Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Stairlift or Wheelchair Lift


Buying a stairlift or wheelchair lift to help you get up and down the stairs is one of the most important decisions you can take, as it has the potential to transform your life – whether you have a disability, or care for a friend or relative who has one.

Ransome Mobility are highly experienced suppliers of domestic stairlifts and wheelchair lifts in Norfolk, Suffolk and throughout East Anglia. Here we look at five key factors to consider when choosing between the various options.

The Mobility of the User

This is probably the most important factor of all. Your new purchase must take account of how user-friendly it will be, particularly when it comes to the ease – or otherwise – or getting in and out of it. If the user’s mobility is seriously impaired, it may be worth considering the benefits of a wheelchair lift, installed independently of the stairs, or a stairlift where you don’t need to get out of the wheelchair.

Additional Features

However, it may still be possible to install a different type of stairlift even if the user has fairly limited mobility. This is because of the wide variety of features and accessories which can be fitted to them.

Perches, for instance, are an ideal alternative to seats, if the user has trouble bending their knees. Toggles and joysticks are a good idea for people who have limited movement in their hands, and we can also supply models with powered swivel seats so getting in – and out – is much easier. There are also more minor aesthetic considerations, such as the colour of the seat’s upholstery – you may want it to match an existing colour scheme.

The Size and Shape of the Staircase

The size and shape of your stairs will affect your choice. Different types of stairlift are available for straight and curved staircases. The former is the commonest type on the market, while a curved stairlift will generally be more expensive.

The angle and gradient of the steps will also affect which type of domestic stairlift or wheelchair lift you may be able to have installed. Some models also have an advanced ride monitoring system, which helps if the staircase is particularly narrow.

Other Structural Considerations

It’s not just the staircase that you have to consider, but other features at the top and bottom of the steps. Does the house have a radiator or other form of potential obstruction which could make life difficult when it comes to getting out of the stairlift? Is there a doorway on the landing or at the foot of the stairs which the user needs to go through? Both these factors can affect the ease of installation.

In the case of wheelchair lifts, you also have to be sure that the walls will be able to bear the weight of not just the lift but the wheelchair and the user.

Changing Circumstances

People’s health tends to deteriorate as they get older, and this needs to be factored into the choice of stairlift or wheelchair lift, as you will need to consider whether it will be suitable for changing needs. Some people might get heavier because of a specific medical condition, so a heavy-duty model, capable of carrying people weighing 30 stone, would be a good choice.

A person with arthritis may lose flexibility in their fingers and will need extra features such as an easy-to-use remote control. And, over time, a second person may need to use it, so you will need to accommodate all their requirements as well – even if it’s just a second remote control. Equally, you may only need a stairlift for a short period of time, for example when you are recuperating from an operation, so renting one may be a better option than buying one outright.

Wheelchair Lifts and Stairlifts from Ransome Mobility

Ransome Mobility have three decades of experience in supplying and installing mobility aids such as wheelchair lifts and domestic stairlifts in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and throughout East Anglia.

You can contact us for a free, no-obligation quote, and our experienced team will be able to talk you through your options, which includes rental and reconditioned stairlifts. Among the brands we can install are leading names such as Minivator, Wessex and Homeadapt. If you would like to know more, follow this link and fill in the online form, or email us at info@ransomemobility.co.uk.

  Back to blog