Are you purchasing your own lift? If so, many come with a sling from that manufacturer but it is usually the basic sling.
I would suggest you see if you can get a loaner from ALSA or MDA if only to see how they work; it will give you a better feel for what you need. (of course, if you could get a loaner you may not have the need to buy one!
We have a sling that came with the loaner that was brand new from the ALSA. It is an
In va ca re sling with full neck & head support & no opening in the seat. Don't use it at this point. Most transfers are for toilet, so need a "toileting or hygiene" sling. This can also be used to transfer you from w/c to bed or to a recliner chair, so it is more universal.
A U-shape sling is considered universal, but it does not have as much opening as a specific toilet sling. (Now, I have not worked with a sling on a female, so don't know if it is better than with a male)
We have 2 other slings: one is the "toileting" sling from the same company as above; (you can research to see pictures- trying to prevent moderation) it has a much bigger opening & we use it for all toilet transfers. However, it would not be good if you have trunk weakness. It isn't too comfortable (but I think ours is too big; should have gotten the med), but very easy to get pants down to put him on; getting them back up after is another thing!
The other sling we have came with the ceiling lift we just installed. It is a mesh fabric that is U-shape; it comes to just below his shoulders so offers more support there and the leg straps are wider. This is a much more comfortable sling he says. However, while it can be used for toilet transfers, pulling pants up & down is not possible without transferrring into bed first (at least, I haven't figured it out yet!) Skirts would definitely work though; and going full commando for men!
We use this sling for transfers out of the shower; any body part that is still wet I can somewhat dry through the mesh, and if sling does get wet, it dries very fast.
I like having different slings for different purposes; have only paid for one extra so far but the convenience & comfort is worth it. Getting the right size is key though.
I'd say start with one that is used for the transfers you need at this point, (toileting is usually the most common) and go from there. You'll learn what your preferences are as far as ease of use & comfort. And know that almost all slings with work with any brand of lift, inspite of what the rep will tell you.
Hope this helped- Good luck!