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Stair climbers, like stair climbing dollies, hand trucks and stair climbing robots are used to transport loads up and down stairs. There are different types of stair climbers for transporting people, materials and goods.

They can use wheels or tracks, and be powered electrically or manually.
Depending on the type, stair climbing dollies have a defined load capacity of between 50 kg and 400 kg or more.

Stair climbers have different names depending on their technical characteristics and purpose:

  • A stair climbing hand truck is a special hand truck for stairs
  • A tracked stair climber is a heavy duty stair climbing dolly with tracks
  • A stair climber for wheelchairs is a stair climber that allows elderly or mobility impaired people in wheelchairs to go up and down stairs
  • A stair climbing robot is a powered stair climber equipped with innovative electronic and digital technology that make it an automatic stair climber

Stair climbers for transporting people or goods

Stair climbers for transporting wheelchair-bound people up and down stairs have wheels or tracks, and are called wheelchair stair climbers, wheelchair stair crawlers or caterpillar stair climbers.

Stair climbers for wheelchairs are used to overcome architectural barriers, as people with mobility impairments are not able to walk up and down stairs. Stair climbers for wheelchairs are available with manual or electric power, with tracks or wheels. It is important to know that stair climbers, unlike stair lifts, carry the person in the wheelchair.

Stair lifts, on the other hand, are chairs that are installed on the wall of t.

A stair lift can only transport the person, not the wheelchair.

Wheelchair stair climbers offer greater versatility of use than stair lifts. This is because they allow a disabled or elderly person in a wheelchair to be transported also outside the home. A portable stair climber for people in wheelchairs, such as Domino People, ensures a high level of safety and maximum comfort for the disabled person during transport on stairs.

Stair climbing dollies for the transport of goods and materials are also equipped with wheels or tracks.
They may have two, three or even six wheels. Stair climbing hand trucks with wheels can also be equipped with one or more central feet to facilitate the movement from one step to the next.

Hand trucks for stairs: 3, 4 or 6 wheels?

Tracked stair climbers: stair climber with tracks for transporting both goods and people in wheelchairs, also called caterpillar stair climbers

A tracked stair climber is a special type of crawler that can transport goods and heavy materials weighing more than 400 kg up and down stairs. Caterpillar stair climbers are almost always electrically operated.

These powered stair crawlers may be equipped with one or two motors. If they are fitted with two motors, as in the case of the Skipper electric stair climber, each motor is responsible for one caterpillar.

In this case, the caterpillars are independent. The advantage of a caterpillar stair climber with independent tracks is that it allows full rotation on the stair landing.
This makes it much easier to enter a hallway or pass through a door.

Hand trucks with tracks are more stable than hand trucks with wheels and may be used on uneven stairs and any type of surface (all-terrain).


There are two types of tracked stair climbers:

  • for transporting people in wheelchairs
  • for transporting goods

Tracked stair climbers have a very high load capacity. They are used for transporting heavy objects, such as vending machines, heavy furniture, musical instruments and industrial machinery.

An electric stair climber with tracks can be used both on stairs and on flat ground (all-terrain).

Electric stair climbers vs manually operated stair climbing hand trucks

Manually operated hand truck stair climbers are equipped with wheels. Tracked stair climbers, on the other hand, are too heavy to be moved manually. While tracked stair climbers are always electric-powered, wheeled stair climbers may be either manually or electrically operated.

The main difference between manual and electric stair climbers is the load capacity. While a manual stair climber can carry light loads, a motorized dolly for stairs with tracks can carry heavy loads of up to 900 pounds up and down the stairs.

However, in order to ensure safe transportation on stairs, it is important to consider the following:

  • ISO international standards set a limit of 25 kg (55 pounds) for manual transport. This means that you should never carry more than 55 pounds of weight on the stairs using a manual stair climbing truck, regardless of the actual load capacity of the truck. This is also important to avoid accidents at work.
  • It is not advisable to use a wheeled electric stair climber for transporting heavy material weighing more than 220 pounds. Unlike tracks, wheels do not guarantee the stability of the load during transport. The operator has to keep the load balanced when climbing up or down stairs.

Stair climbing robots: When technology is at the service of transport on stairs

Modern stair climbers are not only electrically powered, they also have electronic and digital components.

The Domino Automatic, for example, is a true stair climbing robot, which can be operated with one finger via a simple joystick. The automatic load tilting feature, which can be manually adjusted, plays an important role in ensuring that goods do not tip over.

Digital innovation in stair climbing robots supports stair transport with a range of innovative functions that make it easier, faster and safer to move even heavy materials up and down stairs.

For example, the Domino Automatic stair climbing robot with tracks is an automatic stair climber with a load capacity of 900 pounds: Thanks to its electronic technology, a single operator can carry an entire load from the delivery truck to the top of the stairs.

As you can see in this video, stair climbing robots are the latest development in stair transportation.

The choice of the “right” stair climber depends on various factors:

  • The type of goods
  • The weight of the load
  • The type and shape of staircase and the material it is made from (concrete, metal, wood, marble, etc.)

Want to learn more about stair climbers? More information is available here:

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