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Stairlift buying and operating guide

Stairlifts come in many shapes and sizes and are designed for specific types of users and installations. Here’s our comprehensive guide to help answer all of the questions you may have about the purchase and usage of a stairlift.

Our aim is to make everything as transparent as possible, so you can make an informed decision.

If you have any questions, feel free to give the team a call 01733 971 975

Things to consider when buying a stairlift

It’s worth highlighting at the beginning that while a stairlift is designed to ease the burden when using the stairs, it is fundamentally a safety device. As such, care needs to be given to choosing the right one so that it suits your needs but also that it operates safely in the desired installation location.

Get Expert Advice

The Anglian Lifts’ team are trained to assess your situation and needs so that the right options can be presented to you. We will always prioritise your safety above all else. Stairlift options we propose will meet your intended use and take into consideration other factors such as family and friends who may need to use the stairs as well. The ultimate aim is to have a stairlift which is as safe and compact as possible.

We encourage our customers to get a second opinion. An Occupational Therapist (OT) can recommend the right type of lift for you. Then, we can work in partnership with to give you the best solution. Read Inclusion Me’s Straight Stairlift Guide.

An Occupational Therapist will take into account clinical factors such as:

  • Sitting tolerance
  • Stability while operating
  • Ability to transfer safely from seated to standing and vice versa
  • Cognitive ability of the user
  • The potential risk of seizures on the stairlift, 

You may also consider applying for a home assessment on GOV.UK

Make sure your stairlift is fit for you

Buying a stairlift should give you independence and have features you need to feel safe and comfortable. During your home survey, our team will make a user assessment to identify which chair and features would best suit you and your lifestyle.

Consider the weight

How much weight does a stair lift hold? If the main user is more than 120kg then we would recommend a stairlift from a supplier that has expertise in lifting heavier users. Bruno stairlifts from the US are our preferred brand. Their Elite range is rated up to 190kg.

Do you have difficulty bending your knees?

Stand and Perch lifts are available which are ideal for those who have difficulty in bending their knees. Contact us about your requirements because it maybe that a through floor lift could be a better solution at an affordable price.

Choose a reputable stairlift installer

Anglian Lifts’ MD Phil Rice is a board member of the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA). See Anglian Lift’s listing here.

There are a variety of Stairlift installers in the UK. From one person outfits to large national groups. We find that a good rule of thumb is to check their Google reviews. If any company has less than 4 stars you should read a few of the reviews to find out why before deciding to give them a call. Also, if a company has no reviews it could be that they are new but it could also mean that location is ‘fake’ and simply a phone number for another company. Google are clamping down on this activity.

14. July, 2022.
Friendly and professional staff Excellent product and price and service from quote to it being installed 😀
nick andrew
nick andrew
11. July, 2022.
Rosalie McMillan
Rosalie McMillan
1. June, 2022.
Wonderful service and peace of mind knowing that whatever goes wrong Anglian lifts will be there for you...we have had a couple of occasions where we needed help the first they had a engineer out to us first thing the next morning its a 6 hour round trip! Fixed the problem and the second they were able to diagnose the issue over the phone in 30 seconds! From installation to the after care they are a super company! And knowing that you can contact these guys and they will respond so quickly even time gives such confidence which is important when it's something you really need to use every day!
Sonia Conner
Sonia Conner
30. May, 2022.
This company is amazing called. I phoned in the morning 2 hours later received a text to say they were on their way. The engineer that came was very friendly and was able to sort the problem out straight away. Also double checked that the chairlift was safe. All in all a pleasure would highly recommend and would 100 percent use again.
Rowan Way
Rowan Way
26. May, 2022.
Yet again, I can say without doubt that Anglian Lifts Stairlifts have proved to be worth their weight in gold!!! If you need a quick, reliable and friendly company, then look no further! We have found them to be very trustworthy and they show that they have their customer’s best interests at heart. On this occasion, the young lady suggested that they may be able to sort the problem out over the phone. We where very surprised and hugely relieved, when she did just that, saving my mum the call out fee!!! You are a fabulous team, thank you again!!!
peggy Hounsham
peggy Hounsham
25. May, 2022.
I would like to thank Anglian lifts for the work they carried out on my stairlift and am very satisfied with everything they did . From my initial enquiry to fitting everyone was most helpful and kind and did a very good job. I would most definitely recommend them
N Routh
N Routh
18. May, 2022.
Anglian Lifts we’re incredibly helpful and quick to respond and cannot recommended them highly enough. Thank you!
Norman King
Norman King
18. May, 2022.
Good service and communication. Quick response and very efficient.
Tracy Carter
Tracy Carter
11. May, 2022.
Absolutely superb service. The kindness and understanding shown in a very stressful situation was first class. The incredibly quick response and calm, efficient service was excellent. I cannot rate them highly enough.
3. May, 2022.
Very knowledgeable, professional and friendly service, Thank you so much!

Best Stairlifts Brands in the UK

We’re independent so that means we can choose the best suppliers to meet the needs of our customers. Below are the stairlift companies that we trust.

Bruno Stairlifts logo
Brooks Stairlifts logo
Bespoke stairlifts Logo
Platinum Logo Stairlifts
Up Stairlifts

What Features Do Modern Stair Lifts Have?

The latest generation of stairlifts have moved on from their predecessors. For starters, they have a lot more in-common with other hi-tech pieces of technology you may have in your home like a TV or mobile phone.

Safety and convenience features

  • Folding footrest saves space. Powered option available on some models
  • Adjustable seatbelt to ensure a safe and comfortable ride
  • Swivel seat for safety and convenience. Powered options are available on some models
  • Safety sensors to stop the stairlift should it come into contact with obstructions
  • Battery. Has enough storage for trips in the event of a power cut
  • Call and send remote control units (Bluetooth remote control)
  • Continuous charging strip
  • Telescopic seat post
  • Weatherproof joystick control
  • Weatherproof cover
  • Conformal coated PCB board (IP65)
  • Weather-resistant coating
  • Bespoke rail sizes
  • Emergency Holding Button
  • Barrier Arm (optional extra)

Stairlift Colour Combinations

Up-Stairlift by Devi-stairlifts have a great range of colours and fabrics

Up Stairlift by Devi Stairlifts Colour Combinations
Up Stairlift by Devi Stairlifts Colour Combinations. Image Source Devi Stairlifts

Types of Stairlift

There are several types of stairlift that can be used in a home or business setting. The two main ones are straight and curved stairlifts.

Straight Stairlift Type

Straight lifts are ideal for the majority of homes with a single straight staircase.

Straight stairlift installed in a home
A straight stairlift installed on a single flight of stairs

Curved Stairlift Type

Curved stairlifts can be design to fit into many different types of staircases.

A curved stairlift with the end finishing at the last step to prevent a trip hazard. Note the remove on the wall.

Stairlift Delivery Time

We have some straight stairlifts in stock and they can usually be fitted the next day if our engineers are available. The easiest and quickest to specify and install.

Curved stairlifts as mentioned above, need the rail to be manufactured after the order is placed. Delivery of the finished rail typically takes 6 to 8 weeks, although we’ve recently seen lead times as high as 12 weeks due to recent supply chain issues. We’ve added other suppliers to our range so we can mitigate any supply chain issues. Curved stairlifts require a bespoke rail to be designed and manufactured. This typically requires 6 to 8 weeks.

Is there an alternative to a stair lift?

There are several alternatives to a stairlift. Home lifts are a convenient solution and can be tailored for either a standing position or wheelchair user. Another option for wheelchairs are Wheelchair Stair Climbers. Finally, a partially assistive solution is the Assistep.

What is the difference between a stair lift and a chair lift?

A stair lift has a seat that the person sits on to ride up the stairs. A chair lift or vertical lift is a platform lift designed to help a wheelchair user travel up one level.

Installing a stairlift

Can a stair lift be fitted to any stairs?

We’ve yet to find a staircase that we can’t fit one too. But that doesn’t mean every staircase should have a stairlift. In some cases a home lift is more suited. For example, in a spiral staircase where there’s room up the centre.

Narrow staircase? No problem.

Our Flow curved stairlifts with powered swivel chair system can be fitted to staircases as narrow as 61cm (24 inches) wide. The rail on this model is designed to fit tightly to the stairs providing room for those walking up the stairs.

Can I install my own stairlift?

In theory you could but we don’t recommend it. We get contacted regularly to ask us to either reinstall a stairlift or replace one with one more suitable. You think you’re saving a few quid but honestly please speak to us before you do. Read our post about stairlift self-installation. We hope this will convince you out of doing a DIY installation!

Clearances at the Top and Bottom of the Stairs

We measurement your stairs down to the millimetre so the stairlift you choose is made to measure to your specific staircase.

Your home may have a doorway at the top or bottom of the stairs. Or it could have a final step with a 90 degree turn. If so we may suggest a stairlift which wraps around the bottom of the stairs. Or alternatively a hinged rail can move out of the way to prevent tripping.

Curved stairlift wrap around
Straight stairlift with a curved final step
Stairlift Curved bottom step
Stairlift carriage at the bottom position

Narrow staircase? No problem.

Some stairlifts are specifically designed to be compact when there’s limited space. Our Flow curved stairlifts with powered swivel chair system can be fitted to staircases as narrow as 61cm (24 inches) wide. The rail on this model is designed to fir tightly to the stairs providing room for those walking up the stairs.

The design and layout of the property and staircase can also influence the outcome, for example, split levels and steps into bedrooms. For relatively able-bodied persons, a stairlift would suffice if the stairs are wide enough.

Do stair lifts damage walls?

Not necessarily. Installing a stair lift can have a minimal impact on the décor of your home. Most are attached to the stairs themselves and so the walls aren’t disturbed.

Outdoor Stairlifts

Many brands have stairlifts suitable for use outdoors. If you have a specific need for outdoor access support then get in touch.

outdoor stairlift
A stairlift fitted outside

What is the lifespan of a stairlift?

They can last 10 years or more if maintained well. We offer several service packages to suit most budgets. Batteries tend to need replacing every few years. around 10 years, although this may vary depending on frequency of use, among other factors. To get the most out of your stairlift, you must ensure that any signs of a problem are identified and addressed quickly.

How much does a stairlift cost?

Stairlift’s range quite widely in cost. At the cheaper end of the spectrum a second hand straight stairlift could be as low as £995*. A new straight stairlift starts at £1,300*. Curved stairlifts prices are more expensive mainly because the rail needs to be hand made to fit your staircase. A relatively simple curved design with a manual chair could start at around £4,000*. The price for a curved stairlift will increase if it requires multiple bends and you specify features such as a swivel seat and an automatic footrest. *Prices subject to change without notice.

Are stairlifts worth it?

This depends on your personal circumstances. If you consider that a stairlift could allow you to stay in the home you love, then most likely it will be a great investment.

Stairlift Grants

There are means-tested grants available in the UK. To find out if you’re eligible check out our post about stairlift grants. The Which guide has a comprehensive guide to council provided stairlifts.

Do stairlifts use a lot of electricity?

Electricity use will depend on how often it’s used and the model. Let’s take an example.

024 kWh of electricity or 24 watts per hour. That adds up to about $15 a year. By comparison, a washing machine uses nearly three times that amount: 700 watts per hour.

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How to Operate and Maintain your Stairlift

So you or your family member have a new stairlift. Well, it’s time to learn how to look after it so it can look after you.

How do you use a Stairlift?

Here’s a quick overview of how to operate a stairlift. These points below are generic so the actual controls for your lift may differ. However, most stairlift controls are similar.

  • The controls are located on the armrest. They are designed to be use seated and while the stairlift is in motion.
  • Pushed the lever or button left or right, depending on whether you want to go up or down.
  • Alternatively use the remote control. This is an add-on feature which is available as an option from most brands. Remotes usually come with a bracket mount them onto the wall. A remote will enable someone to control the stairlift and send it up the stairs or bring it back down again. This is useful if there are two stairlift users in the house.
  • To travel in the stairlift sit comfortably in the seat and fasten your seatbelt.
  • Press the button or move the lever to the desired direction to set the stairlift in motion. You will need to keep pressure on the button or lever for the whole distance of the stairs. If you don’t, the stairlift will stop. This is a built in safety feature to prevent unintended use.
  • Once you’ve reached the end of the stairs and the stairlift has rotated to the finish position – if it has a powered swivel seat – undo your safety belt, stand up and fold up the seat, arms and footplate manually or automatically.

How does a stair chair lift work?

The carriage (seat) runs along a toothed rail which is attached to the staircase. It is powered by an electric motor. There are batteries in the carriage which provide electricity to drive the electric motor. These batteries are recharged once the stairlift reaches it’s end point at the docking station.

How much does it cost to own a stairlift?

Stairlifts are a home appliance just like, for example, a TV or boiler. Like those, the ownership costs split into running and servicing. A typical curved stairlift will use a couple of kilowatt hours a day if used regularly. The energy consumption may end up being anywhere between 5p to 20p per day depending on the amount of use. Take a look at our FAQ at the bottom of this page for more information.

Anglian Lifts have stairlift service plans to meet most budgets. Stairlift brands typically offer a 12 month warranty on breakdowns and parts.

Why has my stair lift stopped working?

There could be a number of reasons why your stairlift has stopped working. Take a look at our error codes pages for help with your type of lift. If you can’t diagnose the issue or you can’t get the stairlift working again feel free to give our engineers a call. We service and maintain all types of stairlift. Take a look at our services page.

Acorn Straight Stairlift Error Codes

Acorn Curved Stairlift Error Codes

Can you manual move a stairlift?

There may be instances where it’s necessary to manually move a stairlift. We don’t recommend it unless there’s an emergency.

  • How to manually move a stairlift (page to be created)

Stairlift Guide Summary

A stairlift is an investment in your quality of life. They increase the enjoyment of the home you love. The cost of a chair lift varies depending on several factors including whether the staircase is straight or curved, what features are specified, if the lift is new or refurbished, and finally the building work required (if any). Ask for a no-obligation stairlift survey today.

Give the team a call and talk about your requirements

See our full range of products and services

Frequently Asked Questions About Stairlifts

How much does it cost to run a stairlift?

Stairlifts are economical to run. The electricity costs are minimal over a year but a good service contract will be £500/year after the first year. Parts rarely go wrong but batteries need replacing every few years and we charge £96 per battery.
A typical stairlift, is about 1.15kW and runs for about 20 to 30 seconds depending on the length of the rail and the height of the staircase. So, the energy used per trip is 0.007kWh. If it’s used 20 times a day, then over a year it would use 54.4kWh which equates to about £15 assuming the cost per kWh is 27p.
This is roughly equivalent to the cost of operating a microwave which is between 600 watts and 1200 watts. A microwave however, is used for a longer periods of time than a stairlift’s travel time.

How Much Electricity Does A Home Lift Use?

Stairlifts draw about 5 amps. Over a year a stair lift may use around 30kWh to 100kWh depending on the type and frequency of use.

Further help and advice