Buying a stairlift: New, reconditioned or second hand?

By Chris Clayton

When you are wanting to buy a stairlift, apart from choosing the model and the type of stairlift system you want (a straight track/rail or a curved track/rail), you also have to decide if you are going to buy new, reconditioned or second hand.

Each of the three has advantages and disadvantages. With such an important purchase as a stairlift, it is important that you carefully consider these before you choose which to buy.


I don't think I really need to explain what a new stairlift is.

The advantage of buying a new stairlift is that you know every part is both new (so no wear and tear on them) and the stairlift has been fully tested by the manufacturer before you receive it. This substantially reduces the risk of failure and should mean that you won't have to replace any of the parts for a long time.

In addition, in the unlikely case that it does have a problem, it will be covered by 1 or 2 year manufacturer's warranty. So you can get it repaired or replaced for free.

With some new stairlifts, the price you pay will also include one or two service visits. With other new stairlifts, they won't. This is something which you should find out before choosing to buy one.

The only disadvantage of buying a new stairlift, is the price. Like with any electronic or mechanical device, you will pay more (and sometimes substantially more) for a new stairlift than a reconditioned stairlift or a second hand one.


This is a basically a stairlift which has normally been returned to the manufacturer due to some issue (a fault). They are then rigorously tested to make sure that they work probably. A stairlift can only be considered to be reconditioned if this has been done by the actual manufacturer or by a company which the manufacturer has certified to do this.

A reconditioned stairlift should be as good as buying a new stairlift and you will get the same warranty from the manufacturer as you would with a new one.

The big advantage of buying a reconditioned stairlift is that it will be a little cheaper than buying a new one.

Some manufacturers do sell reconditioned stairlifts (e.g. Stannah) either directly or through agents. Other companies don't sell reconditioned stairlifts at all (e.g. Acorn and Brooks).

Unfortunately, there are not many real reconditioned stairlifts available to buy. When looking to buy a stairlift, a lot of sellers of stairlifts will advertise reconditioned stairlifts for sale. In fact, the majority of these will not be. They will be 'used' stairlifts which the company has bought from people who had them in their houses.

It's easy to find out if the stairlift is a real reconditioned one or just a second hand one which the supplier selling it says is one. A real reconditioned stairlift will come with a certificate saying it has been reconditioned from the manufacturer and have a manufacturer's warranty (for one year or two). If the company trying to sell what they call a reconditioned stairlift, can't provide you with these, you will know that it is a second hand stairlift they are trying to sell.

Second hand

Are used stairlifts. The vast majority of these have been previously installed and used for a period of time (from a couple of months to years) in somebody's house.

You can buy used stairlift either directly from the owner of the stairlift (on eBay for example) or from mobility shops and stairlift sellers (but not manufacturers).

Like with buying any mechanical device which is used (e.g a car), there is a greater risk of having faults and problems with used/second hand stairlifts than if it is new or reconditioned. To minimise the likelihood of having these, I would strongly recommend that you only buy a used stairlift from a reputable stairlift seller. They will make sure that the stairlift is in good working condition when you buy it, provide you with a guarantee and fit it safely.

I would not recommend that you buy a stairlift directly from somebody who has one fitted in their house themselves. Although you'll save a lot of money when actually buying the stairlift, you have to add on to that the money you'll have to pay somebody to cut the track (if it is long enough to use) for your staircase and install it (both of which you should get a professional to do for safety reasons). And this won't be cheap. In addition, you'll have no idea in what condition it is in or if it is safe to use (both the stairlift and the track).

As I talked about in the above section, many companies that sell stairlifts (but are not manufacturers) call second hand stairlifts 'reconditioned'. But the vast majority of the time they aren't, they are used (like used cars). They do this because it sounds better than 'used/second hand', so they can charge a bit more money when they sell them.

The advantage of buying a second hand stairlift is price. They are substantially cheaper than either a new or true reconditioned stairlifts.

The main disadvantage is that the risk of failure increases. Like with any mechanical device, wear and tear leads parts to fail more frequently than with either a new or reconditioned stairlifts. Although the shop/store you buy it from should offer at least a one year warranty, having a stairlift which is out of action for any time is not an ideal situation. In addition, replacing parts after a warranty has expired, can becoming exceedingly expensive.

In conclusion

A stairlift is not like a TV. It is something that when a person starts using one, it becomes difficult to live without. When you buy one, you need to minimize the risk that it will fail or have problems.

The least risky option is to buy either a new or reconditioned stairlift. The problem is with these is that new stairlifts are generally a lot more expensive than the other types and there are few true reconditioned stairlifts (certified by the manufacturer) on the market.

Buying a second hand stairlift for many people is an attractive option (especially from a financial perspective). But you should be aware that there is a higher risk of it both failing and having problems with it than with either a new or a true reconditioned stairlift. In some cases, a second hand stairlift can end up more expensive (because of repairs and replacing parts) than either of the other two options.

But no matter which type of stairlift that you decide buy, always make sure that you buy it directly from the manufacturer or a reputable seller.