Many houses in the UK, particularly older properties, have especially narrow or steep stairs. There are some great options for people looking for a stairlifts for narrow stairs. Choosing from two key types of stairlift: perch and turn and go, you can look at utilising a small space without having to give up on the idea of having a stairlift.
Perch (or perching) stairlifts are not only great for narrow staircases, but also for people who have difficulty bending to sit down. Able to be used whilst standing or perching, these stairlifts have special perching seats which sit higher on the equipment than standard seats, meaning you don’t need to worry about sitting down and standing up to use the stairlift.
However, you can still perch and take some of the weight off of your feet whilst moving. Perch seat stairlifts are also good for people with narrow staircases who don’t need to sit down.
Turn and go stairlifts use a special track that allows the seat to readjust at the bottom of the stairs so it will fit the space and manoeuvre around tight bends. Getting a turn and go stairlift to fit a narrow staircase is a good idea if you aren’t able to use standing stairlifts. The swivel seat can also help some people get in and out of the chair.
What is Considered a Narrow Staircase?
The minimum width of a stair tread that most standard size stairlifts can be fitted to is 73cm (29 inches). Stairs that have treads narrower than this are considered narrow and it may pose a potential safety risk to install a seated stairlift in such a small space. Users could injure themselves by knocking into the wall or banister, and other people using the stairs may not have enough space to walk past the lift without banging into it or tripping.
Perching and Standing Stairlifts
Perching and standing stairlifts can be the best solution for people who have difficulty bending their knees or restricted movement in their hip joints which make it painful to sit down. They also have the advantage of reducing the minimum width required for a stairlift to be installed on a narrow staircase.
Standard stairlifts take up more space on a staircase as they feature a seat for the user to sit down while travelling up and down their stairs. Perching and standing stairlifts, by contrast, do not allow the user to completely sit, requiring them instead to stand up or perch while using the lift to go up and down their stairs.
This type of stairlift can be a great solution for elderly, disabled or less mobile people whose houses have narrow stairs, enabling them to stay independent in their own homes and taking the challenge out of negotiating their stairs. However, it is essential that there is enough headroom for the stairlift user to stand throughout the journey up and down the stairs.
Due to their design, perching and standing models generally have a lower weight capacity than seated stairlifts and require users to be physically able to stand or perch for the duration of the journey and get off the lift safely when they reach the top of the stairs. Perch stairlifts tend to cost more than seated straight stairlifts, but not as much as curved stairlifts.
In some cases it is possible to install a conventional seated stairlift on narrow stairs. This option involves using a curved stairlift with a customised, made to measure track or rail that can be lifted up when the lift isn’t being used to allow it to be parked away from the top or bottom of the stairs. This solution leaves plenty of space for other people to safely walk up and down the stairs without the stairlift getting in their way. The downside of choosing to fit a curved stairlift on narrow stairs is the price, with a custom rail or track costing significantly more than one for a standard straight stairlift.
Get Free Advice
The best way to find out for sure whether it is possible to install a stairlift on your narrow stairs is to get advice from a stairlift expert. Just like selling a house we would recommend you speak to at least three people. We would suggest maybe one of the larger manufacturers and two local stairlift suppliers. Pick a supplier who is no more than 45 minutes from your home. This should mean the response time if anything goes wrong will be short. Most will offer free home visits where a surveyor can come out and look at your stairs to figure out the best and safest option.
This may involve some minor alterations such as moving or adding a banister or handrail, or fitting a new electric socket. Sometimes a hinged rail or track is the most suitable solution for narrow stairs. The surveyor will be able to use their knowledge and experience to assess which type of stairlift is right for your particular requirements. For instance, if you have trouble bending your knees to sit on a seated stairlift, a perch seat model may be the answer.
By making an appointment for a home visit with a representative from one or more stairlift suppliers you will be able to get their expert advice and suggestions. After discussing your needs and assessing your stairs they will be able to provide you with a free, no obligation quote so you will know exactly how much it will cost to install a stairlift. It is worth getting quotes from at least two different stairlift manufacturers so that you can compare prices and make an informed decision.
Featured Stairlifts for Narrow Stairs
By using its patented auto swivel system, the Flow 2 (made by ThyssenKrupp) curved stairlift can negotiate staircases as narrow as 61cm (24 inches) wide, auto swivelling the seat and footrest as it goes. This design allows the rail to sit close to the stairs, making Flow the most adaptable stairlift in the world – no other stairlift can claim this.The Flow 2 curved stairlift has a seat which is ergonomically shaped to the user providing a more comfortable and enjoyable ride.
The Otolift AIR stairlift has the smallest diameter rail tube of any other single rail stairlift on the current market. It is specially designed for narrow and steep stairs but can also be used on any other stair configuration. It is available with an extensive range of additional options to ensure you get a lift tailored to your personal needs.
The Sadler model from Stannah Stairlifts has a slimline design that makes it suitable for narrower stairways. It features a saddle-style tilting seat that is designed to take the weight off a user’s legs. The seat moves up and down with the user to help them safely get on and dismount from the lift. For safety there is an immobiliser seat belt.
Companion Perch Seat
If you have restricted movement in the knee or hip joints, you may find sitting painful or uncomfortable. In these situations, a perch stairlift seat may be the ideal solution. The perch seat sits just underneath the user’s buttocks, allowing the user to comfortably be seated in a near-standing position when using the stairlift. Perch stairlifts can also be a useful solution for extremely narrow stairways. A perch seat option is available for the Companion 1000, and 950+ A perch seat option is available on the Companion 2000 Curved stairlift