Choosing the right stairlift for your home or organisation

Is physical access to your home or business becoming a problem? Are you thinking about installing a stairlift to assist either yourself, a family member or the general public to move between levels?

A stairlift sometimes known as a chairlift or stair chair is a safe and reliable solution for anyone having difficulty managing stairs.

Essentially a stairlift is a battery operated chair mounted on a track that carries you up and down. It consists of the track or rail, the power pack fitted to the track and the seat fitted to the power pack. The track is fitted to the stairs NOT the wall so there is no lasting structural damage to the property. If circumstances change a stair chair can easily be removed.

The first consideration is whether the stairway is a straight or curved stairway eg are there landings and or curves in the stairway? If it is a straight flight of stairs then a straight stairlift will work beautifully and luckily for you is generally the least expensive option. Some of our models will fit a staircase as narrow as 600mm with a gradient from 28 to 53 degrees depending on the model. An ‘Obligation Free’ site visit by a company representative is desirable, to inspect the premises and take measurements as well as discuss with you the best ‘fit’ for your stairs and budget.

A straight stairlift is less expensive than a curved rail which has to be custom made to fit a specific staircase. Sometimes if there are several flights of straight stairs, you may consider installing two straight stairlifts with a short walk on the landing between each one. This may be a more economical solution for you. Once again it is best to have your property inspected by a company representative to ensure the best proposal is identified.

Generally the ideal solution for a curved stairway is to fit a curved stairlift. This will provide you with one seamless curved rail, custom made to fit the stairway with one chair travelling up and down. This will provide the most aesthetically pleasing outcome as well as the best outcome for the user As the track has to be measured precisely and custom made for a particular stairway it is more costly, with time from onsite survey to installation being about one month. A member of our team will visit your property and carry out a survey, whereby aspects of the staircase are individually measured and photographed to ensure an accurate fit.

If space is tight a number of models have a ‘retractable rail’ feature that allows the rail to extend down and then retract up and out of the way of a doorway at either end of the track. This feature can be either manual or automatic

Once the style of stair lift has been determined eg straight or curved, one of the next key considerations is the maximum weight capacity of the stairlift. Our internal stairlift models range from 125kg to 146kg, and the outdoor stairlifts range from 146kg to 150kg. Your selection will depend on who will use the stair lift eg an individual in their private home or will the stair lift be used by the general public eg access to a theatre, bowling club facility etc. The use of the stairlift will determine the capacity (maximum load) of the stairlift. For public use it is better to select a heavy duty model to cater for the majority of people likely to access the building.

Comfort is an important consideration. Consider the features of the actual seat – can the seat height be adjusted, are manual or auto seat swivel an option as well as a manual or automatic powered footrest.

Is there an option for a perch chair that allows you to almost stand and not need to bend your knees and hips to sit?
A perch seat can be beneficial to anyone who has severe knee, or hip joint pain. Look for additional safety features such as retractable seat belts and arms – straight or curved.  In addition depending on the model, you may have some customisation options for example with the colour of the rail or choice of seat colour and choice of upholstery – fabric or vinyl.

Safety and ongoing service are both critical considerations when purchasing any product. Direct Lifts supplies and installs models that are all compliant with the Australian Lift Code AS1735 as well as the CA/NCC Code. Direct Lifts also offers a range of Service Agreements. As a general rule your stairlift should be serviced annually to ensure many years of good service.

Book an appointment, reach us @ 1300 134 011

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