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Best Stairlifts for Curved Staircases

As we get older, lots of people experience difficulties getting up and down the stairs. Installing a stairlift is typically the first solution family and friends think of to help older people stay safe whilst fully enjoying in their home. However, we meet lots of people who worry they’ll be forced to move because they have a curved staircase and don’t think a stairlift will fit.

Fortunately, there are lots of stairlifts designed for curved and spiral staircases! We’ve put together this guide to help you find the best stairlift for your curved staircase.

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How does a curved stairlift work?

Curved stairlifts are fitted when there is one or more bend on the staircase.

The Flow 2 is a popular choice of stairlift for curved staircases

The Flow 2 is one of the most popular choices of stairlift for a curved staircase

The rail that runs up the stairs is made bespoke for your staircase. This means the solution can be tailored to work with any number of bends and even to fit around tight corners!

The stairlift chair is then fitted onto the rail, just like it would be for a straight staircase. To learn more about how curved stairlift installation works, read this guide.

Does it matter how many bends the staircase has?

All curved stairlifts need a bespoke rail. So, from the installation side of things, the number of bends doesn’t really matter when it comes to choosing a stairlift. Whether you have a complex spiral staircase or just a single bend, most models of curved stairlift will be able to do the job.

However, you may still want to factor in the number of bends when choosing a curved stairlift because it can affect user comfort.

More bends make the stairlift journey time longer

The more bends a curved staircase has, the longer it will take to complete a full journey up or down the stairs.

This is because longer rails are needed to cover curved sections of the staircase than straight ones. So, the overall rail length is longer when there are more bends. This means the stairlift has to cover a greater distance to get up or down.

Many stairlifts will also reduce their speed when going around corners, which further adds to the journey time.

Curved stairlifts can even handle spiral staircases

The average speed of a stairlift is 0.16 — 0.34 mph to ensure a safe and smooth journey

Fit the rail to the inside of the staircase

So, if your staircase has lots of bends, you might want to opt for a stairlift that fits to the inside of the stairs.

The Rembrandt stairlift is fitted to the inside of a curved stairlift

The Rembrandt stairlift is specially designed to fit the inside bend of a curved staircase

The inside bend of a curved staircase is slightly shorter than the outside bend. It’s just like how the inside lane of a running track is slightly shorter than the outside lane. That’s why runners have to be staggered at the start of races to make sure everyone runs the same distance!

Fitting the stairlift to the inside will, therefore, minimise the journey time as much as possible.

Choose a comfortable seat

You may also want to choose a model with options beyond a basic seat to maximise comfort.

A padded, upholstered seat keeps you comfortable whilst using a stairlift

The Rembrandt stairlift has options for an ergonomic, moulded seat or a soft upholstered seat. Both will keep the user comfortable throughout the stairlift journey!

Lots of curved staircases are also narrow

When choosing a stairlift, it’s also important to think about the width of your staircase. Often, curved staircases are pretty narrow — especially spiral staircases!

A standard staircase width is between 80 — 90cm. So, anything less than 80cm wide would typically be considered narrow.

If you’re not sure how wide your curved staircase is, we offer a no-obligation home survey. Our stairlift specialist will come out to measure your staircase and make recommendations.

Here are some features to look for when choosing a stairlift for a staircase that’s curved and narrow:

Compact curved stairlifts

A compact stairlift is a great way to save space if you have narrow stairs!

Compact Van Gogh Stairlift

The Van Gogh curved stairlift uses a rail that’s only 8cm wide. Plus, the footplate, arm rests, seat, and the hinged track at the bottom of the stairs all fold up. This frees up a lot of room on the stairs, giving easy access when the stairlift is not in use.

Swivel System

If you have a particularly narrow staircase or one that’s narrower in some places than others, then you should opt for a curved stairlift with a powered swivel system.

A swivel system is an innovative function that allows the stairlift seat to rotate as you move along the staircase. It makes it easy to get through even the narrowest section of the stairs safely!

The Flow 2 stairlift can tackle even the tightest corners

The Flow 2 can manoeuvre along curved staircases that are just 61cm wide!

You can find more information on choosing stairlifts for narrow stairs here.

Curved Stairlift Recommendations

The best stairlift for a curved staircase really will differ on a case by case basis. Every staircase has its own unique features.

Our top recommendation is to work with experienced stairlift specialists that are happy to offer advice and make informed recommendations about the right curved stairlift for your home.

Installing stairlifts for curved staircases is also more complex than installing straight ones. There are more components and you must ensure the curves are positioned perfectly so the stairlift runs smoothly. So, choose a supplier that has experience fitting curved stairlifts as well as selling them.

Yorkshire Care Equipment have been installing stairlifts for every type of staircase for over 30 years! To speak to our highly-trained specialist, or book a free home survey, call 01423 799960 or email [email protected]. Our friendly team will be happy to help!

Date Published

5 February 2020

Reading Time

4 minutes

Author avatar


Graeme Wilson

Graeme has worked alongside the public sector for much of his working life, helping departments improve efficiencies and deliver on projects. In his role at Vivid.Care, Graeme used his experience to tackle some of the most challenging issues in the healthcare sector, from falls through to winter pressures. He was also a guest speaker and a number of different conferences, including at the Falls Prevention Summit in London.

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