Ceiling Lifts vs. Sit to Stand Lifts for Seniors: How to Know What You Need


In this post we compare ceiling lifts and sit to stand lifts so that you can decide on the right solution for seniors living at home.

As a caregiver, you know a lot goes into making sure your elderly loved one is safe and comfortable at home.

Depending on their mobility and your own physical capabilities, you may find that you need assistance transferring them from a seated position to standing, moving from the bed to the bathroom, and more.

Ceiling lifts and sit to stand lifts not only provide caregivers with peace of mind that patients can be transferred singlehandedly, but the right lift can foster patient dignity and comfort during essential daily tasks.

This post will cover the following topics to help you understand the difference between ceiling lifts and sit-to-stand lifts:

  • What are patient lifts and how do they help?
  • What types of patient lifts are available?
  • What are sit-to-stand lifts?
  • What are ceiling lifts?
  • What is the difference between ceiling lifts and sit-to-stand lifts?
  • How do I decide if I need a ceiling lift or sit-to-stand lift for senior care?
  • How to choose a lift for senior care at home
  • How are lifts installed in the home?
  • What kind of maintenance or servicing is needed for patient lifts?
  • What about ceiling lift removal?
  • Where to buy patient lifts in Canada
  • Ceiling lifts available in Canada
  • Sit-to-stand lifts available in Canada

Read on to learn more about each topic.

What are patient lifts and how do they help?

Patient lifts are designed to help caregivers transfer patients between the bed, wheelchair, bathroom, or other places in the home safely, quickly, and more easily. This is referred to as safe patient handling and is important in both medical settings as well as in the home.

Using a lift, the caregiver is able to secure the patient safely and the lift facilitates the move using mechanical force. Most lifts today are electrical or battery-powered, but there are also manual lifts that use hydraulics to operate.

What types of patient lifts are available?

There are different types of patient lifts to choose from, and the features vary by manufacturer and model. Some are designed to be used for acute care, others are suited for occupational therapy and rehabilitation, and so forth.

What you need depends mainly on the patient’s mobility, weight, health condition, and level of support needed as well as factors like space available in the home.

Two common types of lifts used for senior home care are sit-to-stand lifts and ceiling lifts. In this post, we will compare the two to help you choose the right lift for your loved one being cared for in the home.

What are sit-to-stand lifts?

Sit-to-stand lifts, such as the Drive LEVANTAR floor lift, are specifically used to help patients transfer from a seated position to standing. They are especially helpful for patients who still have some degree of weight bearing ability but require additional help going from sitting to standing – a task many of us take for granted but that occurs multiple times a day, every day.

Drive LEVANTAR Floor Lift - SFI Medical Equipment Solutions

The main benefit of sit-to-stand lifts are added comfort and independence for the patient. Typical uses include getting up from bed, standing up from a wheelchair, couch, or chair, and more.

Sit-to-stand lifts are also used for rehabilitation for patients recuperating from surgery or an injury, for example.

What are ceiling lifts?

Ceiling lifts, for example the Amico GoLift patient lift, are mounted on an overhead track system and can be either freestanding or permanently installed on the ceiling. Ceiling lifts are designed to transfer patients with limited mobility between the bed, wheelchair, or bathroom.

Permanently installed ceiling lifts are ideal when the patient is cared for in one room, since the lift cannot be moved once it is installed. If you plan on caring for the patient in more than one room in the house, a portable lift is a more practical, cost-effective option.

Amico GoLift Patient Lift - SFI Medical Equipment Solutions

What is the difference between ceiling lifts and sit-to-stand lifts?

The main difference between ceiling lifts and sit-to-stand lifts are that sit-to-stand lifts are for that purpose only—going from a seated to standing position, and vice versa—whereas ceiling lifts are used for multiple types of patient transfers.

How do I decide if I need a ceiling lift or sit-to-stand lift for senior care?

The patient’s physical fitness and how mobile they are is the main deciding factor. Guidance from the patient’s care team and doctor will help make the decision easier.

As mentioned earlier, most ceiling lifts are permanently affixed to the ceiling, while sit-to-stand lifts can be moved freely around the house wherever the person wishes to go (space permitting, of course).

Therefore budget and length of care are therefore part of the decision as well.

How to choose a lift for senior care at home

Once you have decided on the type of lift you need for your loved one, there are several factors to look for when deciding which make, model, and features to choose from.

In general, consider the following when choosing the right patient lift:

  • Patient weight – weight capacity is important, as conventional lifts typically support up to 500 Lb. For heavier patients (usually >500 Lb), you will want to opt for a bariatric lift which supports patients above these weight limits.
  • Patient mobility – is the patient immobile and requiring acute care, or do they have some mobility and just need additional assistance? Guided by the patient’s care team, you will be able to know which option is needed.
  • Duration lift is needed – if you anticipate needing a long-term solution for care and have decided a ceiling lift is the right fit, a permanent ceiling lift is recommended versus a portable ceiling lift.
  • Space in the home – layout and space of the caregiving room will help you figure out if there is space for different sizes and configurations of lifts. Consult with the medical equipment team to help you determine what type of lift your space can accommodate.
  • Number of rooms – if caregiving is limited to a single room, and a ceiling lift is needed, then a permanently installed ceiling lift is a good option. If care takes place in multiple rooms, you may wish to consider a portable lift.
  • Budget – lifts vary in cost depending on features, permanent versus portable, and more. Your budget will affect the type of lift you decide on.

How are lifts installed in the home?

Sit-to-stand lifts do not require installation. However, permanently fixed ceiling lifts need to be installed by trained professionals. This is due to the simple fact that ceiling lifts are large and very technical pieces of medical equipment. Not only is every make and model different, but detailed knowledge of construction and mechanical parts specific to medical equipment is essential.

For safety (both patient and caregiver) and practicality reasons, it is not recommended that individuals or caregivers attempt to install a ceiling lift themselves.

There are also layout considerations that make the installation different from room to room and home to home. Sometimes the track layout is straightforward, while in other cases it needs to be mounted in specific ways to make maneuvering around the room logical and efficient.

The good new is, ceiling lift installations can be easily scheduled for locations in Ontario and across Canada through SFI Medical. We have a team of trained technicians with expert knowledge in ceiling lift installations and maintenance. We work exclusively in long-term care and senior living, so understand the sensitivity required for patient dignity, health, and privacy.

What kind of maintenance or servicing is needed for patient lifts?

For ceiling lifts, track testing and other forms of preventative maintenance are critical to ensuring the safety and performance of the lift. Similar to getting your vehicle checked regularly by a mechanic, lifts need to be maintained over time before a costly repair is needed.

Again, lift servicing and preventative maintenance can be scheduled at your convenience with quick turnaround times. You can choose from annual or semi-annual servicing or simply call us for assistance if you’re not quite sure what you need.

What about ceiling lift removal?

When you no longer need the ceiling lift, you can book a removal appointment. Our technicians will

Where to buy patient lifts for seniors in Canada

Patient lifts can be purchased from the original equipment manufacturers, select retailers, or online through factory authorized providers like SFI Medical. Browse patient lifts, and other products you may need for senior care at home, including hospital beds and bed accessories.

Ceiling lifts available in Canada

Below are select examples of bestselling ceiling lifts available in Canada:

Sit-to-stand lifts available in Canada

The following are a selection of top-selling sit-to-stand lifts available in Canada:


Overall, deciding between ceiling lifts and sit-to-stand lifts is an important consideration for senior care at home. For more information on lifts, our customer service team is available to guide you through the process, from purchasing through installation, maintenance, and removal.

If you need more help or have a question about medical equipment for home care, contact our experienced customer service team today.

SFI Medical is proudly Canadian owned and operated and we serve customers nationwide. For additional cost savings, check our primary service area map to see if you qualify.

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