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Having an injury, disability, or limited mobility certainly should not mean that your options are limited when it comes to recreation.
Whether you want to get into the water to exercise or simply to relax, this doesn’t need to be a challenge. With a pool lift, users are able to safely and conveniently enter and exit the water.
Pool & Spa Lifts Comparison Chart
Aqua Creek Admiral Pool Lift
Aqua Creek Portable Pro 2 Lift
Hoyer Classic Pool Lift
Aqua Creek Spa Lift Elite
Aqua Creek Mighty 600 Pool Lift
Type of Lift
240 lbs (without counterweight)
What is a Pool Lift?
A pool lift is a mechanical device that is either manually, hydraulically, or electrically powered and is used to help people with disabilities or injuries enter the swimming pool. They are also suitable for other aquatic environments such as a spa or hot tub.
A pool lift could benefit a variety of users. For example, people who suffer with paralysis or other mobility impairments. They are also suitable for those recovering from an injury or surgery and for whom aquatic exercise would be beneficial to their recovery. If you use a wheelchair, have limited strength, or have a chronic illness, it can be much more challenging to get into the water but a pool lift may be a viable solution.
Each user has different requirements and to cater to this manufacturers offer various types of pool and spa lifts. There are those that are portable which are excellent for users who attend a variety of locations. These are great for storage since they can be folded away. A portable pool lift is typically battery-powered and requires no installation.
If you will be using your pool lift in a single location, there is the option to install a permanent fixture. These can be used on both a domestic and commercial scale.
Benefits of Hydrotherapy for Users with Mobility Impairments
Even for people with physical limitations, exercise is known to be incredibly advantageous. However, when in the water, much less pressure is put on the joints and this can make exercising a lot easier for the person. If you have trouble staying on your feet, this could make it impossible to exercise in a standing position but once you enter the water, it carries much of your weight and makes moving a lot easier.
Water therapy is often used by physical therapists thanks to its wide range of benefits for disabled people and those with injuries. Hydrotherapy is known to provide joint relief and help to relax the muscles, not only this but it can be a very calming experience for the patient, particularly those who have sensory conditions such as autism spectrum disorder. Not only this, but studies show that children with ASD may benefit from improved muscle strength, balance, and attention.
For people who experience high levels of discomfort such as the pain associated with conditions like cerebral palsy, hydrotherapy can bring much-needed relief. People with this condition may find that movements outside of the water put a lot of strain on the bones and muscles which can be incredibly uncomfortable and distressing.
In young children, being in the water may help them to hone their balance and fine motor skills. But even into the teenage years and through into adulthood, people may find that hydrotherapy benefits their strength.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Pool or Spa Hoist
When choosing a pool lift, there are several things that you need to keep in mind. Of course, safety is a huge concern but you might also need to think about where the lift will be used, the type of power that is needed, and many other things; let’s take a closer look:
The ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act has laid out strict guidelines for equipment that will be used in the water. Pool lifts must comply with these guidelines so users can feel confident that the equipment is safe for use. If these standards are not met, the pool lift will not be approved by the ADA and this will give you a good indication as to whether you should purchase it or not.
There are several regulations that the ADA has set out for the pool lift including an appropriate seat width, maximum water depth, weight capacity, and the inclusion of foot and arm rests. These are features that a buyer would expect to see so if they aren’t included, you should avoid these products.
The majority of pool lifts will have a weight limit of 300 lbs. However, this does not mean that larger users are exempt from using this type of equipment. In this case, you will need to purchase a bariatric lift which will have a much higher weight capacity.
It is imperative to never use a pool lift if your weight exceeds its limit as this could cause the lift to become damaged and will put your safety at risk.
Generally speaking, a fixed pool lift will have a more generous weight capacity when compared to their portable equivalents but it is important to look at the weight limit of any pool lift before committing to it.
Depending on the environment, you may need your pool lift to reach varying heights. For example, users must think about whether there are any obstacles that need to be cleared in order to get into the water. Are there steps leading up to the water or is there a wall in the way?
Moreover, you should think about where the pool is located. If it is outdoors, you won’t have the problem of a ceiling. However, when working indoors, you will need to be sure that the lift can safely operate without impacting with the ceiling.
When fitting a fixed pool lift, you will need to make sure that the deck upon which it will sit is suitable for this type of installation. When you are shopping for a pool or spa lift, you will notice that there are typically several anchoring options. These should be suitable for a variety of common poolside surfaces such as wood, tiles, and concrete.
However, despite this, there may be times when alterations to the deck need to be made and this is something that you are prepared to face. Not only this, but there may be additional costs for these modifications. Most reputable pool lift installation companies will provide you with a free quote and assessment of the area, offering advice on any additional work that needs to be done as well as the most appropriate anchor types.
Type and Location of Pool/Spa
The type of pool or spa that you are going to be using will have an impact on the type of lift that you should use. For example, if the pool is at ground level, you may be able to use a portable lift. Conversely, for pools that are above ground, a fixed lift may be a better option as it will much more freely be able to clear any obstacles.
The weight of a fixed hoist isn’t too much of a consideration. However, if you are intending to purchase a portable lift then you will need to think about how easy it is to transport. While these lifts are designed to be portable, there may be those that are not as lightweight as you might expect. This can make moving them from location to location much more challenging.
Try to look for a pool hoist that is made from lightweight yet robust materials making it much easier to move around.
Head Rest and Footrest
For users who may have severe mobility impairments, a head rest and footrest can provide additional support as they are moved in and out of the water. Furthermore, it will be far more comfortable for the user. The person in the hoist should have the utmost stability during the transfer and if safety is at all compromised, another lift should be considered.
Some pool lifts also feature arm rests and according to the ADA, this is a preferable, but not mandatory feature. The armrests can offer another level of support for the user, which is vital if they are unable to support themselves.
Manually, Battery or Hydro Powered?
If you opt for a portable lift, these are always battery powered. You will charge the lift in between uses but it is vital to ensure that they are fully charged before using to prevent them from stopping during a transfer.
When it comes to fixed pool lifts, there are several options. You can choose a battery or electric-powered lift but there are also manual and hydraulic lifts. The hydraulic lift uses pressure from the water in the pool, so you need to ensure that the water pressure is sufficient, whereas the manual lift requires an assistant to hand crank the device.
An electric lift is excellent for patients who would like to be able to use the lift without assistance. They usually come with a waterproof control and are easy to use. However, it is important to keep in mind that these lifts are typically more costly.
Best Fixed and Portable Pool & Spa Lifts
Having considered all of the above points, we looked at several pool lifts and have determined that the following are some of the best on the market. We have tried to include a diverse range of options that will meet varied needs.
1. Aqua Creek Admiral Pool Lift
One of the most important features of this pool lift is that it is incredibly well made and durable. The frame is made from a powder-coated stainless steel which offers a rust-proof and robust structure. Where safety is concerned, this is paramount.
The lift is ADA certified and comes with adjustable armrests and an adjustable seat giving you the ability to tailor the lift to the user. There is also a footrest and seat belt for safety. It has a weight limit of 450 lbs so is suitable for a wider range of users, making it an excellent choice for a commercial setting.
This lift operates on a 24v rechargeable battery and offers smooth and easy transfers. It boasts a compact design that is perfect for smaller areas. However, it is important to point out that while the lift comes fully assembled, the anchors need to be purchased separately.
- Lift capacity: 450 lbs
- Type of lift: battery powered
- Setback range: 14.5″ – 19″
- Min anchor setback: 14.5″
- Max anchor setback: 19″
- Product weight: 130 lbs
2. Aqua Creek Portable Pro 2 Lift
This is an easy to use portable lift with a weight limit of up to 400 lbs. It boasts a superbly stable design and a solid steel frame that offers excellent durability.
The Pro 2 pool lift can be used with concrete counterweights, which can be purchased separately. Alternatively, you can use sand which will help to keep it steady during pool or spa transfers. The lift can easily be transported by simply tilting it back and then rolling it to its destination.
The lift features a smooth seat with an adjustable footrest, lap belt, and flip-up arms to allow for easier transfers. With a higher seat back, this lift offers excellent support for the user. It comes with a water-resistant handheld control which is great for users who want to be more independent, and the wall-mounted charger makes for easy operation.
Owing to its portable design and easy-to-use functions, this is an ideal lift for residential use.
- Lift capacity: 400 lbs
- Type of lift: battery powered
- Setback range: 6″
- Max deck to water: 13″
- Product weight: 240 lbs (without counterweight)
3. Hoyer Classic Pool Lift
Installing a pool lift can often be a costly venture but there are some excellent budget-friendly options on the market. The Hoyer Classic pool lift offers all the features and safe operation you would expect from a more high-end lift, without the high price tag.
With a lifting range of up to 86.3″ this is ideal for indoor and outdoor use and thanks to the sling-type seat, the user is given a good degree of comfortable support. However, this may not be suitable for users who cannot hold themselves up. The mesh design is perfect for the water and is quick drying and breathable.
This is a hydraulic lift that has a weight limit of 400 lbs and boasts a sturdy stainless steel frame that is durable and safe. What’s more, with a special coating, the frame is designed not to rust or corrode even in humid and moist environments.
- Lift capacity: 400 lbs
- Type of lift: hydraulic powered
- Min lifting range: 24.3″
- Max lifting range: 86.3″
- Product weight: 60 lbs
4. Aqua Creek Spa Lift Elite
This is a battery-powered lift that boasts a compact design which is ideal for spa use. The lift is ADA approved and has all the features you would expect from a lift designed for above ground water. It features a rechargeable battery and a height clearance of up to 68″.
The frame is incredibly durable, made from a power-coated stainless steel and offers a structural warranty of five years. The seat features flip-up armrests and a leg rest for added support and comfort and the lift has a weight capacity of 300 lbs.
Thanks to the remote control, the user is able to use the lift without assistance which is great for independent living. While everything is included, you do need to buy the anchors separately.
- Lift capacity: 300 lbs
- Type of lift: battery powered
- Min anchor setback: 10″
- Seat to floor height: 19″
- Product weight: 185 lbs
5. Aqua Creek Mighty 600 Pool Lift
For heavier users, a bariatric lift is essential. These lifts will ensure that your weight is sufficiently supported and that the lift is safe for use. The frame is made from solid stainless steel which is lightweight yet incredibly durable. The structure comes with a five-year warranty for your peace of mind. The seat has a safety belt as well as arm and footrests.
This is a battery-powered pool lift that comes with a wall-mounted charger making accessing the charging point easier for the user who can operate it independently. With a weight capacity of up to 600 lbs, this is ideal for larger adults.
No matter how the user wishes to enter the water, the 360º rotation of the seat gives you freedom. Everything is included such as batteries, the seat, and a charger, however, you should keep in mind that the anchors are not included and should be purchased separately.
- Lift capacity: 600 lbs
- Type of lift: battery powered
- Min anchor setback: 24″
- Max anchor setback: 44″
- Seat to floor height: 18″
- Product weight: 170 lbs
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