Four Questions to Ask Before Buying a Patient Lift

A patient lift is a device that helps caregivers at hospitals, nursing homes, and in private homes move those with limited mobility between beds and chairs or from a sitting position to a standing position. By giving a helping hand, patient lifts help reduce injuries to both patients and caregivers and provide smooth, comfortable transitions. Before you wade into the market for a patient lift you need four key pieces of information. After you answer these questions, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for and what to ask about as you search for a patient lift.

1. Do you want a manual or electric lift?

A manual patient lift relies on power supplied by the operator—usually through a hydraulic pump. An electric lift uses a motor, usually powered by a rechargeable battery. Manual lifts are usually less expensive because they require fewer parts; they have no electronics, motors, hand controls, control boxes, or batteries. On the other hand, although the hydraulic pumps are usually very easy to operate, they do require a little more effort than their electric counterparts. Generally, hospitals and other facilities prefer the convenience of electric lifts, while manual lifts are a good choice for home settings. However, an electric lift may also be preferred in a homecare situation where there is only a single caregiver to operate it. With an electric lift, that caregiver can use one hand to operate the lift while the other steadies the patient.

2. How much weight will the lift need to support?

Every lift has a maximum weight capacity. Make sure the one you choose can support as much weight as you need it to. If your patient has lost weight due to his or her condition, choose a lift that can support the patient’s previous weight. The patient may regain weight as he or she regains health.

3. How high will you need the lift to lift your patient?

This question is actually less important than it used to be. Hospital beds are much more adjustable now and most patient lifts are able to pick patients up from as low as the floor. It’s still important to confirm that the lift you choose can meet your height requirements, but most likely, it will.

4. Will you be taking your lift anywhere?

For those who need to transport their patient lifts frequently, portable lifts are available that fold for transport or storage. Keep in mind that even portable lifts may be difficult to lift for a single person; most of them weigh at least 70 or 80 pounds. Although portable lifts can often be disassembled into smaller pieces, they are usually designed to be transported in a single folded piece.

What else do you need to know before purchasing a patient lift?

If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to email us ( or call us (1 888 260 4430).