How to move heavy furniture up stairs

Furniture at the foot of a staircase: a sofa, a small armchair, several boxes, a painting, a bedside table, a lamp

Moving heavy furniture up stairs. An issue for both people and businesses, especially those in the logistics and removals industry. This article offers some practical hints for moving your furniture safely up and down stairs.

What furniture do you need to move up stairs?

This is a list of the main types of furniture that are carried up and down stairs:

Types of furniture: sofa, armchair, cupboard, table, night table, bed, chair, shelf, sideboard, mirror
  • Sofa
  • Sofabed
  • Table
  • Wardrobe
  • Bed
  • Desk
  • Sideboard
  • Chest of drawers
  • Fitted units for washing machines, refrigerators, safes and other domestic appliances
  • Lamps

These items of furniture vary in:

  • Size
  • Shape
  • Material
  • Value
  • Weight

The methods for moving furniture on stairs vary according to the type and characteristics of the furniture and the type of stairs.

Types of stairs

It is not just the type of furniture that matters, it is the type of stairs.

Staircases can be straight, helical or spiral in shape. Before moving the furniture you need to find out the length and width of the stairs, and whether there is a stairwell. Stairs may be exterior or interior. What they are made of is also important. Stairs may be made of concrete, but also from marble or wood. In the latter two cases you will need to take extra care not to ruin the steps when moving furniture up and down them. That would be a real shame!

Straight staircases are the easiest to move furniture on, because there is no need for rotation during transport. It is almost always possible to move long or very tall furniture – such as sofas, wardrobes or tables – on straight staircases. On the other hand, moving long items of furniture on helical staircases or, worse, spiral staircases is problematic. Spiral staircases are often very narrow, do not have landings and have handrails for safety reasons. Moving a long and heavy item of furniture such as a solid wood wardrobe up and down a spiral staircase is not only very dangerous, it may also be impossible. The shape and narrower width of the steps means it is often only possible to move very light furniture such as chairs or lamps on spiral staircases.

Moving furniture manually up stairs? Not a good idea

Even when an item of furniture seems relatively light and weighs less than 100 Kg, it is unlikely that the staircase will be sufficiently wide to allow four people to move it.

Often pieces of furniture are only moved by two people, one of whom goes up the stairs backwards.

International standards on handling manual loads on stairs state that people should not carry loads weighing more than 25 Kg.

Carrying furniture manually up or down stairs is not only awkward and tiring, it is also very dangerous. For the back, the joints and even… the furniture itself! If you need to move a wardrobe, bed, sofa or washing machine, you should seriously consider using an electric stair climber.

Unless the furniture in question is very light and not very bulky, it is always advisable to call on professionals who have specialist equipment such as electric stair climbers. Using a motorised stair climbing hand truck is important because it avoids damaging the furniture when it is being carried on stairs, but above all because it avoids causing health problems such as sprains and back injuries.

To recap, there are lots of things to take into account when moving furniture on stairs. The most important of these are:

  • The type of furniture
  • The weight of the furniture
  • Its size
  • The shape, width and length of the stairs

Moving furniture up stairs using an electric stair climber

The best way to move an item of furniture up stairs is to use a professional electric stair climber in order to minimise the physical impact of moving the load.

If the item of furniture is not particularly heavy – well below 100 Kg – you can use an electric stair climber dolly with wheels, like Zonzini’s  powered stair climber dolly Buddy. However if you use a wheeled stair climber you will have to balance the weight of the furniture on the stairs while it is being moved to stop it falling. If the furniture is heavy there is a very real risk that it will tip over on the stairs.

Straight stairs are the easiest to move loads on using an electric stair climber. You can move your furniture on a helical staircase using all of the wheeled stair climbers, but only very few of the tracked stair climbers.

The Domino Automatic tracked stair climbing robot by Zonzini can move furniture weighing up to 881 Pounds (400 Kg) also on helical staircases, depending on the degree of rotation of the stairs and the size of the load. The Skipper tracked stair climber can move tall furniture and heavy furniture weighing up to 350 Kg, but is only suitable for use on straight staircases.

Spiral staircases have a tight angle and it is almost impossible to use a wheeled or tracked motorized stair climber on them. If the spiral staircase is very narrow, there is not enough space to manoeuvre an electric stair climber.

A heavy solid wood wardrobe

Think about wardrobes made from solid wood or with stone or marble inlays. In such cases it is advisable to use a tracked electric stair climber. As well as having a higher load capacity it is also much safer, because the operator does not have to balance the item of furniture on the stairs.

Whenever possible, it is always preferable to move furniture and domestic appliances using an electric stair climber which, depending on the type of furniture, may be wheeled – for furniture weighing less than 100 Kg – or tracked – if weighing more than 100 Kg.

The two types of technology have different levels of safety and comfort for the operator. Stair climbers with tracks are more expensive but also safer, because they require less physical effort during transport. Electric stair climbers with wheels tend to be quicker and more suitable for moving furniture weighing less than 100 Kg.

Moving furniture on stairs in a vertical or a horizontal position

Depending on the type of furniture and its size, it will have to be positioned either horizontally (parallel to the stairs) or vertically in order to move up or down the stairs.

Moving furniture on stairs horizontally, parallel to the stairs

If you need to move a long or tall piece of furniture, like a wardrobe, sofa or marble worktop, you will need to position it “horizontally”, i.e. parallel to the stairs. This avoids it becoming “stuck” against the ceiling of the staircase.

The Skipper stair climber is perfect for moving long furniture because the angle can be regulated and the item can be moved horizontally, parallel to the stairs. It is a tracked stair climber, which means that the operator never has to carry the weight physically, or keep the furniture balanced while it is being moved.

Skipper is the ideal tracked stair climber for moving furniture more than two metres high.

Moving furniture on stairs in a vertical position with respect to the stairs

If the item of furniture is not particularly tall, it is better to move it in a “vertical” position, tilting it slightly to ensure greater stability and to make sure it does not fall while being moved.

Why is it better to move an item of furniture in a vertical position if it is less than 2 metres high or less than 2 metres wide? So it can be turned in the stairwell. Only when furniture is moved in a vertical position is it possible to make a complete turn on a narrow landing.

Thanks to its two independent tracks the Domino stair climbing robot can rotate 360 degrees on a stair landing.

If the item of furniture is moved using a wheeled stair climber, its position on the stairs is tilted 45 degrees. In this case the furniture must be carried at an angle of 45 degrees in order to keep it balanced and avoid it falling.

Conclusion. What is the best way to move heavy furniture up stairs?

There is no universal method for moving your furniture up the stairs. You have to base your choice on the type of furniture and the type of stairs.

Very long and heavy pieces of furniture, such as wardrobes, but also doors and windows, need to be moved in a horizontal position, i.e. parallel to the stairs.

If the furniture is under 6,56 ft (2 meters) in height it is recommended that you move it in a vertical position. This makes it easier to rotate in the stairwell. You can move all smaller items of furniture, such as sofas and chests-of-drawers, in a vertical position.

You should only move your furniture manually if it is very light – less than 25 Kg in weight – for the sake of your health!

If you need to move heavy furniture on stairs by yourself, the best way to do it is to use an electric stair climber like Zonzini’s Skipper or the stair climbing robot Domino Automatic. The Skipper is the ideal solution for transporting heavy furniture weighing up to 350 pounds in a horizontal position, parallel to the stairs.

The tracked stair climbers are the most stable, and tend to have a higher load capacity. Electric stair climbers dollies with wheels are faster, but are mainly suited to moving light goods weighing up to 100 Kg on stairs. This is because the operator has to keep the furniture balanced and tilted at an angle of 45 degrees while moving up or down the stairs. When moving heavy furniture on stairs we always recommend using a motorized stair climber with tracks.

Do you have questions about choosing the right Stair Climbers?

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How to move heavy furniture up stairs ultima modifica: 2020-03-26T09:22:37+01:00 da Zonzini