Stairlifts for narrow stairs, here are your options

Concerned your stairs are too narrow for a stairlift? 

Read our comprehensive guide for everything you need to know about stairlifts for narrow staircases and all of your options.

You may be surprised to know that there is no minimum width for a household staircase unless the property was built specifically for disabled access.

However, we’re glad to say that properties built after 2010, typically have a minimum staircase of around 80cm (31.5 inches) which is usually wide enough for a stairlift, depending on the person it’s for.

Can you buy stairlifts for narrow stairs?

In short, yes you can; but it goes without saying there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution as each home is as unique as its owner, with different sized doorways and a wide variety of hallway layouts.

Also, stairlifts for narrow staircases are not specifically manufactured for this purpose, given the vast range of mobility issues that users suffer from.

However, we’re delighted to say that there are several options you can choose from, which should result in an installation being possible, as stairlifts can be fitted to almost any width of staircase.

You can even get stairlifts for narrow curved stairs, so don’t think that your staircase isn’t suitable as we will no doubt have a stair lift for your small space. 

Most leading manufacturers now produce ‘slimline’ or ‘compact’ stairlifts with folding armrests, seats, footplate and a slim rail to enable them to be folded away when not in use. This means other people in the house can get up and down the stairs easily and quickly.

To help you or your family make the right decision for your needs, we have put together the following guide detailing all the models you should look at, so you can purchase a stairlift with confidence, knowing it will be perfect for your individual requirements.

Narrow Staircase Option 1

Slim stairlifts

There are slim-style Straight Stairlifts ideal for narrow steps such as the Handicare 1100 / Minivator 950+ or Compact Curved Stairlifts such as the Bison 180 or the Handicare Free Curve / Free Lift. 

We also offer a stairlift with a perch seat if bending your knees to sit is difficult (read on to find out more). 

These UK manufactured, innovative stairlifts are the perfect choice for by far the majority of people who want a stylish, robust and affordable stairlift with a compact design.

Available in a range of colours and additional useful extras such as a powered swivel seat and footplate, remote controls and key switches, they come with a 2 or 3 year warranty, are very easy to use and can be fitted in around 3-4 hours.  

These models (the Handicare 1100, Minivator 950+ and Bison 180) fold up seamlessly, taking up minimal space with their smart design.

Narrow Staircase Option 2

Perch stairlifts

Perch stairlifts (named because the user has to stand or ‘perch’) require much less room than the equivalent standard models, as there is no large seat extending out in front of the stairlift track.

Ideal for those who find sitting impossible or uncomfortable, the user can easily ‘glide’ up the stairs in a standing, upright position, secured in place by a seatbelt and able to use a shortened seat for comfort. Swivel seats are also available.

This type of indoor model is also a great option for anyone who has trouble lowering themselves into or raising from a seated position, due to arthritis or knee or hip complaints regardless of whether they need to purchase one because of a narrow stairway.

It is important to remember, however, that perch stairlifts need the user to be able to stand for a short period of time and that a certain amount of headroom will be required for the person who is standing to travel up and down the stairs.

All Handicare stairlifts are fitted with remote controls and key switches in case of an emergency or should you need to stop the lift quickly.

Minivator Perch Stairlift

Narrow Staircase Option 3

Bespoke Stairlifts for curved stairs

If standing is not possible and you still need a stairlift for a narrow staircase, a custom-built bespoke curved stairlift could be the perfect solution.

This option requires a special bespoke track being installed which would allow the stairlift to be raised slightly and kept a short distance away from the top and bottom of the staircase, providing the necessary clearance for other members in the house to walk past, yet remaining fully accessible.

It’s worth pointing out here, of course, that custom-built stairlifts are, by very nature, more expensive than the standard models available.

This is because they are manufactured to fit your property exactly, involving bends from 42 to 80 degrees which necessitates more technical and slightly longer build times, as well as taking longer to install.

That said, they not only provide an excellent solution to narrow staircases but also make the most of your available space.

How can I tell if my staircase is wide enough?

As a rough guide, when sitting in a seated position, side-on to a staircase, measure the distance between your spine and knee (or feet) to the opposite wall and if this is at least 75cm, you should be alright. Staircases narrower than this width may need a different solution.

It is worth noting of course that Stairlifts fit to the stairs and NOT the wall, so no redecorating or alterations to your property are required.

To arrange a FREE home survey or for more information, please call us on 0800 542 6045

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