How to Choose the Best Ceiling Patient Lift

A ceiling lift is a stationary patient lifting device. Mounted on a rail system and either permanently installed or freestanding, ceiling lifts help to transfer patients between a bed, toilet, or wheelchair. 

Features to consider when purchasing a ceiling lift

Design: portable or permanent?

While all ceiling lifts use an overhead track along which the lift can be moved, lifts typically have different options for attachment. 

Some lifts are permanently affixed to an indoor ceiling track, meaning they are installed in one room and will remain attached to the track at all times. 

However, some lifts are available with portable frames and attachments, which allow a lift to be unhooked from its track and used on other ceiling tracks in other rooms. 

Depending on the number of rooms in which you plan to install a ceiling lift system, portable lifts can be an effective means of reducing costs! However, if you only plan to install a ceiling lift and corresponding lift frame in one room, a permanent ceiling lift is probably the better option. 

Lift motor functionality: two function or four function? 

The vast majority of ceiling lifts use a motor system in one way or another. However, there are two common motor options among ceiling lifts. 

The first (and typically less expensive) option is a two-function motor. These motors are used to lift and lower a patient with no more effort than the push of a button. One consideration is how they require the caregiver to manually push the patient along the ceiling track once the patient is lifted. 

Four-function motors, on the other hand, offer the same powered lifting and lowering, but also have a motorized method of moving the patient along the ceiling track. 

Weight capacity: standard or bariatric?

The weight capacity of a ceiling lift is an important consideration, and each ceiling lift has its own specific weight capacity. 

Most lifts are capable of supporting between 300 and 450 pounds. If the user exceeds this weight threshold, there are bariatric ceiling lifts intended for patients who exceed these weight limits. 

Because no two patients are exactly the same, the weight capacity of a ceiling lift can be a crucial consideration when looking at ceiling lifts. 

Lifting range: limited or extensive?

Like ground hydraulic patient lifts, ceiling lifts have different height ranges they are capable of reaching. 

This range varies from lift to lift; some are capable of lifting across the height of the room, while others have a less expansive lifting range. 

To make sure your ceiling lift is perfectly formatted to your space, measure the heights the lift user requires to reach the device (e.g. bed surface to maximum height, chair surface to maximum height). 

Sling options: two, four, or six-point sling?

A crucial operating piece of any lift is a lift sling. (It’s worth noting lift slings are almost always sold separately; you can read more in our article How to Choose the Best Patient Lift Sling!) 

These devices support the patient during movement with a lift in a variety of ways and vary, depending on the way it is made. Therefore, sling fit is worth investigating before making a ceiling lift purchase. 

Additionally, in the event your lift does come with a sling, alternate slings can be purchased to improve the comfort and stability of the patient during the lifting process. 

Standout brands in ceiling lifts 

Rehabmart’s selection of ceiling lifts is as wide-ranging as it is sizable, with each lift bearing its own distinct advantages. 

The lifts are produced by trusted, reliable medical equipment manufacturers such as Tollos, Prism Medical, Joerns, and Traxx Mobility Systems. Here is a selection of the most popular and highest-rated ceiling lifts available from Rehabmart:

  • Joerns Voyager Portable Ceiling Lift This portable ceiling lift is regarded as a high-quality product in almost every dynamic! It bears a lifting range that reaches from the floor to as high as 48 inches in height, and it weighs only 12 pounds (battery included). Customers applaud the product as strong, reliable, and exceptionally durable.
  • Prism Medical’s P-300 Portable Ceiling Lift This lightweight, portable ceiling lift is one of the most cost-effective options on the market - and its advantages do not stop at price! Sold separately from a ceiling track, this lift is compatible with other existing tracks, making it an ideal choice for replacing an old or damaged lift without needing to purchase and install an entirely new ceiling track.
  • Prism Medical’s C-Series Fixed Ceiling Patient Lifts At first glance, this small ceiling lift may appear modest, as it's the smallest in its class. However, customers find just the opposite is true: the lift boasts one of the highest weight capacities, supporting 625 pounds. Because of this impressive lifting ability, this product comes highly recommended for use with bariatric patients, as it can safely bear their weight throughout the transfer process. 

What else do I need to know about ceiling lifts?

Ceiling lifts (and patient lifts in general) are a safe and effective means to transfer patients who have difficulty moving independently from surface to surface. 

While all lifts perform a transfer action, one of the distinct advantages of ceiling lifts is their ability to avoid ground clutter and bypass obstacles which would otherwise stop a wheel-based lift. A large number of customers cited this ability to reduce clutter, including the use of less storage space, as their primary reason for purchasing a ceiling lift.

Ceiling lifts are typically either permanent or portable. Permanent lifts are popular for use in a patient’s home bedroom, as this is often the only location in the household that the lift is needed.

On the other hand, portable ceiling lifts are notably popular for use in hospitals and rehabilitation clinics, as they can be detached from their ceiling rail system and used in other rooms. This helps to considerably reduce costs for these organizations!

Who uses ceiling lifts?

A ceiling lift can be an effective, beneficial tool for any patient with limited independent mobility.

From patients who are paralyzed to elderly patients who do not feel steady on their feet, these devices are proven to significantly reduce the risk of injury to the patient while also increasing a patient’s comfort during movement

How would a ceiling lift benefit me or my loved one?

Ceiling lifts bear a variety of advantages over traditional, wheel-based lifts. Their ceiling-mounted nature prevents difficulties with maneuvering around cluttered rooms or tight doorways, and their multiple motoring options notably decrease the amount of physical exertion required by patients and caregivers during transfers.

Given their many benefits, ceiling lifts are a wildly popular patient lifting method for both in-home and clinical care. 

Ceiling lifts provide the ability to transfer a patient between locations, whether transferring to bed, a commode, a chair, or any other surface in a way that is safe, efficient, and comfortable.  

It’s also important to note ceiling lifts provide a degree of safety, not just for patients, but for their caregivers as well. The support and ease with which ceiling lifts transfer patients drastically reduces the risk of caregivers injuring their backs, shoulders, or arms while providing care. 

This reduction in injury risk is essential, as strain related to lifting or moving patients is one of the most commonly reported healthcare-related injuries

Does Medicare cover the cost of a ceiling lift? 

Medicare Part B covers most patient lifts, as they are considered to be durable medical equipment (DME) - provided the lift is prescribed by a doctor. 

It is always recommended you discuss the best patient lift for you or your loved one’s needs with your doctor before making a purchase decision. This will help you more fully understand the process of being approved by Medicare, and also provide you with valuable insight into your product selection. 

Does private insurance cover the cost of a ceiling lift?

While all policies are different, private insurance companies often follow the lead of Medicare. We recommend you look into your policy’s specific coverage to make sure, prior to purchase! 


The purchase of a ceiling lift is an important step toward ensuring the safety and comfort of you or your loved one during the process of transferring between indoor locations.

Whether you are researching which product is best suited to meet your needs, or placing your product order, Rehabmart is here to help!

You can compare ceiling lifts to other types of patient lifts in our article How to Choose the Best Hoyer Lift, and read about lift slings at How to Choose the Best Patient Lift Sling!

Want to learn even more? Find dozens of videos featuring products and caregiver tips like these at Rehabmart’s YouTube channel!


Co-Founder of Rehabmart and an Occupational Therapist since 1993. Mike has spent his professional career working in multiple areas of Occupational Therapy, including pediatrics, geriatrics, hand therapy, ergonomics and inpatient / outpatient rehabilitation. Mike enjoys writing articles that help people solve complex therapeutic problems and make better product choices.

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