Stairlift Experts


Curved Stairlifts

Does your staircase have turns? Great! You’re on the right page.

Perhaps you’re reading this on behalf of an elderly parent, your spouse, or your own personal needs. Either way, we can provide you with free advice and hopefully save you money if you choose to buy a chair lift for a staircase with turns.

Chances are, if you’re looking on behalf of Mum or Dad, they’ll tell you they’re not ready for a stairlift. In our true British spirit, we say “we can manage” when we’re struggling.

Sadly, we don’t bounce back from a fall quite as quickly as we once did. So, maybe, it’s time to be proactive and act before we’re forced to.

Does my staircase require a curved stairlift?

A staircase with turns/bends or curves will require a curved stairlift installation.

The following staircase designs would typically require a curved stair lift rail. A curved stairlift rail is either custom made to the exact contours of the staircase, or is a modular curved rail system.

The blue line illustrates the stairlift rail being installed on the outside turn of the staircase (left ascending), but a stairlift can also be installed on the inside turn (right ascending). The surveyor would identify the best side during your free site assessment.

Curved Stairlift Staircases
Illustrations of staircases which require curved stairlifts.

Staircases that are mainly straight but with one turn, often near the top or bottom (as seen in illustrations A and B above), may be suitable for either straight stairlifts or curved rail stairlifts. The deciding factor is the turn itself.

Quarter Landing Turn (illustration A)

In illustration A, the square platform where the stairs change direction is called a quarter landing. Providing the user is able to safely manage the last few steps, a straight stairlift can be fitted to terminate at the quarter landing allowing the user to step off and climb the last few steps. This may be a cheaper solution.

Fan Turn (illustration B)

If your staircase design looks like illustration B, where the stairs change direction through the step risers themselves, this is called a fan-turn, and a straight stairlift will not be an option. The reason is safety. If you terminate the straight stairlift on a fan-turn, the user could easily misplace their footing on an irregular-shaped stair, causing a potential fall. For this reason, a curved stairlift is always fitted to a staircase with a fan turn.

Half Landing Turn (illustration D)

In some houses, there are two straight flights of stairs. The first flight typically goes up 6 or 7 steps to a half landing, with the remaining 6 or 7 steps returning back on yourself, as seen in illustration D.

In this configuration, it may be possible to fit two straight stairlifts to each straight flight of stairs, provided the landing between them is level. Again, this may potentially keep the cost down. Still, the user would need to be able to get from one lift to the other safely, which might not be easy (see illustration D above).

Curved Stairlift Prices

Curved stairlifts are more expensive to install than straight ones. This is because a made-to-measure curved rail needs to be fitted exactly to the staircase dimensions, and customisation means more work for the installer.

Although prices have dropped considerably in recent years, the average cost of a curved stair lift is around £5,000. This is a rough estimate only as individual requirements will decide the exact price. To obtain a more precise quotation, allow us to arrange a home consultation with local and national suppliers, get started here.

The price of a stairlift has to be weighed against the benefits to the user. The upper floors will be opened up for the stairlift user, whose quality of life will certainly be improved as a result of the stairlift being installed. There will be no need to wait for helpers or relatives in order to get to an upper floor – giving them their independence back.

Hinged Rail, First Step Start and Optional Extras

Hinged stairlift rail
A hinge rail is a popular choice where the stairlift rail could create a trip/hazard.

Optional extras, such as a hinged rail, are often necessary when there’s a doorway directly at the bottom of the stairs. This allows the stairlift rail to be folded out of the way when not in use. Without a hinge rail, a standard rail would extend across the doorway threshold, causing a trip hazard.

First step start
First step start designed by Platinum stairlifts for stairs without much room at the bottom of the stairs.

An alternative to the hinged rail, is a first step start rail. This is a neat and tidy solution for keeping doorways and walkways unobstructed.

Due to the level of customisation involved in some curved stairlifts, the time from survey to installation can often be weeks rather than days. This is a question you should ask during the home consultation process.

With any stairlift installation there may be a requirement for plug sockets to be installed or pipe work/radiators to be moved.

Curved stairlift on staircase with turns

Acorn stairlifts manufacture a curved stairlift called the Acorn 180 Curved. Companion offer the Handicare 2000 Curved stairlift and Freelift (single tubular rail) in their curved stairlift range. Stannah also offer a curved stairlift (Stannah 260) as do thyssenKrupp (Flow X).

Here in the UK, there are many choices of curved chairlifts. The most popular are:

  • Acorn 180/Brooks 80
  • Bruno Elite
  • Handicare 4000
  • Handicare 2000
  • Handicare Freecurve
  • Oto Air Curved
  • Platinum Ultimate
  • Thyssen Flow X/Thyssen Flow 2
  • Stannah 260 Curved

Take a look at our stairlift comparison table to get an overview of each curved stairlift model side-by-side.

Next Step:

If you're looking for a curved stairlift at the best possible price, let us help.

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