When it comes to outdoor accessibility for mobility-reduced homeowners, many struggle to choose between traditional wheelchair ramps and modern porch lifts. Many believe that ramps are the most affordable, practical solution for their mobility needs; however, wheelchair ramps come with a host of hidden complications and costs that make them less economical than most people think. That said, your unique mobility needs, property characteristics, budget, and other factors will ultimately determine which outdoor accessibility solution is right for you.
With over 30 years of experience in manufacturing home elevators and lifts, RAM Elevators + Lifts has helped countless customers across North America find the right accessibility products for their unique needs. Read on to learn more about the benefits of outdoor wheelchair lifts compared to ramps below.
The primary benefit of wheelchair lifts compared to ramps is saving space. In most jurisdictions, building codes have specific requirements for wheelchair ramps. While every code will vary, a general rule of thumb is that one inch of vertical rise will require at least a foot of ramp to maintain a safe slope and gradient. This can add up fast; a typical 5-step porch would need a ramp approximately 35 feet long! Many residential properties don’t have the room for a safe wheelchair ramp without reconfiguration, landscaping, and even full-scale renovations.
In stark contrast, modern wheelchair lifts take up virtually no space, especially when compared to a ramp. RAM’s Trus-T-Lift only requires a 5′ X 5′ area for installation and use. Thanks to their compactness, wheelchair lifts are ideal for homeowners who lack the space in either their yard to meet ramp requirements, or simply don’t want to sacrifice their yard to make it accessible.
Save Time (And Money!)
Because wheelchair ramps are larger, they require more site preparation than many other mobility solutions. As noted above, this can include landscaping, reconfiguring the space in your yard, or even full-scale renovations to your property. All of this costs both time and money; permit costs, design, materials, contracting, and other expenses can make installing a ramp more expensive than a more sophisticated mobility solution.
Because of their lower space requirements, wheelchair lifts require less site preparation. As a result, installation is often drastically faster and less expensive. For example, RAM’s Short Rise 28″ Trus-T-Lift can be installed in mere hours, while our 52″ and larger configurations can be operational in a few days, as opposed to the weeks (if not months) ramp site preparation can take. Overall, wheelchair lifts save homeowners time, space, and hassle, both in the short and long term.
Especially in locations with inclement weather, safety is a critical consideration in any outdoor accessibility feature. Ramps can quickly become slippery with rain, snow, or ice, making them more of a hazard than an aid for homeowners. At best, you’ll have to find the resources to keep your ramp clear at all times. At worst, extreme weather can lay waste to even the strongest wheelchair ramp in a few short years, requiring expensive and time-consuming replacement to maintain your mobility.
While not every wheelchair lift is built to stand up to extreme weather conditions, RAM Trus-T-Lifts are engineered to handle nearly anything Mother Nature throws at them. Our field-proven All-Electric Drive System offers dependable performance with minimal upkeep (and no harsh smells from hydraulic fluids). Meanwhile, our patented Zero-Load Start design protects the Trus-T-Lift motor from extreme weather conditions (-40ºC to +40C), ensuring reliability that lasts a lifetime. Finally, our non-slip platform and high-sided enclosure keep you safe, secure, and comfortable in any weather.
RAM Trus-T-Lift Outdoor Wheelchair Lifts
RAM Elevators + Lifts has proudly provided easy, affordable accessibility products since 1987. Over the last thirty-plus years, we’ve learned that our lifts become part of our customers’ routine; today, we engineer and manufacture products that offer freedom of mobility that lasts a lifetime.
Our Trus-T-Lift products are ideal for indoor and outdoor mobility. RAM’s exclusive design features provide compact, versatile performance that easily integrates into any space. With configurations, peripherals, and accessories suited to any mobility requirement, RAM Trus-T-Lifts are ready to get you moving and keep you going for as long as you’re in your home.