Chair Lift vs. Stair Lift: Understanding the Difference

Chair Lift vs. Stair Lift: Understanding the Difference

Images showing the difference between a chair lift and a stair lift

Are you curious about the differences between a chair lift and a stair lift (also known as a chair lift for stairs)? It’s a question we get all the time from customers looking to understand their options when it comes to in-home mobility.

Most importantly, a chair lift is covered by Medicare and a stair lift is not. Understanding the nuances between these two mobility aids can help you make informed decisions. Read on to learn more about the primary differences between chair lifts and stair lifts.


Image of a chair lift

DESCRIPTION: A chair lift is essentially a recliner that aids individuals in transitioning from a seated position to standing.

FUNCTIONALITY: It lifts users upward, assisting them in getting out of a chair with ease.

MEDICARE: Notably, Medicare may cover the expenses associated with a chair lift.

Image of a stair lift

DESCRIPTION: Unlike a chair lift, a stair lift is designed to transport individuals up and down staircases. Although frequently (and confusingly) called a “chair lift for stairs” a true stair lift is a totally different mobility solution than a true chair lift.

FUNCTIONALITY: It features a motorized seat or platform that moves along a rail system installed on the stairs, offering safe and convenient mobility.

MEDICARE: It’s important to note that Medicare typically does not cover the costs related to a stairlift.


While chair lifts and stair lifts both serve to enhance mobility, each product caters to a different set of needs. Chair lifts assist individuals in rising from a seated position, while stair lifts facilitate safe passage up and down staircases. Understanding these differences is crucial, especially when it comes to Medicare coverage. If you have further questions or require assistance in choosing the right mobility solution, please don’t hesitate to call IHS or fill out our online contact form. We’re a Bruno partner and proudly install their line of stair lifts across the Kansas City metro area.