If your stairs bend or turn corners then you will need a curved stairlift with a custom made track to fit the exact layout of your staircase. The tracks are either bent into shape or made up of modular bends and can be fitted to almost any type of stairs, even spiral staircases.
Being custom made means curved stairlifts will have a higher price. There is usually a longer wait for delivery and installation than for a basic straight stairlift model.
However, the purpose built track does offer more flexibility, such as including a parking bend to allow the seat to be parked clear of the top or bottom of the stairs.
In order to determine the design of track and the model that best your needs, your chosen supplier will conduct a survey of your staircase and assess your needs. They will be able to advise on whether the lift should travel on the inside or outside bend.
After carefully assessing the dimensions of your stairs, they will work out which model will be best suited to the layout. If you have if you have narrow or steep stairs with tight bends then a compact model or one with a perching seat may be required.
All the main stairlift companies in the UK offer models for curved stairs. Outdoor curved models are also available if you are having difficulty using the external steps leading to your door or garden.
Manufacturers specially design their stairlifts so that they are easy and safe for users to use. They have a range of features that are helpful for the elderly with limited mobility and disabled people of all ages. For example, a swivel chair seat can make it easier for a user to transfer to or from a wheelchair.
All stairlifts have a maximum weight limit, which varies according to each model, but is usually between 18 and 22 stone. Very large or obese people may need a heavy duty stairlift with extra capacity.
In the UK not all manufacturers offer heavy duty curved models, but they are available from the following companies:
Prices for curved stairlifts are higher than for straight models. This is because it costs more to make a custom built track to fit a staircase with turns or corners. It also takes longer to fit a curved rail to the contours of the stairs.
It’s hard to give an average price for a curved model as every situation is different. The cost will depend on the number of stairs, the amount of work involved in manufacturing and fitting, as well as which features you choose.
As a rough comparison prices for brand new curved stairlifts start from £3950 with Companion, £5000 with Acorn and £5200 with Stannah. These are just guide prices to give you an approximate idea. You will need to get a personalised quote to find out exactly what you can expect to pay.
Some companies sell reconditioned curved stairlifts, which can be cheaper than new models. It is important to know the difference between the terms reconditioned and used.
Reconditioned means a second-hand model that has been fully checked and had any faulty parts replaced to ensure it is safe and in working order. Reputable suppliers will offer a guarantee, a customer helpline and a professional installation service.
If you are considering purchasing a reconditioned model be sure to read reviews and choose a reputable company before parting with your cash.
Used stairlifts are sometimes offered for sale by private sellers on Ebay and other websites. It can be tempting to buy a used model, as these are generally the cheapest option. However, we don’t recommend this as you will have no guarantee that the stairlift is safe or reliable. If it breaks down you may have to spend a lot on repairs and new parts.
More importantly, as curved stairlifts need a custom built track, you will need to purchase a new track in order to fit the stairlift to your staircase. Even if you know someone who is good at DIY, for your peace of mind and the user’s safety, it is advisable to use a professional to install your stairlift. They will have the right kit and the experience to carry out a safe installation with minimal disruption.
If you are looking to save money then we advise you avoid buying a second-hand stairlift from a private seller. However, the option of a reconditioned model is worth exploring if you choose a trusted supplier with a good reputation. It is a good idea to get quotes for a brand new stairlift at the same time so that you can compare prices. Remember to look at what features, optional extras and aftersales support are included in the price before making a decision.
If you think you will only require a stairlift in the short term, perhaps while you recover from an accident or surgery, then renting one may be better than buying.
A few companies do offer curved models for hire. Bear in mind that you will still need to have a track custom built to fit your stairs. The work involved in making and installing the track will push the price up in comparison with renting a straight stairlift.
As a rough guide, there is likely to be a one-off set up cost of approximately between £1500 and £2500, followed by monthly payments of £100 or more. It is therefore very important that you carefully consider whether rental is going to be cheaper than buying. Although the cost of buying a curved stairlift may be several thousand pounds, over the longer term this will be a more economical option than renting. It really depends on how long you are likely to need the stairlift.
Although a more expensive option than a straight model, a curved stairlift can greatly enhance your quality of life and take the struggle out of using the stairs, helping you to maintain your independence. So if you’re got unusually shaped stairs, the first step is to arrange a free no obligation survey with a reputable stairlift company to find out your options and to get a personalised quote.