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Pool Lifts

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Pool Lift
Pool Lift

Pool lifts are devices that allows occupants to transfer from a pool deck into a pool.

Much like a stair lift, an occupant is seated into a pool lift and controls allow for rising out of or lowering into a pool. Various types of pool lifts exist based on the means of power used to perform this function.



The first pool lifts were water-powered, created in 1980 to fill the need for accessibility into pools. Electric lifts were later created in 1997 to allow for more versatility among pool users. [1]

Types of Lifts

There are three types of pool lifts: electric, water-powered, and manual. [2]

Electric lifts utilize a 24-volt battery, charged externally, to operate an actuator to power the lift. These lifts can either be portable, removable, or permanent.

  • Portable lifts can be removed from the pool location and be stored away while not in use. They do not require any installation; counter balancing is achieved through the system’s design.
  • Removable lifts are similar to portable lifts except they can be fastened to the pool deck and offer a higher load capacity. There is typically a transfer device to assist with the removable and placement of the lift.
  • Permanent lifts offer a higher load capacity to portable lifts as well. They are permanently installed into the pool deck and cannot be removed. These lifts are sometimes regarded as unsightly. Additionally, these lifts fully meet ADA regulations (see below).

Water-powered lifts are additional permanent structures that meet ADA regulations. These lifts are connected to the pool’s water supply, which fill or evacuate a cylinder to effectively raise or lower the lift. Because of the design, a portion of the lift is always located within the pool, decreasing the amount of area inside the pool. The pool edge dictates whether this system can be used, which limits this systems versatility.

Manual lifts are typically used in residual settings. They do not meet ADA regulations due to the need for an assistant to operate the lift. These lifts are typically lower in cost and feature a sling seat for transfers. [3]

ADA Regulations

In 2010, the Americans with Disabilities Act established regulations for publically and privately owned pools to have independent accessibility means in place for use by disable persons. Depending on the size of the pool walls, one or two means of accessibility may be required, one of which must be either an access ramp or a pool lift. ADA requires a fixed pool lift for these pools, unless it causes financial burden or the pool was built before regulations were implemented. Full details can be found at here. [4]

Fixed Pool Lifts and Sloped Entry

Pool Lift vs Sloped Entry (via [1])
Pool Lift vs Sloped Entry (via [1])

While both fixed pool lifts and sloped entries meet ADA requirements, each system offers unique benefits and challenges. Pool lifts typically range from $4,000-$8,000 and require minimal installation. Sloped entries prices range from $25,000 to $40,000 due to construction costs. Sloped entries do not require maintenance following installation, unlike pool lifts that must be checked on a weekly and monthly basis. Sloped entries present a unique challenge with non-ambulatory users. If using a wheelchair, these users must have the strength to power a wheelchair through water and up a ramp. These tasks is unnecessary with lifts. Lifts require less area within the pool area as compared with the ramps. Finally, ramps have no weight limit; pool lift weight limits can vary depending on the model used. [5]

Where to Buy

Several manufacturers and distributors are available from which to purchase pool lifts

SR Smith
Global Lift Corp
Active Forever
Spectrum Aquatics