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26 Apr 2024

Stairlift types: What are your options?

Molly Govus
Health Sector Specialist

Navigating your home should always feel safe and comfortable, no matter your age. As we get older, stairs in our home can start to seem like hurdles, making it tough to move around as freely as we used to. This is where a stairlift can make a big difference. By installing one, you can glide between floors effortlessly, maintaining your independence and enjoy every part of your home without strain or worry. 

Whether you're planning for the future or adapting to current needs, understanding the different types of stairlifts available can help you find the best solution for your home and lifestyle.

Let's explore your stairlift options in detail, ensuring you find the perfect fit for your needs.

What types of stairlifts are available?

You may be thinking that one type of stairlift fits all, but there are actually a plethora of options to choose from. 

Seated stairlifts

Seated stairlifts are the most common choice for those needing assistance with stairs. These models feature a comfortable, padded chair that travels up and down a rail fixed to your staircase. 

Users simply sit on the chair, secure the safety belt, and use the controls to move between floors. This type of stairlift is ideal for individuals who can transfer to and from the chair with relative ease.

Benefits of seated stairlifts

  • Comfort and security: Equipped with cushioned seats, backrests, and safety belts.

  • Ease of use: Simple controls, often located on the armrest to make operation straightforward.

  • Customisable features: Options for swivel seats, adjustable heights, and foldable steps.

Perched stairlifts

Perched stairlifts offer an alternative for those who find sitting uncomfortable or have limited flexibility. 

This design allows you to remain in a semi-standing position, supported by a smaller, padded seat or perch. Safety belts secure you in place, providing stability as you move up and down the stairs.

Advantages of perched stairlifts

  • Reduced strain: Ideal for users with knee or hip conditions that make sitting uncomfortable or painful.

  • Compact design: Takes up less space, suitable for narrow staircases.

  • Safety features: Includes railings and non-slip surfaces for added security.

Standing stairlifts

Standing stairlifts are suited for extremely narrow staircases or for users who struggle bending their knees. 

These lifts feature a small platform with handrails, allowing you to stand securely while ascending or descending. However, it's important that users opting for this type of lift have enough balance and strength to stand throughout the journey.

Why choose a standing stairlift?

  • Space-saving: Minimal structural impact on the staircase.

  • Accessibility: Enables users who cannot sit to use the stairs independently.

  • Safety implements: Equipped with handrails and emergency stop buttons for secure use.

Straight vs. curved stairlifts

The layout of your staircase will determine whether you need a straight or curved stairlift. Straight stairlifts are designed for staircases that run directly from bottom to top without any bends. They are typically easier to install and a more budget-friendly stairlift model.

Curved stairlifts, however, are custom-made to fit staircases that have turns, bends, or intermediate landings. These stairlifts require a more complex installation process and are generally more expensive due to their tailored design.


Which one is right for you?

Whether you should choose a straight or curved staircase really depends on the structure of your property. 

Straight stairlifts

Straight stairlifts are designed for staircases that run in a direct line without any turns, bends, or landings. They are the most straightforward type of stairlift available, making them a popular choice for many homes. These stairlifts are an excellent option for those looking for a basic, reliable solution to improve mobility at home, offering:

Cost-effectiveness: Since straight stairlifts require less customisation and fewer materials, they tend to be more affordable compared to other types.

Quick installation: The simplicity of their design allows for faster installation, often completed within a few hours, minimising disruption in your home.

Availability: These models are more widely available and can be quickly sourced from manufacturers, which means shorter waiting times from purchase to installation.

Curved stairlifts

Curved stairlifts are tailored to fit staircases that have at least one bend or turn, and can also accommodate changes in incline or intermediate landings. Each curved stairlift is custom-built to the precise dimensions of your staircase.]

While curved stairlifts are more costly and take longer to install than straight stairlifts, their ability to precisely fit your home's staircase makes them a worthwhile investment for complex stair layouts. Here are some key features:

Custom design: A curved stairlift is made specifically for the shape and size of your staircase, ensuring a perfect fit and optimal functionality.

Seamless travel path: The bespoke design allows for a smooth and continuous ride, curving around any corners and navigating landings with ease.

Versatility: These lifts can be designed to fit virtually any staircase, making them ideal for homes with unique architectural features.

Outdoor stairlifts

Outdoor stairlifts are an ideal solution for enhancing accessibility to outdoor spaces, making it easier and safer to enjoy the outside areas of your home throughout the year. They can provide a safe and convenient way to access external areas such as gardens, patios, or outdoor steps. These stairlifts are built to withstand outdoor conditions and come in both straight and curved models, depending on your specific staircase configuration.

Let’s look at the key features:

Weatherproof construction: These stairlifts are made with durable materials and include waterproof components to handle rain, snow, and extreme temperatures.

Safety features: Outdoor stairlifts are equipped with non-slip seats, footrests, and robust safety belts to ensure secure operation in all weather conditions.

Security: Many models come with lockable covers to protect against the elements and prevent unauthorised use when not in operation.

How to choose the right type of stairlift

Selecting the appropriate stairlift is a worthwhile decision that can significantly enhance your mobility and independence at home. When determining which stairlift is right for you, there are several key factors to consider to help you guide your choice.

1. Consider your mobility needs

Your physical capabilities and any mobility issues are the primary considerations in choosing a stairlift. For example:

Seated stairlifts are generally suitable for those who can sit and stand with little assistance but struggle with stairs due to endurance issues or mild balance problems.

Perched stairlifts may be the better choice if you have difficulties bending your knees or sitting comfortably due to arthritis or other joint problems.

Standing stairlifts cater to those who find sitting painful or have very narrow staircases that cannot accommodate a seated or perched lift.

2. Analyse your home's layout

The structure and design of your staircase will largely dictate whether you opt for a straight, curved, or outdoor stairlift.

Straight stairlifts are ideal for staircases without bends or landings. They are easier to install and generally more cost-effective.

Curved stairlifts are necessary for staircases with turns, spirals, or multiple levels. They are custom-made to fit, providing a seamless solution for more complex staircases.

Outdoor stairlifts are designed for exterior steps leading to gardens, lawns, or basements and are built to withstand UK weather conditions.

3. Personal comfort and preferences

Your comfort with the stairlift model is crucial as it impacts your willingness and ability to use the device regularly. Consider the following features before you commit to your stairlift. 

Adjustable settings

Look for stairlifts that offer adjustable seat heights, customisable controls, and swivel seats for easier dismounts.

Ease of use

User-friendly controls and intuitive operation are important, especially if you have limited dexterity or cognitive issues.

Aesthetic compatibility

Since the stairlift will be a prominent fixture in your home, consider models that blend well with your interior décor.

Compare stairlift providers with SpotDif

Enhance your home with the perfect stairlift, ensuring safety and independence for yourself or your loved ones. Whether you're looking to buy or rent, selecting the right stairlift for the best price is essential.

Allow us to assist you in finding the best stairlift provider. Dive into our extensive database and discover competitive offers with our easy-to-use price comparison tool.

Start your journey towards improved mobility and comfort in your home today with SpotDif.

Molly Govus
Health Sector Specialist
My goal is to help you make the most informed decision for your health needs. No smoke, no mirrors — just research-led guidance and money-saving advice.
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