Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Ceiling Lift - Expert Recommendations Included

A-Series Ceiling Lift By Handicare

A ceiling lift is a motorized accessibility device that lifts and transfers individuals with limited mobility from point to point (from a wheelchair, bed, toilet, or shower) along an overhead track. 


Caregivers or nurses, as well as patients in care homes or residential spaces, are often faced with the possibility of work-related injuries, as they are regularly tasked with lifting, transporting, and repositioning patients with limited mobility. The risk associated is due to manually lifting and transferring patients.


However, with a ceiling lift you no longer need to depend on manual lifting, reducing the risks associated with it and enabling patients with limited mobility to be transferred in a comfortable, dignified, and safe manner. 


This guide will teach you everything you need to know about the ceiling lift system and provide recommendations for specific products. 

Benefits of a Ceiling Lift Track System 


A recent study from the Caregiver Action Network revealed that 29% of people (more than 65 million individuals) in the United States care for a disabled, chronically ill, or aged friend/family member. 


Using a ceiling lift track system provides benefits for this population, both people with limited mobility and their caregivers. Let’s look at the benefits of using a ceiling lift track system in more detail.

Greater Freedom


The CDC recently reported that 2 in 5 people older than 65 years experience at least one mobility disorder. For this vast population a lift system provides a feeling of freedom, giving an improved emotional state and a greater quality of life. 


Ceiling lifts allow access to areas they wouldn't have been able to go previously. The track lift systems also enable seamless transfers, reducing excessive assistance from others. 

Reduced Risk of Injuries


An overhead patient lift provides a safe and stable transfer method that reduces the risks of falls, injuries, and accidents during patient transfers. 


With a ceiling lift track system, the physical strain on the caregiver is drastically reduced, minimizing injuries. Ceiling lifts help reduce the need for manual handling and uncomfortable lifting positions, decreasing injury and physical strain for both parties. 

Molift Quattro Rail System for Ceiling Lifts Carer Use

For instance, in the above image of the Molift Quattro Rail System, the caregiver is using a remote to control the lift which will eliminate the strain associated with manual lifting.Also, most options come with an adjustable padded sling connected to the ceiling lift track will ensure comfort for the individual with limited mobility during transfers. 

Save Time and Effort


Caregiving is hard work when done manually; ceiling lifts drastically lessen the demands required of a caregiver. Streamlining relocation makes transferring more efficient than the typical manual lifting options. 


The outcome is that caregivers can give their time and energy to other important caregiving tasks. 


To understand this better, on average, it takes up to 20 minutes or more to manually transfer a limited mobility patient, depending on their size and weight. On the other hand, with a ceiling lift track system, it takes approximately 10 minutes to transfer the patient. 


Greater Adaptability to Needs


Lift systems provide adaptability and flexibility that cater to patient-specific needs across numerous scenarios. 


Whether installed for home use or in a facility, ceiling lift systems can be adjusted to accommodate different environments and spaces. 


You can install them in living areas, bedrooms, bathrooms, or other locations. There are also portable ceiling lift systems that have even greater flexibility in unowned spaces,  like the Portable P-400 Portable Handicare Ceiling Patient Lift (pictured below).

On Sling Front View - Castor Free Standing Track P-440 Portable Ceiling Lift by Handicare - Wheelchair Liberty

 

Who is a Ceiling Lift System For?


Persons that directly benefit from a ceiling lift track system include non-ambulatory, developmentally disabled, and medically fragile individuals with a history of muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disease), spinal cord, brain injury, or any long-term disability. 


Ceiling lifts are appropriate for all the above conditions and other limited mobility situations as they allow such medically dependent individuals to move about in certain spaces seamlessly. 


Components of a Ceiling Lift System


It is a no-brainer that ceiling lifts are complex systems and it is therefore necessary to understand the various components of one to get a full grasp of their functionality. 

Overhead Ceiling Track Systems 

Used For Sling Sitting Position - Castor Free Standing Track P-440 Portable Ceiling Lift by Handicare - Wheelchair Liberty
CASTOR FREESTANDING TRACK FOR P-440 PORTABLE CEILING LIFT BY HANDICARE

There are 2 primary track systems that ceiling lifts are installed on whether portable ceiling lifts, permanent, or freestanding. 

Permanent Track 


This ceiling lift track is permanently mounted and has rails that the caregiver can install whenever they need to transport the limited mobility individual within the home or space. 

Usually, these mounted tracks are installed as a part of the entire ceiling lift solution when the caregiver opts for a fixed option. 


Portable Ceiling Track Lift System 


These tracks are also called freestanding tracks and are fully relocatable, allowing the caregiver to move them and set them wherever required without requiring home reconstruction.   These tracks can be 2 directional or can even go in 4 directions.  

 

Motor 


The ceiling lift motor can either be permanent or portable. The portable motors can be moved from one track to another unconnected track.


The permanent motors, on the other hand, are used in situations where the tracks are connected, or only needed in a single small space, so there is no need to relocate the motor. 


Trolley

Trolley with propulsion and in rail charging for the Molift air 350 ceiling lift

The Trolley is the part of an overhead ceiling lift system that connects the motor (permanent or portable) to the track (permanent or portable). While small and often overlooked, the trolley is an important piece that will come with different features like in-rail rechargeable batteries, propulsion (automated movement along the track via a handheld control), etc. 

Suspension Arms 

2 and 4 Pt  Suspensions - Suspension Arms for Molift Mover & Molift Partner Patient Lifts - 2,4,8 Point by ETAC | Wheelchair Liberty
SUSPENSION ARMS FOR MOLIFT MOVER & MOLIFT PARTNER PATIENT LIFTS - 2-POINT, 4-POINT, 8-POINT BY ETAC

The suspension arms are the hooks to connect the sling. These come in different sizes (small, medium, or large) depending on your weight bearing needs. Suspension arms are not always sold separately, and in fact, if you are purchasing a portable motor, they will be integrated into the motor itself

Patient Slings 


Slings are the most diverse of all the components of a ceiling lift system as they come in all types, including bathing, general transfer, toileting, and sit-to-stand. 

The weight of the user also determines the kind of sling that will be used on the ceiling lift. There are a couple of trusted brands like Hoyer, Molift, and Handicare that offer durable and authentic slings.  For more on slings, we’ve written an article to get a full understanding.

Control System 


Ceiling lift systems have user-friendly controls that allow caregivers to operate the ceiling lift easily. The controls usually include a remote or buttons for precise control of lowering/lifting features and these are included with the purchase of the motor. 

Additional Components 


Depending on your particular needs there are a couple of other components that should be considered like a more lengthy lanyard for high ceilings or a longer suspension arm, which make it easier for portable motors to detach from the track.

Primary Safety Features of Ceiling Lifts

Emergency Stop Button

Hand Control - C-625 Fixed Ceiling Patient Lift By Handicare | Wheelchair Liberty

Safety features of a ceiling lift system include an emergency stop button that immediately halts the lifting process in the event of an unexpected situation or emergency. 


Overload Lifting Prevention 


Quality ceiling lifts come out of the box with an overload protection mechanism that stops the unit from lifting limited mobility individuals that weigh beyond its in-built weight capacity.

Warning Indicators


Ceiling lifts incorporate visual and audible indicators giving feedback on actions taken during operation. The indicators notify caregivers about system malfunctions, battery status, and the general state of the unit ensuring the health of the system 

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Ceiling Lift

Track 


You can either opt for a permanent track or a portable track. The option depends on how you intend to use the system. 


If you will use the ceiling lift track system in more than one room or throughout your entire house for extended periods then you want to go for the permanent track setup. This is especially true if you own your home as it is permanent. 


If you only have one or two spaces where you intend to do transfers then you may not want to incur the cost and time of installing a permanent ceiling lift track system. 


The portable track system makes it easier to set up the ceiling lift if you are constantly on the go or not residing in a permanent space. 

Motor


As explained above in the component section, if you intend to use non-connected tracks or portable tracks you will need a ceiling lift that offers a portable motor like the Molift Nomad. But if you have a single room or have connected tracks as is the case of a permanent ceiling lift system then you would want to go for one with a permanent motor.


Also, depending on the brand of ceiling lift you're going for, the motor may offer different features. For example, most Handicare ceiling lifts come with an LED-ready light that turns red after 1 minute of dis-use, which indicates that the motor is in power saving mode. 

Trolley - In Rail Charging and Propulsion 


Two popular features of the ceiling lift system are In Rail Charging and Propulsion.


In Rail Charging or, IRC, means the battery of your ceiling lift will always be ready for operation because the unit charges while it is in use. 

Molift Duo Rail Systemfor Ceiling Lifts Whole Image Feat Bed and Chair

Propulsion is what enables the overhead ceiling lift track system to move the patient forward/back or left/right using a remote.  If you don’t have propulsion, your remote will only move the patient up and down. In this case, the patient must be moved by manually pushing left/right and forward/backward along the tracks.


Both options are available on most permanent motor systems and can often be used on permanent or portable tracks.

Suspension Arm 


If you choose a portable motor, it will come with an integrated suspension arm. However, a permanent motor needs a 2pt or 4pt suspension arm. 


The pt (point) option determines the number of attachment points you will have to connect the ceiling lift sling. For instance, a 4pt bar suspension arm will give you more room to adjust the patient's position allowing for more head room. 


Budget


Depending on features, weight capacity and portability of the ceiling lift, pricing will differ. Consider your budget against the main features you're looking for. All products come with a warranty, which secures your investment.

Weight Capacity


The weight allowance of ceiling lifts is one of the most important considerations when knowing the right option. Each ceiling lift comes with its specific weight capacity. Most lifts offer a standard weight capacity typically between 300 to 450 pounds, and there are bariatric ceiling lifts built for patients that exceed the standard weight limits. 

Caregiver Use Front View - C-800 Bariatric Ceiling Lift By Handicare | Wheelchair Liberty

Handicare and Molift, for example, offer permanent models with a work capacity that ranges from 300 lb to 1,000 lb, while the portable units are available in weight capacities from 300 lb to 600 lb. 

Ceiling Lift Height


Ceiling lifts come with different height ranges from one lift model to another. Certain lift models  span the height of a room while others have advanced positioning options that provide a wider range of lifting height. For instance, being able to go low enough to carry a patient from the floor and high enough to the mattress height.


To ensure that your lift is perfect for your space, measure the height the user needs to reach a particular location (from a chair to its maximum supported height). 


Space


When using a portable track system, the size of your space will determine how large the track can be. Additionally, if obstacles, like structural beams or stairs are in a space, the permanent or portable track may need to move or go around the obstacle.

Slings 


The sling is one of the most crucial pieces of any ceiling lift system, as it supports the individual during transfer. 


Picking the right sling size is vital to achieving the most comfortable transfer for the patient. The 3 most important components to consider when choosing a sling include thigh size, patient waist size, and user height. 


Other factors including the patient's weight distribution, disabilities, and overall physique should be considered before picking your sling size. Check out our detailed section on slings in choosing the right patient lift article for more. 

Safety Features 


Your choice of ceiling lift should offer standard safety features that ensure a safe and comfortable patient transfer. 


These features include pneumatic hand control, slack strap sensor, positive locking latches, battery light indicator, over-speed governor, manual override option, and an emergency stop control.  

Expert Recommended Ceiling Lifts 

Molift Nomad with the Molift Quattro Track

Molift Nomad Patient Ceiling Lift - Carer Use Lady

Molift Nomad is our recommended portable ceiling lift for those on the go. It has a lightweight curved shaped design, with an in-built 4 point sling for enhanced safety and seamless transfers. 


The portable ceiling lift is easy to assemble as it does not require tools to set up. It even features in-built handles that make it effortless to handle and carry. 

Despite its lightweight build (weighs 15 lbs), which makes it easy to move from room to room, the Molift Nomad has a weight capacity of up to 562 lbs.  


This portable ceiling lift also offers industry-standard safety features such as overload protection, emergency stop, and an automated emergency lowering function.


Molift Nomad is best used on the Molift Quattro track rail system. The Quattro track is built for temporal lift applications and is easy to install without having to make permanent changes to your ceilings or walls. 


The Molift Quattro track, like the Nomad, has a lightweight build with 4 posts, which make it seamless to assemble and disassemble when on the move. If used with the Molift Nomad, the ceiling lift system can transfer patients weighing up to 300 lbs.

Molift Nomad Specifications

Weight

Dimensions 

     (LxWxH)

Battery

Charge Time

Material 

Safe Load

14.9 lbs

52.2 x 20 x 33 cm

NiMh 26.4v - 2.6Ah

4 hours

Reinforced composite and aluminum

Up to 562 lbs



Molift Air 350 Patient Ceiling Lift 

Molift air 350 ceiling lift being used by a woman and a caregiver

The Molift Air 350 Patient Ceiling Lift by ETAC offers a powerful and flexible hoist with a lifting capacity of up to 350 kg. Despite having a lifting capacity of 350 kg, the Molift Air 350 weighs just 8.6kg. It is 360 mm long, 190 mm wide and 195 mm tall. This makes it easy for caregivers to move during transfers. 


Based on user feedback, Molift Air 350 is easy to use and offers maximum comfort. Aside from creating a better working situation for caregivers, it can also be handled by patients, minimizing injuries, and offering dignified quality of care. 


The hoist is flexible and suitable for both sitting and horizontal transfers. It is also suitable for standing and gait training. The hoist can be operated with permanent ceiling tracks and portable free-standing systems.


When combined with the Molift Rail System and Molift Slings, the Molift Air 350 ceiling lift, offers a fully automated lifting system and eliminates strenuous manual lifting. 


The Molift Air 350 ceiling lift is made with aluminum and plastic which gives it a discreet look and enables it to blend into any environment. 


The Molift Air 350 hoist is powered by a lithium battery which offers a soft start and stop operation. The battery has an average charge time of 6 hours. The package includes a battery charger ( 100-240 V AC, 40-60 Hz).


The hoisting speed of the Molift Air 350 is 60 mm/sec at a 75 kg load. With a hoisting interval of 2600mm.


It is also very durable with low lifetime service costs with an expected lifetime of 30,000 lifts SWL/are. We also recommend the Molift Quattro Rail System for ceiling lifts, as it offers 6 directions in a compact and easy-to-set-up unit. 


Molift Air 350 Specifications

Weight

Dimensions 

      (LxWxH)

Battery

Charge Time

Material 

Safe Load

18.9 lbs

36 x 19 x 19.5 cm

Lithium 25.6v LiFeP04 2.4/ah

6 hours

Aluminum and plastic

Up to 771.6 lbs




Handicare C-Series Ceiling Lifts 

Bed To Chair Caregiver Use - C-625 Fixed Ceiling Patient Lift By Handicare | Wheelchair Liberty

Handicare offers 4 ceiling lift models in the C-Series. The available models include: C-450 (450 lb or 204 kg), C-625 (625 lb or 284 kg), C-800 (800 lb or 364 kg), and C-1000 (1000 lb or 454 kg). 


The Handicare C-Series ceiling lifts have a lifting range of up to 96 inches and a service life of 10 years or 22,500 cycles. 


Handicare C-Series ceiling lifts are equipped with several security measures including emergency stop, emergency lowering devices, and emergency manual lowering. 


Our favorite Handicare ceiling lift is the C-625 Fixed Ceiling Lift. It can carry up to 625 lb and offers several features including emergency stop, quick lifting speed, modular design for easy maintenance, emergency power lowering on the lift, and a digital display. 

The C-625 series supports both manual and power traversing. It offers at least 7 inches (18 cm) of additional lifting height and 7.5 ft (2. 2m) foot strap vertical movement for easy lifting from the floor.


It has a digital display that indicates the lift status, number of lifts, and battery charge levels. It has an audible low battery indicator.


Handicare C-625 Fixed Specifications

Weight

  Dimensions     

     (LxWxH)

Battery

Charge Time

Material 

Safe Load

24 lbs

31.75 x 14.48 x 21.84

Sealed Lead Acid, 24 VDC, 5.0 AH

5 hours

Aluminum

Up to 625 lbs


Hoyer Ceiling Lifts 


Hoyer ceiling lifts offer flexible tracking systems for total room coverage. Hoyer ceiling lifts can accommodate a variety of patient sizes and come in 3 categories: Portable units ( 300/450 safe weight load), Compact Units (450/625 safe weight load), and Heavy duty units (1000 safe weight load). 


Their ceiling lifts are tested to EN ISO 10535, which is the global standard for patient lifts.


The ceiling Hoyer lift is flexible and offers easy mobilization, repositioning, and turning. They are also easy to operate and less obstructive to the patient. The lifts feature in-rail charging and have release trolleys for easy removal of the motor from the rail. 


Hoyer Ceiling Lifts also have diagnostic software with an easy-to-read display and offer 5 rail options LT Rail, Max Rail, Standard Rail, Standard Rail with Wings, and HD rails. 


Our favorite Ceiling Hoyer lift is the Hoyer Elara as the ceiling lift features a unique 4-wheel driver power traverse option which offers good in-rail traction and reduces the manual labor required to transfer or reposition patients. 


Its lifting range of 94.5 inches makes it possible for the lift to transfer patients from the floor to high surfaces. The loaded lifting speed is 1.3” or 3.4 cm per second.


Features of Hoyer include: 


  • Compatible with several spreader bars that support a variety of slings. 
  • The Spreader bar can be easily detached from the lifting strap via a safe quick release mechanism 
  • It has a large backlog LCD screen for navigating menus, safety warnings and Hoyer Smart monitor data
  • The Lift also features a power save/sleep mode. The lift automatically switches to sleep mode after a short period of inactivity to conserve battery. Full operating power is returned to the lift once user input is detected 
  • The Hoyer Elara ceiling lift can be fitted with a class III scale for easy monitoring and tracking of fluctuations in patient's weight 
  • The lift is also fitted with several safety features including audible and visible alerts, an overload safety meter, a slow emergency lower function, an emergency stop, and durable hand control protected from splashing water
  • It is powered by a rechargeable battery. The maximum charging time for the battery is 6 hours with an average of 40 lifts per charge (176 lbs or 80 kg) 

Get in touch for a Hoyer Ceiling Lift quote. 


Hoyer Elara Specifications

Weight

Dimensions 

      (LxWxH)

Battery

Charge Time

Material 

Safe Load

18.9 lbs

31.5 x 21.0 x 17.9 cm

Sealed Lead Battery 12.0v and 2.3Ah rated capacity

6 hours

Aluminum and plastic

Up to 625 lbs


Where to Buy the Right Patient Ceiling Lift (Permanent or Portable)?


Buying the right ceiling lift is a complex decision, besides budget considerations and features, you must sort through many products. We’ve created this guide to help you make an informed decision. 


Wheelchair Liberty offers a wide range of the best ceiling lifts that adhere to the industry standard of safety. Contact us today to discuss your needs: 888-998-8840 or info@wheelchairliberty.com.




Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

★ Reviews

Let customers speak for us

511 reviews
95%
(483)
3%
(16)
1%
(5)
0%
(0)
1%
(7)
Five stars

I'm completely satisfied with product,service and customer service provided five star service!!!

Device

I have not received the device and have not been giving any reason despite contacting the delivery company. They sent an email saying it would be resolved the 25th and I sent an email called this morning. I got no answer as to when it would be delivered.