Stairlift Buying Guide
At Assured Stairlifts we supply stairlifts from most manufacturers and can give you information about a range of different makes and models without bias towards one manufacturer. Advice is also usually available from community occupational therapists (OT’s) or from your local authority. A stairlift might not be the answer for everyone. For example, for someone confined to a wheelchair, a vertical lift which goes through the floor would probably be the best solution.
Please have a look at the various models on our website where you will find information regarding finishes, options and the dimensions of some models.
Contact a reliable company
Contact an established company with certified engineers which specialises in installing stairlifts and beware of “drop shippers” who simply sell on behalf of a company purely on a commission basis, who may leave you without service. At Assured Stairlifts we have been installing stairlifts since 1992 and have a team of qualified installers who have manufacturers’ certifications. Please have a look at the many kind compliments we have received via our eBay feedback, and at our ‘About Us’ page here, and at eBay.
At Assured Stairlifts we always have a large stock of new and reconditioned models available and can almost certainly fulfill your requirements at a substantial saving. Please contact us: telephone 0800 00 15 444. On our new models we always have a wider choice of optional finishes, and a wider choice of optional features. However they will be more expensive than reconditioned models.
Substantial savings can be made by buying a reconditioned model. The technology involved in stairlifts has improved significantly over the years, so you should check that the model you are thinking of buying is not an “antique” with minimal safety features. At Assured Stairlifts all our reconditioned models have over-speed governors/safety brakes, which is very important to stairlift safety. Regrettably there are stairlift suppliers selling older models without this feature.
At Assured Stairlifts all of our reconditioned models are reconditioned by qualified engineers to the highest standards, being ‘as good as new’. At Assured Stairlifts all our prices, for all our stairlifts, include a 1 year guarantee and there are no hidden extras. Reconditioned stairlifts from some other suppliers might have a shorter warranty period, or a guarantee might involve an extra cost.
Other Points Regarding Reconditioned Stairlifts
- Reconditioned stairlifts from reputable suppliers will be ‘as good as new’, but do take care to buy from a reputable supplier.
- Make sure the supplier is a certified dealer as they may not be able to obtain parts for repairs.
- Using reconditioned stairlifts is recycling, which will help the future and our enviroment.
- Smaller companies may cut corners when reconditioning stairlifts by merely cleaning the lift, which may cause breakdowns.
- You cannot mix different makes of chairs to different tracks.
- Installation of a reconditioned curved stairlift can be carried out normally within 10 days from Assured Stairlifts.
- Installation of a Reconditioned straight stairlift normally takes 3 days from order.
Features, Options and Extras
Optional features are available on all models but do be aware that the illustrations below are examples of features and may not be quite the same on all models.
- All our stairlifts have extended warranties available of from 1 year to 10 years.
- Stannah, Minivator and most Bison models are available with a variety of upholstery colours. Please contact us: telephone 0800 00 15 444 or: 0808 16 00 210.
- A powered seat swivel is available on most new and reconditioned models as an optional extra, which makes the chair easier to use when turning to face the top of the stair – see Pic. 1.
- Footplates can be tilted to take up less space when the stairlift is parked and an optional powered/automatic tilt saves bending or reaching down to do this – see Pics. 2 and 3.
- Seats, arms and footplates can be folded up to allow more space for other users of the stairs – see Pic. 3.
- A ‘Stand and Perch’ option is available on some new and reconditioned models which allows the user to remain standing in a ‘perch’ position on a small padded seat rather than fully sitting down – see Pic. 4.
- A ‘Sit or Stand’ option is available on some new and reconditioned models, which allows the user to either sit or stand on the stairlift – see Pic. 5.
- Lap safety belts are fitted as standard to ALL our stairlifts, whether new or reconditioned, at no extra cost. We do have full harness belts and restraints available also – see Pic. 6.
- Child seats are available on some models.
- Optional hand-held attendant controls are available on most models – see Pic. 7.
- Joystick or button controls are optional on some models -see Pic. 8. The Minivator Simplicity 950 has a paddle shaped toggle switch available – see Pic. 9.
- Wall mounts are available for the hand controls for most models – see Pic. 10.
- Optional manual, or powered, hinged rails, are available to keep access clear at the foot of the staircase see Pic. 11.
- All stairlifts have a low battery indicator – see Pic. 12.
- All our stairlifts include a key to immobilise the stairlift (to prevent unauthorised use) see Pic 13.
- All stairlifts have pressure detection sensors which will stop the stairlift if an obstruction is encountered – see Pic. 14.
- Item may be returned within 7 days from purchase, however due to the high costs of installation and bespoke rail manufacture, only 30% of the amount payed can be redeemed.
- The item cannot be returned due to bereavement.
The price at Assured Stairlifts includes a one year warranty. We are approved suppliers for most manufacturers and always have a large stock of spare parts for all our stairlifts.
Straight rail stairlifts can be rented from as little as £8 a week. Please contact us or Tel. 0800 00 15 444.
Exercise caution if a salesman is pushing you to buy. We can give accurate quotes over the telephone for all our stairlifts, whether straight or curved. With Assured Stairlifts there will be no pressure and we will quote you the best price from the start.
Straight and Curved Stairs
Stairs with an intermediate landing require a curved stair rail, or two straight rail stairlifts.
Straight stairs have no bend, no curves and no intermediate landing.
Curved Stairs are stairs with any bend or any intermediate landing, including an ‘in-line’ one where the stairs do not change direction. Bends include any stairs with just a couple of steps at top or bottom.
An ‘In-line’ intermediate landing.
A 90° ‘Flat-Bend’.
Turning steps at the top.
Other Points Regarding Curved Rail Stairlifts
More expensive than straight stair lifts, starting at around £2500.
With Assured Stairlifts the time from ordering a curved stairlift to installation is from 10-14 days; depending on the complexity of your staircase. Some companies may take longer.
We provide curved rails which are newly built specifically for your staircase.
Our engineers are trained and certified to install and maintain curved rail stairlifts as well as straight stairlifts.
Intermediate Landings and Flat Bends
If you have an intermediate landing in your staircase, whether ‘in-line’ (See Fig. 1 above), or a ‘flat-bend’ (See Fig. 2 above) where the stairs change direction, it is possible to have two straight stairlifts, rather than a curved stairlift. The user would then transfer between the two chairlifts on the half landing. This does involve some inconvenience for the user, but would be cheaper than a curved stairlift. Please contact us: telephone 0800 00 15 444 for advice.
‘Fan-bends’, like ‘wedges of cheese’ always require a curved rail. If the bend is at the very top of the stairs, a platform installation used to be a possible alternative, but as from April 2007 this is now illegal.
AC and DC Power
Some chair lifts have the option of D.C. or A.C. but most these days are DC powered by a battery pack which is re-charged from the mains via a transformer.
The obvious advantage of DC power is that the stairlift will continue to work in a power cut. Though, how often do we have power cuts these days?
Many engineers will argue the point of DC (battery) versus AC (electric) powered stairlifts. It is certainly true that an AC Electric motor will outlast any Battery powered motor.
You can switch an electric (AC) stairlift off for any length of time, switch it back on, and it will work straight away (eg. if you go on a long holiday).
If you leave a battery powered stairlift off for a period of time the batteries might not charge back up again, and this might not be under warranty from most stairlift companies.
Usually, battery packs are within the base of the stairlift, but some are externally mounted on the wall near a charging point.
Battery packs are recharged via ‘charge-points’ usually located at the top and bottom of the stairs.
Some battery packs are constantly charged by a trailing cable or a ‘buzz bar’.
A full battery pack would normally provide 6-10 trips depending on the length of the staircase and the weight of the user.
Battery packs are a sealed unit and maintenance free.
Battery packs should last around 3 to 5 years and once depleted cost from £60 to about £150 to replace.
D.C. and some AC powered stairlifts have a ‘soft-start’ and ‘soft-stop’ which avoids any sudden movements.
A D.C. powered stairlift requires a nearby mains socket. If there is no socket within the vicinity, we will ask that you have one installed, or we can arrange for installation of a socket via an outside contractor. The earth bonding of the property will be checked by our installer and must comply with the most recent European Regulations. However this is very rarely a problem.
Some companies ‘spur-off’ the socket. An adapter can be used to connect to the mains whilst others plug directly into it. From there, a connection is made to a charger / transformer unit which transforms the power down to either 24 or 36 volts DC, and from there a connection is made to the stairlift track.
Charge points are located at the top and bottom of the track so that when the stairlift is parked (at top or bottom), it is over a charge point, where it recharges in a similar way to a cordless phone sitting in its cradle.
With a curved rail stairlift, an additional charge point on an intermediate landing (on the actual bend of the track), can provide a neater storage solution when the stairlift is not in use and parked over the charge point.