How To Select The Best Stairlift For You
For individuals who have a hard time using the stairs in their house, a stairlift offers a viable alternative to an unwanted and disruptive move to a new home. There are plenty of choices available in today’s marketplace. There is a huge number of productions that offer options for just about every personal situation and configuration of staircase. The problem comes with trying to identify which product, from the vast array that are available, will suit your needs the best, both now and into the future as well.
In this article we will provide you with insight and a brief overview into what aspects you need to investigate, what things you need to consider and the questions you need to ask in order to select the best stairlift for you.
Stairlift Market Overview
The UK stairlift market is very crowded. There are approximately 12 major stairlift manufacturers that all produce products that are aimed for a growing market. As the population continues to age, the demand keeps significantly increasing.
The following is the best way to approach purchasing a stairlift. Before picking up your phone and calling Minvator, Bison Bede or Stannah, speak with your relative and friends. Does anyone know of someone who has had a lift installed recently? If they do, talk with them. Ask them about any drawbacks and benefits as well as what their experiences have been.
Then start to contact all the reputable companies that you find and begin comparing their prices and products. Keep in mind that the most critical elements are safety and reliability. The Internet is a great place for you to get started. Every major manufacturer has a website online that you can look at.
During this process of selecting a stairlift, ask the sales representative as many questions as you can. Knowing everything about their company’s products is their job after all, whether it is an outdoor, straight or curved stairlift. Discuss the type of staircase that you need, and what you or your relative’s mobility issues are and what your budget is as well.
Try to obtain as much information as can about the products and manufacturers. Read testimonials from real customers. Find out if they have insurance coverage and how long they’ve been in business.
Ask about their after-sales services. After the lift is installed, how long does the warranty last? Can it be extended? If so, for how long and how much will that cost and what is included? Make sure to read the fine print and ask any questions you may have. Some manufacturers offer a lifetime guarantee with their products. That sounds really good, until you discover it is only for certain components of the stairlift.
Then there is support and service. If your lift breaks, how long will it take for the company to come out to fix it? Do they have their own stairlift engineers on staff who will be paying a visit or do they contract out the service. You might have to wait a few days for your problem to be solved if you have to wait for an outside service.
The Internet is an excellent tool that can help you obtain a lot of information on various stairlift manufacturers. Check the regular media to see if there are stories on these businesses as well as online forums to see if there are any negative comments. Avoid cold callers and test ride each lift in the showroom before spending any of your hard earned money.
Purchasing the right stairlift involves taking the users needs into account and deciding which features are most important for that person, both now and a couple of years into the future.
If it is likely that their needs are going to change, then this should be taken into account when making a decision on what key features you need to look for.
Straight Or Curved?
Once you have narrowed down the manufacturers into a manageable number, your next step is to have company representatives assess your staircase. First of all, there are two major kinds of stairlifts, curved and straight. A straight stairlift is for stairs that don’t have any half-landings or bends. If your stairs happen to be just a straight run, you’ll be able to save lots of money when buying a stairlift.
However, if your staircase has half-landings, corners or bends, you are probably going to need to get a curved model. These are not as straightforward. The lift rails will have to be custom-built especially for your staircase. Therefore, you definitely need to make sure you really need a stairlift since you won’t be able to return it. A curved stairlift is much more expensive than straight ones. It also more difficult to purchase a reconditioned curved model. Although it isn’t completely impossible, the rails were made for somebody else’s staircase.
Another option you have is to purchase two or more of the straight stairlift models for your curved staircase. It isn’t always the best solution since a user will have to transfer mid-flight in between the two lifts. However, it could save you some money. There is the potential downside that you might end up paying more in maintenance costs since you will need to maintain two motors. However, you could have reconditioned models installed, which would save you even more money over buying new ones. When buying a lift, you can also purchase different chairs to go on the carriage. That way you can make the ride as comfortable as you can.
The Sales Representative
A company representative will be calling you, to assess your staircase and to discuss what options are available from the company. If the sales rep will be visiting your relative’s house, it’s a good idea for you to be there or have a friend or another relative be there. That is because it is very important that all key questions get asked and important information is remembered.
Keep a close eye on the company rep. The person should thoroughly assess your staircase and ask all of the right questions regarding your relative’s needs, especially how easy it is for them to get on and exit the stairlift. Be sure you are provided with a written quote that contains the full cost for the stairlift, including the installation cost.
When the representative is inside your relative’s home, don’t feel pressurised. The person will try and make it sound like their stairlift manufacturer is the only one that is worth buying from. Keep in mind they are just doing their job, but you are under no obligation to purchase from them. Speak with a couple of different stairlift companies. That will help you reach a decision. If the stairlift manufacturers all seem too biased, one really good idea is to contact an independent retailer such as UK Stairlifts. They don’t have any axe to grind and can provide you with impartial advice on choosing the best stairlift to meet your relative’s needs and situation.
Another potential option that is available to you is to purchase a reconditioned stairlift. These are pre-owned stair lifts. Both the rail and stairlift have been refurbished, so it is almost as good as purchasing a new one. Usually your relative will still get plenty of years of good service from it. Purchasing a reconditioned model is a popular alternative. Most of the lift will be brand new, with a new rail, new seat and reconditioned engine. So it should work well for several years at least. You can save about one-third of the purchase price compared to a new stairlift model.
However, you do need to be prepared to ask many questions regarding the stairs lift. If it is more than 18 months old, it is usually better not to buy it. Just be sure to buy a reconditioned stair lift that is in great condition and that comes with a one-year warranty as well.
This brief guide can help you identify what the major issues are for you and help you come up with the questions that you need to answers to. Keep in mind as you are doing your research: what the users needs are, and find out as much as you can about the companies as well as the products they offer.