The world wasn’t designed for people in wheelchairs. While a disability may stop you from walking, going up stairs and reaching certain destinations, there are options that you can add to your own home that will make it more accessible.
A vertical wheelchair lift is one of many pieces of equipment that falls into this category.
What is a Vertical Platform Lift?
Wheelchairs are very difficult to bump up the stairs. If an elevator is available you are definitely going to use a it to get to the top of a set of stairs, but what about smaller places of business or your home? Maybe you want to be able to get on your deck, balcony or even into your basement, which has become inaccessible due to your disability.
This is why a vertical wheelchair lift was created and where they truly excel. Think of these lifts as a mini wheelchair elevator. These mini elevators can be installed in or outside your home to make your life easier and more comfortable.
This is exactly what lifts offer: easy access to previously inaccessible levels of a home.
Do I Need a Wheelchair Lift?
Many people that are disabled and in a wheelchair get accustomed to the challenges they face in a normal home. Challenges exist that builders simply do not consider because traversing stairs isn’t much of an issue for them.
But you don’t have to jump through hoops any longer to reach vital areas of your home.
Take, for example, a home with six steps leading into it or you’re greeted with a bi-level home where you have to go to the lower or upper floor. They don’t make stair lifts this small, so you end up spending your time on the bottom level of the home, which you access from the garage. You haven’t been to your own front door in ages and having someone around to help you get to the second level of your home or using an out-of-the-way ramp simply isn’t an ideal choice.
A wheelchair lift or elevator can open up the rest of your home to you. The most common configurations are:
- Placing the lift in a position that allows you to reach your front door from the outside.
- Installing the lift near the front steps to be lifted to the top of the stairs.
Yes, some indoor modification may be needed to get the desired results, but you will now have the possibility of reaching otherwise inaccessible areas of your home with ease. You won’t need someone’s help to bring you up the steps, and you won’t have to go to the back door of the home to reach the ground floor or go through the garage.
Lifts allow you to access your home in a whole new way; a way that allows you to be independent and free from asking others for help.
The best part is that many vertical platform lifts are able to be used indoors or outdoors. This means you can:
- Install the patio you’ve always wanted
- Reach otherwise inaccessible doors (i.e. outside doors with steps)
And lifts can range from 4’ to 10’ in height, allowing you to reach virtually any area of your home that are inaccessible now.
While straight hookup to a power line in your home is the most common setup, there are also battery-powered options available in those areas where you don’t have access to an electrical socket.
Are Vertical Lifts Difficult to Install?
Installation requirements vary between wheelchair lifts, and it’s hard to judge what the exact installation requirements will be based on where you plan to place your vertical platform lift.
You may need to:
- Remove portions of a banister
- Alter current structures
But for most installations, the modifications needed are simple and easy. In terms of installing the lift itself, some environment requirements may include:
- 4” thick flooring
- Gap requirements between the platform edge and the upper landing
- Sufficient headroom
- Electricity requirements
The platform lift that you purchase will come with its own installation manual to help you with an easy and straightforward installation.
Most models will come with anchors that will secure the platform. Installing the platform is a usually an easy and fast process that requires the mounting of bolts, nuts and spacers. Once this part is complete, you’ll probably have to install any rails as well as the fixed ramp, which allows the rider to enter the unit with ease. Option items, such as an auto-folding ramp, will usually be installed last.
Anchoring the lift is the next step followed by setting limits for the switch. Fairly simple and easy to install, most lift companies have very knowledgeable staff members that will discuss your installation options with you. Installation should not take more than 2 – 3 hours and this time can be reduced if multiple people help with the installation.
The only thing left to do is to have the lift tested to ensure that it is safe to operate and everything is secure. Most lifts come equipped with safety features to stop the lift if it hits an object or to stop the unit in the event of an emergency. A residential wheelchair lift is a safe and convenient investment in your mobility.
AmeriGlide Hercules II 600 Review
AmeriGlide offers the Hercules II 600, which is a model that I have personally used and trust. Known as one of the best vertical lift platforms for residential use, this platform can accommodate users of up to 600 pounds and is installed within just 2 hours, on average.
AmeriGlide Hercules II 600 Features
- 600-pound weight limit
- 53” standard height
- 101” lift upgrade option
- Battery option available
- Emergency stop control
- Keyed platform control (optional)
- Call-send controls (optional)
- 36” x 48” platform
- Automatic folding lower ramp
- Guard panel
- 5” door access
- Straight-thru access
AmeriGlide is one of the most helpful and friendly companies in the business, and they really outdo the competition with this lift. Not only is it able to be used indoors or outdoors, but it has a lot of extra options and features available that really fit the needs of a handicapped person perfectly.
The lift can go as high as 53” or 4’5 feet. If this isn’t enough, it can go over 8’ in height with the extension option. The smaller lift is likely the perfect size for indoors situations, the larger lift may be an ideal choice for outside areas that may be higher. If you don’t need to go that high, don’t worry, you can set the lift limit to what you need. For example, you can set it to stop the unit if you only need a 3’9 lift or any other lift height up to the maximum.
The Hercules II 600 includes an emergency stop control, battery operation option and a keyed control are available. Keyed control is a smart option for anyone with kids or guests that may attempt to use the lift without supervision and simply means you need to type in a code before you can use the lift.
The guard panel is a nice addition, while the automatic folding ramp ensures that the ramp doesn’t hit other platforms or items. With a 38.5” opening, you’ll be able to fit even wide wheelchairs into the lift with virtual ease.
AmeriGlide’s Hercules II is a fast and easy way to eliminate the hassle of having to use stairs if you’re in a wheelchair. Having someone lift you up the stairs is not an option in most situations. It is also difficult, unsafe and makes your and your loved ones lives a little harder than it has to be.
If you’re looking for an easy way to get upstairs, get into your home from the garage, or even get up your outside patio, it’s time to invest in a vertical platform lift.