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Choosing A Stairlift

The decision to have a stairlift installed is sometimes a difficult one to take but when compared with the alternative of moving home or living on one level of your property, many people have found a stairlift to be their preferred option.

When choosing a stairlift, there are 3 main specifics to consider:

1.    Staircase shape
2.    Your needs
3.    Cost

1. Shape of the staircase:

Staircases come in various shapes and sizes. In the stairlift industry they are commonly put in to two categories:

  • Straight staircases
  • Curved staircases

How do you establish which type of staircase you have? Well if your stairs go in a straight line then you’ve got a straight staircase, if they do anything else (even if they don’t necessarily feature a curve or bend) then they usually fall in to the curved staircase category.

Straight staircase:

If you’ve got a straight staircase then you will require a Straight Stairlift.

Straight stairlifts run on straight rails only. They can be installed on various straight staircases including narrow, steep and long runs. They are only suitable for use where a stairlift travels in one straight line, for example from the bottom to the top as shown in the picture to the right.

Example Of a Straight Staircase

At Unicorn Stairlifts we offer a varied range of straight stairlifts to accommodate the majority of different straight staircases and user requirements. To see our selection, please click here: Straight Stairlifts

Curved staircase:

If your staircase features any type of curve, bend, fan shaped steps or a corner then you will require a Curved Stairlift. Curved stairlifts run on a custom design rail that is built to fit the shape of your staircase. They can be designed to be installed on a number of staircases from standard 90° staircases to ones with multiple turns and bends.

Example of a Curved Staircase

Curved stairlifts are not usually set priced due to variation. Prices are calculated on how many bends the staircase features plus the length of track. To get an accurate price we would recommend a staircase survey, you can book a FREE survey by clicking here: Stairlift Survey

We offer a varied range of curved stairlifts to accommodate the majority of staircases and user requirements. To see our selection, please click: Curved Stairlifts

Additional points to consider:

Consider obstructions such as doorways and hallways, radiators and storage heaters, pipes, electric and gas meter cupboards etc near the staircase particularly at the bottom. If you do have an obstruction then we can usually offer a practical solution. For example, if you find that having a stairlift would block access to a doorway at the bottom of the stairs we could install a folding hinge as pictured to the left (click here to see how a hinge track works) Many of our stairlifts can be adapted with various functions or alterations to the track to over come such problems.

 Stairlift Hinge Track

2. Your needs

Before purchasing a stairlift it’s important to consider your personal needs. Most stairlifts come with an array of features as standard that are perfectly suited for the majority of different users. If your worried that your mobility could potentially hinder using a stairlift, then we can usually make adjustments to cater for your particular needs.

Stairlift features you should consider before buying are:

Swivel Seat:

The manual swivel seat is a standard feature on most stairlifts - this means you have to swivel the seat manually 90° when getting off the stairlift at the top of the stairs for access to the landing area. This for 95% of users is a simple and easy thing to do. However we do find that those with spinal problems or limited movement do find it difficult.

At Unicorn Stairlifts we can overcome this problem by fitting a power swivel to the stairlift (only available on selected models) which will automatically turn the stairlift at landing level. For curved stairlifts we can run the track on to the landing if there is sufficient room or again fit a powered swivel seat.

Example of Stairlift Swivel Seat


If you have hip, knee or back problems the height of the stairlift seat is important. The seating height on most stairlifts is set typically between 19" - 20" from floor to seat level. We can adjust the height of the seat to suit your needs - higher or lower (only available on selected models). We also offer perch stairlifts (stand-up stairlifts) which require minimum of bending of the knees.

Stairlift Seat Height


If you have physical problems with your hands or wrist and find it difficult to keep the control button pressed then you may find a joystick mechanism easier to operate (on selected models). Also if you’ve got limited movement in one hand and would prefer to use your stronger hand, then we can place the controls on your preferred side.

Stairlift Controls


If you have problems bending down then reaching the footrest could be troublesome. Most stairlifts come with a manual footrest which require the user to bend down to fold/unfold. Most of the times the need to fold the footrest upwards isn’t necessary as it would stay down at all times. If however you do need to fold and unfold the footrest on a regular basis but have trouble bending down then we can offer a solution. The first solution is to link the footrest to the seat arm this enables the user to rise or lower the footrest by moving the chair arm up or down. (only available on selected models) The second option is to have a powered footrest fitted which means the footrest rises and lowers at the press of a button. (only available on selected models).

Example of Stairlift Foot Rest2


Standard stairlifts have a user weight limit of between 18 (114kg) - 19 (120kg) stone. This can vary depending on the angle of the staircase - the greater the angle the less a stairlift can carry - typical staircases are between 40° - 44°. For users over the standard 18 - 19 stone limit, we can offer heavy duty stairlifts which take up to 25 (158kg) stone.

Example of weight limit of stairlift



3. Cost

The cost of a stairlift is dependent on the type of staircase you have, any additional features and how long the stairlift is required.

We offer new, reconditioned and rental stairlifts for both straight and curved stairlifts which we feel offers affordability and flexibility.

Rental Stairlifts:

Both straight and curved stairlifts are available for rental. This can be a good option if the stairlift is only required temporary. This is also our cheapest option - we only require a installation fee (which includes removal) and then a small monthly rental charge follows.

Renting a stairlift could potentially save you a lot of money when compared to buying one outright. If the stairlift is only required short term then its the recommended option, particularly with rental curved stairlifts which could save you thousands.

If the stairlift is required for longer than 18 months for example, then it can become more expensive than the purchase of one outright. If you find that the rental stairlift is needed long term, we offer a discounted buy-out scheme when required.

An installation fee is required when renting a stairlift: £300.00 for straight stairlift rental and then £10.00 per week. £950.00 for curved stairlift rental and then £20.00 per week.

Rental stairlifts come with a continuous warranty, 24 hour response service and FREE removal.


Reconditioned models offer large savings when compared to buying brand new stairlift.

Reconditioned models have usually been used (sometimes not for very long periods), purchased back and then fully reconditioned before installation.

We recondition the stairlift 100% throughout. This is carried out by our reconditioning specialists and when completed the used stairlift looks and works as you'd expect when buying new. We only recondition the latest stairlift models available which are generally no older than 1-3 years from date of manufacture. We don't offer older models as we usually find parts can become obsolete and no longer manufactured.

Reconditioned stairlifts come with 12 months warranty as standard with extended warranties also available.

Brand New:

Generally the most common purchase is buying a stairlift brand new. We order brand new stairlifts in advance so that we have them in stock for express delivery, other companies order them directly from the manufacturer which can mean longer waiting times. Also buying a new stairlift directly from an approved supplier like ourselves is cheaper than buying directly from the manufacture.

Brand new stairlifts come with 12 months warranty as standard with extended warranties also available.

"Highy recommended stairlift company, great service overall. Came out and installed stairlift fast when we needed it. Thank you" - Mrs Sarah Yorath, Leeds, West Yorkshire
For A FREE Home Survey Call Now On: 0800 5879 505

We Install and Maintain Stairlifts in these Areas: