The subject of 'which stairlift' can at first appear to be a complicated one – but rest assured that
our guidance and direction will make it so simple.
Surprisingly, the installation of a straight stairlift takes less than one hour. Curved
stairlift systems may take a few hours - say a morning or an afternoon.
Here are some stairlift options:
New and used straight lifts.
New and used curved lift systems.
Straight lifts and bridging platforms.
Weight upgraded stairlifts i.e. up to 30 stone limit systems.
Perch lifts (for people who may not be able to sit),
Sit or stand option.
Mains powered or battery operated (dc)
Stairlifts with diagnostic display
Manual or powered hinges to cater for obstructions.
Powered swivel options.
Stairlift are designed to help less mobile
people to safely ascend and descend a stair
case. But not every staircase or stairlift are
the same. Ideally a stairlift will be designed
to exactly fit your individual requirements.
There are three types of stairlift; straight
which travel in a straight line,
curved which go round corners and perch,
a neat solution for anyone who cannot bend their knees or stand sufficiently well
enough. The type you need in this respect
is normally driven by the sort of stairs you have in your house. However,
sometimes a bridging platform or a simple stair alteration can avoid the more expensive cost of a curved system.
Because every staircase is different and everyone's requirements are different,
a reputable company will always assess yours on its individual merits. Rest
assured that it is extremely unlikely that a stairlift can't be fitted to your
stairs, whether they are straight or curved, wide or narrow. There are even
examples of stairlifts being fitted to spiral staircases! And if you have steps
in your garden, there are types of lift that that are suitable for outdoors use.
The one thing common to all lifts is what happens at the top! This is again
dependent on your stairs, but whatever they do, there's a stairlift solution.
Many stairs turn at a right angle, so generally there are two options - a
straight lift with a platform to step off onto, or a lift with a curve at the
top that goes round the bend, making it easier to fully arrive at the
Most stairlifts come with comfortable seats (complete with seatbelts!), but if
you have difficulty sitting, or your stairs are particularly narrow, you can
have a perch lift. The perch is a padded panel that takes the place of the seat,
and provides a support for you to lean against as you use the lift.
If other people use the stairs, you may need the facility to fold the seat on
your stairlift up when you are not using it. Some designs have more flexibility
here than others. The user may live alone, and not consider the needs of others
accessing the upstairs – but remember the doctor, decorator or emergency
services, the older and bulkier used systems may save money but could cause an
occasional inconvenience if they block the stairs too much.
A swivel seat can help, as you can swing the seat round to face away from the
stairs and towards the landing as you arrive at the top, which can make
dismounting easier. The swivel is simple to operate, but to make things even
easier, especially where the user has little strength in the hands - an optional
facility of a powered swivel seat is usually available depending on the brand.
Stairlifts generally have two controls - one to turn them on and off, and
another to control movement. There is a wide choice of controls, from simple
switches to joysticks and buttons - and all modern lifts have remote controls.
The most commonly produced budget lift in the UK new has rocker switches on both
sides as standard – and is excellent for users with arthritic hands. Most
chairlifts (as they are often referred to as opposed to stairlifts) are driven
by built in rechargeable batteries - continually be charged up by the mains - so
in the event of a power cut the lift carries on working! Also, a digital
diagnostic display shows a code or number - and if ever you think there is an
issue with the performance of the lift you can either consult the handbook - or
call the installation company's 24 help line.
Don't think that because you need a stairlift, your house is going to look ugly! Modern devices
are far-removed from the large units you may be
familiar with. Some manufacturers employ interior specialists and
designers to ensure their stairlifts are
aesthetically pleasing, and you can often choose
the upholstery to match your personal
preference. The surveyor will assess the colour
scheme of your home and ensure that the product
chosen blends in suitably. The lift is always
supported by the stairs rather than being
attached to the wall, as they used to be years
ago, so existing decorations will be unaffected
by the installation. Some lift producers have a
standard colour, which simplifies matters, and
keep costs down.
What to look out for when buying a
If a stair lift is cable hauled, or uses a chain or rope - it will be
noisy, jarring and oily
If a stair lift has a trailing mains cable - it is AC powered, which means
it will be quite complex and time consuming to install. It may also be
unreliable and has the potential to electrocute
If a stair lift does not have a swivel seat - it is outdated and
potentially hazardous, particularly at the top of the stairway
If a stair lift does not have 'soft start - soft stop' technology - it is
outdated and uncomfortable, with jarring starts and stops
If stair lift is not DC powered - it will be troublesome, lack smoothness
and could be potentially dangerous. It will be immobilized during a power
If a stair lift does not have an overspeed governor - the stair lift is
not protected from an uncontrolled descent, if a major drive system failure
should occur. In this case, the stair lift could plummet to the foot of the
stairway, with terrible consequences.
If a stair lift does not have a status display system - it will be
impossible to diagnose a fault without a costly home visit