We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies. You can understand more and change your cookies preferences here.

Coronavirus Read our latest advice

How to buy the best stairlift

Stairlifts from the council

By Joanna Pearl

Article 4 of 5

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Stairlifts from the council

Looking to get your stairlift funded by your local council or housing association? We explain what you'll need to do to get the ball rolling. 

If you're looking to get your stairlift funded or provided by your local council or housing association, you will need to contact them to arrange an assessment. This will usually be done by an occupational therapist. 

They will make recommendations about whether a stairlift, or other equipment or adaptations will best meet your or your relative's needs. The best place to start the process is through your local council's social services department.

Our 2018 survey of 754 people who had bought or acquired a stairlift showed that the customer score - based on 90 people who had got their stairlift from the council, NHS or a housing association rating their provider - was a high 75%.

Below you can see how people rated stairlifts obtained from public bodies including the council, NHS and housing associations.

If you're considering buying a stairlift, find out the best stairlift brands, according to our independent customer survey.

Getting a stairlift from your local council

You'll need to ask about the arrangements for funding and providing stairlifts in your local area, as they vary. 

In some areas, the council makes arrangements to lease reconditioned stairlifts, while others hold their own second-hand stock. Some councils may advise you to get a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland or, if you're in Scotland, a scheme of assistance. 

Depending on your income, you might have to pay towards the cost of the stairlift. It also varies as to whether the council will assist with ongoing maintenance and installation. Be sure to check this, as it can be a costly extra.

When we surveyed people in 2018 who'd got a new stairlift for themselves or a relative, 12% had not bought their stairlift but had got it through the council, or their housing association or occupational therapist.

This was true of 22% of Stannah stairlift customers who did not buy their stairlift, 8% of Acorn stairlift customers and 18% of Handicare stairlift customers.

Waiting times for council stairlifts

Waiting times for council stairlift installations were more than twice as long as buying direct in most cases.

In our 2014 survey of council waiting times, 15% of people said that they didn't want or couldn't afford to wait for a council stairlift, while 37% weren't eligible.

Those who did get their stairlift from the council waited significantly longer between assessment and installation than those buying privately. The average wait was 49 days on average, compared with 26 days when buying from Stannah, 14 days from Acorn and 11 days from independent retailers (it should be noted that retailers do offer much quicker turnaround times, if needed).

Waiting times for private stairlifts

In terms of someone coming out for an initial assessment, Acorn says it can offer a same-day appointment in most cases, Age UK (Handicare) can do same-day installation if needed, and Stannah said the wait would typically be one to two days.

Find out more about buying a stairlift.