Shaftless elevators are small residential elevators designed to fit easily into your home with minimal disruption during installation. They are a great alternative to a stairlift or full size traditional elevator. This type of elevator is most commonly used for convenience and mobility. They are also available in larger versions to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers making a home fully accessible to create independent living.
What Exactly is Shaftless?
The shaft-less design is possible by adding sensors to the exterior of the elevator and changing the operation to “push and hold” style buttons on the control panel. This design is permitted to travel between one floor only.
This type of elevator has a very small footprint and can fit in the tightest of spaces. Since the overall design is compact it is one of the easiest elevators to fit into an existing home. The ingenious design allows for installation of the lift in almost any area you can imagine. They also do not require a pit or separate machine room saving even more space.
While they do not require a shaft-way a partial enclosure can also be used. This is useful in situations where an elevator might fit into a floor plan better with existing walls. For example we’ve seen some elevators installed in closets and pantries converted into a partial hoist way. Shaft-less elevators are installed in the open or semi enclosed as shown here.
Manufactured by six main companies with various designs and requirements for installation, there are options to fit any need. Most standard models will attach directly to a wall supporting the lift while some units are virtually freestanding.
Our Pick Of The Top Models and Manufacturers Include:
View specifications for the different models and compare elevators here.
This model elevator by Stiltz Lifts can fit in a corner or be installed completely in the open. Most standard models will include LED cab lighting, key operated cab controls, wireless call stations, battery backup and an emergency phone.
Advantages of The Shaftless Elevator
In situations where space is limited finding the right location for an elevator can be challenging. The major advantage of a shaft-less elevator is the option to have it installed in a completely open floor plan. The ASME A17.1 and A17.7 2010 elevator code permit a home elevator to travel between one floor without an enclosure. If the elevator is not enclosed the code requires several other safety devices and provisions. It’s important to always check with your local code authority before installing any type of elevator.
How Safe is This Type of Elevator?
Most shaft-less elevators operate with the use of constant pressure controls. In order to operate the lift a control button must be pushed and held in the operating position. If the control button is released while travelling in either direction the elevator will stop instantly. The lifts also have sensors on the top and bottom of the cab to detect an obstruction. Should an object somehow hit one of these sensors the elevator would stop instantly. The cab doors are also fitted with an interlock to prevent movement of the elevator unless the door is in the closed and locked position. Finally as with any residential elevator it will have a backup safety device to stop the elevator on the rails for the ultimate in protection.
How Much Does a Shaftless Elevator Cost?
The price will vary and be more affordable depending on the make and model elevator you choose. Some smaller basic models start in the $20,000 range while larger luxury style models sell for around $35,000. Its also important to consider the building permits, construction, cutting an opening in the floor, electric, etc. are separate cost and will need to be done by the appropriate contractor.
How Shaftless Elevators Work
Here you can see winding drum technology at work as it raises the elevator. The drive and control system are neatly packed on top of this elevator. While the design might vary from individual elevator manufactures the ideal is to keep the mechanical equipment as close and compact as possible. Shaftless elevators will either have a winding drum or hydraulic drive to raise and lower the cab. These elevators will all have a guide rail system for the lift to travel on. The guide rails also serve as part of the safety or braking system.
Video of a Shaft less Home Elevator in Operation
Video of a finished shaftless elevator working. See more videos on our YouTube channel.