Buying Guide

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Buying Guide

New or reconditioned Stairlifts – Berkshire or surrounding areas

Purchasing a new or even a reconditioned Stairlift is a major investment and there are many aspects to consider before going ahead. If your mobility is impaired and you are finding it difficult or impossible to access the upper floors of your home, then you could, of course, consider moving to a bungalow or other ground floor accommodation. Should this be neither desirable nor practical, you might instead consider having your home adapted and moving your bedroom and bathroom downstairs. Again, this may not be the solution that best meets your needs or your budget.

Installing a new or reconditioned Stairlift often proves to be a more practical and cost-effective option meaning less disruption for you and your family, but still allowing you to remain living independently in your home.

If you have decided that a Stairlift is probably the correct solution for you, it is important to consider which sort of Stairlift might suit your particular requirements.

How to get more information

It is very helpful if you are able to arrange an assessment by a qualified Occupational Therapist (OT). They will be able to offer you guidance on the best solutions to meet your needs and take into account how your condition might change in the future. It may be possible to arrange an OT assessment through your GP or through your local Social Services. Alternatively, you can contact the British Association of Occupational Therapists (BAOT). Be aware that, depending on your circumstances, you may have to pay for such an assessment. More information can be found here.

If you know somebody who already owns a Stairlift, have a chat with them. That way you can get an honest and unbiased opinion about the advantages of owning one, as well as some suggestions about what questions to ask.

Get in touch with some local Stairlift companies and compare their products, their prices and the services they offer.

Don’t ever let sales people pressurise or rush you into making a purchase. Take your time.

If you are buying a Stairlift for personal domestic use, then the purchase will be exempt from VAT. The supplier should provide you with a VAT exemption certificate, which is very straightforward to complete.

If you have decided to proceed, ensure that your stairs are surveyed and assessed by an expert.

Newbury Mobility offers a FREE inspection survey. We can also help guide you towards the best choice for your needs. While we will quote a price for you, rest assured that you are under no obligation or pressure to buy from us. 

Which kind of Stairlift is best for you?

There are various types of Stairlift and it is vital that you choose one that best suits your needs.

Seated Stairlifts – are the most common type. The user sits comfortably and securely on a reasonably sized seat which swivels when stationary to allow the user to get on or off more easily. While it is possible to carry a walking stick on a Seated Stairlift, it is not possible to carry anything larger. So if you use a zimmer frame or a rollator for example, you need to think about keeping one downstairs and one upstairs.

Standing and Perching Stairlifts – Standing Stair lifts may be the correct solution if, for example, you have difficulty bending your knees or if the staircase is unusually narrow. Perching Stairlifts are similar but provide a small amount of support for you to perch on. In both cases, it is important that you have the physical strength and or endurance for the time that it takes a Standing or Perching Stairlift to travel up or down the staircase. Even a short staircase will take over a minute.

Straight Stairlifts – are designed for straight staircases, unsurprisingly. They tend to be the cheapest option with installation normally taking only a few hours. Straight Stairlifts are fitted to the stair tread rather than to the wall and are normally powered from the mains.  For your peace of mind, they are available with a battery-backup option in case of power failures.

Curved Stairlifts – follow the bends in a staircase and are also able to glide across landings and/or half-landings. They operate on a rail that fits very closely to the wall, even on tight bends, freeing up more space on the staircase itself. Most Curved Stairlifts are powered by rechargeable batteries that are kept continuously topped up from charging points at the top and bottom of the stairs. When not in use, the seat needs to be parked in the correct position in order for charging to take place.

Outdoor Stairlifts – provide easy access to external stairways such as the steps leading up to your front door. They are supplied with a cover to protect against the elements and can be used in all weathers.

Other things to consider before buying a Stairlift

Do you have the dexterity in your hands to operate a standard Stairlift remote control? If not, there are alternative controls available such as a joystick or a toggle.

Are there doors, thresholds, banister rails, radiators, or any other potential obstructions near the staircase? If so, you may require a hinged track. A Stairlift track must extend beyond the staircase to the hall floor for the user to alight. A hinged track means that the track can be folded away from any arches or doorways, giving clear access.

If you have any questions at all about using a new or reconditioned Stairlift, and you live in Berkshire, Oxford or Wiltshire, please do give us a call. We will be happy to help. And remember, we provide 24 months warranty on all new Stairlifts and 12 months warranty on all reconditioned Stairlifts.

Thinking of buying a Stairlift on Ebay?

We are experiencing an increasing number of calls from DIY enthusiasts who have tried but failed to fit a Stairlift bought online.

Straight Stairlifts – There are one or two makes that are quite straightforward to fit, but even those need to be installed carefully. Here are some points to consider:

  • Are all the necessary parts included in the purchase?
  • Is the rail long enough?
  • Are the steps all in line, do they all have similar tread and are the riser dimensions the same? If not, you need to take care as there is not a lot of room for adjustment on the stair fixing brackets.
  • Be careful not to miss out any brackets. If you do, the seat will lean forward and, if the rail is jointed in the middle, the joint will deform resulting in a seat drive unit that bangs or sticks.
  • Modern units have a safety brake and overspeed governor (OSG). If the unit has been removed or if it has been transported with the drive still mounted to the rails, there is a risk of inadvertent activation, causing the Stairlift to malfunction. Some units do not have an OSG fitted. While it is not a legal requirement, any Stairlift not fitted with an OSG does not conform to British Standards. We recommend that only Stairlifts conforming to British Standards are fitted, in line with Local Authority policy.
  • Older units will be driven by a 240 volt mains supply and will have a trailing cable from the control box to the seat. We strongly recommend that these are avoided. They can be extremely costly to repair and finding spare parts can be very difficult.
  • Beware of Stairlifts that have not been used for some time. If the batteries have been allowed to discharge completely, then it may not be possible to recharge them fully and their operating life may well be substantially reduced.

 

Curved Stairlifts – We do not recommend that Curved Stairlifts are fitted by anyone other than a qualified engineer.

  • Even the smallest variation in the layout of the stairs from one property to another can result in malfunction.
  • Many manufacturers will only supply parts for Curved Stairlifts to authorised dealers who have been product trained.
  • If the Stairlift rail is cut or modified, the Stairlift software can malfunction leading to the risk of injury to the user.

 

In General

ALL OF OUR STAIRLIFTS ARE:
  • Installed by Us
  • Repaired by Us
  • Serviced by Us
  • All Emergency Callouts Covered by Us
  • No Third Party Contractors!!

 

Modern units are very reliable and competition between manufacturers helps to drive prices down.

The older the Stairllift, the harder it will be to repair. Parts may be hard to obtain or even discontinued and it may be difficult and costly to find a technician with the appropriate product knowledge.

There are a number of companies who will buy back straight Stairlifts when they are no longer required, meaning that you may be able to get some return on your initial investment.

Price Promise Guarantee on all New Products

Regardless of whether you are looking for a Stairlift, Mobility Scooter or Powerchair, we promise to beat the best written like-for-like quote by at least 5%.

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Unwanted Stairlifts

End of Life Disposal Since the introduction of WEEE regulations it is now necessary to dispose of electrical/electronic items responsibly. We offer a service whereby we will collect or dismantle any Stairlift that is no longer required and dispose of it in compliance with existing regulations. Just contact us and we will arrange to remove your old equipment for a nominal fee.