Stairlifts for Narrow Stairs

Stairlifts for Narrow Stairs

This page was last updated on 1 November 2020

Stairlifts for Narrow Stairs

If you have a narrow staircase, a standard stairlift might not be an option for your home. This is because there might not be enough space for your knees and feet when you are seated. 

Below, we discuss some of the most commonly asked questions about stairlifts for narrow stairs. These include the minimum width, the cost, and the types of lifts available, to name a few.

Topics that you will find covered on this page

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

Can stairlifts be fitted to any stairs?

The majority of staircases can have stairlifts fitted. However, some will be more difficult to fit a stairlift too. Luckily, there are solutions out there to help you get a stairlift that is right for your needs and your home. 

There are a number of features that can cause difficulty when fitting stairlifts. These include the size of your staircase, the shape of your staircase, and your personal requirements such as the type of seat. 

If the layout of your home presents challenges for stairlifts, stairlift companies likely have a solution. However, stairlift suppliers often charge more for these models of stairlifts. 

You might also need to make alterations to your home before installation can occur. For example, you might have to move your banister. The easiest way to find out if you can get a stairlift is to have an expert visit your home. Many companies offer a free visit to assess your options. 

How wide do stairs have to be for a standard stair lift?

The minimum width required for stairlifts depends on whether you need a straight stairlift or a curved stairlift. 

If you need a straight stairlift, the staircase in your household will need to have a minimum width of 750mm. As a general rule of thumb, a curved stairlift requires a wider staircase. A standard curved stairlift typically requires a staircase that is 850mm wide. 

However, if your house does not have room for a standard staircase, many companies also sell stair lifts for narrow stairs. There are two main types, perch stairlifts and bespoke stairlifts. It is a good idea to speak to a stairlift expert to decide which is right for you. 

Here is a video showing how a stairlift on narrow stairs can work.

What staircase widths are classified as narrow?

Narrow staircases can be a challenge, but luckily experts have come up with ways around the problem. A stairlift for narrow stairs will be required if your staircase width is less than 73cm. 

Those that require stairlifts for narrow stairs should consider whether there is room for a seat to go up and down their stairs. Stairlifts that are too wide for the staircase can cause safety problems. They can also make movement up and down the stairs difficult for non-users. 

You should consider whether there will be room for others to walk up and down the stairs if you fit a stairlift. It is a good idea to speak with advisors, who can answer all your questions. They will help you find the best stairlift for narrow stairs based on your home and needs. 

What are the options of stairlifts for narrow stairs? 

For homes with narrow staircases, there are a range of stairlift options out there. These include a perch stairlift, a compact stairlift, a turn and go stairlift, and a curved stairlift. Below, we briefly explain the different types.

chair lift for narrow stairs

What are perch stairlifts?

Perch stairlifts are one type of stairlifts for narrow staircases. They are also known as standing stairlifts. The minimum width needed for a perch stairlifts is less than that for standard stairway chair lifts.

With these standing stairlifts, you have a perch seat on your stairlift. The stairlift user is in an upright/standing position on the footrests, but the perch seat offers the user some support. The benefit is that there is no seat sticking out in front of the chair lift. 

Is a perch stairlift right for me?

Even if you need a chair lift for narrow stairs, a perch seat stairlift might not be right for you. Standing stair lifts can be unsuitable, and even a safety risk,  for those that lack the ability to stand up with little support. 

A perch seat stairlift might be a good idea if you have a narrow staircase and can stand for the duration of the distance. Furthermore, even if you do not have a narrow staircase, a perch seat stair lift might be your best option. 

Some people find that they have trouble lowering themselves to the seat on a standard stairlift. Others struggle to get up off the seat at the top of the stairlift track. This is normally due to health problems, for example problems in the hip joints or knees. Swivel seats also help with this problem. 

Whilst perch stairlifts for narrow stairs require less space in terms of width, they might not be suitable for all houses . This is because the design requires the user to stand. Therefore, this model requires plenty of headroom.

We recommend getting advice from the teams you are thinking of buying your narrow width stair lifts from. Their experience and expertise can help you make the best choice, given your personal situation. 

"Narrow staircases can be a challenge, but luckily experts have come up with ways around the problem. A stairlift for narrow stairs will be required if your staircase width is less than 73cm. "

What are compact design stairlifts?

If you have a narrow staircase, a stairlift might cause a disruption. This is something to consider if you are living with others. 

A compact design chairlift for stairs that are narrow can overcome these issues. They will allow people to pass with ease. They have a folding seat, arms, and footrest. The advantage is that they fold away and take up a small amount of space when not in use. 

Companies such as Stannah even offer powered footrests, so that you don’t have to bend over to fold the parts away. 

stair lifts for narrow stairs

What are bespoke stairlifts?

Bespoke stairlifts also make good stairlifts for narrow stairs. These are custom-built to fit your stair case. Because of this, prices are often more expensive. However, it does mean they can be designed to fit around corners,for those that need curved stairlifts. 

What are turn and go stairlifts?

Turn and go stairlifts are the final type of stairlifts for narrow stairs we will discuss. They are a chair lift for stairs that are narrow and curved. 

These stairlifts have a swivel function, so they can be stored away from the top of bottom of staircases, around the corner. When the carriage approaches the corner the seat will swivel to make space for you to pass. 

This ensures there is enough space on your landing for others. Turn and go stairlifts are a niche stairlift, that are made to order. Quotes are therefore more expensive. 

Will a stairlift fit my stairs?

If you are unsure whether a stairlift will fit your stairs, or what type you need, speak with an official representative from the company. They will consider the area around your stairs, and give you a quotation. 

In most cases even those with narrow staircases can get a stairlift that will work on their site. Whilst the process might be more complicated, your retailer’s experienced team can guide you through. 

narrow width stair lifts

Can a stairlift be shortened?

It is not unusual for stairlifts to need to be shortened. This is because each home is unique, with a different layout. Stairlifts that are too long, or too short, can be a risk.

Typically, rail sizes will range from 3400mm to 5400mm, depending on the staircase. Even then, staircases vary in length. Most users have their stairlift rail cut by the stairlift manufacturers, to ensure a perfect fit. 

What companies sell stairlifts for narrow stairs?

There are many companies that sell narrow stairlifts. Stannah, Acorn, and Companion, are just a few of the popular companies on the market. 

It is always best to shop around and compare companies, to ensure you are getting the best deal. A stairlift is an expensive commitment, so you don’t want to miss the best offers. 

Can stairlifts fit listed buildings?

Stairlifts can be fitted in some listed properties, but it does depend on the grade of the listing. The best thing to do is to give your company of choice a call. 

When you speak to them on the phone you can give them the details of your home. They can then look into whether the staircases in the building can be fitted with a stair lift. 

best stairlift for narrow stairs

Can open plan stairs be fitted with stairlifts?

Stairlifts can be fitted to open plan staircases. If you are concerned about the safety of open plan stairs, the engineers that fit your stair lift might also be able to fit a handrail. This is something you need to discuss with the company beforehand. 

Almost all stairlifts will come with a seatbelt as standard. Having a seat belt can make users feel safer, especially on an open plan staircase. 

Will I need a load-bearing wall for my stairlift? 

A stairlift will fit to the tread of the stairs, not the wall. Therefore, you do not need a load bearing wall! All stairlifts have a maximum weight capacity though, which you should check before purchasing. 

Will a stairlift damage my wall? 

Almost all domestic stairlifts are fitted to the stair tread, rather than the wall. Since they attach to the treads, they won’t damage your wall or ruin your nice decor. 

The only type your home might need to be modified is if an electrical socket needs to be added, or obstacles such as radiators and banisters moved. The company will normally help you arrange this.

What is the weight capacity of a stairlift? 

The fact of the matter is that different stairlifts will have different maximum weight limits. Generally, however, straight stairlifts have a maximum capacity of 160kg. Curved stairlifts have a slightly lower capacity of 136kg. 

Yes, many companies sell reconditioned narrow stairlifts. However, a reconditioned narrow stairs chair lift might be harder to come by.  Unfortunately, the design of some homes means the stairlift needs to be custom fit. 

Can I get a curved stairlift for my narrow staircase?

Yes, curved narrow stairlifts are available! The stairlift will be specially made to navigate tight corners and avoid clash points. This ensures there is enough clearance for the chair lift, and that your journey is smooth. 

More often than not, these stairlifts will have to be custom made, This makes these narrow stairlifts more expensive, however it might be an essential cost. 

If you are having trouble finding the money for narrow stairlifts, you could apply for funding. UK councils offer ‘Disabled Facilities Grants‘ that might make narrow stairlifts more affordable. 

What happens if there is a radiator at the top or bottom of my staircase?

If you need a stairlift but have a radiator at the top or bottom of your staircase, you will normally need to get a plumber in. Your plumber will either move the radiator along, or replace it with a smaller one that does not get in the way. 

Companies will not simply start your stair lift a few steps higher or lower to accommodate the radiator, and for good reason. If you require mobility assistance, climbing just a single step without support could be dangerous. 

Some companies will be able to organise a plumber for you. Ask your retailer for more information about this, if it is something you need. 

Are there different types of stairlift seats?

Stairlifts generally come with a standard seat, or a perch seat. Perch seat stairlifts are normally recommended for narrow staircases or those that have trouble standing up and sitting down. 

You also have cosmetic options to consider for your seat, such as the colour of the upholstery. Since you will be using it a lot, it is important to ensure it is comfortable and that you are happy with the look. 

Where can I get a quote for a narrow stairlift?

If you have a narrow staircase you can get a free quote from many leading companies, such as Acorn and Stannah. You should remember that quotes are only a rough guide. Almost all companies will need to make a home visit before they can give you a final quote.

Would you like some help to understand what your options are with regards to getting a stair lift for narrow stairs?

You can contact us in one of 3 ways:

  • Option 1 – Call us directly on – 0800 0169 288
  • Option 2 – Leave your contact details and we will get in touch with you
  • Option 3 – Book an appointment directly in the calendar below, and one of the team will call you back at the chosen time
You can call us directly:
Monday to Thursday – 8am – 7pm
Friday – 8am – 5:30pm
Saturday & Sunday – 9am – 5pm
Leave your details below and a narrow stairlift specialist from Acorn will get in touch

Please note that all calls relating to Stairlifts are undertaken by Acorn stairlifts.

More useful information on stair lifts

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.

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