Outdoor stair lift

Outdoor stair lift

This page was last updated on 1 September 2021

Outdoor Stair Lift In 2021

An outdoor stairlift is useful to help those with limited mobility access outdoor living spaces, like a straight flight of stairs to their front door, or a few steps down into a garden. 

This will help their everyday life and mean they can relax outdoors. There are numerous stairlift options, including for a curved staircase or straight stairs.

Topics that you will find covered on this page

You can listen to an audio recording of this page below.

 

Why would you want to install an outdoor stairlift?

Having restricted mobility can limit your ability to enjoy the outdoors where there are obstacles like stairs, uneven ground or sloped terrain. 

An outdoor stairlift can make it possible for the user to go outside, visit a garden or even just get out of their house. This can increase their freedom and mean they feel less trapped in their own home. It also reduces the risk of a fall on icy ground or another trip hazard. 

Who is an outdoor stairlift for?

Outdoor stair lifts are useful for anyone with reduced mobility who wants to be able to enjoy their outdoor living spaces. Outdoor stair lifts are low maintenance, have low running costs and can be specifically designed for the person’s needs.

How is an outdoor stairlift and an indoor stairlift different?

Beyond their position, an outdoor stair lift needs to be better equipped to withstand extreme weather conditions than indoor stairlifts. 

This means the stair lift will be made using more durable materials, and the electrical aspects will need to be sealed to protect them from the rain, ice or snow. Sometimes the stair lift will also have to be a heater so that the motor will still work in low temperatures.

Where are common areas to put an outdoor stairlift?

It is common to put outdoor stairlifts so that the user can get to a patio, decking or other outdoor living spaces. Other places they can be useful include:

  • To a garden area
  • To a basement with an outdoor entry
  • On a sloped driveway
  • Onto a dock or pier
  • On a rocky path

 

How much does an outdoor stair lift cost?

An outdoor stairlift is more expensive than an indoor models because they have to be more robust and strong. Generally, the basic cost is £2,500.

The cost will also depend on if it is a straight or curved stairlift, and if there are features beyond the standard features like a padlock for security.

Get a free quote before committing to a custom made stair lift. 

What additional costs can I expect?

There are additional features that will cost you more, including:

  • Extra long staircases of over 4.5 metres
  • Alteration of the seat posts
  • Enhanced swivel seat
  • Any electrical work that needs doing
  • Powered or manual hinge rail
  • A powered footrest
  • Guard rails or grab rails
  • Alterations to the stairs
  • If a greater weight capacity is needed

How can I find out the price of an outdoor stair lift?

You can get a free outdoor stairlift quote from most companies. Many companies will have a brochure so you can find your perfect mobility aid. You should make sure you do you research and do not buy a stairlift from a cold caller who gives you the hard sell.

Can you get a reduction on an outdoor stair lift?

Before getting a free quote, you should check whether your mobility issues make you eligible for a disabled facilities grant for an outside staircase. You can get a free assessment on your local authority website. 

Can I rent or get a reconditioned outdoor stairlift instead?

You can, and it is common to rent a stairlift for events in outdoor spaces where there is limited access. Just like an indoor model, reconditioned stairlift should always be tested to a high standard to ensure it is suited to external use on outside stairs.

What features should outdoor stairlifts have?

Before having an outdoor stairlift installed, you should consider the materials it is made of.

You should make sure  you get a weather resistant version which is waterproof and have extra protection like effective seals to stop water or dirt getting into the gears or the motor. 

You can get all the features, from a key switch to a custom made seat, but generally this will cost more. 

"Outdoor stair lifts are useful for anyone with reduced mobility who wants to be able to enjoy their outdoor living spaces. Outdoor stair lifts are low maintenance, have low running costs and can be specifically designed for the person’s needs."

There is lots of lingo used for straight and curved stairlifts, including:

  • Directional remote controls, which can be on either arm of the chair depending on if the user is left or right handed
  • A manual swivel seat, to help the user get on and off the chair seat
  • Foldable seat, armrests and footrest
  • Safety edges so the seat will stop automatically if there is an obstruction
  • A key switch which immobilises the stairlift when it is not in use
  • Safety seatbelt
  • A call station so you can either call the stairlift to you, or send the stairlift so someone else
  • A remote control
  • Swivel seat
  • Wide arm version
  • Connected to outside stairs not the wall
  • Maximum capacity it can carry
  • Weather resistant cover

The guide rail

Normally, guide rails are made of steel or aluminium. It is best to go for hollow extruded aluminium because it is less likely to be corroded by rain or friction. 

Regardless, the metal should be thick, and ideally have an anodized finish, which is a finish that makes aluminium stronger. There should also be a positive drive method, such as a pinion and rack.

The carriage

The carriage is the feature that pushes the chair up and down the guide rail on the stairs. This should be made out of steel to deal with the pressure of going round corners. This is particularly for the die castings. 

The rollers

The rollers make sure that the seat base goes along the rail nice and smoothly. They should have sealed ball bearings so they are durable. A good quality stair lift will have 12 rollers, whereas a lower quality model might only have 8. You can get a stairlift built specifically so it has a soft stop for added safety.

The seat

This should use marine grade materials to deal with the year-round variation in weather. It should also swivel. You can get a heated outdoor chair which will keep the seat and motor warm.

The seat cover 

The protective cover must be waterproof and fit well. The protective cover should also be in a position that means it protects the motor. The armrests, footrest and seat should be foldable so that they can be stored.

The controls

There needs to be controls at the top and bottom of the lift so you can retrieve the chair from either end. The controls will be either infra-red or work via radio. The issue with remote control using infra-red is that the remote must be in the sight line of the carriage. Meanwhile, the radio signals work like a car key. 

The necessary safety standards 

One of the most important features of a stairlift is that it is safe to use, and you should assure it is independently tested for year round use. The European safety standard is BS EN 81-40:2008, and the worldwide standard is ISO 9836-2:2000. 

The safety features

There should be a lap harness on the stairness. Generally there are electronic and mechanical braking system controls to make sure your journey is smooth and you do not get stuck, as well as safety limit sensors, pressure sensors and a lockable key.

Can you get a curved outdoor stairlift?

You can get curved, straight or multi-level configurations. Professionals will install the stair lift to fit your needs and work around any terrain or obstacle. Curved staircases will need curved rails.

Can you use an outdoor stairlift all year?

The stairlifts are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions so the user can relax outdoors all year. Often they will have a weather resistant outdoor cover.

What temperatures can I use an outdoor stairlift in?

If you get a custom extreme element stairlift, they can go from -17 degrees to 51 degrees. However, most commonly the range is smaller, for example a Stannah outdoor stair lift will be operational from -10 degrees to 40 degrees. 

Will my outdoor stairlift use batteries?

Outdoor stairlifts do not normally work by battery, except the remote controls. Instead, they use electricity, so need to be wired in or close to an electrical outlet. This can be difficult for extra long staircases.

How do I get power to my stairlift?

The stairlift will work by charging up an internal battery using electricity. There will often be multiple power sources on the rail. The battery should make sure you are not at risk from a sudden power cut. Normally the battery will last several years, and the impact on your electricity bills should not be too big. 

What if there is an obstacle on the stairs?

The stair lift will come with safety pressure sensors, so the seat will stop if it identifies an obstacle on the drive rack. 

What if the user needs a wheelchair?

If the person uses a mobility scooter or wheelchair which means they cannot get on or off a stair lift, it might be a good idea to consider a wheelchair lift instead. Depending on the vertical height and position, it might be possible to put in a vertical lift on the side of the staircase. 

outside stairs lifts

Are there any other options?

A cheaper option is often just putting in a ramp where the elevation is not too steep. This will depend on the gradient, especially if it is put in with a wheelchair or mobility scooter in mind. 

Does an outdoor stairlift need maintenance?

Generally they do not need that much maintenance because there will be a special plastic cover to protect them from the elements when they are not being used. However, it is recommended you get your stairlift serviced every 12 months. 

How do I clean my stairlift?

Even though there will be a waterproof cover, it is a good idea to wipe the seat of stair lifts clean using a cloth to prevent dust and dirt building up. You should not use solvents, bleach or any cleaning product which might corrode the components or cause a short circuit. The tracks of straight and curved stairlifts should be lubricated every 3 months to keep the chair moving smoothly. 

Do I need to replace the batteries?

You should make sure that the stair lifts battery charger is kept in a clean and dry place. The batteries should be replaced every 1-2 years. 

How does installation of an outdoor stairlift work?

You will get a home visit from the stairlift company where they will discuss your options and generally give you a free outdoor stairlift quote. You will then probably have a surveyor assess the structural conditions.

How long does stair lift installation take? 

This will depend on how complex the system is. Normally it will take up to half a day. Once it is installed, you can normally use the stairlift immediately. 

Can I install an outdoor stair lift by myself?

You can get DIY outdoor stairlift systems but this is probably not a good idea. This is because you want to make sure external stairlifts are installed safely and be able to deal with year round weather and any structural changes and have an appropriate maximum capacity.

Will there have to be structural changes to the stairs?

Similar to indoor stairs, normally it is not necessary to modify the steps or stairs because the trained engineer who fits the outdoor stair lift can work around the outdoor stairs to find the perfect solution. There is less likely to need to be a change for straight stairs.

What is the stairlift fitted to? 

Generally the stair lift is fitted to the staircase and not the wall, which minimises the challenges in fitting. You can get stairlifts built specifically for your stairs, depending on what the wall requires and the elevation. The width of the stairs will make a difference to the installation of stairlifts.

What stairlift company should I use for my stairlift?

It is important to use a company that will prioritise your unique installation needs and has qualified engineers to provide you with easy access to outdoor spaces. There are lots of brands and models to choose from, including Stannah stairlifts and Acorn stairlifts.

How do I choose a stairlift?

The Disabled Living Foundation has a list of the stairlift models and this can show you whether the company is a member of the British Healthcare Trades Association. BHTA membership means the company is following a set code of practice when selling their stairlifts, so should be offering more home affordability. You can also check they are following the applicable european directive.

Have A Free & Impartial Chat With Acorn Stairlifts

 

Would you like some help to understand your stairlift options?

You can contact us in one of 3 ways:

  • Option 1 – Call us directly on – 0333 567 1612
  • Option 2 – Book an appointment directly in the calendar below, and one of the team will call you back at the chosen time
  • Option 3 – Leave us your contact details and we will get in touch

 

Option 1 – Call Acorn Stairlifts Directly

Monday to Thursday – 8am – 7pm

Friday – 8am – 5:30pm

Saturday & Sunday – 9am – 5pm

Option 2 – Book an appointment, in the calendar below, for a Stairlift specialist to call you back when its convenient

Option 3 – Leave your details and Acorn will get in touch

Leave your contact details below and one of the Acorn team will give you a call to discuss your needs.

Please note that all calls are undertaken by Acorn Stairlifts.

More useful information on stairlifts

A Guide To Stairlifts

This article explains all you need to know about buying or renting a stairlift in the UK alongside information on where to find one.

Curved Stairlifts

Not all stairs are straight, so you may need a curved stairlift to go around a landing,  This article explains how you get a curved stairlift.

Stairlift Rental

Renting a stairlift is a popular alternative to purchasing a new stair lift.  This article explains how the rental process works.

Second Hand Stairlifts

Buying a second hand stairlift is much cheaper than buying a new one, especially if you nay not need it for long.  

Reconditioned Stairlifts

A reconditioned stairlift allows you to get an almost new stairlift for a much lower price than a new one.  This article explains how.

Stairlifts For Narrow Stairs

Thos will narrow stairs will need a specialist chair.  However, there are lifts that could work.  Our article explains what you need to know.

Article author

Katy Davies

I am a keen reader and writer and have been helping to write and produce the legal content for the site since the launch.   I studied for a law degree at Manchester University and I use that theoretical experience, as well as my practical experience as a solicitor, to help produce legal content which I hope you find helpful.

Outside of work, I love the snow and am a keen snowboarder.  Most winters you will see me trying to get away for long weekends to the slopes in Switzerland or France.

Email – katy@helpandadvice.co.uk

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is an outdoor stairlift for?

Outdoor stair lifts are useful for anyone with reduced mobility who wants to be able to enjoy their outdoor living spaces. Outdoor stair lifts are low maintenance, have low running costs and can be specifically designed for the person’s needs.

How is an outdoor stairlift and an indoor stairlift different?

Beyond their position, an outdoor stair lift needs to be better equipped to withstand extreme weather conditions than indoor stairlifts. 

This means the stair lift will be made using more durable materials, and the electrical aspects will need to be sealed to protect them from the rain, ice or snow. Sometimes the stair lift will also have to be a heater so that the motor will still work in low temperatures.

How much does an outdoor stair lift cost?

An outdoor stairlift is more expensive than an indoor models because they have to be more robust and strong. Generally, the basic cost is £2,500. The cost will also depend on if it is a straight or curved stairlift, and if there are features beyond the standard features like a padlock for security. Get a free quote before committing to a custom made stair lift.

Can you get a reduction on an outdoor stair lift?

Before getting a free quote, you should check whether your mobility issues make you eligible for a disabled facilities grant for an outside staircase. You can get a free assessment on your local authority website.

 

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