The global lift and escalator market is estimated at around 80 billion US dollars. By the end of the current decade, the market volume is expected to grow to over 130 billion US dollars, according to the market research company Fortune Business Insights. A growing niche of this market is home lifts. These are lifts that can be installed in private houses or flats. Often, home lifts are more than a stylistic house automation system that merely serves the purpose of comfort. Home lifts provide a life-changing solution for people with walking disabilities or some other form of mobility impairment. Should a restriction in the ability to climb stairs occur suddenly or gradually with age, a retrofit with a home lift can help the affected resident to be able to continue to master their everyday life in their home without barriers.
In this article, we introduce you to the most popular home lifts in the UK and mainland Europe and explain everything you need to know about home elevators.
What is a home elevator?
Home elevators resemble the function of regular lifts. However, home elevators are usually smaller, often serve a maximum of only 2 floors and are not installed in a closed shaft. Their technology for most models also differs fundamentally from the cable technology of a conventional lift. Home lifts are similar in their mode of operation to a stationary lifting device. Retrofitting a home with a home lift is moreover technically less complex and less expensive than installing a regular lift. In addition, home lifts require a smaller amount of space and electricity and are not as high-maintenance as conventional lifts.
Nowadays, there are many high-quality suppliers of inexpensive and functional home lifts that offer attractive designs and make it easier to climb up and down floors.
In the following section, we present models of home lifts that enjoy great popularity in the UK and mainland Europe.
What are the most popular home lifts currently available?
1. Mini-Lift Salise
Maximum lift height: 4.9 metres
Usable platform size: 2160 mm x 1140 mm
Company locations: 40 countries, including 26 in Europe
The Mini-Lift Salise from Stannah is a small indoor lift for private homes. The compact capsule takes up little space and can be installed with minimal technical effort. The Mini-Lift Salise does not require a shaft pit and is moved hydraulically on two rails. The lift can carry passengers at a height of just under 5 metres and has room for two passengers.
Stannah is among the market leaders in the field of home lifts. The company was founded over 150 years ago by engineer Joseph Stanna. Today, Stannah is represented on 6 continents and has locations in over 40 countries worldwide, including the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Italy, Norway, Spain, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Portugal and many more.
Home lift Genesis Type B
Maximum lifting height: 13 metres
Usable platform size: 1,130 mm x 1,180 mm to 1,600 mm x 1,600 mm
Company locations: Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland,
United States, Canada and Colombia
The Genesis B home lift is one of the most popular home lifts in Europe. The Home lift Genesis B is developed, manufactured and distributed by the Swiss company Garaventa Lift, whose history goes back to the development of cable cars in the high-alpine regions of Switzerland. Today, Garaventa Lift operates numerous locations worldwide, including in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic and Poland.
With the Genesis B model, Graventa offers a hybrid product that is suitable for both private homes and public stairwells with up to 6 floors. The Home lift Genesis B is operated by a special spindle drive that does not require an external power unit. Therefore, no separate connection room is required, making this model suitable for smaller environments, such as a private flat. The simple technical specifications compared to conventional lifts offer advantages to buyers in terms of operating and maintenance costs.
3. Stiltz Duo
Maximum lifting height: 4.5 metres
Usable platform size: 1046 mm x 765 mm
Company locations: United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Poland, United States and authorised Stiltz distributors in 34 additional countries.
The Stiltz Duo home lift from the British brand Stiltz is a small and compact home lift with a maximum height of 4.5 metres. The cabin is attached to two rails and operated by a quiet and energy-saving electric motor. Thanks to the modern technology built into the Stiltz Duo, this lift is perfect for inexpensive installation and smooth operation.
Stiltz as a brand specialises in the construction of home lifts and offers several other home lifts in addition to the Stiltz Duo. The Stiltz Duo is manufactured and distributed in the UK. Stiltz also maintains offices in Spain, Italy, Poland and the United States of America. Through authorised dealers, Stiltz distributes its lifts in 34 additional countries, including France, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Estonia.
4. PVE 30
Brand: Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators
Maximum lift height: 11 metres
Usable platform size: 750 mm diameter
Company locations: USA, Spain and authorised locations in more than 100 countries
Another extremely popular home lift is the PVE 30 model by US manufacturer Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators LLC. The PVE 30 is the smallest and most affordable home lift in a range of three home lifts offered by PVE; the PVE 30, the PVE 37 and the PVE 52. The PVE 30 model has a sleek design, compact dimensions and a low power consumption. Like the other two models, the PVE is round and has a glassed shaft. The lift measures 750 mm in diameter, is suitable for one person and can transport up to 159 kilograms between two and five floors.
In Europe, Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators LLC is represented by its subsidiary Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators Europe in Spain. In addition, around 160 authorised workshops and PVC sellers are represented in over 100 countries worldwide.
5. Savaria Vuelift Round
Maximum lifting height: 16.7 metres
Usable platform size: 750 mm diameter
Company locations: United States, plus 16 authorised representatives, in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and in the United Kingdom
The Savaria Vuelift Round is one of the three popular home lift models from the US company Savaria, which focuses on mobility solutions such as home lifts, stairlifts and wheelchairs. Besides the Savaria Vuelift Round, the Savaria Vuelift Octogonal and the Savaria Vuelift Mini are available. The Savaria Vuelift Round is one of the most popular models and delivers an optimum of luxurious flair and barrier-free comfort. With a usable platform area of 1350 mm in diameter and a load capacity of up to 430 kilograms, the glazed panoramic lift Savaria Vuelift Round offers a comfortable ride over up to 6 floors.
Savaria is based in Florida, in the United States. In addition to its headquarters, Savaria is present with 16 showrooms in North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. In Milan, Küsnacht near Zurich and Cologne, Savaria is represented by Garaventa. In the United Kingdom, Savaria plans to open its own branch.
Which costs are involved when purchasing a Home Elevator?
Depending on the country, dealer, model and building structure, a home elevator for two floors including installation costs around 15,000 to 55,000 US dollars. These costs increase by several thousand to ten thousand dollars per additional floor. In addition, the average power consumption of a Home lfit is around 50 to 200 kWh per year, depending on the model. Furthermore, you have to be prepared for annual maintenance and service costs of 200 to 500 US dollars.
At first glance, these costs seem high. However, compared to a conventional lift, these expenses are put into perspective. A conventional lift costs at least 50,000 US dollars per floor, and the construction measures are considerably more complex.
As an alternative to home lifts, quite a few people use stair lifts, as they are usually a lot less expensive. However, especially for people who depend on a wheelchair, a vertical home lift offers a more comfortable and safer solution than stairlifts.
Nevertheless, the costs associated with the purchase, installation and operation of a home lift should not be underestimated. A home lift is an expensive investment, but one that will prove worthwhile for most users. Besides, in some countries such as the United Kingdom, there are opportunities for those who rely on a home lift to benefit from government support funds.
How much time does the installation of a home elevator take?
The time involved in installing a home elevator depends on various factors. Decisive among other things is the building’s structure, the model, the number of floors and the company that carries out the installation. Thus, on average, you should expect an installation time of 2 to 7 days for two floors. In comparison, the installation of a conventional lift takes at least 10 to 20 days. Often, however, home lifts are not available on demand and must first be built or converted according to one’s requirements, which can also take a few days or weeks, depending on the inventory.
To simplify the installation of lifts and other projects, companies and developers often rely on professional construction software such as PlanRadar. With PlanRadar, you manage construction projects and properties in a fully comprehensive and efficient way. You always have an eye on the progress of the project and the state of your property, and ensure that all of the relevant information is available where it is needed.
Advantages of a home elevator
For users who depend on a home lift, the advantages of a home lift far outweigh the disadvantages. A home elevator allows people with limited mobility to easily maintain barrier-free living in their home since home lifts offer a safe and easy way for people of all ages to move between different floors.
Also people who are not able to carry heavy loads or who would like to have a home lift for other reasons can benefit from this technology. Home lifts are both cheaper to buy and operate, they take up little space and do not require deep structural changes to the building. Compared to conventional lifts, home lifts also consume less electricity and are relatively quiet. Additionally, many home lifts are glazed. This makes it easier for passengers to find their way around, and other residents, guests or caretakers will be able to see from outside if a passenger needs assistance.
Disadvantages of a home elevator
Unfortunately, home elevators do not only have pros. If you want to acquire a home lift, you should also consider the downsides of this technology before deciding to purchase. Probably the biggest disadvantage of home lifts is their cost. Compared to a conventional lift, a home lift may be cheaper, but at 15,000 to 55,000 dollars for two floors, a home lift still costs quite a lot of money. In addition, there are the additional costs for the electricity required and for service and maintenance.
Apart from the costs, the space required is another drawback. A home lift does not fit in all stairwells. Sometimes load-bearing walls or ceilings prevent installation, other times there is simply not enough space. Since a home lift may require structural changes to the building, home lifts are only suitable for owners of flats and houses, but not for tenants.
The popularity of home elevators has increased significantly over the past decades and the market will continue to grow. For people with a walking disability or a comparable mobility impairment, home elevators offer an excellent solution for moving around their own homes without barriers. Compared to conventional lifts, home lifts are cheaper to purchase, install and operate. They also take up little space and produce no loud noises.
Manufacturers such as Stannah, Garaventa, Stiltz, Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators and Savaria offer functional and safe solutions that have gained a reputation in the European market. Which model is ultimately best for you or your project depends on the requirements you set. However, with a wide range of different models on the market, there is definitely a choice for everyone.