Influence Elevator Price

Along with the major features mentioned above, there are some optional additions or circumstances that can raise the price. They include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Vertical shaft created by an architect
  • Permits for construction and installation
  • Carpentry work for a custom job
  • Upscale features or materials
  • Higher ceilings or access to more than two floors

Types of Chairlifts

Also called stair chairs and stairway lifts, a chairlift is a motorized chair attached to a railing that can go up or down stairs in a matter of seconds. Generally, this will be a much more affordable option than an elevator, and the average price is often somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000. The two major types of chairlifts are straight chairlifts and curved chairlifts. Just like their names indicate, the best type of chairlift will depend on the shape of the staircase in the home. The length of the needed track, extra curves on the stairs and the seat style will all influence total price.

Chairlift Cost Breakdown

Most chairlifts come already constructed, so there is not as much labor needed as with elevator installation. However, the track of the chairlift will have to be adjusted to fit the existing staircase, professional installers will be needed to handle any construction and electrical wiring. Permits will also be needed before installation can begin. The more customized a chairlift is, or the more curves present in the staircase, the higher the installation price will be in total.

Additional Factors Influencing Chairlift Price

Along with the shape of the staircase and the quality of the chairlift seat, armrests and track, there are several ways that the price of this addition can be affected. Some of the biggest factors to be aware of are site complications, which might include large stone steps or unusual rises, the length of the distance between the chairlift and an available electrical outlet, how accessible the stairs are to begin with and whether the stairs are indoors or outdoors.

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Kelly Weiss 10 months ago
It's was provided to me because I was still in college! But after a while I had to quit school because of medical Reasons! The lift was very handy for me at the time of my disability; and at present time 2015 I'm still in a wheelchair and the cost to upkeep the chairlift was getting to expensive for my Mom,so we have no means of Getting up or down stairs! Thank You for Listening!
Kelly Weiss 10 months ago
I have a chairlift,it's run down,now it's to old to fix it! My Mom &I can't go up or down steps any more! I only have use of one leg! And my Mom with her neurophysiology is losing her balance very fast! We could use 3 chair lifts or one nice elevator to transport us up and down so we could go to bed properly; then go outside; And enjoy her garden,her flowers garden! She hasn't seen it in 3 yrs.!
Andy Steinborn More than 1 year ago
These elevator numbers are way off. My average customer over the last 3 years has spent between $25,000-35,000 for the cab unit alone. Engineering, plans, footings, concrete, framing and electrical typically runs $30,000 with the total cost somewhere between $55,000-70,000 depending upon the level of finish.
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