If your aging parents are having a difficult time getting out of the house, using a wheelchair can make outings safer and easier. For occasional trips to the doctor or the shopping mall, a lightweight transport chair is your best option. For heavier wheelchair use, a standard wheelchair offers more comfort.
Wheelchairs come in several different styles. For users who want to sit in the wheelchair and propel themselves forward, get a chair with large rear wheels. If a companion will be pushing the wheelchair instead, consider getting a transport chair for a lighter, more compact version.
Get a folding wheelchair to make it easier to store and transport the chair. Lightweight wheelchairs and lightweight transport chairs make it easier to lift the chair in and out of a trunk or vehicle. Some wheelchairs include removable accessories, such as arm rests and leg rests.
Before you purchase a wheelchair, take a few measurements to make sure the wheelchair is the right size for your elderly parent. With your parent seated comfortably on a chair, measure the width of their hips. Add one inch to make room for bulky clothing and wiggle room.
You may also want to measure for seat height. With your parent seated and feet flat on the floor, measure from the underside of the knee to the bottom of the foot. If you plan to use a wheelchair cushion, add about two inches to the seat height. The seat height measurement is especially important if your parent needs to be able to propel the wheelchair with his or her feet.
Finally, measure for seat depth. With your parent seated upright against the backrest of a chair, measure from the inside of the knee to where their lower back meets the chair. Subtract an inch or two for relaxed posture.
Need a better way to get your elderly parent out of the house? Check out our selection of wheelchairs and transport chairs from Drive Medical, Invacare, Medline, and Roll Mobility. Free shipping on all orders to the lower 48 U.S.
The biggest reason why people buy a lightweight wheelchair is to make it easier to lift the wheelchair into a vehicle for transport. Wheelchairs can be heavy to lift, especially if you have a weak back or previous injuries.
Here are some tips on what to look for when choosing a lightweight wheelchair.
Some types of wheelchairs are lighter than others. Transport chairs are lighter than self-propelled wheelchairs, mainly because transport chairs have smaller wheels in the rear. You’ll often see transport wheelchairs in places like airports, hospitals and clinics, and churches. They’re meant for passengers who are pushed by a caregiver or attendant.
Transport wheelchairs are also smaller than self-propelled wheelchairs when folded, since they don’t have large rear wheels with rims. Less bulk makes them easier to fit in small trunks or tight back seat areas.
You can reduce the overall weight of the wheelchair by disconnecting any removable parts before lifting the wheelchair into the vehicle.
Leg rests are almost always removable. Check the instruction manual to figure out how to remove the leg rests. The tool-free kind are easier to remove.
On some wheelchair models, the arm rests are removable as well. A few models may have other removable parts, such as the backrest.
Some self-propelled wheelchairs come with removable rear wheels. If you need a lightweight wheelchair that the user can self-propel, this is your best option.
Wheelchairs made with aluminum parts are the lightest wheelchairs available. Steel wheelchairs are usually a little bit heavier.
Aluminum lightweight wheelchairs are strong and durable but don’t add a lot of weight, so they are easier to lift and transport.
Need a lightweight wheelchair to use at home or for travel? Check out our selection of lightweight wheelchairs and lightweight transport chairs from Drive, Invacare, Medline, and Roll Mobility. Free shipping on all orders to the lower 48 U.S.
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.
Buying a wheelchair online is a different experience than going to a store, but it has its advantages as well. The ability to read the reviews from other customers is one of those advantages. Here are some wheelchair reviews from our customers for the Transport Chair and Alpha Wheelchair.
“I could not believe that it has arrived already…my wife, who for the first time is facing her lack of mobility, smiled when I got it together, smiled when she tried it the first time, and smiled again when she sat on the seat. Thanks for the quick delivery, and the very, very good product.”
- J. Joyce
“The only thing that needs to be put on are the foot rests and it was so easy, just place and snap, done! Awesome chair for my 90 year old 90 lb mother. Wheels are light and narrow to make it easier for her to roll and go through doors. Thanks.”
- Bonita G.
“Great wheelchair, just as described! Only assembly is putting on the foot rest. Very easy and heavy duty for the price. Seller shipped item the very next day and I received before the estimated delivery date. I would buy from this seller again.”
- Shirley T.
“This wheelchair is only for adults with extreemly narrow hips. Measure your hips first while sitting on a hard surface. I thought 16 inches would give me all kinds of room but the chair fits like a glove, a surgical glove. This is OK with me because my home has very narrow halls. I really liked the price and quality. It has only the features I wanted. Thanks…”
- Robert J.
Lifting a wheelchair into a vehicle can be heavy work, but a lightweight wheelchair or an ultralight transport chair will make the job easier. Below are some tips on how to load your wheelchair into the trunk of a car or load into a van with a wheelchair ramp.
Need help choosing a manual wheelchair? Can’t figure out how to open or fold your manual wheelchair? See the FAQ below for help.
Before shopping for a wheelchair, it’s helpful to take a few measurements of the person who will be using the wheelchair. Ask the individual to sit in a chair. Then take the following measurements:
Write down the measurements and use them to compare wheelchairs online. It’s also helpful to know the individual’s weight to make sure he or she does not exceed the wheelchair’s weight limit.
A transport chair is designed to be pushed by a caregiver. A standard wheelchair gives you the option of either being pushed by a caregiver or propelled by the user. Transport wheelchairs are lighter in weight with smaller rear wheels, which makes them lighter and easier to lift into a vehicle. Standard wheelchairs are more comfortable for everyday use.
The easiest way to fold a wheelchair is to grab the front and back of the wheelchair sling seat and pull up. Make sure the footrests are folded out of the way before folding the wheelchair.
Tilt the wheelchair slightly to one side and press down on one or both seat rails. Remember to keep your fingers out of the way so you don’t get pinched!
Most elderly individuals are able to do some of the transfer work from a wheelchair on their own. When you help an individual into or out of a wheelchair, ask the individual to help with the transfer as much as possible. Be patient and allow the individual as much time as needed to do their part of the transfer.
If the person you are transferring is lightweight and petite, you may be tempted to do more of the lifting yourself. But it’s important to allow the person being transferred to do as much as possible. This allows the individual to retain their sense of independence and saves your back in the process.
Ask a physical therapist to show you how to maintain proper body posture when assisting with transfers. Transferring from a wheelchair to a bath bench may require a different technique than transferring from a wheelchair to a car seat.
In some cases, a two-person transfer is safer. Do not attempt to assist with a wheelchair transfer by yourself if two people are needed. An unsafe transfer puts yourself and the individual you are helping at risk for injury.
Always communicate clearly with the person you are transferring. Let them know what you are going to do before you do it, and tell them again what you are doing as you do it. If they have a difficult time hearing, communicate your intentions through gestures and body language. Always show respect for the individual’s feelings, body, and dignity.
Need help setting up your transport wheelchair? Watch the video to see how easy it is to set up and fold a lightweight transport chair.
Roll Mobility’s transport wheelchairs come fully assembled and ready to use, with the leg riggings packed separately in the box. Our transport chairs are available in red or blue with an 18 inch seat width.
After you remove the transport chair from the box, take a few minutes to read the instruction manual included with this product. Then you can begin the process of setting up your wheelchair by following the instructions in the manual.
To unfold the wheelchair, tilt the chair to one side and push down on one or both seat rails until the wheelchair is fully opened. Then lift the backrest until it locks into place. Remember to keep your hands and fingers clear of any moving parts.
To install the swingaway, removable riggings, turn the rigging to the outside of the frame and join the hinge plates on the rigging to the hinge pins on the side frame assembly. Then swing the rigging to the front of the wheelchair to lock it in place. The footplate should be located on the inside of the wheelchair. Repeat with the opposite rigging.
To adjust the height of the riggings for the Roll Mobility aluminum transport wheelchair, first loosen the bolt at the bottom until the footplate moves freely. Slide the footplate assembly up or down to the desired height. Then re-tighten the bolt to secure the footplate assembly in place. Do the same for the opposite rigging, making sure the riggings are set at the same height.
To adjust the height of the riggings for the Roll Mobility steel transport wheelchair, first open the cam lock lever, then push in the release buttons and slide the footplate assembly up or down to the desired height. Make sure both release buttons pop all the way out of the new adjustment holes. Then lock the cam lever to secure it in place. Repeat for the opposite rigging. Count the number of holes from the top of each rigging to the release buttons to make sure the riggings are set at the same height.
To remove the leg riggings, push the release lever and swing the rigging to the outside. Lift the leg assembly off the hinge pins. Then repeat for the opposite rigging.
The last thing you need to know is how to fold the transport wheelchair. First, press the release levers on either side of the backrest and lower the backrest all the way down. Lift the footplates into the vertical position. Then grab the front and back of the seat and lift up. Now your transport chair is ready for transport or storage.
Looking for a wheelchair for yourself or a loved one? There are many options available, from customized electric wheelchairs to heavy duty wheelchairs to ultra lightweight transport chairs.
For manual wheelchairs, you have two choices: transport or self-propelled. Transport wheelchairs are for users who will be pushed around by a caregiver. Self-propelled wheelchairs are for users who want to be able to get around by themselves, along with the option of being pushed by a caregiver.
Since transport wheelchairs are lighter in weight than self-propelled wheelchairs, you can easily take the chair with you on outings. Transport chairs are easier to lift into the back of a vehicle for transport. Since the rear wheels are smaller than a self-propelled wheelchair, the transport chair is lighter and more compact.
For everyday use, self-propelled wheelchairs are more common. They make it easy for the user to move around, and they often provide more comfort for users who are seated in a wheelchair most of the day. For users who only need a wheelchair for trips outside the home, such as doctor appointments and shopping, a transport chair is quick and easy to use. Some users also like the transport chair for home use, with its smaller frame and the ability to move the chair with their feet.
For comfort and ease of movement, it’s important to choose a wheelchair that fits the person using the chair. A poor-fitting wheelchair will make it difficult to sit for long without getting sore, pinched, or numb. Even more important, it can result in bad posture, poor ergonomics, and muscle strain for the user.
The three most important measurements to use for a wheelchair fitting are seat width, seat depth, and seat height.
For wheelchair seat width, measure the distance between the user’s hips while seated. If you have trouble getting the measurement, try placing a book upright on each side of the user. With the books pressed lightly against the user’s hips, measure the distance between the two books.
After measuring hip width, add a couple of inches for a more comfortable fit. The extra seat width also makes room for bulky clothing or a winter coat.
|Seat Width Measurement|
|Width of hips in seated position + 1 inch|
With the user seated all the way back in a chair, measure the distance from the back of the knee to where the user’s back meets the chair. Subtract an inch or two to account for relaxed posture while seated in a wheelchair. This is the correct seat depth.
|Seat Depth Measurement|
|Distance from back of knee to back of seat, minus 1-2 inches|
With the user still in a seated position, measure the distance from the underside of the knee to the bottom of the foot. The standard 19″ to 21″ seat height works well for most individuals 5’4″ and taller. Seat-to-floor height is especially important for users who want to propel the wheelchair around a small area with their feet.
|Seat Height Measurement|
|User Height||Approx. Seat Height|
|4’11″ and under||14″ to 16″|
|5’4″ and under||17″ to 18″|
|5’4″ and above||19″ to 21″|