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The different types of stairlifts

Below are descriptions of the different types of stairlifts that we can provide. Modern stairlifts can be found with various features such as adjustable seat height, armrests, automated or manual flip-up footrests, seat belts, lift seats, soft start and soft stop, safety features and more to provide you with options that will make your life easier. 

Stairlifts normally fit into two main types

Straight stairlifts

A straight stair lift is just that – straight. It goes up single flights of stairs, no matter how long, with no bends, curves or intermediate landings. A straight stairlift is the simplest, cheapest and normally the easiest to install. Straight stairlifts can have additional powered options such as a powered footrest, powered swivel seat or a powered hinge. Straight stairlifts can sometimes feature a “slide track” that moves up or down the stairs when the seat is moving. This helps to reduce any track overhang at the top or bottom of the stairs which avoids the track becoming an obstacle or or a trip hazard in front of doorways at the top or bottom of the hallway.

Curved stairlifts

A curved one follows any bends of the staircase, travels across any intermediate landings between stairs and can continue up multiple flights of stairs. A curved stairlift will have at least one curved section. However, in some cases, there can be multiple bends and curves. A curved track can also travel 180 degrees in the direction of travel. This enables the chair to be parked away from the stairs at the side of a staircase or in a place that is out of the way. Again, curved stairlifts can be fitted with powered options such as a powered footrest, powered swivel seat, powered hinge, etc. 

They are made individually to fit your particular staircase and do require more measurements to be obtained during the survey stage than a straight one. As the rail for curved stairlifts has to be produced for your individual stairway, they can take up to 8-10 weeks to produce. Curved stair lifts normally take around 3 to 4 hours to install and program.

UP.Lift controller

Other types of stairlifts

Are designed for use in outdoor areas, such as patios or decks. Outdoor stairlifts are weather-resistant and are designed to withstand the elements. They sometimes come with the option of a weather cover.

Are designed for people who have issues sitting down or rising from a seated position. Standing stairlifts have a platform that the user stands on, which is then raised or lowered up and down the stairs. 

These stairlifts feature a different seat on a standard stairlift, which has a half seat to recline and “perch” onto with higher armrests, this allows the user to travel up & down stairs in a semi standing position. Ideal if the user has difficulty sitting or bending their knees. 

These are essentially a stairlift base with a drop down platform that allows wheelchair users to “roll on” to the platform, travel to the end of the staircase and then “roll off” at the next floor. There are multiple additional safety features built into the platform to ensure user safety and stability. They tend to be more heavy duty than a standard stairlift as the lift needs to be able to handle the additional weight of the platform & the wheelchair (as well as the user). These systems tend to need much more space on the stairway than a standard stairlift due to the additional size of the motor/drive unit and the platform. In cases where the stairway is unsuitable, a through floor lift should be considered.

Modular stairlifts are a new development and can be configured for both curved & straight stairways. We explain more below this section.

These are previously installed & used stairlifts that have been repaired and restored. Reconditioned stairlifts can be seen as a more affordable option than new stairlifts, however it can be difficult to know how much “work” these stairlifts have done in their previous installation or if the stairlift has been serviced & cared for properly?

We have seen many examples of clients buying older reconditioned stairlifts online “at a great price” and they have encountered many problems with the batteries, electronics and motors that are worn & need to be replaced soon after purchase. They can also also have a limited service life & lack many of the modern safety systems that are now standard on new models. It is for this reason that we do not provide our customers with reconditioned stairlift units.

New modular stairlifts – curved and straight – now available

There is now a new kind of stairlift available, which can be used for installations on both curved or straight staircases. So you no longer need to choose from the old fashioned way of describing stairlifts as curved & straight. The ICON UP.Lift stairlift is fully modular and can be configured in any way needed. It comes with a fully automatic powered swivel seat with automatic power footrest, which means absolutely no bending or twisting required! 

This modular stairlift can be fitted almost immediately after an assessment – so no more waiting for many weeks for your curved stairlift to be produced. The UP.Lift stairlift can be re-purposed and have features added if the needs of the user change. For example an UP.Lift installed as a straight stairlift can be adapted into a curved configuration after installation if required. Click this link for more details & info on the new UP.Lift stairlift.

Here is a summary of the different types of stairlifts

24-7 Healthcare are not tied to providing a single stairlift brand, so we can offer you honest and independent advice as to which type, brand, or configuration is ideal for your particular needs.

Type of stairlift Description Pros Cons
Straight stairlift Designed for straight staircases with no curves or bends Easy to install, more affordable Not suitable for staircases with curves or bends
Curved stairlift Designed for staircases with curves or bends. Smoother ride, can accommodate a wider range of staircases More complex to install, longer lead time, more expensive. Cannot be reconfigured to fit another property
Modular stairlift Designed to fit ANY staircase Quick installation, smooth ride, can be re-configured after installation Currently no standing or perching variants available
Outdoor stairlift Designed for use in outdoor areas, such as patios or decks Weather-resistant, can withstand the elements Designed only for outdoor use
Wheelchair/Platform lift Designed for wheelchair users to access other levels of their home User “rolls” on & off a platform in their wheelchair, the platform travels up and down the stairs. Folds up when not in use Can look very heavy duty and need space on the staircase for lowering the platform & additional space to “park” when not in use
Standing stairlift Designed for people who have difficulty sitting down or rising from a seated position User stands on a platform that is raised or lowered up and down the stairs Not suitable for people who need to sit down
Perching seat stairlift Can be installed on a standard straight or curved stairlift Excellent solution for those with limited knee movement or unable to sit
No option to sit if users condition improves or changes
Reconditioned stairlift Used stairlift that has been repaired and restored to enable re-installation More affordable than new stairlifts May not have the latest features. could have hidden issues & limited lifespan


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