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Ability Bathe | April 26, 2023

Types Of Stairlifts: Which Is The Best For Your Home?

Types Of Stairlifts: Which Is The Best For Your Home?

There are many different types of stairlifts out there – so which one is best for your home?

Many people with mobility needs could benefit greatly from a stairlift, but sometimes they’re reluctant to make an inquiry because they’re worried the price may be high.

However, did you know that if you’re eligible for Disabled Facilities Grants in the UK, you can apply for up to £30,000 in England – and up to £36,000 in Wales?

These aren’t only stairlift grants for the elderly or disabled, these are for all facilities in your home that are accessibility-related. The grants are means-tested, based on your income and household savings over £6,000.

There are many reasons why you might struggle to climb the stairs assistance-free. When this starts to happen, some people choose to move home to a ground-floor flat or bungalow. 

But usually it’s much more cost-effective to install a modern stairlift instead, especially if the staircase has a straight rail (but there are affordable options for curved staircases too).

It helps to be familiar with the types of stairlifts available. Depending on your accommodation, should you consider a straight, curved or transfer platform stairlift, for example? And what about if you need to know the best stair lift for an outdoor staircase?

If you’re just starting to find out more about stair lifts, the options can seem a little confusing.

We’re here to help you learn all about the range on offer, with this concise stairlift guide. Here are some of the most popular stairlifts:

Straight stairlifts

The simplest stairlift design is for a completely straight staircase, or straight stairs in general. A straight stair lift runs on a long, linear path with no curved rails.

If your downstairs and upstairs floors are separated by a straight staircase, using a straight rail with no turns or corners, you can use a straight stairlift to support your mobility.

If your staircase has a curve, or goes around a corner, then you’ll need to consider other types, something other than straight stairlifts.

Curved stairlifts

Curved staircases are unique, with a bespoke curved rail shape depending on things like the size of your home and the height of your ceiling.

Curved stairlifts takes this into account. Curved stairlifts’ rails are designed to match the bend shapes and lengths in your staircase.

As a result, curved stairlifts are completely bespoke, because you need curved stairlift rails as there isn’t a standard straight rail. This changes the cost of curved stair lifts compared to straight stairlift prices. 

However, curved stairlifts for a curved rail are common, popular and straightforward for an experienced expert to install.

Transfer platform stairlifts

The design of a transfer platform stairlift is best suited to straight staircases – with a half landing in between and no curved rail.

These stairlifts require the user to be mobile enough to move between the two straight staircases.

If that’s not the case, then it makes more sense to treat your staircase as a ‘curved’ one, with a rail running along the whole way including any flat parts.

Other types of stairlifts

There are more stairlift types – these include:

  • Outdoor stairlift: In several ways, an outdoor stairlift is similar to an indoor one – whether a straight or curved stair lift. These are for an outdoor staircase. However, for an outdoor stairlift, weather-resistant materials are essential, particularly for the British weather!
  • Slimline stairlift: Also known as narrow stairlifts, or small space stairlifts, these are perfect for thin or tight staircases with relatively less space than others. Having the right seat design is important too (see below)
  • Through-floor lift: Technically a lift, rather than a stairlift, these are separate from a staircase and best suited to wheelchair users unable to get into a stairlift seat

In short, there’s a solution for every staircase – for example, if straight stair lifts aren’t the right option due to curved rails.

Stairlift seat types

There are many more types than just your standard straight stairlifts but not only that – there’s a variety of seats too, depending on your needs.

The most common type is a seated stairlift, with seat belts. Typically, these seats swivel slightly at the end of the rail, to help the user transition from sitting to standing.

As an alternative, a perch stairlift seat provides something to rest on if you would prefer to stay upright. For those finding sitting uncomfortable or challenging, this seat type may be a better choice.

Perch seating is also a popular choice for slimline stair lifts, as is an adjustable footrest.

Summary: Different types of stairlifts

These are the main different types, including straight and curved stairlifts. As you would expect, which one is best for your home depends on the shape and structure of your staircase – whether it has straight staircases with a straight rail or not, for instance.

Your mobility needs are a vital influencing factor too, particularly for wheelchair users, when deciding between different seat types or whether a transfer platform stairlift is right for you.

Ability Bathe has a team of stairlift specialists. Enjoy peace of mind with convenient service, a safety-first approach and a two-year installation guarantee as standard.

We install many stairlifts in just 3 hours – please get in touch with any questions or to find out more information.


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