How a Seat Assist Helps You Stand Up from a Hard Chair

A seat assist on a hard chair

If you’re having diffculty getting up from a hard chair, there is a device that can help you stand up and to sit down.

The first kind of seat assistance device is a clam-shaped device that sits on a chair or other hard surface. As you sit down, it slowly closes to lower you downward. As you stand up, it slowly opens to give you a lift up. These devices have covers and cushions to make using them as ore more comfortable than sitting on a hard seat.

The second kind of seat assistance device is an cushion that fills with air, lifting you as the inner bladder fills up. The device wraps around the back of the seat for stability. It drapes down the seat back and then folds to sit on the chair seat. When power is on, the motor sucks in air to inflate the bladder. The process works in reverse to deflate the device.

Who Should Use a Seat Assistance Device

Clam shape seat assist
Clam shape seat assist
Air filled seat assist
Air filled seat assist

This device is for people who lack lower body strength to push up from a seated position while sitting on a hard surface such as a bench or hard chair.

These devices help people who’ve just had surgery. It does about 70% of the lifting your body would do without one.

The Clam Shape Design

Clam shaped sitting and standing
Clam shaped sitting and standing

Most people say that these devices are gentle and helpful, but you should assess your own situation before assuming that it’s right for you.

Imagine yourself slowly being lifted from a chair. Will you remember to engage your muscles when it’s your turn to take over the work? Its also a good idea to use the chair arms to stand, so that you are in control of your stability.

A Seat Assist is a good device for a moderately active adult who is able to walk. Moderately frail or weak users should choose the electric model over the mechanical kind.

With the mechanical or manual Seat Assist, the device pushes when you shift your weight forward. It will push a moderately weak user higher. This can feel destabilizing.

The electric model moves by remote control, so shifting one’s weight does not activate the device. Therefore, the electric Seat Assist is safer.

A manual Seat Assist will also activate if the user leans forward. It is important not to pick something up off the floor, because the weight shift will activate the lifting mechanism.

Particularly frail people should not use a seat assist.

The Air-Filled Design

Air filled sitting and standing
Air filled sitting and standing

This design is safer for frail users. The inflation moves the sitter slowly to a standing position without any chance of sudden movements. For example, if the user slid off the air chair to pick something up, the device would not move. That’s not the case for the clam shaped design.

With a powered remote control, the user can stop the air inflation or deflation at any point.

People who have had surgery, weak people and the frail mostly likely can all use the air-filled stand assist design device.

How to Find a Chair Sit-Stand Assist

If you search the internet for a Seat Assist, you might get better results searching for it by its alternative names:

  • Chair Lift
  • Lift Seat
  • Seat Lift Assistance
  • Seat Assistance
  • Chair Stand Device
  • Chair Sit Device

Where to Use a Seat Assist

A Seat Assist is a portable device that lowers you onto and off of your seat.
A Seat Assist is a portable device that lowers you onto and off of a hard seat.

The Clam Spring Design

Some manufacturers state their device is safe to use on couches, cushioned chairs, and beds. I would be careful with this advice. I would only use a seat assistance device on a hard chair. This is to ensure stability where the device meets the chair underneath it.

You can always give it a try on soft seating if you like, but please, be careful if you do. And check that the manufacturer actually says this is ok. If they say to use the device only on a hard surface, don’t test it on a bed or couch. You don’t want to lose stability using a device designed to give you more stability. The irony would hurt too much.

Different Seat Assist devices have different restrictions. Some companies instruct users to put their devices only on hard chairs, but not sofas or recliners. Others give the opposite instructions. Do not assume that all seat assist devices are the same. The restrictions depend on the design, so you have to check the instructions for suitability to your needs.

The Air Filled Design

The air model can handle a softer chair underneath
The air model can handle a softer chair underneath

The air-filled seat assistance device is more stable on softer seats. It has a plastic plate at the bottom to keep its shape. Don’t get me wrong, the clam-type manufacturers say you can use those devices on cushions. It’s just my opinion and nothing more that this seems awkward.

Mosaic Weighted Blankets for Seniors

You do not need to use your arms to lift off, but you can, both for stability and habit. The secret to a stand assist is in the slow moving spring or air filling bladder  gently moves you up as you start to stand, or down as you press down on the cushion.

Seat Assist Materials

This type of seat assist has a polyester cover. They also come in waterproof.
This type of seat assist has a polyester cover. They also come in waterproof.

Seat assistance devices are usually made of a moulded plastic covered in a removable cloth.  There is usually a piece of foam between your bum and the plastic seat.  Cushions are made  from polyurethane, memory foam, or some variation of these two.

The removable cover is usually if not always a washable material. Some are plain polyester , while other models come in waterproofed material.


The air bladder type assist appears to be covered in a washable fabric, but I can’t find the actual details in my research. It’s very popular among people who reviewed it. I’m sure there’s a share of incontinent users, and we would have heard about material problems if there were any.

Seat Assist Comfort

Clam-Shaped Design

When you use a Seat Assist device, you are sitting on the device instead of the chair. Even if its foam covered, a Seat Assist device might not be as comfortable as the chair underneath it. Seat Assist devices are harder than Chair Lift Recliner cushions.

Air Filled Design

People usually report this type of device as being very comfortable. It’s an air-filled cushion. When flat, you are pretty much sitting on the chair cushion with some fabric between  you and the chair cushion.

How Seat Assistance Devices Move Up and Down

A self-powered seat assistance device uses your weight to compress either a spring or a pneumatic lever. As you start to stand the decrease in weight allows the sprint or arm to release, lifting the seat in the process. I think that Carex is the only pneumatic variation of this device as they have a patent on the lift lever in their device.

An electrical seat assistance device plugs into a wall outlet to power the lifting and sitting action.

The advantage of a self-powered device is that you don’t need to be near a wall outlet. The advantage of an electric power design is that the user does not need to initiate the device movement with her weight.

This type of seat assist has a polyester cover. They also come in waterproof.
This type of seat assist has a polyester cover. They also come in waterproof.

The air bladder assistance moves up with air intake and down when air is let out. It works exactly like the self-filling portable mattress you can buy for camping or extra guests.

Portable Seat Assist Devices

Most seat assistance devices are portable. They usually weigh from 6 to 10 pounds, and come with a pouch or carrying case. This allows you to bring the device to a theater, restaurant or hotel, for example.

User Weight Requirements to Use Seat Assists

In my research I found that seat assistance devices work for people anywhere from 95 to 350 lb. You have to check the individual model to see if it meets your needs. It’s important to note for very lightweight people that there is such a thing as being too light for these devices.

Caution: Do Not Use Pneuamtic or Spring Clam Devices if You Are Under 100 lb.

How to Buy a Sit-Stand Assist Device

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