How Do Wheelchair Lifts Work?

How Do Wheelchair Lifts Work?

Wheelchair lifts, also called vertical platform lifts or porch lifts, are mobility devices that allow wheelchair and scooter users a convenient method of accessing entryways, decks, porches, and even second floors. Because they require a relatively small amount of space to operate—as little as a 3-feet-by-6-feet for some models—wheelchair lifts are well suited for spaces too confining for ramps. But how do wheelchair lifts work? Although they bare some obvious similarity to elevators, their mechanics are quite different.

The Difference Between Wheelchair Lifts and Elevators

How Do Wheelchair Lifts Work?Traditional elevators are basically little rooms that are pulled up and lowered down a shaft by cables powered by a motor housed at the top of a pulley system. A wheelchair lift, on the other hand, uses a hydraulic drive mast under the platform to lift and lower the enclosure to its destination. No cables are involved. This method of operation is possible because wheelchair lifts do not change elevation nearly as much as a typical elevator. Most transitions are in the 4-to-6-foot range, with 14 feet being the maximum. Both elevators and lifts are, however, activated by buttons, the difference being that lifts can be stopped at any point in their journey, whereas elevators are programmed to stop only at designated places except in emergencies.

The Company to Turn to for Aging-in-Place Products

At the Barrier Free Store, we proudly offer and install Bruno wheelchair lifts for homeowners throughout the Upper Peninsula. Bruno manufactures both indoor and outdoor models, all of which feature:


  • Automatic self-lowering folding ramps
  • Safety sensors that will stop the lift if an obstruction is detected below
  • A backup battery for continued operation in the event of an electrical outage
  • Lift capacities of up to 750 lbs.


What’s more, since we’re a local company headquartered in Marquette, Michigan, we’ll be here to provide prompt service should your lift ever need servicing. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary home evaluation and consultation as the first step in your home improvement project. As Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists (CAPS), we’re the company to turn to for all your home mobility solutions.

(906) 225-1377
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