Need help choosing a wheelchair for your aging parents or a loved one recovering from injury or surgery? These tips will help you decide on the best portable wheelchair for your needs.
The first thing you need to think about is who is going to be pushing the wheelchair. If there is a companion who will be pushing the chair all the time, then a transport wheelchair will work for you. If the person in the wheelchair needs to self-propel, however, you’ll need a standard wheelchair with large rear wheels.
Transport wheelchairs are best for occasional use, for example, trips to the doctor or the shopping mall. They are lightweight and come with smaller wheels, which makes them easier to fold compactly and lift into a vehicle.
For everyday use, a standard wheelchair is more comfortable. The padding is usually thicker and the seat is designed for longer periods of sitting.
The wheelchair seat should be wide enough so that the person seated in the chair is comfortable, not squished. There should be enough extra room to allow for bulky clothing, such as a winter coat.
Before purchasing a wheelchair, measure the width of the user’s hips when seated. Then add an inch for extra wiggle room. This is the minimum seat width you’ll need for a wheelchair.
If you need to lift the wheelchair into a vehicle, the wheelchair should be light enough to lift without straining your body. Transport wheelchairs are the lightest models available. Lightweight standard wheelchairs are also available.
If you need a self-propelled wheelchair that’s lightweight, look for one with quick-release rear wheels. Remove the rear wheels and any other removable accessories (such as the leg rests or arm rests) and lift the parts separately into the vehicle to make it easier on yourself.
If you’re looking for a portable wheelchair, check out our selection of transport wheelchairs, standard wheelchairs, and lightweight wheelchairs by Drive Medical, Medline, Invacare, and Roll.