Stairlifts Buyers Guide

Stairlifts Buyers Guide

Stairlifts are a quick and affordable solution if you have difficulty getting up and down the stairs. There are many reasons you might need a stairlift, including injuries or arthritis. The equipment will make your home safer and more accessible. They have become more popular in assisting people with mobility limitations. If you are looking to purchase a stairlift for your home, here is everything you need to know.

What Are Stairlifts, And What Do They Do?

A stairlift is a simple device used to help people with mobility issues up and down the stairs. A few components make the device whole, including a motor, chair, and tracks. The motorized gear propels it up and down along the textured surface.

Other features make it more comfortable and easy to use. It doesn't matter the kind of staircase you have at home; the stairlift can be altered to fit it. The design and features are what differentiate one stairlift from the next. They come with different types of tracks, seats and chair speeds.

When buying a stairlift, the first thing you have to think about is the dimension. Before purchasing a stairlift, you should schedule a home visit with a stairlift expert who will get the dimensions of your stairs. The dimensions will include the stairs' length, height, width, and depth. They will ensure you get the suitable device that will work perfectly for your home.

The stairlift uses batteries; electrical sources ensure the batteries maintain full charge during use. Even in a power outage in your area, the stairlift can still go up to 20 rounds on the battery. The batteries usually last from 1 to 5 years, depending on the stairlift model. You will have to replace them after the time elapsed.

The main thing you have to adhere to when using the equipment is weight capacity. Every stairlift has a recommended weight capacity.

Features to Look For

There are a few unique features for every product that make it stand out. But there are common features that every stairlift possesses. These are the features you can use to narrow down your search.

Motorized and Safety Features

  • Seat boost. There are stairlift models with seat boosts that will assist you in standing up after the ride is over. This comes in very handy if your condition is severe.
  • Powered swivel seat. Some seats automatically turn the chair toward a top step or landing. Not all models possess this feature, so you have to dig deeper if you really want it.
  • Powered footrest. A powered footrest can prevent you from stooping because they fold up the footrest when you press a button.
  • Seatbelts. All stairlifts need to have some kind of restraint for the passenger. Look for easy-to-use seatbelts, especially when you have arthritis.
  • Controls. The controls are simple and soft. When you push and hold onto the control in a given direction, the seat will move and stop when you let go. Go for the ergonomically designed controls.
  • Obstruction detection. Almost all stairlifts are built with safety sensors under the footrest. They sense objects on the staircase and stop rather than risk damage.
  • Keylocks. The feature will prevent unauthorized users. If there are kids in the house, this is a must-have feature on your stairlift.
  • Wide chair arms. The arms provide stability when you are getting off the seat. Do not overlook the arms when you are purchasing the device.

Understand The Different Types of Stairlifts

There are three main types of stairlifts designs. The one you pick for your house will entirely depend on the kind of stairs. You can either buy seated or standing stairlifts, depending on your preference. The main stairlift types include:

  1. Curved Stairlifts

The curved stairlifts have complicated proportions that can manage the bend and turns of any staircase. If your staircase goes around a corner, it's recognized as curved. You will need an expert to come and take measurements to customize your stairlift. With the technician's help, the manufacturers will design and make a curved rail that is suitable for your stairs. Because of this, the products are usually more expensive than any other stairlift.

  1. Straight Stairlifts

Straight stairlifts are the most common stairlifts. They run on a straight line and are pretty easy to install. The installation will only become problematic when your stairs are very narrow. The staircases range between 12 and 16 steps. Most houses use straight staircases, which is why these are the most purchased type of stairlift. If curves are at the top of your straight staircase, consider adding a bridging platform for better landing.

  1. Outdoor Stairlifts

An outdoor stairlift is a stairlift that is specifically made for outdoor staircases. They enhance accessibility to the gardens, backyards and garage entryways. You can also find them in commercial areas. They are usually heavy-duty because they receive a lot of traffic. The materials used to make outdoor stair models are built to endure harsh weather conditions. The strong plastic seats will not undergo wear and tear easily despite being exposed to outside elements.


The price for a stairlift varies greatly depending on the model, brand and type of device you need. A straight stairlift can cost from $ 3,000 to $ 5,500. Curved stairlifts can set you back anything from $ 10,000 to $ 15,000. Outdoor stairlifts averagely cost $ 6,000, but they can be more or less depending on your negotiation skills.

Purchasing a second-hand stairlift online or local market has no guarantees, but it can be cheaper. Ensure you work with a trusted dealer and inspect the refurbished product before buying. Some second-hand devices are still in good shape and will serve you for many years. The stairlift may save you approximately $500-$800.

How to Select the Right Stairlift

The cheapest equipment is not always the best. Take your time and select a stairlift that will give you the best in every situation. Quality models last for many years without unnecessary breakdowns. When you find yourself at crossroads, use these tips.

  • Figure out if your mobility issues are permanent or they might change with time. A nice stairlift should be able to adapt to your needs with time. If the situation worsens, you should not be forced to find another device.
  • Find a dealer that offers a total package. This includes assessing your home, selling you the product, and installation services. It's cheaper to get all the services from one place. Not everyone has the skills to install the stairlift; it requires expertise.
  • How easy is it to maintain the stairlift? Look for a product that requires minimum maintenance. It should also come with a manufacturer’s warranty for parts and labor. An easy-to-maintain stairlift will not give you any trouble in the long run.
  • Find a dealer that offers different payment plans. If you can’t raise the total cost at once, you should be able to make monthly installments.
  • Explore renting and leasing options if your mobility issue is temporary. There is no need to buy new equipment if you are only going to be using it for a few months.
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