Are you looking for a platform lift that can transport your wheelchair from one level of your home to another? Most of the specifications are straightforward – you already know how much room you have for a lift, how big the platform has to be, how much you can spend, and how much weight it needs to support. What about the issue of enclosed vs. unenclosed?
These two lift varieties rarely appear side by side on the showroom floor so they seem to fill different niches but they’re actually quite similar. This guide will explain a few of the strengths and weaknesses of each wheelchair lift variety.
Advantages and Applications of Unenclosed Lifts
Unenclosed lifts are an inexpensive, practical solution that allows access from one floor to another. The variety is incredible, ranging from light and uncomplicated to strong enough to carry a mobility scooter or heavy electric wheelchair. Unenclosed lifts are used both indoors and out – the outdoor models are moderately weatherproof and work just fine in mild weather. Snowy climates are not the best for these lifts.
Unenclosed lifts do better for interiors though. They feel more spacious than enclosed lifts, so you can opt for a smaller model that takes up less floor space without feeling cramped or closed-in.
The Varieties and Benefits of Enclosed Lifts
Generally, any lifts that span more than two floors will have an enclosed construction not for safety or aesthetic reasons, but because the lift itself will require a little more structural support. Some applications require a wheelchair lift that operates more like a residential elevator, installed wherever two or more closets line up. Hiring contractors to install a shaft is prohibitively expensive but will give your lift extra durability and length of life.
An enclosed lift can go anywhere and span as many floors as needed. Of course, we suggest the lighter unenclosed models if you don’t need much power or versatility.
If you’re looking for the type of lift that secures directly to the stairs or wall, and travels on a track, you are looking for an “inclined” platform lift. Different companies use different terminology but it helps to keep the terms straight when you’re looking for a platform lift.
The shopping process is a lot easier once you start narrowing down the selection and choosing between enclosed and unenclosed is a great place to start. Once you know what you want, the lift manufacturers and retailers can provide all the information and guidance you’ll need.