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How Much Does It Cost To Install An Elevator Or Chairlift?

Most homeowners spend between $2,994 to $4,187 nationally.
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Elevators and chairlifts are two devices that increase accessibility in multi-story homes. They make it easier for those with mobility issues to travel from the ground floor to top floors without having to navigate the stairs. Costs are significant for elevator units alone, and neither project is a small installation task.

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National Install Elevator or Chairlift Costs

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Median Cost


Minimum Cost


Maximum Cost
Average Range:


National Average Cost $14,168
Minimum Cost $100
Maximum Cost $385,400
Average Range $2,994 to $4,187
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How do we get this data? This info is based on 47 cost profiles, as reported by ImproveNet members.

Table of Contents

  1. Home Elevator Cost
  2. Home Elevator Cost Factors
  3. Chairlift Cost
  4. Chairlift Cost Factors
  5. Cost Compared To Other Accessibility Projects
  6. Why Add An Elevator Or Chairlift?
  7. Types Of Elevators
  8. Elevator Design
  9. Types Of Chairlifts
  10. Find A Pro

Home Elevator Cost

On average, homeowners spend about $20,000 for the elevator itself. This price does not include the cost of installation, which requires the skills of architects, carpenters and electricians. The table below shows the cost breakdown of an elevator installation project.




$15,000 to $25,000


$19,000 to $39,000

Additional Floors

$1,000 to $1,500

Electrician Labor

$75 to $200 per hour

An architect is necessary to custom design the space to make sure the elevator blends into the home design. Architects typically charge between $60 and $125 per hour; however, homeowners may not need to hire an architect for a basic elevator installation.

Chairlift Cost

Home Elevator Cost Factors

The price of an elevator project goes up based on how difficult it is to retrofit the elevator into the existing structure as well as customization. High-end accessories, such as decorative paneling or custom doors, greatly affect the overall price. Most residential elevators are about the size of a closet and can accommodate only a couple of people at a time. Large elevators that can carry over 1,000 pounds or accommodate two wheelchairs side by side are considerably more expensive. Other items that homeowners need to factor into the project cost are construction permits, inspection costs and shipping costs if ordering the elevator from an online supplier.

Chairlift Cost

Chairlifts are by far a more affordable option than an elevator. On average, homeowners spend between $3,000 and $4,000 for chairlift installation. Prices vary depending on the type, distance it needs to travel and other options. Prices range from $3,000 to $5,000 for straight chairlifts. Because of increased difficulty for installation, prices range from $8,000 to $15,000 for curved chairlifts.

Chairlift Cost Factors

Chairlifts often come pre-constructed, which cuts down on labor costs when compared to elevators. Because curved chairlifts must have a custom design, labor expenses are higher for this type. The main factors that affect the cost of a chairlift are customizations and add-ons. These include reclining seats, swivel chairs, armrests and higher quality seats. Houses with non-uniform rises or stairs not easily accessible to electricity can also increase the cost of installation.

Home Elevator Cost Factors

Cost Compared To Other Accessibility Projects

When it comes to making a home more accessible for people in wheelchairs or people who have mobility issues, expenses can add up quickly. Elevators and chairlifts tend to be more expensive than other projects because of the mechanical components. Additionally, these two projects require professional installation, so homeowners cannot save money by opting for do-it-yourself installation. Some other common accessibility projects include:

  • Wheelchair Ramp: $1,285 - $1,841
  • Walk-In Shower: $1,181 - $2,846
  • Bathtub Rails: $89 - $255
  • Room or Hallway Expansion: $1,380 - $4,817

Why Add An Elevator Or Chairlift?

The biggest reason to add an elevator or chairlift to your home is accessibility. Those who have suffered an injury or face issues with mobility find that climbing stairs is difficult, if not impossible. An elevator or chairlift makes it possible to move from one floor of the house to the next easily. For many people, this makes the difference between remaining in their home and transitioning to a care facility. Additionally, the addition of an elevator or chairlift makes a home stand out. It increases property value and attracts buyers who may not have considered a two-story home previously.

Types Of Elevators

Three main types of elevators are available for residential properties. Cable elevators seen in commercial properties are often too large to install in homes. Instead, homeowners can choose from hydraulic, traction and pneumatic elevators, which all take up much less square footage in a home. They differ in size and technology used to raise and lower the cabin from one floor to the next.

  • Hydraulic Elevators: This type of elevator uses a hydraulic arm to raise and lower the cabin. It requires a lot of space since it needs a separate machine room to house the mechanical components in addition to the shaft. This type is easiest and most cost efficient to install in a new construction.
  • Traction Elevators: This type of elevator does not require a machine room. Instead, it slides up and down on a track using a counterweight, and houses its mechanical components in the space above it. As such, it takes up less space and is easier to install when retrofitting into an existing home.
  • Pneumatic Elevators: This is the newest type of elevator available. The shaft is a polycarbonate tube allowing people to see through the walls of the elevator. It works much like the vacuum tube at a bank vault and relies on changes in air pressure to raise and lower the cabin. This type is also easy to install, making it a popular option for both new construction and retrofits.

Types Of Chairlifts

Elevator Design

Homeowners need not worry about unattractive metal doors throwing off the design theme of their home when installing an elevator. Residential elevators can blend in seamlessly with the decor. While pneumatic elevators have a contemporary look with a glass housing, other types can have intricate paneling or wooden doors so that it does not look out of place or can remain hidden. Elevator doors can open outward like standard closet doors, so that it does not stand out in a room.

Types Of Chairlifts

Two types of chairlifts or stairlifts are available in residential settings. Unlike elevators where homeowners can choose the type they prefer, the type of chairlift needed for a home is entirely dependent on the shape of the staircase.

  • Straight Chairlifts: The track goes in a straight line up the stairs. It cannot go around corners or travel across a landing.
  • Curved Chairlifts: The curved track follows the contour of the walls. It can also navigate corners, travel across landings and handle direction reversal. The tracks are custom designed to fit in the home.

Although many people rely on chairlifts for medical reasons, they are not currently covered by any Medicare plans. Nevertheless, with a doctor's letter stating that the chairlift is a medical necessity, homeowners may be able to deduct this medical expense on their taxes.

Find A Pro

A licensed professional must complete elevator and chairlift installation in order to ensure that it meets all safety standards. As such, this big project is best left to the pros. Once you've decided which option is best for your home, let us help you find the right people to get the job done. Use ImproveNet's contractor finder to locate professionals in your area and get started with this project.

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