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Which is best: a wheelchair ramp or platform lift?

If you or a loved one is faced with physical limitations, perhaps as a result of ageing, injury or illness, you may have concerns about negotiating stairs and varying floor levels around your home. But, with the aid of assistive devices, like disability lifts and wheelchair ramps, the experts at Level Lifts can help to make life that little bit easier.

What are wheelchair ramps?

A wheelchair ramp can be used in place of steps making it easier for those who require wheelchair access to negotiate varying floor levels.

Ramps are made to be durable and can last for many years. They can be configured to almost any space and require little to no maintenance.

What are platform lifts?

Vertical platform lifts (VPL), sometimes called disability lifts, wheelchair lifts or platform lifts, are designed to look like elevators and can be fully enclosed, partially enclosed or open. The platform raises and lowers passengers, transferring them between floor levels quickly and safely.

Although they are great in commercial settings, we can also install them at residential properties – giving users extra comfort to move around their home.

Factors to consider:

  • Platform height

Wheelchair ramps are recommended for low-rises, usually smaller staircases where there are a few steps. A long, steep ramp will only make it difficult for a wheelchair user to reach the top and will take up a lot of space.

Vertical platform lifts, like the MC2000, can travel up to 15m. They’re the perfect solution for tight spaces and high rises.

  • Climate

If a ramp is being used outside it will be exposed to all weathers, so you need to keep in mind that, during winter months, you’ll need to clear snow and ice from the ramp.

Platform lifts are built with a cover or enclosed shaft – meaning users are protected against all elements and don’t need to navigate obstacles.

  • User ability

Before you decide between a wheelchair ramp and wheelchair lift, you need to think about who will be using it.

Scooters and electric wheelchairs work well with ramps as they do most of the hard work. For those using manual wheelchairs, it’s more of a challenge.

Wheelchair lifts are user-friendly, easily operated by the user themselves allowing for a sense of independence.

  • Cost

Constructing a wheelchair ramp is ideal for lower rises and makes wheelchair users feel welcome, but is more time-consuming than installing a vertical lift.

Vertical lifts, like the British style platform lift, are often the most cost-effective option for higher rises as they can be quickly installed by the Level Lifts experts, making areas more accessible to those in both, electric and manual wheelchairs.

If you’d like to know exactly how much a vertical lift will cost, please complete our online contact form and we’ll get back in touch with an accurate quote.

  • Curb appeal

A wheelchair ramp is a fantastic way to make your home open and accessible to all. Most ramps are built to provide a neat appearance but, by their nature, require more space than a vertical platform lift. Vertical lifts are therefore more discrete. They can be enclosed and subtly blended with the interior of your property – making them the best option if curb appeal matters most.

Overall both wheelchair ramps and lifts are great – however, platform lifts tend to be the better option for homes.

Feel free to get in touch with the Level Lifts experts via 023 8081 4924 or email info@levellifts.co.uk. We will do everything we can to assist you in choosing the right disability lift – making sure it suits space and mobility requirements.



Author: Nick Dade. Sales Director (Level Access Lifts Ltd).
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed within this Education Centre are solely those of the original author/s. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of any given lift manufacturer or lift industry association.
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