Sometimes a staircase is too narrow to accommodate a regular-sized stairlift. That’s where a perched stairlift or a standing stairlift comes in. But what’s the difference between a standing stairlift and a perch stairlift?

When searching for a “standing stairlift” you may come across pictures or videos of a single step on a rail such as this:

unusual standing single step stairlift

Looks very tidy and futuristic doesn’t it? Unfortunately, these stairlifts are not available in the UK as they likely do not pass UK certification. You may also see photos of a handle on the stairs which also goes up a rail. These are called walking stairlifts and again are not available in the UK.

So what actually IS a standing stairlift in the UK?

A standing stairlift (more commonly known as a perched stairlift) is a stairlift that has a very small seat and is usually taller than a regular stairlift. The way these work is that you lean on the little seat/perch part of the stairlift, just enough to rest your behind. so that your knees are mostly unbent and do not take up as much room on the stairs. The last thing we want is for you to knock your knees on every spindle on the way up!

What are perch stairlifts for?

Apart from allowing the use of a stairlift on a very narrow staircase, perch stairlifts are perfect for those with mobility issues that affect the knees and hips and thus can’t bend them at a 90-degree angle.

handicare 950+ perch stairlift

As you would expect, the arms and footplate still fold away as normal, leaving you a clean and tidy look when not in use.

Are perch stairlifts safe?

Don’t worry, perch stairlifts are made in much the same way as their regular counterpart. They follow the same strict regulations and include the same safety features such as:

  • Multiple safety sensors to stop the lift in travel if it encounters a foreign object on the stairs
  • Seatbelt
  • Dead-mans switch on the arm (this means the lift will only travel when you hold the toggle down in the direction you want to go)

Is there anything I should bear in mind before committing to a perch stairlift?

If you or one of our engineers has found you need a perch stairlift, it’s worth bearing in mind the weight limit on these kinds of lifts. Most of our stairlifts take up to between 19-23st but some lifts do take more. However, for perch stairlifts, this could potentially be a little bit lower.

Another thing to bear in mind is, that even though sometimes referred to as a standing stairlift, they are not designed for you to put your entire weight onto the footplate. Make sure when using the stairlift that you rest your bum on the little perch seat to take the majority of your weight. Due to the nature of the footplate being foldable, it can only be reinforced so much. So repeatedly putting your entire weight onto the footplate could have the potential to cause it to bend over time.

Are perch stairlifts expensive?

Perch stairlifts are just as competitive as our regular stairlifts, and are usually only about 5-10% more expensive.

Do you do stairlifts that you can both sit and stand?

Yes, we do! Brooks and Acorn make a sit-stand stairlift. Take a look at the photo below to see how it works with the support arm.

brooks acorn sit stand lift

Will you sell standing stairlifts like in the video/photo I saw?

As mentioned previously, these kinds of specialist lifts are usually in an early phase of design or haven’t been approved for the UK market. As soon as these kinds of lifts become more mainstream and pass UK legislation, we would definitely consider adding standing stairlifts, walking stairlifts and more to our selection. For now, we keep the models we know and trust.

We hope we explained a little bit of the difference between a standing and a perch stairlift. If you want to ask us any questions you can find us here on live chat during weekdays. You can also call us on 01925 414771 or email us at

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