Measuring for the Width of the Stairlift

The basic measurements that you will need to know while you are searching for a stairlift is the width of the stairs and length of the area the chair will need to traverse.  The average chair uses up approximately 14 inches and most stairs are at least 36 inches wide.

When using both the footrest and the seat, you might use as much as 26 inches of the space available.  The average track upon which the stairlift runs is about 4 feet.  At the top of the stairs, you will need an extra 6 inches of space and at the bottom of the steps, you will need an additional 14 inches.  Even if you have a doorway in either in of those places, the track itself can be hinged so that it can be lifted out of the way.

If you can not physically lift the track out of the way in these areas, you can have the track designed so that it can be moved out of the way automatically or placed back down automatically.  The chair needs to be able to be folded away in the space where the track stops so you need to allow room for that, as well.

Trying to figure out exactly what you need to fit the space you have can be very confusing.  The correct way to measure is to first decide which side of the stairs you want the stairlift installed on.  Remember to add an additional 6-8 inches at the top and an additional 14-24 inches at the bottom of the stairs.  You will need to choose the side of the stairs that can accommodate these extra inches.  Standing at the top of the stairs, let your tape measure reach all the way to the bottom of the stairs being sure to let the tape measure lie along the top edge of each step. Remember not to let the measuring tape bend or sag in this measurement.  Write down the full length of the tape from the floor at the bottom of the stairs to the edge of the landing at the top of the stairs.

You will next want to measure the height of the step itself.  To do this you need to measure from the top landing step to the top of the next lower step.  The next measurement you need is the width of the stairs. To know if you have enough room, you’ll also need to measure from the bottom step to the door frame or passage opening.  These measurements will give you an idea if the system you have chosen can fit your needs.