When it comes to buying a wheelchair, one of the first choices you need to make is the decision between a transport chair and a wheelchair. The main difference between the two is the wheels. A wheelchair has large rear wheels and hand rims to allow the user to self-propel. A transport chair has small rear wheels and must be propelled by a caregiver.
Here are some questions to ask that will help you determine which type of chair will best meet your needs:
If the user is mobile enough to get around on their own, a wheelchair is the best option to give them the freedom and ability to push themselves around the house and get where they need to go. A transport chair is for users who only need to be pushed by a caregiver or who lack the strength to propel the chair on their own.
If you will be lifting the chair or transporting it often, a transport chair will reduce the strain on your body. Transport chairs are lightweight, ultra-portable, and easier to lift than standard or lightweight wheelchairs.
If you need to fit the chair in your trunk or in a storage closet, consider how compact the chair will be when folded. A transport chair is generally more compact than a wheelchair because it does not include large rear wheels or hand rims. They also have folding backrests for even smaller folding dimensions. Some wheelchairs are designed to be compact, as well. These wheelchairs include removable rear wheels, making them just as compact as transport chairs.
For tight spaces and narrow doorways, transport chairs are the better option because they have narrow wheels and no hand rims, making it easier to get around in areas that are not wheelchair-friendly.
For occasional use, a transport chair is the better option because it’s lightweight, compact, and less expensive. For daily or regular use, a wheelchair is more comfortable for the user and more durable for everyday use. Some individuals choose to purchase both a transport chair and a wheelchair—one for travel and one for everyday use at home. A hybrid chair, which converts from a transport chair to a wheelchair, can also solve the dilemma by offering the best of both worlds.