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The Straight & Curved Stairlift Buyers Guide®

 

A Free Information Databank to Learn All About the Stairlift, Global Leading Manufacturers, Reviews, How to Choose a Stairlift and How to Buy a Stairlift!

Curved Rail Stairlifts

Curved Rail Stairlifts

 

Features and Options

Special Note:

No two different manufacturer stairlift models are designed and built alike. Please verify with the manufacturer that ALL of the Safety, Convenience and Comfort features listed below may or may not be installed or included on your Stair Lift Chair, Carriage and Rail System stairlift purchase.

Features and Options

Battery Powered DC (Direct Current)

Battery DC (Direct Current)
Battery DC (Direct Current)

Battery power provides uninterrupted operation even during a power outage. With DC (battery) power, the stairlift does not trail an electrical cable behind it, but is self-powered. The battery charges when the stairlift is at rest and a fully charged battery will power up to 15-20 trips up and down the stairs.

 

  • Advantage of Battery Power for safety
  • Available for straight and curved stairlifts
  • Battery charges only when needed
  • Battery charges when the stairlift is at rest
  • Fully rechargeable battery
  • Near silent operation
  • No higher voltage trailing cables on the stairlift
  • No mains voltage on the stairlift
  • Not constantly using power
  • Powers up to 15-20 trips up and down the stairs
  • Smooth power delivery
  • Soft start / soft stop smooth ride
  • Stairlift is power efficient
  • Stairlift is self-powered
  • Works during an electricity power failure

Diagnostic Digital Display

Diagnostic digital display

Mounted on the carriage of the stair lift is a Digital Display which shows clearly when the lift is in the normal operating position. Also it provides invaluable diagnostic information in the unlikely event of a fault with your stairlift.

 
Stairlifts with a Diagnostic Digital Display can detect any rare faults with a stair lift which are then displayed digitally as a number or letter, providing clear and simple status information for users and engineers.

Directional 'Paddle' Switch Controls

Directional 'Paddle' switch control
Directional 'Paddle' switch control

A simple directional Paddle Switch operates the up and down motion of the stairlift; a switch which is located on an arm of the chair. Stairlifts are mainly operated using a control switch. This is either a joy stick, paddle switch or a toggle type lever. A larger paddle switch enables users even with limited dexterity and mobility or with a painful condition to use stairlifts safely and easily.

 

On stairlifts, for Ease of Use for people who have Arthritis, the up and down motion of the stair lift can be operated by either hand with simple dual paddle switchs located on both arms of the chair seat.

 

Dual Mechanical and Electronic Braking Systems (Essential)

Dual Electronic and Mecanical Braking Systems

Dynamic motor braking through the motor controller, self locking gear box, electro-mechanical motor brake and overspeed brake protection. The Dual Braking Fail-Safe System eliminates any possibility of an uncontrolled descent. This gives you complete peace of mind when using a stairlift.

 
Advanced modern stairlifts are fitted with two independent safety systems, a double safety Dual Braking System Electronic and Mechanical which means that the stairlift is unable to descend unexpectedly or at speed. This is an essential safety feature that is imperative to have on your stairlift.
 
Added security and safety comes with an Overspeed Governor (OSG) built into the chassis of a stairlift. Should the OSG mechanism sense any over-speed, the centrifugal force causes the over speed governor cams to fly out and in turn release the safety gear jaw which rapidly clamps to the stairlift rail and disengages the motor drive power bringing the stairlift to an immediate safe stop.

Fold-up Slimline Design

Fold-up Design Curved and Straight Stairlift
Fold-up Design Curved and Straight Stairlift
A Slimline type Fold-up Design stairlift, with folding arms, seat and footrest, ensures maximum access to the staircase. When not in use, a slim-line fold-away design provides easy entry and availability to the staircase by non-stairlift users.
 
This slim type design is stylish yet robust and allows for plenty of access and ensures it will fit on even the narrowest of stairs. Intended to be a piece of modern furniture this stairlift will blend subtly into your home.
 
Curved stairlifts, also with a fold-up slim profile design, can be easily tucked away. With a unique inside parking capability, ensuring the stairway is not obstructed for use by other members of the household.

Key Lockable On/Off Switch

Stairlift Lockable Isolation Switch Key

 

A stairlift may be locked with a Key Lockable On/Off Isolation Switch so that others, children and grandchildren cannot use it. The key can also be removed to prevent any unauthorized use. The stairlift cannot be operated unless the key is inserted and turned to the operating position. The stair lift continues to charge when locked.

Limit Sensors

Woman Dismounting Stairlift from a Swivel Seat
Woman Dismounting Stairlift from a Swivel Seat
At the end of either an ascent or descent are Limit Sensors installed and located on the track rail. A battery operated stair lift will come to a 'soft stop' due to the limit sensors . These Limit Sensors ensure that the stair lift always stops in the correct position.

Padded Seat and Backrest

Padded Chair Seat and Backrest
Padded Chair Seat and Backrest
The Padded Seat provides a soft, cushy seating area an ensures that stair lifts give the most comfortable ride available.
 
Chairs and backrests can be built to have a wide, cushioned seat with a supportive backrest for maximum comfort. Stairlift chairs are available in vinyl, leather or woven fabric upholstery and can come in a range of colors to suit any home.
 
Some stairlift models offer a height adjustable seat, for proper fit and improved comfort, to help the user to get off and on the chair safely. The seat adjustment height is determined and to be set at installation or may be fabricated at the time of manufacture to the user measurements.
 

Perch Seat Stairlift 

Perch Seat Stairlift
Perch Seat Stairlift

Perch Seat Stairlifts are for people who have narrow stairs

Many older homes have very narrow staircases. This can be a huge setback if you need to install a stairlift. Fortunately, there are specific stairlifts available with features and options that enable a stairlift to be installed on narrow stairs.
A solution for staircases, which are too narrow for a traditional seated stairlift, may possibly be a Perch Stairlift. A perching seat position is a position between a sitting and standing position. A perch stairlift greatly reduces the minimum clearance width required for a conventional seated stairlift.
However, this type of stairlift requires the user to be able to remain safely perching for the amount of time it takes to complete the journey up or down the staircase. The user must also be able to dismount safely at the top landing or at the bottom of the stairs.
 

Perch Seat Stairlifts are for people who struggle bending their knees

A person, with problems with their knees, might be unable to comfortably bend their knees, in which case a sit-down stair chair is possibly inconvenient. A Perch Model Stairlift eliminates the need for the usual knee clearance expected of chair lifts on staircases.
If your budget or space constraints require a stairlift to be installed, then possibly the only option available to you is to have a perching seat stairlift.
  • Padded seat and backrest
    Ensures that the Perch Stairlift gives a comfortable ride.
  • Directional toggle switch
    Easy to operate, even by those with limited dexterity.
  • Safety belt and handrail
    Included for added security.
  • Folding arms and seat
    Slimline fold-away design allows easy access to the staircase.
  • Great for Narrow Stairs

Rack and Pinion Drive

Rack and Pinion System
Rack and Pinion System

Over the years there were several diverse ways and approaches to transfer and drive the stairlift carriage up and down the rail track, from noisy and oily chain driven mechanisms to wire rope or cable wrapping around winch drums. These outdated mechanisms are still available today. All of these are now obsolete apart from the modern Rack & Pinion Drive System which produces a very smooth and safe stairlift ride.

 
For overall passenger safety security and comfort control, some stairlift rail tracks are designed for a rack and pinion drive system, an extruded aluminum rail track system and a multiple glide roller system. For stable and an absolutely secure movement at all times up and down, a stairlift may utilize a chassis system of extra multiple glide rollers, giving a surface contact area for greater holding capability and a gliding capability to furnish a smoother ride.

 

A double tube extruded aluminum rail profile can give a superb feeling of safety and stability. A hardened steel rack is bolted to an aluminum cast track. The stairlift motor which is coupled to the stairlift gearbox drives the round pinion gear along the rack/track. The pinion gear is the rotating machine part having cut teeth, or cogs, which meshes with the toothed part on the rail in order to transmit torque.

 

Added security and safety comes with an Overspeed Governor (OSG) built into the chassis of a stairlift. Should the OSG mechanism sense any over-speed, the centrifugal force causes the over speed governor cams to fly out and in turn release the safety gear jaw which rapidly clamps to the stairlift rail and disengages the motor drive power bringing the stairlift to an immediate safe stop.
Stairlift Rack and Pinion Drive System

Rack and Pinion

 

The majority of today’s stair lift manufacturers, world-wide build a modern state-of-the-art Rack and Pinion Drive System with battery power, which has proven itself to be quiet, reliable and with low maintenance. A drive system which will safely operate a stairlift even during a power outage.

 

A rack and pinion stairlift is a motor-powered lifting device. The rack and pinion gear system is used to convert the rotation into linear motion moving the stairlift up and down the stairs. A passenger is moved on a carriage attached to an inclined rail track.

 

Advanced stairlift technology and innovation has made strides in rail track design with rigid Aluminum Extruded Rail Track (with a Steel Rack attached) fitted between different floor levels in a home or commercial business.

Modular Rail Track System

Curved Rail Modular Track System
  • Modular Rail System
    Enables reduced installation time

 

One manufacturer invented the “modular” rail concept, built up from straight rail sections and a suite of standard bend sections. This unique process allows the rail portion of the lift to be quickly assembled from stock components, enabling faster delivery and installation than any other curved stairlift on the market. The manufacturer states that a curved rail stairlift installation can take only days instead of up to four to six weeks with its Fast Track Stairlift Installation.

Hinged Rail

Hinged Rail
Hinged Rail
The lower section of the rail folds up and out of the way when not in use, allowing greater access at the foot of the stairs. The option of a manual or powered hinged rail is ideal when there may be a doorway near the foot of the stairs. When the stairlift is not is use, the rail is neatly out of the way and causes no obstruction.

Remote Control (Infra-red)

Hand Held Infra-red Remote Control
Hand Held Infra-red Remote Control
The stairlift user can use the Stair lift, then the user using a  Remote Control can send the stairlift back to the original location, up or down the stairs, for the second user to utilize the stairlift. The remote control can also be used by a care giver.
 
A Remote Control can be used for Straight Stairlifts, Curved Stairlifts, a  Dual Purpose Sit or Stand Stairlift, a Perch Stairlift and an Outdoor Stairlift
 
Infra-red Remote Control electronic devices are used to 'called' or 'sent' a stairlift up or down the stairs by using a remote control similar to a TV remote control.

Ride Quality

Stairlift Whisper Quiet Ride Quality
Whisper Quiet Ride Quality

Stairlift Whisper Quiet Ride Quality

 
  • DC battery power
  • Rack and pinion drive system
  • Superb feeling of safety and stability
  • Double-tube rail profile and chassis roller system
  • Smooth, quiet and most luxurious ride quality
 
A peerless ride quality and whisper quiet operation is attributed to unique rail profile designs and an advanced chassis roller system working in conjunction with the DC battery power and rack and pinion drive system.
 
Typically stair lifts feature four, or sometimes six, chassis rollers and a box section rail. Superior stair lifts have a greater number of multiple rollers, giving a larger surface contact area for a safe, and more stable and smooth operation.
 
Such features, along with double-tube rigid extruded aluminum rail profiles for chassis rollers, give the smoothest, quietest and most luxurious Ride Quality currently available, and a superb feeling of safety and stability when using the stairlift.

Safety Cut-off Sensor Surfaces

Safety Sensors on Foot Rest and Carriage

There are up to 5 pressure sensitive safety sensor surfaces or safety edges that stop a stair lift in the event of a collision with any obstruction on the stairway. These Safety Sensors are located around the footrest, and on the top and bottom of the carriage.

 
If there is an obstruction on the stairs, a stair lift will detect it with at least one of the pressure sensitive surfaces situated around the stair lift. If an obstruction is detected, the stairlift will cease movement, so that the obstruction may be removed. Once the object is removed the stair lift will proceed as usual.

Safety Seat Belt

Safety Seat Inertial Reel Lap Harness Belt
Safety Seat Inertial Reel Lap Harness Belt

A safety seatbelt is an absolute requirement. A superior seatbelt for stair lifts come with an inertial reel lap harness for extra security and safety. This is like a seat belt in a car, and will keep you in the stair lifts seat at all times. Safety is a priority when going up and down the stairs.

Sit or Stand Multi-purpose Stairlift

Sit or Stand Multi-purpose Stairlift
Sit or Stand Multi-purpose Stairlift

A Sit or stand stair lift is the perfect choice, when one person is able to sit safely when using a stair lift; while the other wishes to stand or has difficulty bending their knees. With many of the same features and options as straight stair lifts, the sit or stand stair lift gives the user the option to either sit or stand in comfort and safety.

 
However, this type of stairlift requires the user who is standing to be able to remain safely standing for the amount of time it takes to complete the journey up or down the staircase. The user must also be able to dismount safely at the top landing or at the bottom of the stairs.
 
Stand Stairlifts are for passengers that have restricted movement in the hip joints, knees or back and find sitting difficult or painful and prefer standing during the journey up and down the stairs. Passengers stand on a foot platform on the stairlift and hold onto a grab bar, arm or support.
 
With a Sit and Stand frame, choose the seated position or stand on the footrest. The special folding wander lead steady security bar is for stability.
 
Highlights of these types of stairlifts and customer benefits may include

 

  • Battery powered safe ride
  • Call or Send stairlift capability
  • Diagnostic digital display
  • Easy to use
  • Exceptionally comfortable ride
  • Fitted to the stairs, not to wall
  • Fold-up seat when not in use
  • Modular rail for quick installation
  • Near silent operation
  • No AC trailing cable
  • No planning permission required
  • No structural modifications needed
  • Padded seat and backrest
  • Safe operation
  • Safety cut-out sensors
  • Secure safety seat belt and grab bar
  • Smooth start/stop soft motion
  • Swivel seat with locking catch
  • Two wireless hand remote controls
  • Works during a power outage

Smooth start/stop action

Man on a Stairlift Enjoying a Smooth Ride
Man on a Stairlift Enjoying a Smooth Ride
A Battery Power operated stair lift. The upward and downward movement begins smoothly and slowly, without jarring or sudden stops.
 

Over the years there were several diverse ways and approaches to transfer and drive the stairlift carriage up and down the rail track, from noisy and oily chain driven mechanisms to wire rope or cable wrapping around winch drums.

 

These outdated mechanisms are still available today. All of these are now obsolete apart from the modern Rack & Pinion Drive System which produces a very smooth start and safe stop stairlift ride action and operation.

 

Stand Stairlift

Woman Traveling Downstairs on a Stand Stairlift
Woman Traveling Downstairs on a Stand Stairlift

Stand-up Stairlifts, the ideal solution for narrow stairs or trouble bending knees

 
Do you have a knee problem which prevents you from fully bending your legs? If so, a stand stairlift may be more comfortable.
 
Sometimes it is not feasible to use the standard stairlift. Possibly this is because the stairs are especially narrow, or because the user's legs will not bend enough to allow them to sit down on the stairlift.
 
Stand Stairlifts are available with most straight stairlifts ideal for when the user may have trouble sitting or bending at the knee and therefore cannot use a standard stairlift.
 
If more than one person needs the use of a stair lift, but have different requirements, then a multiple user Sit or Stand Stairlift is the solution to your problems with the stairs.
 
The Stand Up Stairlift is ideal for people who have difficulty with their knee joints and want to avoid the hassle of sitting down for no longer than a couple of minutes.
 
Not only is the Stand Up Stairlift smooth and quiet, it has a safety barrier or grab bar and a safety belt for added piece of mind.
 
For users who are unable to bend their knees sufficiently to travel in a seated position, stand up stairlifts offer a clever solution: a lift that can be used standing up so you don’t have to bend your knees at all.
 
Stairlift manufacturers understand a lot of their customers suffer with illnesses and ailments, such as arthritis in the hips and knees, which will make sitting down and standing back up reasonably a difficulty, so the idea of a stairlift seems like something that is going to be challenging to use.
 
The stand stairlift is a new design in which the user is able to stand on the foot plate on the stairlift itself, eliminating the problem a lot of our users are faced with. So if you or your loved one has problems sitting or bending then a stand stairlift is the solution you’re looking for.
 
Manufacturers offer a stand model that has several features to make the ride as comfortable as possible. If you want extra peace of mind then the Stand Stairlift may be a wonderful solution. There are also Ease of Use features on stairlifts which have received the Ease of Use Commendation from the Arthritis Foundation.

Swivel Seat

Stairlift Swivel Seat

Some stairlifts have a Swivel Seat with a safety locking catch.  A Swivel Seat allows easy and safe dismount, at the top of the stairs, without the need to twist the body or legs.

 

You can swivel (turn) the chair, so that you are safely facing away from the staircase, with direct access onto the landing area. The seat automatically locks into position to prevent accidental slipping.

 

The safety switch isolates the stairlift drive circuitry when the passenger seat is in the swivel position. The stairlift will not move until the seat swivel is locked back into its safe traveling position.

Weather Proof Outdoor Stairlift

Outdoor Stairlift components and products are tested against extreme weather conditions

 
A Weather Proof Stairlift for outside use has all of the safety and comfort features included as an indoor sit frame stairlift, but is designed and manufactured specifically for outdoor use. A stair lift designed to resist the elements.
 
For best results stairlifts use all metallic components and are either made in aluminum, or are oil annealed or zinc plated before powder coating. Plastic components are heat and UV resistant, protecting the stair lift from color fading and ambient heat damage.
 
An Outdoor Stairlift is an ideal solution for situations involving any staircase that is exposed to the elements, including garden steps, sun decks, porches, front stoops and garage or basement steps. The outdoor stair lift is very popular with those that live in beach homes, as it is well protected from the ravages of salt air.
 
Even in the outdoor configuration, the Outdoor Stairlift has exceptional ride quality and Performance, making it whisper quiet, smooth, stable and very easy to use. Usually included with the outdoor stair lift is a durable plastic cover which will keep off accumulations of leaves and snow.
 
  • Highlights of a Weather Proof Stairlift
  • Designed to resist the elements
  • Developed for outdoor staircases
  • Free snow and leaf cover
  • Folds away when not needed
  • Near silent operation
  • No structural modifications needed
  • Safe with Ease of use features
  • Two infra-red remote controls included
  • Works during a power outage

Features of Modern Stairlifts

Straight Rail Stairlift | Curved Rail Stairlift
Straight Rail Stairlift | Curved Rail Stairlift

Modern stair lifts can be found with a wide variety of features such as rack and pinion drive system, adjustable seat height, battery isolation switches, call stations, 'flip-up' rail, key switch, folding step, speed governor, seatbelt, soft start and soft stop and more features including:

 
  • Battery Powered Operation even during a power outage
  • Diagnostic Digital Display informs the user of the status of the stair lift
  • Dual Electronic and Mechanical Braking Systems a double safety system
  • Folding-up arms, seat and footrest with slimline fold-away design
  • Hinged Rail is ideal when there may be a doorway near the foot of the stairs
  • Infra-red Remote Controls allows the user to 'call' or 'send' the stair lift
  • Lockable isolation on/off switch prevents others from using the stair lift
  • Modular Rail System enables reduced installation time
  • No jarring or sudden stops by stairlift
  • Overspeed Governor controls speed of stairlift to prevent sudden rapid descent
  • Padded seat and backrest ensures stair lifts give most comfortable ride available
  • Paddle' switch controls make stairlifts easy to operate, even with limited dexterity
  • Perch Seat for people who have narrow stairs or struggle bending their knees
  • Rack and pinion drive stairlift uses this secure rail structure and drive system
  • Remote control similar to a TV remote for sending or calling stairlift up or down
  • Safety cut-out sensors on footrest and carriage stop the stair lift for obstructions
  • Safety features to protect children and grandchildren
  • Safety Seatbelt and Handrail are fitted for added security
  • Sit or Stand Carriage is a dual purpose stairlift for multiple users
  • Smooth start/stop action by a battery operated stair lift
  • Stairlift allows easy access to the staircase
  • Stairlift Design and use without the need for twisting the body
  • Stairlift is unable to descend unexpectedly or at speed
  • Stairlift provides a smooth and stable movement up and down the stairs
  • Stand or Perch Carriage designed for people who have issues bending knees
  • Stand Stairlift those who has difficulty bending their knees
  • Swivel seat with locking catch allows user to safely enter and exit the stair lift
  • Upward and downward movement begins smoothly and slowly
  • Weather proof components designed for outdoor stairlift use

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