A new stair lift can be a liberating investment, restoring safety and freedom to people with mobility problems so that they are able to continue living comfortably in their own homes. However, a key question will always be "How much will installing a stair lift cost?"
To estimate a stair lift price realistically, several factors need to be taken into account. These include the actual purchase price of the equipment, whether the model is new or a reconditioned, the quality and duration of the warranty and maintenance contract, and what the resale value of the stair lift is likely to be.
Basic stair lift prices do not necessarily include the additional costs that will give consumers a true picture of the total price. For example, experts advise that an engineer should call at least once a year to make safety checks and carry out routine maintenance tasks.
Even if a reconditioned stair lift has been purchased, reputable suppliers will still include a warranty for the first year of use. This will cover the cost of any replacement parts should the stair lift breakdown, providing vital reassurance for anyone considering a reconditioned model.
Consumers should also remember the size and shape of their staircase. If the staircase is curved, the resale price may be negligible, as it can rarely be installed successfully into a different property without significant modification.
Making an Economical Choice
In the UK, the leading manufacturers of stair lifts are Stannah, Acorn, and Companion. All produce excellent, high-quality stair lifts that are safe and reliable.
Before making a decision, the prospective purchaser should shop around and ask lots of questions about the true cost of the stair lift being considered. It is essential not to confuse low price with value for money. A reconditioned stair lift costing £900.00 that requires a control button to be pressed will offer less practical value for someone suffering from arthritis than a new stair lift costing £1,450 with a joystick or attendant control. The quality of the maintenance contracts and warranties offered by different suppliers also need to be carefully considered.
If you didn't already know, here comes some good news…
VAT is not applicable on Stairlifts – as it's a mobility product.
Reputable stairlift companies should make this clear to all clients, however there are some salesmen out there that like to say "we will knock the vat off" to help close the sale.
You should never be charged VAT on a stairlift as legislated in Notice 701/7 VAT Reliefs for disabled people (August 2002).
More details can be found here on the UK Government website.
The only time vat is applicable is if it's for a company and not an individual, for example a care home or the council purchasing etc.
Choosing the right stairlift model and features to suit your needs
All the major UK stairlift companies offer two broad models of stair lift, those designed for straight stair cases and those designed for curved. The latter are always more expensive, because they take longer to make and install. Since there is such a difference in price, we wrote a dedicated article on the average price of curved stairlifts, which will perhaps be more useful if you have a curved stair case.
However, regardless of stair case design all models vary in price depending on which features are included. Some models may be cheaper, but may not suit your home or the needs of your family – for example, added extras such as remote calling controls positioned at the top and bottom of the staircase may be essential if there's more than one stair lift user within the home, while a harness seat-belt can provide an added level of reassurance for anyone who suffers from vertigo.
All good stair lifts should now include an automatic safety cut out function, as well as a swivel seat for ease of access and a virtually silent DC power supply.
The Acorn 120 and Companion "Straight" models also include a specially designed perch seat for people who have difficulty in bending their knees in order to sit down. Stannah entered the market earlier in the year with a totally new concept to perched seats based on a saddle design. Like other perched seats, The Sadler minimises weight on the users legs whilst maintaining a more upright position.
Whatever features you choose, it is essential to get an accurate idea of how much the stair lift will cost.