While there are big names in the stairlift market, such as Stannah, Acorn and Handicare, the smaller brands have a few surprises.

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While you may have heard of Stannah and the bigger stairlift brands, companies such as Thyssenkrupp, Bespoke Stairlifts and MediTek are not household names.

But our survey tells us two are winners with their customers. To find out whether its stairlifts are the one for you, we asked 888 people who had bought, rented or acquired a stairlift to rate them on key aspects of their stairlift, such as reliability, comfort and value for money, and compared their responses to those given by owners of other brands of stairlifts.

Thyssenkrupp (Thyssen) topped our table with 80%, followed by MediTek with 75%. Thyssenkrupp got the only five star ratings from its customers, for reliability and comfort of its lifts. But Bespoke Stairlifts was at the bottom of the table with 67%. It got a good four stars for value of money, appearance and safety, but only average three stars scores for reliability, ease of use and quality.

See how they scored in key areas using the scores in the table below  – plus the average price of new and second-hand of stairlifts from these smaller brands.

About smaller brands

These tend to be either sold direct or, more commonly, through authorised dealers who will do your home visit, arrange the installation and provide after-care.  The manufacturer will generally help you locate a dealer near to you.

Bespoke Stairlifts

Bepoke – a small Yorkshire-based firm in the UK, but with a worldwide presence – sells its stairlifts direct to customers or through a network of dealers, with prices starting from £2,530.

If you buy from Bespoke, you’ll be covered by a manufacturer’s guarantee for a year and then pay for an additional warranty once it ends: £400 for 12 month cover for a curved lift and £200 for 12 months’ cover for a straight lift. If you buy a Bespoke lift from a dealer, you’ll need to check their costs.

A number of our respondents bought one reconditioned or second-hand, although our scores only include new stairlifts.

In our survey, people were significantly more likely to have professional help to repair or adjust the stairlift if it was a Bespoke Stairlift (65%). As above, Bespoke got an average rating for reliability of its stairlifts.

Bespoke says price negotiation is possible: in our survey, 83% of people buying Bespoke tried to negotiate.

Bespoke Stairlifts ratings                  Customer score 67%

Reliability ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Ease of use ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Comfort ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Safety of the stairlift ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Quality ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Appearance ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Overall value for money ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Average price of a new Bespoke stairlift £3,725

MediTek

Although MediTek cased trading in early 2018, you’ll still see their stairlifts for sale, mainly as reconditioned models or for short-term use, and some dealers do stock parts. In our survey, they got good four star ratings across all areas, although we didn’t have enough customers to rate this brand for value for money.

MediTek stairlifts ratings                      Customer score  75%

Reliability ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Ease of use ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Comfort ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Safety of the stairlift ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Quality ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Appearance ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Overall value for money – Average price of a new MediTek stairlift – Average price of a second-hand MediTek stairlift – Table notes: The customer score combines customers’ overall satisfaction with their likelihood to recommend, and is not directly linked to the star ratings. ‘-‘ indicates no score. Sample size – 35. Survey conducted in May 2020.

Thyssenkrupp

This German company has been trading in the UK for 20 years, both direct to the public (through Thyssenkrupp Home Solutions) and, more usually, through a network of authorised and trained dealers.

It also sells to councils, as do other brands such as Stannah, and offers reconditioned options with approximately 45% discount on straight and 35% on curved lifts.

Thyssenkrupp also sells as T K Encasa. Prices range from £450 for rental of a straight stairlift to £3,000 to buy. Curved lifts cost from £850 if rented, through to £7,000 to buy, depending on the staircase.

Thyssenkrupp stairlifts come with a lifetime manufacturer’s guarantee: there are a range of warranty options from £80 for one year, including two service visits, through to more comprehensive extended warranty options.

Thyssenkrupp got a great 80%, and five stars for reliability and comfort of its lifts, although we didn’t have enough customers to rate value for money.

Thyssenkrupp stairlifts ratings               Customer score 80%

Reliability ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Ease of use ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Comfort ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Safety of the stairlift ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Quality ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Appearance – Overall value for money – Average price of a new Thyssenkrupp stairlift – Average price of a second-hand Thyssenkrupp stairlift – Table notes: The customer score combines customers’ overall satisfaction with their likelihood to recommend, and is not directly linked to the star ratings. ‘-‘ indicates no score.

Sample size – 34. Survey conducted in May 2020.

Platinum

Another brand that customers rated, although not in large enough numbers for us to report on it this time, is Platinum.

This Yorkshire-based manufacturer sells UK-wide and internationally through a network of dealers.