Delta Complete

Any homeowner or building owner goes through the following dilemma when considering accessibility solutions: Should I add a wheelchair lift or a ramp?

At face value, the ramp seems like a better deal: It’s less costly and likely to be used by more people. However, for multiple reasons, wheelchair lifts, in terms of space, turn out to be more versatile and compact.

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Where You’d Install a Ramp

What’s the biggest difference between a wheelchair lift and a ramp? The amount of space it takes up. As a general rule, a ramp must cover one foot horizontally for every inch off the ground. As a result, when you’re providing accessibility for one foot of vertical distance, a ramp must be 12 feet long.

Yet, not every home or business has this type of space. Furthermore, ramps come with a few safety issues:

  • Wheelchair users and others with mobility issues have to exert greater strength to ascend the incline.
  • If the ramp is outdoors, the risk of snow and ice gathering on the surface remains and must be addressed. Otherwise, you’re creating a slip hazard for all users.


For many buildings, particularly those no more than three stories high, stairs remain the only pathway from one floor to another. This scenario creates a significant obstruction for wheelchair users, and as the building isn’t equipped with an elevator, this creates a situation that doesn’t comply with ADA recommendations.

As an alternative, wheelchair lifts expand mobility options and meet the ADA’s standards. When dealing with stairways, you have two options:

  • An inclined platform lift, with a track aligned with the staircase’s perimeter.
  • A vertical platform lift, which travels up a hoistway from one floor to another.

Nearly Anywhere

When enclosed vertical platform lifts are considered, these can be installed nearly anywhere, as the building or home needs minimal modifications. This entirely self-contained fixture features a drive mast, a passenger platform, and an aluminum or glass enclosure.

As you’re exploring mobility solutions, get Apex Wheelchair Lifts involved. Contact us to learn more about inclined and vertical platform lifts.


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