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wheelchair lift vs residential elevator

Wheelchair lifts and residential elevators are both great access solutions that can be used to make areas of your home wheelchair accessible. However, not all people who require assistance in accessing hard to reach areas are wheelchair users. So it’s important to choose the right access solution for your needs, whether it be a platform stair lift or a residential elevator.

What Is A Platform Stair Lift?

A platform stair lift (or wheelchair lift) is designed to provide wheelchair access to areas that are otherwise only accessible via stairs. Though commonly used to provide access to outdoor areas such as a porch or deck, platform stair lifts can be installed both indoors and outdoors providing access to other areas of the home such as an attached garage or an upper level.

What Is A Residential Lift?

A residential lift, or elevator, is a platform lift with a fully enclosed cabin and shaft, much like the commercial lifts commonly used in shopping centres and hotels. However, residential lifts tend to be more compact in size due to space limitations, and the fact that they are often only used by one or two passengers at a time in residential applications.

What’s The Difference Between A Platform Stair Lift & A Residential Lift?

Intended Use

One key difference between a platform stair lift and a residential lift is who they are designed for. A platform stair lift is designed to transport wheelchair bound occupants only. Whereas, residential lifts can be used to transport anyone from fully mobile people, to those with minor mobility limitations, as well as wheelchair users. Additionally, residential lifts can be used to transport objects such as groceries, furniture, and more.

Space Requirements

Another difference between platform stair lifts and residential lifts is how much space they take up. As the name may suggest, platform stair lifts are installed directly onto a set of stairs. Conversely, residential lifts are installed independently of the stairs.

This means that platform stair lifts can easily be installed anywhere there is a staircase, taking up no more of your floor space. In fact, not only will a platform stair lift take up no more space than your existing staircase, when it is not in use, a platform lift can fold up to a width of as little as 30cm. Whereas, residential lifts require their own space for installation, starting at approximately the size of a large armchair.


Unsurprisingly, residential lifts are typically more expensive to install than platform stair lifts. However, the extra cost of a residential lift affords you a number of additional benefits. For example, a residential lift is able to transport wheelchair users as well as people using walkers, crutches, prams, and other mobility aids. Additionally, residential lifts can also be used to transport heavy items such as furniture and groceries.

Prestige Lift Providers Queensland

Whether you need a platform stair lift or a residential lift – or you’re still not sure which is best for your needs – Axis Lifts has got you covered. As Queensland’s leading lift provider, we supply and install a wide range of disability access solutions.

We look after our customers from the first call until long after the lift is installed. From providing expert advice on the best access solution for your needs, to talking you through the installation process, and quality after care service (including a 24/7 response service!). If you’re looking for a reliable residential lift installations Brisbane, Queensland, or Northern NSW wide, call Axis Lifts today on 1300 002 947.