One of the best solutions for keeping your freedom in your home is a stairlift. A stairlift is a chair that rides up and down a set of stairs on a rail. It makes it possible for those with movement or balance problems get up and down stairs.
You shouldn’t be thinking if you want to go up your stairs or not. Or if it’s going to be painful. Or unsafe. Installing a stairlift enables you to live a normal life in your home. It can mean the difference between staying or having to move home.
When buying a stairlift you need to consider:
- The type you need.
- The servicing of the stairlift.
- The value of the stairlift to your specific situation and lifestyle.
All these three factors should contribute to your choice of chairlift supplier.
Two Types of Stairlift
Stairlifts come in two types; straight and curved. You’ll need a curved stairlift if your staircase has a corner. If it’s straight, you need a straight one!
The difference between the two is quite large.
A straight stairlift is easy to fit. It gets a little more complex with a curved staircase.
Curved stairlifts need to be fitted to a particular staircase. This can happen in two ways:
- Modular rails put together like a jigsaw puzzle.
- Custom manufactured rails made to measure for your stairs.
The modular rails come in a pre-made kit. They are fitted together in your home. The advantage of modular rails:
- They’re ready to install when you order.
- They’re less expensive than custom-made rails.
The drawbacks of modular rails:
- Don’t fit as well as custom-made.
- Not as smooth a ride.
- Loosen over time
- Might not to be as well-made as custom manufactured.
The custom-made rails are made for your specific staircase. Advantages of custom-made rails:
- Much better fit.
- Smoother ride.
- Very well-made.
- Will last longer.
The downside to custom-made rails:
- More expensive.
- You’ll need to order in advance as they are made to order.
In some cases, two straight lifts could to deal with the turn in the stairs. This solution is cheaper to install than a curved stairlift, but means changing chairs.
If you plan to stay in your home, you should see a stairlift as an investment. Like a car, a stairlift is an essential investment in your liftstyle.
One forgotten aspect of a stairlift purchase is after sales service. Routine maintenance keeps it in working order. Think of it like a car, it needs regular servicing. If you don’t service a car, it won’t work when you want to use it.
It’s crucial to buy from a company that can service the stairlift properly. This guarantees it’ll be in excellent working order when you need it. Ask for an upkeep plan to enhance the service warranty. They should insist the stairway lift is serviced to validate the guarantee. The majority of guarantees are for one year. Inquire about the warranties and servicing. Understand how this effects the long-term use of the stairlift.
You might be able purchase a second hand or re-conditioned stairway lift. This is very feasible when purchasing a straight stairlift. Straight stairlifts are more common as well as of common fit. Be wary of purchasing from the classifieds. There’s no warranty or guarantees. Once you get it home, it may not even fit your staircase. Some companies supply a re-conditioned chair with new railings. This offers a lower cost solution. Make sure the stairlift is from a good manufacturer. You’ll know it will still have a long life.
How the Stairlift Contributes to your Lifestyle
You need to consider how a stairlift will help you with your situation.
If you’re trying to find a Ferrari-type ride, you’ll be disappointed. Government laws keep the typical speed at about 7 metres per min. Depending upon the length of your stairs, the trip should take take a minute or so. Some stairlifts take more weight and will effect speed. The smoothness of the ride can vary significantly.
A stairlift’s safety features are important to avoid falls and injury. The majority of models come with seat belts and obstruction detection.
Types of Seats
A lot of companies offer different types of seats and features. Usually the upholstery can be choosen to match the style of your house. Some brand names supply an option of different colour tracks. Make certain to inquire about this if style is important to you.
There are some essential factors to consider as you look for a stairlift:
Lots of stairlift models provide a seat that rotates. This allows you to leave the chair with your feet firmly planted on the floor.
A stairlift can be ordered with a saddle seat. You’re in a resting position while standing. This is helpful if you have issues with your knees or sitting on a seat. Keep an eye out for these types of lifts as you shop around.
Many stairlift chairs will fold when not in use. Footrests and armrests can do this as well. This significantly increases the room for walking past the chair. It cuts any blocking and the potential of tripping.
Most features of the seat can be mechanised:
- Powered swivel seat. Some seats will automatically turn the chair towards a landing.
- Powered footrest. The footrest folds at the press of a switch. This avoids needing to stoop to collapse the footrest.
- Seat lowering. Some stairlift models have mechanised seats that will lower into place.
Looking at the Stairlift Quote
When buying a brand-new stairlift get three quotes (at the very least). This guarantees you are getting the best value available. Quotes will vary substantially. The price of the stairlift is a factor of features, quality and service.
You should weigh the various benefits of every quote:
- What are the differences in the chairs?
- How is rail made ie is it custom fitted?
- What is the guarantee provided?
- Who is the company manufacturing the stairlift?
- Who is the company providing service for the stairlift?
Have a look at each firms’ credentials. How much time they’ve been trading for? What are their customer reviews? How long have they been in the industry?
Do not be pressured into buying on the day. Take the information they provide and consider it. Don’t rush.
Make sure you go into their showroom and try the lift if at all possible. Would you buy a car without a test drive? You will be able to see and feel:
- The quality of the build.
- The features of each chair.
- The security features.
- The ease as it moves up and down the stairs.
Good luck with your stairlift search! If you would like us to take you through the Stannah range of stairlifts just call 1300 775 464 and we’ll be happy to help.