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If you are caring for someone who has limited mobility then it can put a physical strain on you if you are having to manually transfer the patient. However, being able to complete safe transfers is an essential part of care but this could be made easier with the use of a ceiling lift.
By making use of a mechanical lift, your body is put under less strain and the person being transferred is a lot safer. But with so many ceiling lifts to choose from and so many factors to consider, you need to be sure that you are getting the right one for your needs as well as something that is well built and fit for purpose.
In this guide, we will be giving you all the information you will need to find the right ceiling lift for you or your loved one as well as providing you with some advice on the ceiling lifts that we think are the best.
Ceiling Lifts Comparison Chart
Liko FreeSpan Straight Rail Ceiling Lift
Fixed Handicare C-450 Ceiling Lift
Lightweight Handicare P-440 Ceiling Hoist
Luna Power Ceiling Hoist Lift
440 lbs or 660 lbs
Ceiling Lift Type
Fixed or portable lift
Max Lifting Range
What is a Ceiling Lift?
A ceiling lift also known as a ceiling hoist is a mechanical device that allows carers to transfer patients from one place to another, or one position to another without having to physically exert themselves. It is a good solution for both those who have limited mobility due to a disability or for the elderly who are no longer able to move about with ease.
The lift is attached to a track that is installed on the ceiling and it can move along this track with the patient in the sling.
There are many benefits to installing a ceiling hoist – the most obvious being that which we have already discussed in that it can make transfers a lot easier for the carer. However, since the room for human error is also removed using this method, it is generally a lot safer for the patient and likely more comfortable.
A ceiling lift is also much easier to store away when it isn’t being used. It can be stored either on the track overhead which vastly frees up floor space. This is a preferable option over the floor-based mobile patient hoist, especially for people who are limited where space is concerned.
Types of Patient Ceiling Lifts
The needs of each user will vary greatly so there is never going to be a one size fits all option when it comes to ceiling lifts.
When choosing a lift, it is important to think about how, where, and why you will be using it, this will help you to make an effective decision on the type of hoist that will match your needs.
Portable Ceiling Lift
In situations where the lift will not be needed all the time, a portable lift might be a better option. Furthermore, for places where the lift may be needed in more than one room but your budget does not allow for fixed lifts in every room, a portable hoist is a viable alternative.
There are two main options for installing a portable hoist – a fixed track or a gantry which is ideal for use in places where it is not possible to fit a fixed hoist. If you opt for a fixed track, you are able to fit as many tracks as are needed around the building whilst making use of one single hoist. A gantry is perfect for use in the short-term or for when traveling is necessary.
Whilst a portable hoist does provide an excellent solution for those who are on a budget or who need various hoists around the home there is the drawback of having to move the lift from room to room which can be tiring work.
Fixed Ceiling Lift
For those who need a lift every day for the long-term, a fixed ceiling hoist is a good option. These hoists are electrically powered so do not require charging meaning that there will never be a worry of having to wait to do the transfer.
What’s more, a fixed ceiling lift looks a lot cleaner and aesthetically pleasing thanks to its compact design and hidden motor.
The fixed lift is frequently used in commercial locations such as nursing homes and hospitals owing to its ability to provide constant use. One of the major benefits of this type of hoist is that there is an option to have tracks running between rooms which can make transferring the patient from one room to another simpler than ever.
However, thanks to the more permanent design, these hoists will require that the building be put back if you ever leave which can be costly. Furthermore, when installing this type of hoist you will require more careful planning and the cost will likely be higher.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Ceiling Lift
How you are going to use the hoist and the needs of the patient will depend on what features you will need to look for when making a purchase.
Of course, as with all mobility aids, safety should be your main consideration but the comfort of the patient and the ease of use for the carer are also very important factors. Here are some important factors you will need to consider:
Maximum Weight Capacity
When looking at ceiling hoists, you will notice that each one comes with a maximum weight capacity, this is the weight that the hoist is able to lift without compromising on safety. If the weight capacity is exceeded this could cause the hoist to buckle, putting the safety of the patient at risk. For this reason, it is important to choose a ceiling hoist that is going to match the weight and size of the user.
For the most part, ceiling hoists can manage between 300lb and 450lb. However, if the user is above this weight there is a great selection of bariatric hoists that will be more suitable and safe.
It is important to think about the layout of the room in which the hoist will be installed. For many people, a hoist will only be required in one room – for example, the bedroom to lift the patient in and out of bed. If this is the case, you are given three main options. You should consider which areas of the room the hoist will need to operate in as well as the room itself.
- A straight monorail makes use of a single track that runs in a straight line and is often the preference for those who need a simple lift from the bed to a wheelchair and back again.
- A straight monorail with a curve is similar in nature to the above but instead features a curve in the track. Primarily this option is chosen purely for aesthetic purposes since the hoist can be easily stored away within the curve or a storage cupboard can be built around it.
- An H frame or an X-Y system is made up of three pieces of track as opposed to a single one like the other options. This is a better option if you need a hoist that can move the patient to different areas of the room.
It is also worth considering whether you will need to transfer the patient between rooms since there are options to install tracks that go from one room to another. The options here are limitless since you are able to combine a variety of frame types to create a custom track system that will match your needs.
Portable or Fixed Lift Unit
We have already looked at the two main types of ceiling hoists so you will understand the importance of choosing an option that will best suit yours and the patient’s needs.
If you are going to need to use the hoist on a permanent basis then it may be better to go for a fixed option. This is also a good option in homes where the hoist is only intended for the use of one person as it can be installed with their individual needs in mind.
A portable hoist is often used in a commercial setting such as a care home or hospice and this is extremely practical thanks to the ability to use one hoist for multiple patients. However, this type of hoist can also be used in a domestic setting where it is not required for a lengthy period of time or perhaps if the patient is traveling or going on vacation.
Manual or Powered?
There are two main power options when it comes to ceiling hoists – manual and powered. The needs of the carer should be taken into consideration here since a manual hoist will require some physical exertion to operate. However, thanks to the smooth design of the modern ceiling hoist, this may not be as strenuous as you may first think. Using this option gives the carer control over the speed of the hoist and will be more cost-effective.
In contrast, an electrically powered hoist may have a steeper upfront cost but it can be a good idea for carers who are unable to move a hoist using their own strength. However, it also means that, provided the patient has the correct cognitive ability, they can hoist themselves. This is usually a preferred option for bariatric patients as transferring them becomes a lot easier and safer.
Best Patient Ceiling Lifts
1. Liko FreeSpan Straight Rail Ceiling Lift
One of the most notable things about this hoist is that it comes in a variety of weight options so there is something to suit every patient with the largest having a weight capacity of 550 lbs.
There is also a great selection of track options in various lengths so you can really adapt the hoist to meet your needs.
This is a freestanding system that is great for being transferred from one room to another so makes a good choice for people who perhaps need help to access the bathroom, for example. The frame is made from lightweight yet durable aluminum making portability even easier whilst guaranteeing the patient’s safety.
The hoist comes with a standard sling but there is the option to upgrade this if the patient needs additional head support, for example.
It is battery operated which makes transfer extremely easy on the carer and in terms of safety is superior thanks to the lockable wheels that will ensure the hoist remains in place whilst being used.
This hoist is a very good option for those who require something for travel since it can be easily disassembled and put back together without the need for any tools.
- Weight capacity: 550 lbs
- Ceiling lift type: Portable lift
- Max lifting range: 99.9″
- Product weight: 97.7 lbs
2. Fixed Handicare C-450 Ceiling Lift
If you are looking for a strong and reliable fixed ceiling hoist then the Handicare C-450 is a great solution. You get a free sling that comes in a variety of sizes and is made from mesh for quick drying and comfort.
One of the great things about this hoist is that it is extremely compact – the smallest of its kind, to be precise which makes this ideal for those who are limited on space. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t strong and durable since it has a generous 450 lbs weight capacity making this ideal for a range of body sizes. It features a 7 and a half foot strap so is ideal for patients who need to be lifted from the floor.
This is also a super-safe hoist thanks to the waterproof controls and the emergency power down. It also boasts a nice-looking digital display.
In terms of operation, this is nothing if not diverse since you have the choice to manually control the device or take advantage of the powerful battery.
- Weight capacity: 450 lbs
- Ceiling lift type: Fixed lift
- Max lifting range: 84″
- Product weight: 24 lbs
3. Lightweight Portable Handicare P-440 Ceiling Hoist
One of the first things that catches your eye about this hoist is it has a super-lightweight design at just 10 lbs so this could be the ideal solution for people who need a hoist for traveling or moving between rooms.
That being said, the lightweight nature of this hoist certainly doesn’t mean that it can’t handle a variety of weights and can lift patients that weigh up to 440 lbs so you can appreciate the durability of this model.
There are many safety features to speak of with this hoist including the flame retardent nature that it boasts as well as the locking system that ensures complete stability whilst the hoist is in use. What’s more, there is an emergency lowering feature and a slack strap sensor – if you need something that is going to reassure you safety-wise, this is a very good choice.
The lift is battery operated and can be easily charged from any normal power point within the home.
- Weight capacity: 440 lbs
- Ceiling lift type: Portable lift
- Max lifting range: 80″
- Product weight: 10.5 lbs
4. Luna Power Ceiling Hoist Lift
Out of all of the hoists we have looked at, this is the priciest option, but you will be getting value for money and optimal safety and comfort from this one, so it could be a wise investment for anyone looking for long-term solutions for patient transfers.
This is both fixed and portable so you are getting the best of both worlds and features a spherical design that provides many benefits. One of the most notable benefits is that this hoist will easily cope with weights of up to 660 lbs meaning it is ideal for bariatric patients who need a safe way to transfer.
The device can be changed from fixed to portable and back again with complete ease so is a great choice for people who have complex and permanent needs.
Where safety is concerned, nothing has been left to chance and the hoist boasts an impressive locking system so that transfers are more secure than ever. There is overload protection and an emergency brake in addition to this – safety truly is paramount.
But the thing that stands out the most with this one is that it is wall mounted which completely eliminates the need for ceiling brackets which can be costly and difficult to install and remove. Furthermore, this gives the equipment a more contemporary look and feel.
- Weight capacity: 440 lbs or 660 lbs
- Ceiling lift type: Fixed or portable lift
- Max lifting range: 86.6″
- Product weight: 15 lbs
Frequently Asked Questions
A ceiling hoist is a great way to comfortably and safely transfer patients with limited mobility and there is a whole world of options that give you the opportunity to customise your ceiling hoist to precisely meet your needs.
In the main, there are two types of hoist – fixed and portable, and which you choose will depend on your needs and how and where you plan to use the hoist.