Through-floor lifts: features and factors to consider

Through-floor lifts: features and factors to consider


Through-floor lifts are often used by wheelchair users and thus require a clear space within the cab. However, if non-wheelchair users plan to use the lift a cab side-mounted seat can be fitted and removed if a wheelchair is required in the future. If the user has difficulty standing from a low chair then the seat will need to be installed high enough to be used as a perching seat.

The size of lift's car / cab and maximum weight limit

Ensure that the lift will be able to manage the weight of the user plus their wheelchair, if they use one. Take care to consider the weight of alternative wheelchairs which may be used in the future.
The recommended internal car / cab size is approximately 1000mm in width and 1500mm in length but will depend on the model of wheelchair in use.

The space required for the lift installation

A recommended size is approximately 1000mm in width and 1500mm in length for the lift plus an area of the same size to allow room to approach the lift in a wheelchair and open the lift door. However, the exact dimensions vary between lifts.

The trap door / aperture

In order to travel between floors a trap door or aperture is constructed in the ceiling / floor which automatically opens and closes. When the lift is on the ground floor the gap in the ceiling is covered by an infill that matches the ceiling of the room, whilst in the upper room the infill blends in with the carpet in that room.

The position of the lift controls

The position of the controls, their size, shape and amount of pressure required may all effect how usable the lift is.

Safety features

Through-floor lifts have several safety features, these may include:

1) Emergency lowering via a wind-down handle or a battery operated back-up system

2) An in car alarm or telephone to call for help

3) An overspeed governor

4) An automatic door locking mechanism when the door shuts

5) A smoke and fire detection monitors within the car that will automatically take the car away from the fire and seal the ceiling aperture

6) A lockable car door, especially if there are young children in the household

7) Sensors underneath the car to detect any objects that could possibly block its path, e.g. toys.

As with many decisions regarding through-floor lift features we recommend you consult an occupational therapist regarding the lift features which best meet your needs.

Read our advice on whether a through-floor lift will be practical in your home or click on the picture below to view through-floor lifts.

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
Conflict of interest statement