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Popular Transfer Devices for the Home: What are the Pros and Cons?

A transfer device is a common fixture in an accessible home. People living with mobility limitations related to age, an injury, illness, or a disability often rely on transfer devices. They allow users to move from one piece of furniture or mobility device like a wheelchair to another without needing a caregiver to lift them manually.

For caregivers, a transfer device reduces the risk of developing a sprain or injury during the lifting process, patients will also have the reassurance that they’ll stay safe, elevated, and comfortable while transferring.

But with an extensive range of transfer devices to choose from, you may be unsure what to look for if you want to install one in your home.

We want to make it easier for you, so we’ll compare five popular device types below, and explore their main advantages and disadvantages.

5 Popular Transfer Devices for Accessible Homes

Floor Lift

A floor lift is a freestanding transfer device that is used to move a patient in almost any room in the house.

Manufacturers build floor lifts to suit users of different weights, so some models have greater capacities than others (e.g., 200kg).

It’s vital to check the safe working load of any floor lift before you purchase it to ensure it will suit your needs, be sure to allow for safe storage when not in use.


● Floor lifts are mobile: they can be conveniently transported around the home

● Floor lifts are generally a cost-effective alternative to a fixed lift, and do not need any installation unlike more advanced transfer devices

● No-tool designs (such as the Hoyer® Advance) can be folded for simpler storage


● Floor lifts require the battery to be charged, forgetting to plug in the unit frequently may result in the lift not being usable when needed.

● A floor lift takes up more space than a traditional ceiling lift, and requires a convenient storage spot

Ceiling Lift

A ceiling lift is installed in a fixed position above the user’s required area of transfer on a track system. The lifting device is either fixed (stays on the ceiling) or portable (removable) so that it can be used on another track/s in the home.

The lifting device is attached to a secure track above the user and can be moved to either side to facilitate a smooth transfer. Track systems can be short or longer depending on the requirement and can even be curved to allow for a seamless transfer from one area to another. If needed, an XY track can be installed so the whole room is accessible for the lift to be able transfer anywhere in the room.


● Ceiling lifts can be easier to use than floor lifts, as they require less exertion from caregivers

● Users may be able to control the lift themselves, allowing for more independence

● Fixed ceiling lifts take up less space than traditional floor lifts, which makes them ideal for improving accessibility in small homes


● Ceiling lifts are generally sold at higher prices than floor lifts, and the cost of installation could add an extra expense

● Portable ceiling lifts require the battery to be charged, forgetting to plug in the unit frequently may result in the lift not being usable when needed.

Standing Turn-Disc

Standing turn-discs are widely used in hospitals and care homes. They’re designed to help users with mildly impaired mobility turn in a safer, simpler, more convenient way.

Turn-discs are significantly different from some other transfer devices, such as floor and ceiling lifts. The primary contrast is that the user must be capable of standing and bearing their own weight for a brief period. An example of this device would be the Hoyer Up, or Sarah Steady.


● Standing turn-discs are helpful in environments with little room to maneuver, such as a narrow bedroom or bathroom

● Most models tend to be adjustable, so caregivers can set the handles and knee pads to the right height to maximize user comfort

● Turn-discs make changing from one seated position to another much safer than manually lifting the user

● Standing turn-discs are easier to transport


● Patients must be able to stand for long enough to use the turn-disc safely, so they’re unviable for users unable to remain upright

Stationary Transfer Poles and Handrails

Stationary poles and handrails help users transfer from a seated to standing position without necessarily depending on anybody else. They can enjoy greater independence and freedom to sit or stand at their leisure.

However, caregivers may still be required to assist infirm users who find standing upright difficult.

A transfer pole is a vertical transfer device running from the floor to ceiling, while a rail is affixed to a wall horizontally. Both must be secured properly to ensure the user’s safety: ineffective installation could cause injuries.

Handrails may be installed inside and outside the home. They can be beneficial in a hallway, bathroom, or alongside steps leading down to the street. They can be made of wood to match existing or can be aluminum. They can be basic or modern looking.

Stationary poles must have enough capacity to support the user safely. Always check the maximum acceptable weight before installation.


● Stationary poles allow the user to stand or sit without assistance

● Poles can be installed in multiple rooms, such as beside a favorite chair in a lounge or next to a toilet

● Handrails enable users to walk confidently around the home while holding onto a secured fixture

● Handrails are suitable for interior and exterior installation and can be modular to fit any space with a supporting wall to attach to


● Stationary poles need a solid ceiling to attach to (not a drop ceiling)

● For handrails, you need a wall to attach to

Choosing the Right Transfer Devices for Your Home

Each of the transfer devices covered in this post can make your home more accessible and safer. Speaking to an expert is one of the easiest ways to find out which is best for you — and Total Access Solutions has more than 30 years experience of bringing customers the best accessibility equipment on the market.

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