What Are the Types of Stairlifts?

Types of stair lifts

Installing a stair lift for the elderly or for someone with a disability, whether indoors or outdoors, is an excellent way to improve accessibility and mobility for you or a loved one. Understanding the range of options is key to making an informed decision. 

There are seven different types of stairlifts available, each designed with unique features to cater to various needs. They can adapt to different mobility needs, ensuring safety and ease of use for individuals with varying physical limitations. Whether you have a straight, curved, or outdoor staircase, there is a mobility stair lift solution for you. 

If you have specific requirements, such as using a wheelchair lift or having difficulty sitting, platform and standing stairlifts are viable choices. Affordable stairlift options, including reconditioned and rented models, cater to individuals on a budget by offering cost-effective alternatives that maintain high standards of safety and reliability. 

In this article, we’ve covered detailed information on the main types of stair lifts, the staircases they are suitable for, user suitability, and cost ranges. This information will help you make the best decision for enhancing accessibility and safety in your home. 

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What are the different types of stair lifts?

Common types of stairlifts include straight, curved, standing ones, platform, and outdoor models. Specialised options such as heavy duty, mobile, second hand stair lifts, and rented stairlifts can accommodate specific needs. Below is a quick overview of the different stairlift types, their suitabilities, and the cost range including installation.

Type of stairlift Staircase & user  Cost range + Fit (£)
Straight stairlift Straight | most £2,500 – £4,500
Curved stairlift Curved, cornered |most £6,000 – £12,000 
Standing Narrow, straight | sitting issues £4,500 – £8,000 
Platform Any | wheelchair £7,000 – £12,000
Heavy duty Any | heavier £5,000 – £9,000
Outdoor stairlift Outdoor|most £3,500 – £6,500 
Mobile stairlift Any | temporary £1,500 – £3,500
Reconditioned Any | low-budget £875 – £4,000
Rented stairlift Any | short-term £40 – £150/month (Fit £350 – £1,000+)
These costs are estimates. 

Indoor and home stair lift types

Multiple stairlift options are available for residential or indoor use, specifically designed to enhance accessibility in your home. Manufacturers tailor these stairlifts to fit different staircases and cater to users’ specific requirements, guaranteeing a secure and pleasant experience while navigating your home. Here’s a closer look at the various types of home stair lifts available individually.

Straight stairlifts 

straight stairlifts

Straight stairlifts are perfect for homes with straight staircases that have no curves or corners. They cost between £2,500 and £4,500, including installation. They offer a safe, convenient, and reliable way for people with mobility challenges to move between floors. 

Straight stairlifts are especially suitable for elderly individuals as they are easy to install and use and offer a reliable way to get around the house (Age UK).

A straight stairlift attaches to the side rail of the staircase and is typically battery-powered with a charging station at the bottom. To maintain the charge and ensure the stairlift operates without interruption, it’s necessary to keep it plugged in at all times, says Stairlifts Guru.

The adjustable chair is easy to sit on, and users can control movement with a remote, control panel, or joystick, making it simple and user-friendly, especially for the elderly.

Aspect Details


Simple installation


❌ Cons

Limited to straight staircase

Curved stairlifts 

curved stairlifts

If your home’s staircase has bends, curves, or corners, a curved stair lift is the right choice. These stairlifts typically cost between £6,000 and £12,000 with installation. Curved stairlifts are custom-made to fit the exact shape of your staircase, ensuring a smooth and comfortable ride. According to Handicare, a well-known stairlift manufacturer, this bespoke design and precise measurement process explain their higher cost compared to straight stairlifts. However, the investment is worthwhile for individuals with multi-level homes or complex staircases, providing seamless navigation and ensuring they can safely access all areas of their homes.

Curved stairlifts are particularly beneficial for elderly users who may struggle with mobility issues. They enhance accessibility and independence for users with mobility challenges in multi-level homes. The major downsides include a higher cost because of customisation and a longer installation time compared to straight stairlifts.

Aspect details


Provides a smooth ride on curved or multi-floor staircases

Highly customisable

❌ Cons

Higher cost due to customisation

Longer installation time

Standing stairlifts 

standing stairlifts

If sitting down is difficult for you or a loved one, a standing stair lift, also known as a step-on stair lift or stand on stair lift, could be the perfect choice. These lifts typically cost between £4,500 and £8,000, including installation (Age Co Mobility), and offer a comfortable and safe solution for people with specific medical conditions like knee or hip problems.

Standing stairlifts come equipped with various safety features, such as handrails, safety belts, and footrest sensors. They are particularly beneficial for individuals with arthritis, hip and knee issues, limited flexibility, or balance problems. Reputable providers like Stannah and Senior Stairlifts offer a range of standing stairlift models with compact designs ideal for narrow staircases and homes with limited space.

Aspect details


Ideal for users who have difficulty sitting

Compact design

❌ Cons

Not suitable if the user cannot stand for the duration of the ride

Platform stairlifts 

platform stairlifts

Platform stairlifts are a great option for wheelchair users who need to move between different levels in a building. They cost between £7,000 and £12,000 with installation and provide a sturdy accessibility solution. 

Wheelchair users can safely and conveniently move between floors using these stairlifts, promoting independence and ease of movement.

Platform stairlifts are highly suitable for elderly wheelchair users, offering a safe and stable way to move between floors (Disabled Living Foundation).

Aspect details 


Wheelchair users friendly

Ideal for indoors or outdoors

❌ Cons

Requires more space

Higher cost

Heavy duty stairlifts 

heavy duty stairlifts

Heavy duty stairlifts in the UK are engineered to safely transport individuals weighing between 25 stone (158 kg) and 31.5 stone (200 kg). These robust stairlifts boast reinforced materials, wider seats, upgraded batteries, and sturdy rail systems to ensure stability and durability, as recommended by Age UK Mobility.

These stairlifts are designed with user-friendliness in mind, featuring intuitive armrest controls and remote options for caregivers. Enhanced safety features, including seat belts, swivel seats, and obstruction sensors, are standard in many models, as highlighted by Stairlift Guru. Additionally, many heavy duty stairlifts offer battery backup systems to ensure continuous operation during power outages, providing uninterrupted mobility, as noted by UK Stair Lifts.

While costs for heavy-duty stairlifts can range from £5,000 to £9,000 with installation depending on the model and features, professional assessment and installation are essential to ensure safety and optimal performance. Many providers offer free home surveys to determine the most suitable solution for your specific needs.

Prioritising comfort and safety, these stairlifts often include padded ergonomic seats, extended armrests, and reinforced footrests. Customisable to fit various staircase configurations, they ensure a smooth and muted ride, while features like power swivel seats and folding footrests enhance usability.

Installing a heavy-duty stairlift can significantly improve the accessibility, mobility, and overall quality of life for heavier individuals, both young and old. UK providers offer a range of stylish and discreet models that seamlessly integrate with home decor while maintaining a high safety standard. 

Aspect Details


Supports higher weight capacities
Robust and reliable
Enhanced safety features

❌ Cons

Bulkier design
Higher cost

Outdoor, reconditioned and rented stairlifts

In addition to standard indoor models, several other types of stairlifts cater to specific needs and situations. This section focuses on outdoor, mobile, reconditioned, and rented stairlifts, providing flexible solutions for various requirements.

Outdoor stairlifts 

outdoor stairlifts

Outdoor stairlifts help you navigate outdoor steps safely, no matter the weather, with costs starting at £3,500 and exceeding £6,500 in the UK. Designed to withstand the elements, these stairlifts feature sturdy construction, waterproof covers, and rust-resistant materials, ensuring durability and reliability in rain, snow, or sun.

According to the BHTA, there is a rising demand for outdoor stairlifts due to their ability to improve outdoor accessibility for the elderly and individuals with mobility limitations. If you spend a significant amount of time outdoors or in the garden and need to navigate patios and terraces, these stairlifts are a great choice.

Aspect Details


Built for outdoor use

❌ Cons

Needs more maintenance
More costly

Mobile stairlifts 

mobile stairlifts

Mobile stairlifts are portable, battery-powered devices designed to help individuals with mobility restrictions navigate stairs. They cost between £1,500 and £3,500, depending on the model and features. These motorised chairs are lightweight, compact, and user-friendly, making them a perfect choice for safely and comfortably accessing different levels of a home or building. 

According to Mobile Stair Lifts, a provider of stairlifts, these types of stairlifts offer a practical solution for temporary use or travel, enabling people with limited mobility to maintain their independence and move freely within their homes.

The demand for mobile stairlifts in the UK is rising, reflecting their convenience and flexibility. These are especially beneficial for elderly individuals, those recovering from surgery, or anyone requiring short-term mobility solutions. 

Aspect Details


For temporary use

Easy to move and use

No installation cost

❌ Cons

Not as robust as installed ones

Reconditioned stairlifts

reconditioned stairlifts

Reconditioned stairlifts offer an affordable and sustainable alternative to buying new, aligning with a growing trend towards eco-conscious choices in the UK. Prices typically start at £875 for a straight model with installation and a 12-month warranty and may vary depending on the model and features. 

As per Stairlifts Expert UK, manufacturers acquire used stairlifts and carefully refurbish them to comply with strict safety standards established by organisations such as the British Standards Institution (BSI). This comprehensive procedure involves replacing worn-out components, updating software, and conducting extensive safety inspections. Consequently, refurbished stairlifts can offer the same level of safety and reliability as brand-new models but at a significantly reduced price.

Reconditioned stairlifts are an excellent option for individuals on a budget, those who need a stairlift quickly due to immediate mobility needs, or environmentally conscious consumers seeking to reduce waste. By choosing a reconditioned stairlift, you can regain independence and improve accessibility in your home without compromising on safety or quality.

Aspect details



Safe and reliable


❌ Cons

Limited customisation options

May have shorter lifespans

Rented stairlifts

stairlifts rentals

Renting stairlifts is ideal for short-term needs, such as recovery from surgery or temporary residence in the UK. Rented stairlifts allow users to access the benefits of a stairlift without the long-term commitment and cost of purchasing one. Monthly rental fees in the UK typically range from £40 to £150+, depending on the type of stairlift and provider, with additional installation costs of £350-£1,000, according to Which?’s article on buying and installing stairlifts.

Rental agreements often include comprehensive maintenance and servicing, providing users with peace of mind and convenience throughout the rental period.

Some providers may also offer rent-to-own options, allowing renters to apply a portion of their rental payments toward the purchase price if they decide to keep the stairlift. It’s important to inquire about such options upfront to determine if they align with your individual needs and budget.

Aspect details


Low initial cost

Flexible for short-term needs

Maintenance included

No upfront investment

Quick installation

Try before you buy

❌ Cons

Can be more expensive in the long run compared to purchasing 

Limited customisation options

May not be suitable for complex staircases

If none of the available stairlift options are suitable for you, you can explore alternative choices such as home elevators, stair climbers, and through-floor lifts. Each alternative offers its own advantages and considerations, depending on your mobility requirements and the structure of your home. 

However, it is important to note that despite offering similar benefits, these alternatives generally have higher costs and involve more complex installation processes.

Ready to get started with a stairlift? Getting quotes from multiple providers can help you compare options and choose the most suitable solution for your needs and budget. Fill out the form to connect with local providers and enhance home accessibility.

Which stairlift type is the right solution for you?

Different types of stairlifts

Choosing the right stairlift depends on your specific needs, your home’s layout and budget. Here’s a summary to help match your requirements with the best stairlift option:

Choosing the right stairlift depends on several things, including your needs, the layout of your home, and how much you can spend. Thinking carefully about these factors will help you find a stairlift that makes your life easier, safer, and more comfortable.

We can help you determine which type of stairlift is best or with payment options. 

Our free quote service connects you with reputable stairlift providers in your area, ensuring you receive accurate and competitive quotes tailored to your specific requirements. 

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What are the different types of stair lifts?

The different types of stairlifts include straight, curved, standing stair lifts, platforms, heavy duty, outdoor, mobile, reconditioned, and rented stairlifts. Each type meets different needs and staircase configurations.

What is the most reliable stair lift?

The most reliable stairlift depends on individual needs and home layout. However, brands like Shannah and Acorn are well-regarded for their reliability and customer service.

What type of stairlift is the cheapest?

Straight stairlifts are generally the cheapest, costing between £2,500 and £4,500 for newly installed versions. They are cheaper because they are simpler to install and do not require customisation for curves or corners. Reconditioned stairlifts also offer a budget-friendly option. 

Is there an alternative to a stair lift?

Alternatives to stairlifts include home elevators, stair climbers, and through-floor lifts. Each alternative has its benefits and considerations depending on the user’s mobility needs and home structure. Although these alternatives may provide similar advantages, they typically incur higher costs and involve more intricate installation processes.

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