- Current shape, length and height of stairs
- Landings and doorways
- Electrical points
What to look for?
Before choosing a stairlift, you need to like the look of it. After all it is going to be part of your home for many years to come. All stairlifts have some common features which make them all look the same, a chair to ride up the stairs and a rail the chair is carried on. Other than this there are many different styles of design of chair lift to choose from:
- How comfortable is the seat? The only way to find this out is to try it. Also, how is easy is it to clean and how hardwearing is it?
- Will it fit with existing house decor? You do not want the stairlift to be installed and stick out like a sore thumb. You may need to compromise to a more neutral design. Based on other factors you decide such as price, features and install time.
- Will it fold away when not in use? This is especially important when relatives or friends visit, most lifts have also a key that can be removed when it’s not in use.
- Is it comfortable to ride? Stairlifts vary in the level of comfort of ride. Check if the chair has a self-levelling mechanism as it moves. The lift ride will be better if the chair comes to a slow stop and a gradual start as it ascends the stairs.
- Is it easy to use? No point going to the trouble of having a lift installed that you struggle to use each day. It will quickly become a bind and you will end up not using it because of this. Paddle or joystick controls make operation easier. The angle and height of the chair and the footplate need to be assessed for your own needs to make sure you are 100% happy with its use.
- How fast is it? Let’s face it you do not want to fly up the stairs at 100 miles an hour but also not at the pace of a snail. It’s important to strike a balance between feeling like you are getting there rather than proceeding up at a slow pace.
- How safe is it? Has it got the necessary braking requirements and weight loading to take you safely up and down the stairs? Are there safety sensors and safety belts whilst you are riding? One of the most dangerous times is exiting the lift at the top of the stairs, this should be assessed with the best option available, either a manual or powered swivel seat you can leave the lift from.
This decision can be made using the following factors:
There is nothing better than getting a recommendation by ‘word of mouth’ from someone. Often they have been through the buying experience before you and can provide an easy and free insight into what to expect.
Naturally people will complain about a service before they will compliment one, so finding a recommendation is a great way to influence a buying decision. This should not be your sole reason to choose a company.
People are different and what may be good for someone, may not be good for somebody else.
This sits alongside reputation, if the company serves your location well it will be especially useful if a problem occurs.
This will also denote how long the survey and install will take.
These days it’s fairly easy to research a company’s reputation even if you do not have the benefit of word of mouth. This can be done with popular search engines using terms like ‘reviews’, ‘complaints’ and ‘testimonials’.
Make sure if you choose a local company it’s well established and has an established customer base. Ask for references, a company confident of its reputation will be able to provide testimony from past satisfied customers.