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How Much Does An Elevator Or Stair Lift Cost To Install?

National Average Change Location | View National
$4,185
Typical Range
$2,476 - $5,916
Low End
$400
High End
$12,000

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The national average to install an elevator or chairlift is $4,185, with most homeowners spending between $2,476 and $5,916. However, total cost can increase significantly depending on the location and type of home. A large hydraulic elevator hidden behind a wall can cost as much as $75,000.
Multilevel homes can benefit from either option. They serve to increase the total value of the property and make it more accessible for residents. Since the expense of installing an elevator or a chairlift can be daunting, breaking down individual costs gives potential buyers a better understanding of price and options for their situation.

Elevator Prices

Two factors influence the cost of adding an elevator: installation and the unit itself. Residential units cost between $7,000 and $50,000, depending on:
  • Size. A small cabin that fits two people or a single wheelchair can cost as little as $7,000. A larger model with space for up to 5 people costs closer to $30,000.
  • Weight capacity. Smaller units are limited to 500 pounds, while some go as high as 1,500 pounds.
  • Interior cab height. Most elevators are standardized at 96 inches of height. Taller cabs require customization, adding up to $15,000 depending on size and materials.
  • Motor type. Discussed in more detail below. Costs range from $10,000 for pneumatic vacuum traction to $75,000 for large hydraulic alternatives.
Learn more about these terms below, and choose a cab that works for your needs. Inform yourself about residential elevator options before making your decision.

Types of Residential Elevators

Most homes can benefit from one of three types of elevators. Although there is technically a fourth option, cable-operated elevators are generally too large, too noisy and too expensive to consider for a private residence.

Hydraulic Elevators

Hydraulic tends to be the most popular option, but is also the most expensive. The cost to install a hydraulic elevator can range from $25,000 to as much as $75,000. Installation requires extensive preparatory work, but the elevator can be hidden behind a wall.
These elevators use a hydraulic arm that physically lifts and lowers the elevator cab. It is relatively quiet compared to the cable elevators in larger apartment buildings. Most cabins are large enough for multiple passengers or two wheelchairs to fit side by side.

Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators

This is a relatively new option that is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its affordable cost, minimal maintenance and speed of installation. A retrofit into existing spaces will cost between $10,000 and $15,000.
The cabs of pneumatic elevators are glass, which lends a contemporary look to the home and can provide a view as passengers ride up or down between floors. They cannot be concealed easily within walls, and are meant to be visible in your home.

Shaftless Elevators

For single-person use in tight spaces, a shaftless elevator may be your best option. It costs between $15,000 and $20,000 to add to an existing space.
Installation requires either drilling through your ceiling, or attaching the elevator to the outside of your home. It is less invasive than having to install a shaft, but is limited to a single floor transition.
Consult a pro to select the right elevator for you
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Installation Cost Breakdown

On average, adding an elevator will cost $20,000. That covers the purchase of the elevator, the installation required, and steps to ensure security. Individual cost factors include:
  • Cab - $7,000 - $50,000.
  • Gates/ Entry Doors - $3,000 - $5,000 for standard products.
  • Concealment Behind Walls - $27,000.
  • Safety Features - $700 - $2,000. Designed to secure the elevator should the system fall.
  • Electric Panels and Phone Installation. - $450 - $1,600
  • Paint Finishing and Decor - $300 - $1,000 for standard materials.
  • Inspection - $50 - $200. Necessary to prove it meets safety standard set by the National Safety Codes for Elevator Safety.
Labor will also be a significant cost. All included, installation costs range between $4,000 and $50,000.

Additional Factors

Situation-specific circumstances and optional additions can raise installation price:
  • Vertical shaft designed by an architect - $60 - $125/ hour.
  • Permits for construction and installation - $200 - $1,000, depending on location.
  • Carpentry work for a custom job – up to $20,000.
  • Upscale features or materials - $1,000 - $12,000. Such as glass or custom lighting.
  • Access to more than two floors - $10,000 - $15,000 per floor.
  • Accommodations for raised ceilings - $200 per foot of added ceiling height above standard.
  • Automated doors - $300 - $2,400

Financing Options for Your Elevator Installation

Individuals with a medical need can benefit from many financing options available to install an elevator. These projects may qualify for tax deductions, as medical expenses above 7.5 percent of your income can be written off. Talk to your accountant about the details before proceeding with the installation. You might also qualify for grants to improve disability accommodation in your home.

Commercial Elevators for Handicap/Wheelchair Access

Most commercial elevators have a weight capacity between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds, and fit between 5 and 10 individuals. They tend to be operated via hydraulic arms or cables, and cost between $75,000 and $150,000 to install.
Churches, stores, and other public buildings must meet accessibility standards as set by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The same general cost factors apply. However, elevators tend to be larger, which raises their price point.

Stair Lift Cost Breakdown

Installing a chairlift in your home will cost between $2,000 and $10,000. Standard capacity is between 250 and 350 pounds for a single person, depending on the unit. The biggest cost factor will be the length of your stairs.
Lift Cost by Length
Track LengthPrice
14.75 ft$1,500 - $7,000
16 ft$1,800 - $8,500
20 ft$2,500 - $10,000
Where your product falls within these ranges depends on
  • material of the unit.
  • exact dimensions and curvature of the staircase.
  • dimensions of the chair itself.
    Lifts are available with track adjustments and additions that allow you to customize for staircase lengths up to 70 feet.
    Most products come already constructed, so labor costs will be lower compared to elevator installation. Professional installers will need to adjust the track of the chairlift to fit the existing staircase and handle electrical wiring. Permits will also be necessary before installation begins. The more customized a chairlift, the higher the installation price.
    Hire a pro for your elevator installation
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    Types of Chairlifts

    Also known as stair chairs and stairway lifts, chairlifts are a more affordable option than elevators. The average price ranges between $3,000 and $10,000. They consist of a motorized chair attached to a railing that can go up or down stairs in a matter of seconds. The type of chairlift depends on the shape of the staircase.

    Straight Chairlifts

    Costs range between $2,000 and $5,000. If your staircase includes no turn or landing, this is your best option. Prices within this range depend on the side on which you want to install the motorized chair, comfort and weight capacity, as well as the length of the staircase and whether you want to power the lift via battery or your home’s electrical system.

    Curved Chairlifts

    A simple curved chairlift will cost between $8,000 and $10,000, and can accommodate a single curve or landing. If your staircase curves at each stair or includes sharp angles, a more custom option will cost between $12,000 and $15,000.

    Installation Prices

    Hiring a professional for your stairlift installation is recommended in most cases. It needs to meet specific safety standards. A mistake in the installation process can also compromise the structural integrity of your home.
    Three factors influence installation and labor cost:
    • Professional Installation: about $70 per hour, or $280 total for a straight lift.
    • Electrical Work if the lift is not battery-operated: $200 for the outlet and $50 to $150 for labor.
    • Home Installation Permit - $200 to $500.

    Additional Factors Influencing Lift Prices

    In addition to the shape of the staircase and the quality of the product, several variables can affect total price:
    • Site complications, which might include large stone steps or unusual rises.
    • Additional electrical work to connect the chairlift with an outlet (about $70/hour).
    • Added waterproofing for outdoor location (about $3,000 additional costs).
    • Replacement or backup battery ($50 to $100).
    • Yearly inspection and maintenance, ($150 to $300).
    • Standing lifts as an alternative to traditional seats (identical price point).
    Hire a contractor to install your stair lift
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    Elevators & Lifts by Brand

    Many companies have specialized in building elevators and stairlifts for homeowners in need of accessibility. These brands can range in cost, popularity, and warranty.
    • Easy Climber- specializes in shaftless elevators with five-year warranty, which drives down installation costs. Motorized stair chairs come installed with a limited lifetime warranty.
    • Acorn - specializes in chairlifts, as well as fast installations for all homes and spaces. Warranties are limited to 12 months on all parts and labor.
    • Otis - specializes in commercial elevators and escalators, but offers high-end residential options as well. Elevators are hydraulic and tend to be more powerful than most competitors.
    • Inclinator - offers a variety of custom options, with materials ranging from glass to wood. Wheelchair lifts fit into tighter spaces than full elevators.
    • RAM - carries the Crystal and Stratus elevator lines, with prices ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 depending on the model.
    • Stiltz - foregoes hydraulic elevation for an electric motor, resulting in a smaller footprint and lower installation costs.
    • AmeriGlide - offers DIY kits for chairlifts as low as $1,000, along with a five-year warranty to ensure quality.
    • Arrow - custom lifts that install to the stairs themselves. Installation has to be professional. Also offers hydraulic home elevators for larger spaces.

    Reasons to Install an Elevator or Chairlift

    Homeowners install a chairlift or elevator for several different reasons, but the biggest of all is accessibility. Faced with an injury, accident or simply old age, stairs might no longer be an option. In these cases, making accessibility modifications reduces pain and ensures that homeowners can remain in the home they know and love despite physical ailments.
    Both elevators and chairlifts can increase the total value of a structure. They can help the property stand out to a greater range of buyers who might not otherwise consider a two-story or taller house. Homeowners who take on this type of renovation can expect to recoup at least 50 percent of their investment as added resale value.

    Escalator Costs

    The cost of an escalator unit ranges between $10,000 and $30,000. With labor, installing a two-story escalator in your home or commercial space will cost between $65,000 and $90,000. Floor-to-floor height, width, and your existing space can drastically raise or lower total costs.
    Escalators are most commonly found in commercial spaces, but they could work for your home as well. They do require significant space, in most cases more than a traditional staircase. Another important consideration is that escalators cannot be curved.
    Consult a pro before beginning installation
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    Hiring a Pro

    Despite some DIY options, hiring an expert from an elevator installation company to make your home more accessible is essential. It ensures that the final product will keep you safe and does not damage your home's structure. A professional can also guide you through the permitting process and work with other specialists (such as electricians and engineers) as required.
    As soon as possible, read online reviews of disability service professionals in your area, and source quotes. Allow them to examine your home to determine what options are possible. Setting a plan for the entire project before signing a contract can help to ensure successful and timely completion for your home.
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    Melinda Parrish More than 1 year ago
    need to show different types with pictures. So we more understand what you are saying.
    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.
    Jan Shaw More than 1 year ago
    I believe it's quite a bit more expensive than what is listed here.  Still, good information generally.
    Kelly Weiss More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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.!

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