If you have a straight staircase that can accomodate a straight stairlift that would be perfect. It is probably the most economical way to get upstairs!
Their are many different manufacturers to choose from as you can see on our site so here are some tips:
Straight stairlifts are readily available and most dealers even have these in stock at times if it is a standard lift without unusual options (options explained below)
We highly recommend having two or three dealers of your choice visit with you, even though they are very straight forward they can vary greatly in design and standard features. Not all are created equal. Look for a company that has been selling for quite some time and has an established dealer network for future servicing and proper installation by trained technicians.
Some stairlift manufacturers have a great reputation for solidly built designs which might cost a little more and well worth it at times. You can google the manufacturer and look for reviews, or if possible visit a local dealer that has one on display so you can feel and ride it in person.
They can be installed quickly depending on dealers schedules and stock on hand or order time, the rail is usually cut to length on-site or when proper simple measurements are taken cut and prepared in a shop before the installation. Installation can be quite quickly usually in a matter of just a few hours
Common stairlift options for straight and curved stairlifts: Hinged Rail:
The Hinged rail is probably one of the most common used options provided
for installations in cases where the rail
that is mounted on the staircase might block a doorway or a hallway and or provide a trip hazard when the stairlift
is not parked at the bottom of the staircase.
They are available for some curved tracks as well (check to see if the manufacturer offers this as an option)
They can be had sometimes as a manual operated one which requires
the user to bend down to lift the track portion out of the way, or fully automated. Manual versions usually have a gas strut which makes it easier to handle.
Seat upholstery colors and rail colors:
Some manufacturers offer different seat colors to go with your decor and mostly on the custom curved stair lifts you have a choice of color which might be included in the pricing or as an extra charge.
Powered swivel seat:
All stairlifts have a standard manual swivel seat which allows the user to safely exit at the top of the staircase. This is a safety measure as well since the seat blocks the staircase when it locks in the swiveled positions. As you guessed this is also available fully automated.
It is actuated by the toggle
switch on the armrest usually
and the seat starts swiveling
automatically at the top of the
staircase. It can also be
activated with the remote
control at times.
Another option is a powered
footrest so the user does not
have to bend down to fold this
out of the way. It can also make
it easier to get in and out of the
seat when folded up and press
a button to fold down when
traveling up and down.
Know what to look for when shopping for a curved stairlift: There are two types on the market today
- Custom Curved Rail which is made to a perfect fit for your staircase
- Modular Rail which is fitted on site to fit your staircase
Custom curved like the photo above is done with a camera system. Most manufacturers and dealers carry this with them. They will place tags on the steps of your staircase and take photos of them. These are processed (sometimes on-site) by a computer and gives a layout of your staircase with obstacles noted and allows the factory to fabricate a rail for your stairlift which is a perfect fit most of the time on your staircase.
The photo on the right
shows how the tags are
placed on the staircase and
once done this will end up
in a perfect drawing that
can go to production.
Most dealers will provide
these drawing prior to the
lift going into production
so you can give your
approval and check to see
how the rail will be placed
on your staircase before
finalizing. Typical cost
depends on the complexity
of your staircase and the
amount of bends and park positions are needed.
Price ranges from $7,500 up to well over 15K for some configurations.
Most offer a choice of colors for the rail and upholstery on the seats and can make them quite attreactive. It is at times still the least expensive way to go upstairs.
The downside is that curved stairlifts are only made for one particular staircase and offer next to nothing if you would like to sell or dispose of it. However if you are aging in your home it is an extremely worthy investment and if plans do chnge there are no alterations to your staircase where it is mounted on the steps and if removed it will leave your staircase in the state it was in before it was installed.
Modular Rail Curved Stairlifts:
There are currently two manufacturers in the USA that can install these modular rails which is UP Stairlift USA and Acorn Stairlifts. Acorn uses a camera system on site at times and the advantage is that they can install these very quickly since rail is usually quickly available and in stock. Compared to 2 to 4 weeks or more delivery time on a custome curved stairlift, the modular rail can be installed in a few days or extremely quick which can be of help if it is needed in a hurry.
The downside with Acorn is that it is not always a perfect fit and can take up more space around turns or bends on your staircase. Check to see if the manufacturer will give a buy-back guarnatee if you decide to return the lift or if your situation changes or have to move.
The modular stairlift from UP Stairlift USA is completely different since the rail is still measured and then cut to size. Their fit is actually better than some other custom-made manufacturers and the bends can be tighter and the rail assembly generally leaves more space on landings and stairs.
The bends used by UP Stairlifts consist out of cast aluminum disks that are 5 degree in slope each and can be used to go vertical or horizontal and minimum parts are therefore used.
UP Stairlifts uses the latest technology such as remote diagnostics when connected to the home's wifi and intercom. These features are a first in the stairlift market.
A few examples of the modular rail fit on a staircase are below:
Because these manufacturers have the modular rail they might be re-used and reinstalled on a different staircase in the future and reduce waste since normally the rail for a custom stairlift could never be re-used because it was only made the fit the original staircase the stair lift rail was made for. Especially the manufacturer for the UP Stairlift which is DeVi Stairlift in Holland is the greenest and most efficient stairlift currently on the market, also due to the fact the aluminum rail is made in a hydrogen-powered plant and the rail is made from recycled aluminum so this process only uses 5% of the energy it takes to make a standard aluminum rail
Best straight stairlift and best custom stairlift:
Unfortunately, it is not that easy to determine. You will have to see what is most important for you and you circumstances when looking for a stairlift.
You can narrow your search with the following questions maybe:
- Is weight capacity important?
- Are aesthetics the main concern?
- Do you have a narrow staircase and need to park it away from the staircase, or maybe a stair lift that folds up closer to the wall when not in use?
- Is the resale value or rental important if you will only be using the stairlift for a short period.
We are here to help as well, being experts in the industry or know where to turn for answers we will be glad to help if you contact us through our contact page.
It is very important to know what you are looking for before starting your search and talking to dealers as everyone will try to convince you why theirs is the better option, and most stairlifts on the market today are mostly all of good quality and you can always search online through resources by searching for "stairlift" on the BBB website, Trustpilot and google reviews to name a few. Just be sure the site you use is legit and offers honest reviews.
*Stairlift review websites that you will find on the internet are mostly paid listings for articles and reviews paid for by manufacturers. They get paid for generating leads. Stairlift review sites are still a good source for information just beware. Your local dealer is probably the most important to review since they will be the ones you're dealing with.
Stairlift manufacturers all offer different warranties. The drive mechanism which would rarely fail such as the motor and drivetrain usually have the longest coverage (some even offer lifetime on the motor and or drivetrain)
Common the full warranty which covers every aspect is usually 1 to 3 years and is for everything "bumper to bumper" so to speak. It is important to check with your local dealer since the warranties offered do usually not include the labor incurred should something need to be repaired or replaced. Most dealers will offer a 6 month or a year labor warranty in conjunction with the stairlift manufacturer's warranty.
Points to consider:
- Buy your stair lift local, think about when you might need service and repair, try to get an estimate upfront how much it might cost for the dealer to come out and do regular maintenance or should you need emergency service. Will this be too costly if they are hours away from you?
- Most dealers include a 6 month or first yearly check-up for free and include the labor portion for this period as well. remember that the great warranties manufacturers offer do often not include labor and travel costs and cover only the parts portion
- Find a manufacturer if possible that has an established dealer network that is properly trained or has technicians they employ directly and has a good reputation
- Shop around! get at least two or three quotes and make sure you compare apples to apples. Is it worth paying a little more upfront to save money afterward? read online reviews or get referrals