Straight Stairlifts and Curved Stairlifts: Will a Stairlift Suit My Home?


Each home is unique, as is each person with extra mobility needs, so when choosing between straight stairlifts and curved stairlifts it’s important to consider not just the personal needs of the user, but whether the home itself can accommodate a stairlift.

Perhaps you worry that your staircase is too narrow or won’t support the weight of stairlift? Perhaps there is a concern that a stairlift could obstruct a doorway at the bottom of the stairs? And what if you have a staircase that turns a corner, or even a curved staircase?

Fortunately, stairlift manufacturers have been coming up with solutions to all these problems and there are straight stairlifts and curved stairlifts to suit just about any type of staircase or home layout.

Ransome Mobility stock and install a wide variety of curved and straight stairlifts so that homeowners can pick the one that works for their specific home. And as part of our service we conduct a full home survey to check that your staircase is strong enough for a stairlift and to check for any specific features of your home that might affect you choice of straight or curved stairlifts.

Straight Stairlifts – click here to view our range of products

Curved Stairlifts – click here to view our range of products

To show just how easy it is to find a stairlift to suit your home, here we take a look at some of the most common concerns that people have and show how each one has been catered for in the designs of straight and curved stairlifts.

Doorway or Corridor at the Bottom of the Stairs

The track for a stairlift typically protrudes diagonally past the bottom step of a staircase, creating a potential tripping hazard if there is also a doorway or corridor immediately at the bottom of the stairs. This is such a common issue in homes that there are a number of curved and straight stairlifts designed to address this problem.

The first involves a hinged track which can fold out of the way whenever the chair is upstairs or not in use. A hinged track can either be manual (a user or carer folds back the track as required, e.g. the Simplicity straight stairlift) or powered (the track retracts automatically or via use of remote control, e.g. the Homeglide).

Another solution involves simply changing the shape of the track at the bottom of the stairs so that it no longer protrudes diagonally. Flow curved stairlifts have a “drop nose” rail which turns downwards vertically, thereby avoiding any obstruction.

Very Narrow Staircase

Having a narrow staircase is rarely an obstacle to installing a stairlift as manufacturers have made great strides in minimising the space required for a track or rail, as well as the space required for the stairlift itself.

In fact, the Flow curved stairlift can be installed on staircases as narrow as 61cm, or 24 inches wide (most standard staircases are around 86cm wide, or 34 inches).

Of course, concerns about a narrow staircase are often about ensuring that other stair users can get up and down stairs without undue obstruction. The vast majority of our straight and curved stairlifts have foldup seats, arms and footrests. The Flow mentioned above, for instance, takes up just 34cm when folded up, leaving plenty of room for most stair users. The Platinum Curve stairlift also has a very slim profile, when folded, of 35cm.

Another way to deal with a narrow staircase – or even a standard staircase when it is important to keep the main stairway clear – is to use a curved stairlift mounted on the outside banister instead of the wall. At the bottom of the stairs the rail can be made to turn around into the hallway, so the chair comes to rest facing away from the stairs (see the picture of the Minivator 2000 stairlift for an example).

Unusually Shaped Staircases

Not everyone has a single, standard, straight staircase. Some are curved all the way up, almost a spiral, others are straight initially and then take a bend before straightening out again. But none of this is a problem for our range of curved stairlifts. All our curved stairlifts are individually made to fit the exact dimensions of each staircase, regardless of the number of bends or angles that may be present. Although the cost will, understandably, be more than for standard straight stairlifts, the result is a stairlift which closely hugs the line of your wall (making most efficient use of space) and gives a smooth ride.

More Than One Landing

Many properties have stairs with more than one landing, either because it is a three storey house (or higher), or because the stairs have a mid-way landing up to the second storey. This is not an obstacle to installing a stairlift and there are two approaches that can be taken.

If the different flights of stairs are both straight, then one solution is to install 2 straight stairlifts, each with its own chair. Depending on the model chosen this can be a cheaper option than choosing a curved stairlift. The downside is that the user has to dismount the first stairlift, walk across the landing and get on the second stairlift in order to make the complete journey. In a three storey house, where the user may want to access both of the upper storeys at different times, this solution makes most sense.

If the landing between the flights is just a mid-way landing, giving no access to other rooms, then usually the most convenient solution is to use a curved stairlift, enabling the user to make the complete journey in one go. This is especially important if the user has any difficulty with mounting or dismounting.

In short, just about any shape or size of staircase can be catered for with curved or straight stairlifts from our range. Our no-obligation home visits will always include an assessment of your stairway and any unusual features which we will take into account when advising you of the options available for your home.

If you have a specific stairway feature or layout that you would like to talk to us about, you can call us on 0844 8569790 where our team of experts can answer your questions, or use our contact form to email us your enquiry.