The Straight & Curved Stairlift Buyers Guide®


A Free Information Databank to Learn All About the Stairlift, Global Leading Manufacturers, Reviews, How to Choose a Stairlift and How to Buy a Stairlift!

Curved Rail Stairlifts

Curved Rail Stairlifts


Types of Drive Systems for Stairlifts

Types of Drive Systems

What are the Different Types of Drive Systems?

Many different drive systems have been used for stairlifts over the years including chain drives, winch drum cable winding machine drives, worm drives and rack and pinion drives. However, the majority of today’s stair lifts use a Battery Power (battery powered) Rack & Pinion Drive System.

Rack and Pinion

Rack and Pinion Drive System
Rack and Pinion Drive System

The majority of today’s stair lift manufacturers, world-wide build a modern state-of-the-art Rack and Pinion Drive System with Battery Power, which has proven itself to be quiet, reliable and with low maintenance. A drive system which will safely operate a stairlift even during a power outage.


A Rack and Pinion stairlift is a motor-powered lifting device. The rack and pinion gear system is used to convert the rotation into linear motion moving the stairlift up and down the stairs. A passenger is moved on a carriage attached to an inclined rail track.


Advanced stairlift Technology and innovation has made strides in rail track design with rigid Aluminum Extruded Rail Track (with a Steel Rack attached) fitted between different floor levels in a home or commercial business.

Winch Drum Cable Winding Machines

Winch Drum Cable Winding Machine
Winch Drum Cable Winding Machine
In July of 1924, the first stairlift built in America was the "lnclinator." A chair bolted to a roller truck to be raised by a cable-winding machine to run on a flanged raiI and narrow enough to take very little room upon the stairway.
A winch is a mechanical device that is used to pull in (wind up) or let out (wind out) or otherwise adjust the "tension" of a rope or wire rope (also called "cable" or "wire cable").
A drum winch is a mechanism that winds wire around a drum while keeping a steady tension on it. A stairlift winch is a type of equipment that is powerful enough to lower and draw or pull a passenger and a chair chassis on an inclined track, up and down a staircase.

Helical Polymer Worm Drive Gear System and Rack

Some stairlift manufacturer worm racks may be made from structural nylon6/6, and the worm may be made with spiral threads of NYLATRON or NYLUBE, which are oil and wax impregnated plastics.
Note: A possible disadvantage of using plastic for the load bearing elements of the drive train in the present invention is that such a material can deform under load.
If the material deforms too much, the spacing between the teeth is compromised and so the distribution of loads over many teeth as is desired to prevent undue stress in any one tooth is also compromised.
Therefore the present further comprehends molding the track in the form of short track sections and using a reinforcement in each track section to prevent undue deformation. the reinforcing element can take the form of a metal insert, which fits into an opening molded into the track section at the time track section is formed.
The reinforcing element can be made from any suitable rigid material and reasonable results have been obtained with steel inserts. Although the reinforcing element could extend the full length of the track section, in the preferred form plastic end sections are provided between adjacent track sections.
This permits a certain amount of deformation to occur on the pre-loading of a track formed from a plurality of track sections, which adds to the dimensional stability of the track under load.
Although other forms of reinforced plastic may also be used, the ones having the reinforcement dispersed within the plastic such a fiber reinforced plastic are less preferred. A problem with such materials is that the reinforcing fibers create too much wear on the drive gear.
The present invention comprehends separate track and plastic rail elements which are joined together. It may be preferred to have the teeth formed separately, so individual teeth can be replaced in the event they become worn or the like over time.   
  1. Rack and Pinion
  2. Winch Drum Cable Winding Machines