The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Stairlift in the UK

stairlifts uk

This page was last updated on 1 November 2020

The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Stairlift in the UK

Stairlifts can be a life-changing way for older and disabled people to maintain their independence while living at home. They can also be helpful for those in aftercare following an injury or operation.

But many are put off by the hassle of buying, installing, and maintaining stairlifts. It can be tricky working out the full cost of stairlifts, and the variety of different options leaves many feeling overwhelmed. Some aren’t sure whether their home is suitable for stairlifts in the first place.

Then there’s the issue of maintenance: for example, is a maintenance contract a good deal, or should you seek out contractors yourself? What about insurance?

This article will provide answers to these questions as well as information and advice to help you make your decision.

Topics that you will find covered on this page

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

Is a stair lift going to meet my mobility needs?

If you are considering buying a stairlift, the first question you should ask yourself is whether a stairlift is right for you. Mobility needs can be complex, and stairlifts are not suited to everyone. But there are many types of stairlifts to meet differing needs.

Users of stairlifts often suffer from arthritis. Many others suffer from non-arthritic joint pain. Those who tire easily, or whose knees find walking up steps to be a challenge, also find stairlifts helpful.

It is probably not worth getting a stairlift if your mobility issues are mild and likely to subside within a few months. This is because there are many sunk costs that cannot be recouped if you want to get rid of your stairlift.

You should also consider whether you need to use the stairs at all- for example, it might be easier to stop using a basement or attic room, rather than fitting a stairlift. Plus, if you need to use the stairs to get to the bathroom, fitting a toilet in a more accessible location might be a better solution overall. This all depends on the layout of your home- in some houses, a new bathroom might be a lot cheaper than a stair lift.  

Here is a useful video about stairlifts.

Can stairlifts be fitted to any stairs, even if they are narrow or curved?

As a rule of thumb, you cannot have a stair lift fitted to a staircase narrower than a minimum of 75 centimeters. This is because the stairlift would obstruct the staircase, making it unsafe to use the stairlift and potentially causing a fire hazard.

As long as your stairs are wider than 75 centimeters, you can probably have stairlifts fitted. Stairlifts can be fitted to curved stairs, and they can go around bends. You can even have a stairlift fitted to a spiral staircase.

You should be aware that many of these features will increase the cost of your stairlift. A straight stairlift is often half the cost of a curved stairlift. A curved stairlift will be more expensive if your staircase has a lot of turns. Straight stairlifts are cheapest if the stairs are wide, short and not unusually steep.

Your staircase may have to be modified for a stairlift to be installed. For example, a banister or radiator may have to be removed or modified so that your stairlift does not collide with it.

What are some of the different kinds of stairlifts on the market?

There are many different types of staircase lift chair.

Of course, there are curved stairlifts and straight stairlifts to suit almost all homes.

There are also a range of perch seats for those who struggle to stand up for long periods of time. A seatbelt allows the user to remain standing while safely placing much of their weight on the perch seat. Plus, some stairlifts models feature a swivel seat, meaning they won’t get in the way of a family member.

Some stairlifts come with joystick controls. These give the stairlift user the power to alter their speed with ease or stop moving using a control button.

How much do stair lifts cost?

Stair lifts costs can vary.

Whether the track is curved or straight affects the price. A straight stairlift on an ordinary stair case tends to cost around two thousand pounds. Straight stairlifts are the cheapest available.

Stairlifts suited to curved staircases can cost more than double that. Curved stairlifts cost four thousand pounds on average, but they can cost up to nine thousand pounds. If your stairlift needs to go around corners, each corner can as much as double the purchase price.

Stairlift prices are also higher if you require custom features such as a perch or swivel seat. Stairlifts with higher weight requirements can also cost significantly more. These special features and alterations do not affect the stairlift cost as much. But as a rule, non-standard features lead to a higher price.

What about financial assistance with purchasing a stairlift?

With stairlifts costing thousands, many will be wondering what funding sources are available to support prospective stairlift owners. You can reduce the cost of buying a stairlift through VAT relief, as well as public and private grants.

"Any person living with a disability or serious illness qualifies for a full VAT exemption, which means the usual rate of twenty percent is not applied to their stairlift purchase"

Do I qualify for a VAT exemption?

Any person living with a disability or serious illness qualifies for a full VAT exemption, which means the usual rate of twenty percent is not applied to their stairlift purchase. This can reduce the sticker price of your stairlift by a sixth, making freedom of movement around your home more affordable.

Even if you do not have a disability or debilitating medical condition, any individual over the age of sixty qualifies for a reduced rate of VAT. So even if you cannot get full VAT exemption, you pay five percent instead of twenty. This can still make a big difference, since the reduced rate is being applied to such a high price.

Am I eligible for a council grant for my stairlifts costs?

You might be able to claim the Disabled Facilities Grant. This is a cash grant awarded by your local council to help meet the cost of purchasing and installing a stairlift. This could potentially reimburse you for the full price of your stairlift, as well as the full cost of installing it, including any necessary home modifications.

These grants are available in England and Wales as well as Northern Ireland, but not in Scotland. You may be granted up to a maximum of thirty thousand pounds in England, thirty-six thousand in Wales, and twenty-five thousand in Northern Ireland.

The amount you are awarded depends on your income and assets, and you must own the property or intend to remain living there for at least five years.

Can I get a stairlifts grant from a charity?

If you are not eligible for a public grant, you may be able to receive one from a charitable organisation. There are a number of charities offering grants to help meet the price of stairlifts. It’s worth doing your research.

Those who have served in the army or navy, or partners of those who have, can often get charitable funding when buying stairlifts.

What are the main stairlift companies in the UK?

The most reputable suppliers in the UK stairlifts industry are Acorn, Stannah and Handicare. These are all established firms with high safety standards. If you get in contact online or over the telephone, any of these firms will provide you with stairlift advice or send you a brochure. A free stairlift quote may also be available.

Acorn in particular is well-known for the professionalism of its service and its commitment to providing a good customer experience. Acorn also has superlative safety standards.

How expensive is it to install a chair lift for stairs?

Installation costs can vary based on the nature of your stairlift and your staircase. Stairlift manufacturers and suppliers will often do this for you, in which case the installation cost is included in the full price of the product.

If you arrange installation yourself, it can cost anywhere between two thousand and five thousand pounds. This is because you will have to pay for a trained engineer, which can cost a hundred pounds an hour or more. You may also need to hire an electrician, and if a radiator needs to be moved, a plumber will be required.

As with the purchase price, the cost of installing a stairlift will be greater if your staircase is curved or has a number of corners.

How does the installation process work?

First, the company will send a surveyor to measure your home. They will study and survey your stairs from top to bottom. These details will be used to figure out how much space is available, as well as which wall the rail will be attached to. Companies often charge for surveyor visits, but it is essential to ensure your safety.

Then the company will inform you of the choice available. You must come to a decision regarding what type of stairlift you want.

When the installation date comes, a team of trained engineers will begin installing your stairlift. Installation works usually reach completion within a week. A straight stairlift takes less time to install than a curved stairlift. In many cases, a straight stairlift will be finished within a day. A curved stairlift tends to take longer. 

Installation time also depends on the specifics of your house and the difficulty of fitting the stairlift rails.

Should I buy a warranty or maintenance contract with my stairlift?

It is generally a good idea to buy into the warranty or maintenance contracts offered by your stairlift manufacturer. Breakdowns can be expensive, but they also represent obstructions to your independent living.

Warranties provide invaluable peace of mind, as well as covering the significant running costs, including servicing and replacement parts. Replacement parts for a custom-built or curved stairlift can be very expensive.

Is buying or renting better?

There is no simple answer to this question- there are advantages and disadvantages to renting a stairlift, as opposed to buying one.

The main factor when choosing whether to hire a stair lift is the length of time you will need a stairlift for. If you will only need a stairlift for less than a year- for example, if you are recovering from an operation- renting might be the perfect option.

This is because if you rent a stairlift, companies remove it at the end of the rental period, and you won’t end up saddled with a valuable piece of mobility equipment that you no longer need. So, over shorter periods, renting a stairlift can work out cheaper.

But if you expect to require a stairlift for a long time- as long as you remain in your current home, for example- it would make more sense to buy it. Rental stair lift prices naturally include a profit for the company, and you can forgo this expense by owning the stairlift outright.

Should I insure my stairlift, and are they covered by home insurance?

It is usually possible to add a stairlift to your home insurance scheme, so if you decide this is the right option for you, consult your insurance provider. If you already have a warranty or maintenance contract, insurance is not necessary.

How do I get rid of a stairlift if I no longer need it?

If you bought a set of lift stairs which you no longer need, there are a few ways of getting it off your hands.

The simplest way of getting rid of a staircase lift is selling it back to the manufacturer or supplier you bought it from. This is often possible, particularly if you bought the stairlift relatively recently. In this case, the company will refurbish the product and check for any damage before selling it on to someone else. A removal fee may be applied.

It is also possible to sell chair stair lifts to a third party on platforms such as eBay and Gumtree. However, this is not recommended. You cannot ensure the product you are selling on will be safe, so you could face legal complications.

One of the advantages of renting a stairlift is that if you end up no longer needing it, the rental company will take it back. These are favourable terms if you expect not to need the stairlift forever.

When should I get a stairlift?

If you need it, you should start making arrangements as soon as possible. Not only can a stairlift dramatically improve your quality of life, but since it is usually a big one-time purchase, it makes sense to get as much use out of your stairlift as possible.

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

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 Stairlift specialist from Acorn will get in touch

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

More useful information about 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.

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