Living with reduced mobility can be a real issue especially when it comes to accessing rooms located upstairs. This is a common challenge for people living with a disability, arthritis patients, the elderly, and those with conditions that limit their movement.
However, these conditions do not have to affect your quality of life. Stair lifts have made it extremely easy to ascend and descend a flight of stairs. But what are they and what do they cost to buy and install?
A stair lift also called a chair lift, is an innovative chair fixed at the edge of a domestic staircase to transport a person with reduced mobility up and down the stairs. It is usually mounted on a rail that runs along the flight of the staircase.
The stair lift comes in different forms. It could be just a simple platform for mounting the wheelchair. There’s also the full chair option with a wide range of amenities including seat height adjustment, folding step, and speed controls.
In addition, there are stair lifts for curved, straight, and outdoor stairs. Each of these is priced differently as you will find out in later sections of this post.
Here is a useful video that talks about the benefits of a stairlift.
Stair lifts are recommended for people with mobility problems. They include the seniors, arthritic people, disabled, and those recovering from accident-induced injuries
A stair lift contains a motor at the base of the chair. It can be powered by a battery or electricity.
When powered on, the motor turns a gear that is connected onto a gear strip attached to the rail. This causes the chair to move along the rail or track.
These ingenious machines also come with a call or send switch. One is fixed at the base of the stairs and another put on the other end. This way, two people can operate it by calling it or sending it to the required room with a push of a button.
Also, if the chair is occupying too much space in the living room, you can use the switch to send it upstairs until it is needed again.
The average cost of stair lift is £3,369 according to a Which survey. However, this price is dependent upon 3 key factors. The first one is the type of stair lift in question.
The second factor is the configuration of your staircase. Generally, stairs can be narrow, curved, straight, short, or long.
The last factor is the special needs of the user. This has to do with your height, weight, and unique physical or health conditions.
We will break down all those factors for you and their corresponding cost implications here in the UK.
In this category, there are straight rail, curved rail, wheelchair platform, and outdoor stair lifts. Some additional options such as standing stair lifts are also available for people with special conditions.
Straight stair lifts cost less than their curved counterparts because they are simple and easy to mount. Also, they usually come with a readymade track. A straight Stair lift price is between £1,900 and £2,000.
Curved chair lifts, on the other hand, require custom-built tracks that must correspond to the nature of your staircase. So a lot of time and energy has to be spent in customising the track around the corners in your stairway.
These aspects make them more expensive. A new curved chair lift costs approximately £6,000 according to Which statistics. Some customisable ones could go as high as £9,000. But in general, the average cost of a curved stair lift is £4,050.
Straight and curved options can be further categorised into battery-powered and electric. The cost of a battery-operated stair lift ranges from £1,750 to £2,700 while electric ones range from £2,700 to £4,400 according to fixr.
If your condition inhibits you from sitting or bending your knees, you can consider standing stair lifts. They cost more or less similar to electric chair lifts.
Finally, the outdoor options with the ability to withstand harsh weather and other elements cost roughly £5,000 based on a RetirementLiving’s article. On average, staircase length and type considered, you can spend £2,300 on outdoor stairs. Also, the more options and customisation features you add to any of these machines, the higher you will pay.
Note that different companies offer different prices for similar features. So compare quotes as much as you can from leading brands. Some brands worth checking out include Acorn, Age UK, Stannah, and Handicare.
There are two ways of knowing the right chair lift for your needs. You can start by seeking advice from your occupational therapist or doctor. Since they have your medical history, they are best placed to prescribe the right machine for your condition.
The other option is to have a surveyor assess your staircase. Most leading brands will send you a surveyor once you are ready to purchase and are looking for a quote.
A standard stair lift can take any weight ranging from 200 to 300 lbs. The cost of these has been discussed earlier for each respective option. If you want more weight, the base stair lift price will rise to £4,000 and above.
Let’s start with labour expenses. Most companies will extend you the courtesy of installing the equipment for free. Well, the installation cost is hidden in the cost of the product.
However, if you contract a handyman or a carpenter, expect to pay between £30 and £100 per hour depending on the nature of work and length of the stairs. Norfolk stair lifts, for instance, charges £95 per hour. Since the job takes around 4 hours to complete, you’ll spend around £120-£400 on labour.
Also, if you are installing an electrical one, you will need £175 – £660 for an electrician according to fixr. That is about £57-£75 per hour.
Stair lifts require a 6-month maintenance regime. This is due to the fact that you will use them several times a day to access different rooms.
It is wise to invest in a stair lift with an elaborate warranty. Most companies offer a 1-year warranty that takes care of all the servicing and maintenance costs during that period.
We would also recommend that you consider paying contract extension fees when your warranty expires. These are way cheaper than having an independent contractor perform maintenance for you.
Which found out in 2014 that the average warranty extension fee was £89 while that of a servicing contract was £99. You can see there is a £10 worth of savings if you opt for the former.
Rental stair lifts are a great option if your injury or condition is just temporary. You can rent from as short a period as 3 months.
The average initial cost of installation ranges from £350 to £1,000. After that, you are required to pay a monthly subscription fee of £10 for straight chair lifts and £150 for curved or customised options.
There’s also the annual option where you pay a premium that includes installation fee, removal fee, servicing, and breakdown fees. Dolphin Company, for instance, charges £700 per year for a straight stair lift. For monthly rental services, they charge £50.
Additional features of a stair lift can increase the cost a great deal. However, some are called for depending on your health condition. Let the surveyor inform you of all these requirements prior.
Here are some of them:
Clearly, stair lifts are quite expensive. However, if your situation demands it, there is a need to find a way to save some money.
The first way to cut cost is to register as disabled (if you actually are) or have a chronic condition. Registered persons enjoy a VAT exemption for stair lift purchases.
If you are really short on cash, then you might want to consider second-hand or reconditioned stair lifts. These are straight chair lifts that have been removed from another home and fitted in a new home with little to no modification. For second-hand, the average cost of stair lift is £1,990 as compared to £3,369 for new ones.
Finally, the council also offers stair lift grants under the disabled facilities grant. It’s worth checking if you are eligible for it to help you offset the stair lift cost.
The grant can go as high as £25,000. Alternatively, you can take advantage of their low-cost loans to help you save the situation urgently as you get back on your feet financially.