Buckinghamshire Masonic Stairlift Assistance and Appeal

A simple action such as walking up and down stairs can be impossible for those who are disabled or handicapped.

Installing a handicap stair lift can give a person a real sense of independence - perhaps for the first time in years. But they are very expensive. It is possible to save a lot of money by installing a used stair lift however before doing so, you should first be sure that the second hand one is going to be right for you.

There are two types of stair lift; straight and curved. Both types can be powered by either mains electricity or by rechargeable batteries. Before you consider buying a used stair lift you should be aware of the issues in installing and using an electric or battery model for both straight and curved chair lifts.

A curved lift is for stairways that have turns or mid-level landings. Curved models are custom made and can take anything up to 3 months to install. They are also considerably more expensive than straight models. If your stairs require a curved lift you should think long and hard about buying a used model. A used one will have been custom made for another staircase and will almost certainly not fit yours. Therefore, a used curved stair lift will require that the track - on which the chair travels - be modified substantially; in fact, you may not be able to modify it at all and have to buy a new track for your stairs.

Buying and installing a used curved chair lift is a specialised skill. Unless you are very experienced at this sort of work, you will need to buy this sort of lift from a supplier, who will install and provide a warranty. The suppliers are not hard to find, a quick look on the web will quickly help you locate a dealer near you. If you require this sort of stairlift, but cannot afford one, we will ask you to let your Lodge Almoner know and we will arrange for you to be considered for a grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation. 

To buy and install a used straight stair lift is less difficult. There's no need to modify the track; you simply have to fit it to your stairs. We have a stock of straight stairlifts and can install them very quickly through our fitter, if you are unable to afford to buy one yourself. However, there are one or two things to check before you ask us to supply this type of second-hand chair lift. If your stairs require that the rail be fitted on the right-hand-side, then make sure the used model you buy is suitable for the right and not the left side. If you're going to install it yourself, you should make sure that the track is the right size for your stairs. Tracks come in various lengths - usually between 16 and 20 feet - so make sure the track length is long enough for your stairs. We ask that you send us, either through your Lodge Almoner, or directly to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., photos of the foot of the stairs, the stairwell and a picture of the head of the stairs, so we can work out the best we can do for you.

Most new models are battered operated - makes like Stannah and Acorn Stair Lifts - and there are many advantages with battery powered models. Ones that use rechargeable batteries generally have a smoother ride, are easy to install - requiring no wiring and the stair lift can be used during power cuts. They do require a mains socket and the batteries have to be changed periodically. 

Many older models are powered from the mains supply. One or two manufacturers like the Summit Stair Lift still make a mains powered model. If you are going to buy a used stair lift that is mains powered, you will need to do some wiring; unless you're a qualified electrician you will need a professional to do this work. Also, it was quite common for these types to have the electric cable trailing behind the chair, which does present the possibility of someone tripping over it.

Other things you should check before you buy a second hand stair lift are the general condition of the chair; does it swing out smoothly; does it have a seatbelt - if you need to wear one you will have the problem of trying to buy a seatbelt for a model of stair lift that may no longer be made. If it's a battery powered model check that the batteries and charger are in good working order. The same applies to all the controls.

Finally, you should think about a warranty. If you buy a used model and fit it yourself, you won't have any guarantee that it will be safe and work properly. If you buy from a specialist supplier, then you should get some guarantee about safety and will get after sales support. As stated, there are many reputable suppliers of used stair lifts - you can find many of them online - and they sell many leading brands like Acorn, Stannah and Bruno stair lifts.

If you are unable to afford a straight stairlift and think that you need one please let us know and we will arrange for our qualified fitter to fit one from stock for you – he will make sure it is electrically safe, in good working order, and provides a warranty.  Please let your Lodge Almoner know you are having difficulty or let me know directly on 07774 225320. 

If you know of anyone who has a straight stairlift that they would like to donate, please let me know This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.