When you need to make your home more accessible it can be difficult to know which is the right access solution for your needs. Whether you’re looking to future proof your home, or you or a loved one have an immediate need for greater accessibility due to limited mobility or the use of a wheelchair or walker, it pays to take the time to find the ideal access solution for your needs.
Both an access ramp and a vertical platform lift can be used to provide access to your home. Choosing the right access solution for your needs will depend on your specific access requirements, as well as the layout of your porch or entryway, and of course, your budget.
What Is A Vertical Platform Lift?
A Vertical Platform Lift (VPL) is essentially a small, partially enclosed platform that is used to raise and lower passengers between landings, similar to how an elevator operates. VPL’s are often seen in restaurants, retail stores and churches, though they are less commonly used in residential applications.
VPLs are often also referred to as porch lifts, as they are typically used to provide access to the porch, deck, or entryway of a home.
Access Ramps vs. Vertical Platform Lifts
Both wheelchair ramps and vertical platform lifts have their fair share of pros and cons. Choosing the right access solutions for your needs will depend on your specific mobility requirements and budget, as well as the layout of your home.
The Benefits Of A Ramp
Cost Effective (For Lower Rises)
One of the key benefits of installing a ramp as opposed to any other access solution is that it can be very cost effective. This is because, unlike VPLs, stair lifts, and residential elevators, a ramp is a simple structure with no moving parts, reducing the cost of purchase and installation.
However, it’s important to remember that a ramp isn’t automatically the cheapest option. This is because, the higher the rise is, the longer the ramp will need to be, which will increase costs. So, at a certain point, the cost of installing a ramp will be greater than that of installing a vertical platform lift. As a result, it always pays to investigate your other options before making a decision.
Little To No Maintenance
Another benefit of installing a ramp as your access solution is that it requires little to no maintenance, and will last for a long time. Conversely, vertical platform lifts require regular professional maintenance to keep them running smoothly, which will need to be factored into your budget when choosing which access solution is best for your needs.
Benefit Of A Vertical Platform Lift
A vertical platform lift is a great option for areas where space is limited. This is because the entire lift will take up little more room than the size of the platform. Not only will this ensure that less space is used to make your home accessible, it also negates the need for a large ramp that could become an eyesore and even affect kerb appeal.
Conversely, regulations in Australia require that the maximum slope of a ramp that is longer than 1900mm is 1:14. This means that for every centimetre the ramp rises, there will need to be 14 cm of length to be compliant. As a result, the higher the rise, the longer the ramp will be. This rules out ramps as an option in many residential applications due to limited space.
Cost Effective (For Higher Rises)
As the cost of a wheelchair ramp increases with the height of the rise, a vertical platform lift is often the more suitable and cost effective option when providing access to areas with a significant rise, such as a first floor entryway or deck.
Ease Of Use
Another benefit of choosing to install a vertical platform lift is the ease of use and safety it provides. In a VPL, passengers can be raised and lowered between floors at the touch of a button. Whereas, with a ramp, effort is required to wheel a chair up the slope except for the use of scooters or power chairs. Additionally, a ramp can be more difficult for those with limited mobility and walkers to navigate.
A vertical platform lift can also be the safer access solution when compared with a ramp. This is because, when using a vertical platform lift, passengers need only walk or roll onto the platform where they can wait to be lifted or lowered safely to the required landing. Conversely, using a ramp poses a higher risk of injury as a result of falling while walking up or down the slope, let alone navigating a ramp in inclement weather when it may become slippery or covered in leaves and debris.
Affordable Vertical Platform Lifts Queensland
Axis Lifts provides affordable vertical platform lifts Queensland and NSW wide, suitable for both residential and commercial use. With over 96 years of combined industry experience and more technicians than any other Queensland lift company, you can count on us to provide quality lift services at a great price.
We also offer a range of alternative access solutions including residential lifts and even dumbwaiters. Call us today on 1300 002 947 for personalised advice on choosing the right access solution for your needs and a free quote.