Straight or Curved Stairlifts? See Types of Stairlifts | Stannah

Call now for a free no-obligation quote!

Quick delivery. Rentals Available.

Design your stairlift, get a quote or buy online.


Straight or Curved Stairlift

Which is the right type of stairlift for you?

It may not be as obvious as it sounds, so read our handy guide to find out. At Stannah we make both straight stairlifts and curved stair lifts, tailored to suit you and your home. The big difference between the two is the rail.

Continue reading

Straight stairlifts can only be installed on straight staircases with a straight rail. A staircase with bends, curves or a landing will need a curved stairlift rail. Each staircase is different, so each stairlift needs to be adapted to fit your personal needs.

When you have your home visit, our consultant will measure your staircase precisely and talk you through your options.  It may not be as straightforward as you think, as we have to look at doorways, radiators, windowsills and where the chair will sit when it’s not in use.

Don’t worry about that though. The chairs of all our straight and curved models fold away neatly so they barely take up any space.

Types of stair lifts:

You know the stairs have become a struggle, and you’ve weighed the pros and cons of moving house, single-story living and moving to a care home. You’ve seen that a stairlift is the cheapest, no home modifications needed, most hassle-free option. But how do you choose one?

There are many different stair lift types. Each one has been developed with a specific purpose, to make life more comfortable in a different way.

At Stannah we have been making stairlifts for over 40 years, and lifts for over 150. We’re always looking to improve our products, so that we can make life a little easier for you. That’s what our added features are all about.

Different Types of Stairs

Straight stair lifts

The only things you need for a straight stairlift are a staircase with no bends or turns and a landing at the top and bottom of your staircase that will mean you can get in and out of your chair safely.

A straight stair:

  • doesn’t turn,
  • bend
  • has a landing

If you just have a straight staircase in your house, straight stairlifts are exactly what you need to make them accessible again. We just need to make sure you have enough landing space at the top and bottom of your flight of stairs to allow you to get in and out of the chair safely, and you’re good to go.

The rail for a straight staircase only needs to be cut down to fit your flight of stairs, so it’s quick to produce. You can get any type of chair on a straight rail, so you’ll get all the comfort and safety of the best chair to suit your mobility needs.

Our sales advisors walk you through the whole process during your free home visit, so by the time they leave, you have no doubts about which stair lift is right for you.  Our straight rails are discreet and compact. That means other people still have room to use your stairs comfortably, and with your new stairlift, you do too.

Curved stairlifts

To go around a corner, you need a special rail that bends at exactly the same angle as your staircase, so that it is the perfect fit (and takes up less of your stair space). Whether your stairs are curved, spiral or have a landing half way up, you’ll need a curved stairlift to whisk you all the way up.

As all houses are different, and each staircase is different, if you have a curved staircase, we need to measure it precisely. Whether your stairs:

  • have a half landing (with the two sets of stairs running parallel to each other)
  • are ‘fanned’ (where the two sets of stairs are at an angle less than 90°)
  • have a quarter landing (with the two sets of stairs at 90° to each other)
  • are a spiral staircase

As long as we can measure the angle of the curve, we can fit your curved stairlift.

As each stair lift is custom made to fit your stairs perfectly, the rail needs to be made to measure. This means curved stairlift rails take that little bit longer to produce. You can trust us however when we say; they’re worth the wait.

Making a made-to-measure rail for a curved staircase means we can make sure it’s the perfect fit for your house, and it’ll take up less room on your staircase. The rail hugs every bend and curve, leaving the rest of the stairs free for others to use.

Our curved rails can be made to fit very long staircases, long or narrow staircases are not a problem. The longest rail we’ve made so far is 72 metres (236 feet) long, but that doesn’t mean it’s the longest we can do. Even if you lived in a lighthouse or a castle, we could make a stairlift to fit your home.

Outdoor Stair lifts

It’s a common mistake to think you can only get indoor stairlifts. Stannah also manufactures and designs outdoor stairlifts that are guaranteed to work in temperatures between -10°c and +40°c.

Rain or shine, you’ll be able to get to your favourite outdoor areas. The protective cover that comes with our outdoor stairlifts can be placed over the chair when you’re not using it, keeping it clean and dry at all times.


For both straight and curved rails, the rail attaches to your stairs, not the wall. It doesn’t matter what your stairs are made of: wood, metal, concrete or tile, we will be able to attach your stairlift for maximum safety. And the best part is there’s no building work. A few little holes are drilled to attach the feet to your stairs and you’re all set.

Standard Stairlift features and extra comfort Features

Your stairlift is a piece of furniture. You would probably avoid a chair that wasn’t comfortable, even if it was in a good location. We think the same applies to your stairlift. Even though it can get you up the stairs, if it’s uncomfortable you’ll avoid using it.

We want your stairlift to take away any worry that you may associate with your stairs and therefore with your home security. Our goal is to get you back to when you wouldn’t even think about going up or downstairs. That’s why we’ve added these features to our lifts, to make your ride as comfortable as possible.

  • Strategically cushioned seats.The cushioning we use on the stairlifts seats provides maximum comfort on your ride.
  • Our ergonomic seatbelt. You only need one hand to fasten it and it’s conveniently placed under the armrest of your chair. That means you never have to search for it, and you don’t have to twist around to find it.
  • No need to bend over.All our stairlifts armrests and footrests fold up neatly, but that doesn’t mean you have to bend over to flip the armrests and footrests All of our indoor stairlifts are fitted with either arms or a seat that are linked to the footrest – so that when you fold the arms/seat up, the footrest also folds- or a footrest fold button that folds the footrest up automatically at the push of a button.
  • Control over the size of the footrest.Whether you want a longer, shorter or angled footrest, we can give you what you want. The footrest gives you stability as you get in and out of the chair, so having different options could make all the difference to how safe you feel.
  • Easy controls.No fiddly switches or little buttons. To control the stairlift, simply hold the lever to the side you want to go in, and you’re off. You can hold it down with any part of your hand or wrist, so even if some hand movements are painful, you should be able to use your stairlift in complete comfort.
  • Standing stair lift. Our engineers created a unique stairlift for people with limited flexibility, whether it’s joint stiffness or narrow staircases, the Sadler stairlift could be the key to help you get moving again

Stairlift safety features

Like comfort, the safety of your stairlift is a big concern of ours. That’s why all our stairlifts come with reliable safety standard features:

  • A seat belt. To make sure you’re strapped in and safe.
  • Batteries. To make sure you’re never stuck on your stairs during a power outage.
  • A key to lock your lift. If you don’t want other people using it, simply deactivate it with the key and it’ll be turned off.
  • Obstruction sensors are placed on the edges of your stairlift, so that if anything is in its way, it’ll come to a gentle stop.
  • The option of a powered swivel.Our stairlifts come with a standard manual swivel seat feature, you can optionally choose for an automatic version. This means your chair will turn automatically at the top of your staircase at the press of a button, leaving you facing away from the stairs. You can then get out of the chair safely, and have the chair behind you as a barrier, so that you can’t fall down the stairs.

The stairlift rail

Where are the rails made?

From the moment you order your curved stairlift, a drawing of your stairs is sent to our own rail factory where Stannah’s engineers start making your rail.

They can see your name on the sheet, and the country you come from, so they know where their handiwork is going.

Our stairlifts are made with you in mind. We know that by splitting our rails into as few sections as possible, you will have a smoother ride. Less connections, less bumps, more safety.

Our straight rails are made of aluminium and come in a variety of finishes, to suit your tastes.

How can I be sure that my stairlift is going to fit my staircase?

Before it leaves the rail factory, each stair lift is tested to make sure it will run smoothly from the top right to the bottom of the stairs and back up again. Each bit of the stairlift is monitored closely, so if the slightest thing is wrong it gets sent back to the engineers so they can fix it. A model of your stairs with the exact same measurements is put up and your stairlift set up on it, so before our stairlift installers get to your house we know your stair lift will be the perfect fit.

Mobility devices 

By opting for a stair lift instead of a wheelchair platform lift or a homelift – when not wheelchair bound – to make your stairs accessible again you’re not only saving money, you’re also investing in fall prevention which will increase your home security exponentially.

Your path to getting your whole house back starts with you picking up the phone. As you dial our number, picture the freedom that awaits you just around the corner. You’re just three quick steps away. Give us a call now to take the first step.