When you need to make your home wheelchair accessible, you’ll have two main options: ramps or vertical lifts. Unsure of which is right for you? Let’s take a look at them both and why you might choose one option over the other.
The Basics of Ramps
Wheelchair ramps are a tried and true method of making your home accessible by wheelchair. Ramps range from basic, portable options to more complex modular systems. One of the major advantages of ramps is that they tend to be more affordable accessibility options, and can often be assembled without major construction.
Whether a ramp will work for you will depend on the setup and space available in and around your home. Ramps must be a certain length to accommodate a rise; ramps that are too short and steep can be dangerous and difficult to navigate. This can make installing an adequately sized ramp a challenge, especially if you’re restricted in terms of space in or around your home. This ramp length calculator can help you to determine the proper length of the ramp that you will need for a particular incline.
The Basics of Vertical Lifts
Vertical platform lifts were designed as an alternative to ramps. Vertical lifts take up less space than ramps do, since they move the wheelchair straight up, rather than traveling up an incline. Many vertical platform lifts are suitable for use both indoors and out, making them versatile options for creating accessible spaces. These lifts are electrically powered and are designed so that they are easy to operate. Many have generous weight capacities capable of handling power wheelchairs.
When considering a vertical platform lift, you will want to be sure that the lifting range suits your needs. Look for a lift with a battery backup during power outages. Some vertical lifts are even enclosed, making for a much more pleasant experience when you need to use the lift during inclement weather. You’ll find that vertical lifts are available in varying price ranges, though they tend to be more expensive options than standard ramps are.
Your Choice: Vertical Lift or Ramp?
Ultimately, the decision of whether to buy a vertical lift or a ramp will depend on your specific needs, the space you have available to you, and your budget. If installing a ramp would require significant renovation, you may find that a vertical lift is still a more economical option.
Your preferences and capabilities may also come into play; vertical lifts do the lifting and moving of your wheelchair for you. If you’re in a manual wheelchair, then you’ll need the upper body strength necessary to power the wheelchair up a ramp, or you’ll need to rely on someone to help you.
Whichever option you decide on, we are happy to help you find the product that’s just right for you. Please always feel free to call us with any questions.