Looking for the right wheelchair ramp? You’ll need to answer a few questions to help you find the best wheelchair ramp for your needs.
Does the wheelchair ramp need to be portable? If you are using the ramp for vehicle access or if you need to transport the ramp, you’ll need to find a portable wheelchair ramp. These types of ramps are lightweight and easy to carry. Some models fold into a “suitcase” with a handle for carrying, or they split into sections for lighter weight.
Permanent wheelchair ramps do not need to be portable or lightweight. They should be able to withstand exposure to the elements (if the ramp is outdoors) and be durable enough for continuous use, including foot traffic and wheelchairs.
Van ramps and utility ramps for vehicles need to attach securely to the floor of the vehicle to prevent slipping. They should also fold for storage inside the vehicle and be short enough to allow easy loading and unloading next to other vehicles.
Threshold ramps can be used indoors or outdoors to make the transition smoother from one room to another or from the outdoor landing into your house. Getting over the threshold requires extra “oomph,” especially if the threshold is raised several inches, but a threshold ramp makes for a smooth, easy transition over the threshold.
Rolling a wheelchair up a ramp is much easier when the slope is gradual (no greater than 2″ rise per 12″ length). If the wheelchair is unoccupied, a steeper slope is acceptable (no greater than 3″ rise per 12″ length).
Follow the ADA slope recommendations for occupied and unoccupied wheelchairs and for home and commercial ramps. You also need to make sure the ramp length will fit in the space available.
The type of material used to produce your wheelchair ramp will affect the cost, durability, and weight. If you need a lightweight ramp, aluminum is the best choice. Aluminum wheelchair ramps are the most popular option for portable van ramps and other portable ramps.
Wood is one of the cheapest materials, but it requires extra care for weathering the elements. Wood is used mainly for permanent ramps outside the home.
Steel ramps are inexpensive but heavier than aluminum. They are also subject to rust and corrosion.
Rubber ramps work well for thresholds. They are easy to cut for a custom fit, and they are silent for foot traffic as well as wheelchair traffic.
About 8 million people suffer from disabilities requiring the use of wheelchairs. Transporting these devices, however, can be cumbersome—something you can overcome through these practical suggestions.
If you are lifting the wheelchair into the vehicle, follow the safety tips below.
If you are loading the wheelchair with a ramp, follow the tips below.
Looking for a wheelchair ramp for your vehicle? A van ramp is an easy way to make your vehicle accessible to wheelchairs, scooters, and power chairs. Here are a few tips on how to choose a wheelchair van ramp.
Van ramps are either portable or semi-permanently installed. A portable utility van ramp allows you to use the ramp only when you need it or transfer the ramp from one vehicle to another. If you will be using your van ramp on a regular basis, we recommend a semi-permanently installed ramp. The ramp mounts to the floor of the van inside the doorway. Some mounted van ramps include a spring assist for easy operation by one person.
You can choose from either a rear door van ramp or a side door ramp. When parking, you’ll need to make sure you have enough room to the side or rear of the van to unfold the ramp. The ramp should not stick out into a traffic lane or parking lot row.
A side door ramp mounts inside the sliding door and folds in half to leave the doorway partly accessible for other passengers. A rear van ramp stores vertically inside the doorway and allows you to push the wheelchair into the back of the van. Keep in mind that a rear van ramp will take up most of your rear storage space.
The longer the van ramp is, the easier it will be to push or drive the wheelchair up the ramp. Just keep in mind that the longer the ramp is, the more room you will need around your van to unfold the ramp. The ADA recommends a slope no greater than 9.5 degrees for an occupied wheelchair or scooter and a slope no greater than 14.5 degrees for unoccupied chairs.
The lip of the ramp is designed to rest firmly on the step or landing. The weight of the ramp and the weight of the wheelchair or scooter will hold the ramp in place. Steel security pins are included with PVI wheelchair ramps to anchor the ramp even more securely. Van ramps are available as portable ramps or mounted van ramps.
Manual wheelchairs will become too difficult to push if the ramp is too steep. Electric wheelchairs and scooters will either bottom out or stall on a steep ramp. If the chair bottoms out, the bottom plate or footrest will get stuck on the ramp and disable the drive wheels. If the chair stalls, the wheels will keep spinning but the chair will not have enough power to climb the ramp.
A conversion kit is required if the rear door threshold is higher than the van floor. You can purchase a conversion kit from a wheelchair ramp manufacturer. This kit lets you properly mount the ramp inside the rear door opening without interfering with the threshold trim. If you prefer a do-it-yourself option, you might also be able to raise the floor using a wooden pallet or platform secured to the van floor.
If your vehicle has a cutout in the bumper that is larger than 30 inches wide (for example, a Cadillac Escalade), you will need to lay a piece of plywood (2×4) across the bumper to bridge the cutout and provide a solid platform for the wheelchair ramp.
PVI utility ramps are designed with an extended lip to clear the rear bumper; however, even with this extended lip, the ramp may still come in contact the bumper on some vehicles. If this happens, we recommend laying a rug or strip of carpet over the bumper before installing the portable ramp to prevent the paint on your bumper from getting scratched.
Portable wheelchair ramps make it possible to access areas that are otherwise off limits in a wheelchair. With a portable ramp, you can load a wheelchair into a vehicle or access stairs and landings. The following advice will help you use a portable ramp safely.
Yes, if you follow these guidelines: 1) Never exceed a 2:12 slope ratio for an occupied wheelchair. 2) Always make sure a qualified assistant is present when you use any portable ramp. 3) Make sure there is enough head clearance to safely load the wheelchair and person. 4) Make sure there is enough side-to-side clearance to set up the portable ramp. Most ramps require at least 30 inches of side-to-side clearance.
A yellow safety level is attached to the side of all PVI utility ramps and multifold ramps. Check the level before using the ramp to see if it is on a safe slope. The ADA recommends using the least slope possible. A ramp used to load an occupied wheelchair should be on a slope no greater than 2:12 (2 inches of rise per 12 inches of ramp length).
PVI utility ramps, solid ramps, and folding ramps come with steel security pins to hold the ramp in place and keep it from slipping.
First, measure the rise in inches from ground level to the top step or landing where the ramp will sit. Then find the maximum ramp incline and ramp length using the chart below. A 1:12 slope equals a 4.8° incline. A 2:12 slope equals a 9.5° incline.
Van ramps come in all shapes and sizes. Two of the simplest types of van ramps are portable utility ramps and mounted van ramps.
Utility van ramps are portable, which means they require no installation. They are simple to set up and easy to handle, and the ramp separates into two pieces for lighter carrying weight. Since the utility wheelchair ramp is portable, you can use it with more than one vehicle, and if you ever upgrade your vehicle, there’s no need to worry about re-installing the van ramp.
Utility ramps are the most affordable option for making your vehicle wheelchair accessible. The PVI utility ramp is designed for rear door use only, so if you want side door access, you’ll need to look at other options.
Mounted van ramps are semi-permanently mounted to the van floor. They are available with manual or power operation. Manual ramps are easy enough for the average user to install at home. Power ramps are more complicated to install, and some may require professional installation.
These van ramps are designed for either side door or rear door access. Both the rear door and side door ramps fold and store vertically inside the doorway. The side door van ramp folds out of the way to leave enough room for other passengers to get in and out of the van.
If the van has a threshold across the rear door opening, a conversion kit may be required to properly install the rear door ramp.
Wheelchairs—especially heavy duty ones—can be difficult to lift into a vehicle. Not only are they heavy, but they can be awkward to handle when folded. Petite caregivers and individuals with back problems will find it much easier to load a wheelchair using a van ramp.
The two basic types of van ramps are portable and permanent. Portable van ramps are designed with an extended lip that attaches inside the door of the van. They can be folded for compact storage inside the van. Some portable van ramps separate into two pieces to make them lighter in weight and easier to handle.
Permanent van ramps are bolted to the inside of the vehicle, which involves drilling through the van’s floor. They are designed to fit either the rear door or the side door. Permanent rear door van ramps may not be compatible with vehicles that have stow-away seating.
For loading an occupied wheelchair, make sure the slope does not exceed a 2:12 ratio (12 inches of ramp length for every 2 inches in rise). If the ramp is too steep, the wheelchair will become difficult to push, or the power wheelchair / scooter will stall or bottom out. There must be adequate head clearance into the van, and the van door must be a minimum of 30 inches wide in order to accommodate the ramp width.
A qualified assistant should be present when using a portable van ramp. Make sure the van ramp is rated to handle the full weight of the wheelchair, the occupant, and the caregiver (if pushing the wheelchair).
Roll Mobility is expanding its selection of wheelchair ramps with van ramps from Prairie View Industries, a trusted leader in the wheelchair ramp industry. PVI Van Ramps are UL listed for safety and include a patented center joint hinge to increase the strength of the ramp and eliminate pinch points.
These utility ramps can be used with SUVs, vans, and other vehicles. The hook that attaches the ramp to the vehicle is extended to clear the rear bumper. These van ramps do not attach permanently to your vehicle. Because these van ramps are portable, they allow you to attach the ramp to any vehicle that you want to load your wheelchair into.
Setup is easy and secure with the included security pins and safety strap. A safety guide helps you determine if the ramp is on a safe slope, and a safety DVD is included with the ramp.
PVI utility ramps are lightweight, easy to handle, and easy to set up. The ramp separates into two pieces for easy carrying and folds into a suitcase-like carrying case. Even petite users should be able to set up and carry the utility ramp without strain.
A full 30-inch wide platform with side curbs ensures safe loading and unloading, and the durable welded construction is strong enough to support up to 600 pounds. The ramp surface is coated with an anti-slip, high traction surface for safety in wet or dry conditions. PVI van ramps can accommodate wheelchairs and scooters with various wheel configurations.
These van ramps start at just $239.99 with Free Shipping (lower 48 states)!