Buyers Guide

An enclosed platform lift used in a spa area

When you decide to buy a platform lift, you may find yourself confused as to the right type for you. Essentially, platform lifts fall into six categories.

Low Rise Vertical Lifts

The first and most simple is a step lift or low rise vertical platform lift. These types of lifts can be installed at the side of a single step or flight of steps to take the passenger from one level to another whilst leaving the steps clear for other users. Low rise vertical platform lifts provide travel of up to 1 metre and can be used internally or externally, almost all will provide capacity for an accompanying attendant. As the name implies, the lifting platform only travels in a vertical direction.

Click here to learn more about Niche Mira Low Rise Platform Lift range.

Inclined Step/Stair Lifts

The second is the inclined stair lift. This provides a level platform fixed to a diagonal runner at the wall side of a staircase. The platform is capable of carrying a wheelchair and travelling from a ground to upper level whilst leaving the steps clear for other users. Inclined platform lifts are used in indoor and outdoor environments in both domestic and commercial locations.

Click here to learn more about the Niche Dorado Inclined Step Lift range.

Open Passenger Platform Lifts

Niche Lifts platform passenger lifts are ideal for the transportation of people within low-rise buildings (up to 9m of travel) and provide a safe and comfortable means of transport for wheelchair users. Our passenger lifts are supplied with fully enclosed lift cars and provide smooth floor to floor travel of up to six stops.

Niche passenger lifts are available in a range of sizes, and due to them only requiring a minimal pit (up to 85mm) they can be easily installed with only limited builder’s work. An additional benefit is that there is no need for a separate machine room.  In environments where space may also be tight, a Niche platform passenger lift is often the best solution, requiring a much smaller footprint than a traditional lift.  Our passenger lifts have many applications and can be found in retail, educational, domestic and residential care home environments.

Types of open passenger lifts

Niche Lifts offers a wide range of open passenger lifts. The Rigel platform lift has been designed for domestic home use, providing easy access for both wheelchair users and standing passengers alike. The Altair platform lift provides a cost-effective alternative to conventional passenger lifts, as it’s the ideal solution for moving people and light goods between floors safely and comfortably, and the Niche Hydra platform lift range provides customers with a high quality, robust, hydraulically driven, enclosed platform lift, suitable for internal and external installation.

Click here to learn more about the Rigel Home Lift range.
Click here to learn more about the Altair Vertical Enclosed Lift range.
Click here to learn more about the Hydra Hydraulic Lift range.

Cabin Lifts

Cabin lifts are enclosed vertical platform lifts. Virtually everyone will have travelled in an enclosed lift; however, platform lifts of this kind do not have the same capacity, speed or travel height range of traditional commercial lifts. They are ideal for domestic premises or smaller commercial buildings allowing the lift to travel up to 19 metres (up to eight stops). The lift car is self-supported in a steel structure and requires limited amounts of building alterations by comparison to a traditional lift. As a result, this kind of platform lift is now being installed across the UK in stores, hotels, care and residential homes. Platform lifts of this kind generally are supplied with a self supporting lift structure/shaft that is fixed to a wall. As a result, these lifts can be installed internally or externally. A wide range of standard or bespoke finishes are available to provide harmonious integration into most building aesthetics and colour schemes.

Click here to learn more about the Zeta Cabin Lift range.

Goods Lifts

Goods lifts are expressly designed and specified for the transportation of goods on pallets, trolleys, or loosely packed items, all to the latest machinery directive standards. They are most commonly used to assist with the movement of stock in warehouses, distribution centres, retail stores and catering environments. As result of the wide variety and duty requirements of a goods lift, Niche Lifts supplies and installs both small and large goods lifts that have a carrying capacity from 300 to 2000kg. All of our platform goods lifts solutions meet the latest standards and are fully compliant with the Machinery Directive.

Types of goods lifts

Essentially there are two types of platform goods lifts; one that is operated without an attendant and cannot carry passengers, and one that requires a person (attendant) to travel in the lift, controlling it from within the lift car by using the buttons on the lift control panel. All of our platform goods lifts are supplied within a self-supporting structure, which minimises structural modifications to your building. Niche goods lift structures can be provided with full cladding, local cladding or no cladding for installation into a traditional lift shaft.

Click here to learn more about the Vega and Aquila Attended Goods Lift range.
Click here to learn more about the Vega and Aquila Goods Only Lift range.

Service Lifts

Aside from our range of heavy duty goods lifts, Niche also supply and install smaller service lifts to provide the easy movement of small goods or foods efficiently between floors.

Types of service lifts

Cost-effective, convenient and highly reliable, Niche Lifts supplies two types of service lifts: trolley and dumbwaiter. The Vela Dumbwaiter Service Lift the  is most commonly found in catering environments and hotels and is capable of traveling vertically up to 15 metres, and the Vela Trolley Service Lift is often used for applications which don’t require a full-sized goods lift. In most cases, these robust service lifts are quick to install and they are capable of carrying up to 300kg.

Click here to learn more about our Vela Dumbwaiter Lift range.
Click here to learn more about our Vela Trolley Lift range.


Platform lifts have to conform to strict user safety legislation. Niche will assist and advise on what is required to ensure your lift and its installation are both safe and compliant with the appropriate standards as stated below (at the point of commissioning).

  • Mira Low Rise Step Lift – BS6440:1999 & The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008
  • Dorado Inclined Lift – Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC
  • Rigel Home Lift Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC
  • Altair Vertical Enclosed Lift – EN 81-41 Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC & Building Regulations Part M (Subject to platform size, layout & specification)
  • Hydra Hydraulic Lift – EN 81-41 Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC & Building Regulations Part M (Subject to platform size, layout & specification)
  • Zeta Passenger Cabin Lift – Machine Directive 2006/42/EC & Lifts Directive 2014/33/EU
  • Aquila Fully Clad Goods Lift – Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC
  • Vega Goods Lift – EC Machinery Directive 98/37/EC
  • Vela Service Trolley Lift – Compliance EN81-3 & Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC
  • Vela Service Dumbwaiter Lift – Compliance EN81-3 & Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC
An enclosed platform lift used in a spa area
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