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If you have issues with mobility, getting a new manual wheelchair should be your topmost priority. Apart from giving you a high level of freedom, comfort, and independence, it can significantly improve the quality of your life. There are different types of wheelchairs available for every single situation.
Purchasing a wheelchair is a great investment. You shouldn’t throw in your money without doing your research. If you are thinking about purchasing your first wheelchair or buying a new wheelchair, you will find this guide helpful.
As earlier stated, there are different types of wheelchairs available on the market. These wheelchairs are not built equally, so you may get overwhelmed with the models you find on the market.
Don’t worry, we perfectly understand your situation and, in this guide, we will provide you with all the necessary information you need to find the best and most appropriate wheelchair for your needs.
There are many things to talk about and we hope you learn new things about wheelchairs, what seating options fit your needs, the accessories you might need, and how to get the best out of your wheelchair.
Best Manual Wheelchair Compared
Overall Best Manual Wheelchair
The MedWarm Multifunctional Manual Wheelchair is the best rollator or wheelchair on the market. This comfortable and ergonomic aluminum wheelchair features multiple functions to assist you with all areas of daily living from bathrooms to parks, convalescence, long-distance travel, shopping, and everyday life. The seat also pops off quickly when needed. It is a top choice for all ages and goes on all terrains.
Best Durable Manual Wheelchair
The Invacare TRSX58FBP Tracer SX5 is a durable, well-built wheelchair with a lightweight aluminum frame. This wheelchair weighs 38 pounds and can support up to 250 pounds. The armrests are adjustable and removable which makes them easy to use at tables, desks, or other locations where you need to have close access to the body.
Best Budget Manual Wheelchair
The ProBasics Standard Reclining Wheelchair is designed for users who need a durable wheelchair for short-term use or temporary mobility vehicle while recovering from an injury or accident. If you’re looking for a high-quality, but inexpensive folding wheelchair to meet your needs, then this is the wheelchair for you.
Best Indoor Manual Wheelchair
Flux Slim-Line Wheelchair is the overall best manual wheelchair for indoor use. It’s a long-lasting, reasonably priced chair with easy to fold the frame and a narrow wheelbase that makes it fit through doorways and interior spaces more easily. This smart wheelchair is designed for wheelchair users or those with walking difficulties who are looking for a chair that will meet the demands of everyday use, yet attractive enough to blend in with any home or office decor
Best Heavy-Duty Manual Wheelchair
Introducing Invacare’s Tracer IV Wheelchair, designed with heavy-duty performance in mind. An ideal solution for outdoor activities and trips. The powerful drive system and 23″ rear wheels combined with superior maneuverability give this chair the ability to go almost anywhere. The Invacare Tracer IV offers a wide range of features that make it the highest-scoring chair in our review, including durable and easy-to-use peg leg wheels.
Best All-Terrain Manual Wheelchair
Engineered to meet the unique needs of people with severe mobility disabilities and caregivers who are looking for a wheelchair with exceptional maneuverability and durability, LVQING’s self-propelled wheelchairs help patients and wheelchair users get back to their daily activities with ease. This all-terrain manual wheelchair is designed to withstand a variety of terrains from curbs to beaches and offers the most user-friendly experience.
Best Manual Wheelchair For Travel
The Hi-Fortune Medical Manual Wheelchair is a great option for anyone who needs a lightweight wheelchair. his makes it ideal for people who are on a budget, or who need a wheelchair that they can take on vacation without having to worry about it getting stolen. It has a backrest is made from breathable and durable mesh material, which makes it comfortable to sit in, and allows air to circulate through the chair to keep you cool.
Best Manual Wheelchair For Kids
The Medline Kids’ Pediatric Wheelchair is a lightweight, easy-to-use wheelchair that makes it easier for kids to get around. The 14-inch seat width makes it ideal for most children. It comes with swing-away desk-length arms and swing-away elevating leg rests. The best manual wheelchair for kids should be lightweight and easy to push, so your child can move around independently and has adjustable width to fit into your child’s growing body.
Best Ultra-Lightweight Manual Wheelchair
Weighing only 13.5 lbs, the Featherweight Wheelchair is in a class of its own. It is one of the lightest wheelchairs in the world. It is the perfect choice for people who need to travel on small airplanes or with reduced amenities. Sturdy in construction, it’s also foldable, permits easy transfers, and allows you to maintain as much independence as possible.
Best Compact Manual Wheelchair
The Drive Medical SSP118FA-SF Silver Sport is a folding wheelchair that is lightweight, durable, and can be easily transported from place to place. With a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds and a strong aluminum frame, this chair offers users premium comfort and longevity.
What Is A Bariatric Wheelchair?
A bariatric wheelchair is a heavy-duty wheelchair that is designed to support more weight than a typical, standard wheelchair. If you search for wheelchairs, typically, you would notice that most wheelchairs handle weights around 300 lbs or under. However, bariatric wheelchairs can handle weights above 300 lbs. Some of them can handle weights above 600 pounds.
What Is A Pediatric Wheelchair?
What Is The Difference Between A Manual Wheelchair And A Transport Wheelchair?
Manual wheelchairs and transport wheelchairs are both mobility aids. However, the major difference is that manual wheelchairs have large wheels so you can actually propel yourself, whereas transport wheels come with small wheels, and are meant to be propelled or pushed from behind by a caregiver.
Do I Need A Prescription To Get Or Use A Wheelchair?
Not at all! You don’t need a prescription to use a wheelchair. But since wheelchairs cost thousands of dollars, you want to be careful about buying a wheelchair that doesn’t require a prescription. That’s because if you don’t receive a prescription for your specific chair, you could end up with one that works poorly and causes pain.
Are There Wheelchairs For Sports?
Yes. There are various wheelchair manufacturers that build sports wheelchairs. Sport wheelchairs are typically ultralight and are built for sports such as racing, basketball, etc.
Can I Get A Wheelchair Free?
There are some government agencies and programs coupled with charity organizations that help a person get a free wheelchair. These types of agencies spend their time helping people get access to free wheelchairs and other mobility devices to get them to get mobile again.
Yes, this is possible only if your physician determines that it is medically necessary. Then, they proscribe a prescription. In addition to this, there are other specifications that need to be met for you to be eligible to qualify.
Is It Difficult To Push Yourself In A Wheelchair?
All I can say is that it takes a lot of power, upper body strength, coordination, determination, and repetitive force to successfully self-propel yourself in a manual wheelchair. For people confined in a wheelchair, manually pushing yourself is a good exercise. It is also a great way to build and maintain muscle strength.
Overall Best Manual Wheelchairs Reviewed
You’re about to discover a list of some of the best manual wheelchairs that I highly recommend. But first, it’s important to understand what type of wheelchair is going to be best for you or your loved one’s needs.
Hopefully, after reading this article you’ll have an idea of how to choose an appropriate wheelchair and be better informed to make the best possible selection.
Here are some of the best manual wheelchairs right now.
Medline’s Adult Folding Wheelchair is a reliable wheelchair for easy travel and transportation. It is convenient for indoor use and is simple to use. It features a portable back that can be quickly folded for easy storage and haulage during travel. This product is sturdy and can hold up to 300 lbs.
This chair is much lighter than some standard wheelchairs. The reason is attributed to the frame, which is made of slim aluminum. This type of material is not only easy to lift, but it is also durable and lasts longer than traditional bases. It is powder-coated to prevent wear and color fading, as well as to ensure increased resistance to chipping and scratching.
Additionally, it comes with extra-large 12-inch rear wheels that guarantee high performance and increased stability, even on rough terrains or bumpy outdoor surfaces. It also comes with full-length arms that provide an extended area for gripping and ideal support. For added safety, this wheelchair provides loop-lock handbrakes that slow down the chair on rugged terrains or tilted sidewalks.
One of the cons of this wheelchair is that the armrests are permanently attached to the chair and cannot be removed. Also, a lot of maintenance is required. The brakes also require regular adjustment, which may be cumbersome and time-consuming. Apart from this, there is not much maintenance required on the frame material, and it is completely free of any solvent or toxic chemical.
The new Karman 29 pounds wheelchair was specifically designed to provide maximum comfort to users. The ergonomic S-shape accommodates and suits the body’s natural curves and is not only beneficial for increased support but also to ease back pain.
This chair helps to relieve and release pressure from common body areas that are likely to be affected by prolonged sitting. With respect to time, this product can significantly reduce the risk of developing scoliosis and pressure ulcers. It is not wobbly but rather a comfortable wheelchair for your senior or loved one.
This Karman wheelchair features flip-back arms that are welded at the rear end of the seat frame. The flip-back arms offer users a smart solution to side sitting. This wheelchair allows the user to release a latch that quickly gets them out of the way. With this feature, your family member or loved one can easily get close to a table or desk. This support ensures convenient sliding transfer.
The seat height is adjustable and can be customized between 18 and 20 inches for your loved one to feel safe and cool. Unlike other models, this Karman model increases the comfort of the caregiver. The rims and high push bar ensure a sturdy grip on the push handle and make it easier to propel the wheelchair in any direction.
The wheels are angled correctly for easy rolling. Also, the footrests swing beneath the chair, not only towards the side, which makes it safer and easier when they need to be removed from the way.
The major advantage of this type of support is that the arms are within reach at all times, as they remain attached to the wheelchair. Moreover, the intelligent arm tube model improves movement and reduces the tendency to make forceful movements that might cause injury or bodily harm to the user. So many users who used this device claim that it is useful for preventing muscle tightness and tension.
This wheelchair was created specifically for overweight and heavier users in mind. A traditional wheelchair has a weight capacity of under 300 lbs, but this extra wide wheelchair comes with a 22-inch surface that holds up to 400 lbs.
To start with, it is foldable and convenient to use. It is easy to store, transport, and also move around for portability and travel. It comes with a lightweight aluminum frame that lets you lift and transfer it with ease. It features locking hand brakes that allow you or your loved ones to keep their hands on the wheels always.
This NOVA transport wheelchair can help reduce fatigue and they do not guarantee you more efficient stops, but also keep the wheelchair stabilized for your daily tasks. The footrests provide heel loops coupled with a non-skid plate that keeps the user’s feet in the proper position. The innovative design coupled with the powerful brakes makes this chair a reliable mobility device over bumpy slopes, surfaces, and terrains.
Over time, NOVA has built excellent customer service. They have a professional team that is quick and responsive to address any issue at all. Many users report that the manufacturer is quick to provide replacement parts. The downside of this chair is that the footrests do not lock and will fall off when the chair is lifted. The footrests hand only on a double pin and they have to be removed before storing the wheelchair.
If you are keen on purchasing this chair, bear in mind that it is more suitable for smooth surfaces and areas. It might be best to avoid using this product on uneven and rougher terrain such as cobblestones.
What Is A Manual Wheelchair?
A manual wheelchair is a type of wheelchair that the user can navigate and control on their own. In other words, the wheelchair user propels the drive and direction of the wheelchair with their own power. Manual wheelchairs are relatively lightweight; they are easy to fold and transport, which makes them common among wheelchair users.
They are three main types of manual wheelchairs: self-propelled, wheelbase, and attendant-propelled wheelchairs.
When placed side by side with an electric wheelchair, manual wheelchairs are the most affordable and cost-effective. Depending on the model and construction quality, manual wheelchairs can cost anywhere between a few hundred dollars up to a few thousand dollars. There are different types of manual chairs to choose from including light wheelchairs, sports wheelchairs, heavy-duty wheelchairs, and more.
What is the Difference Between a Manual Wheelchair and an Electric Wheelchair?
Just as we stated above, a manual wheelchair is a device that can be propelled forward by either you (the wheelchair user) or someone else who is pushing the chair. On the other hand, an electric wheelchair is propelled by batteries and a motor that pushes the chair for you.
Electric wheelchairs are more costly than self-propelled wheelchairs and are suitable for outdoor use. Features such as batteries, motors, joystick controls, and braking systems make them pricey. Also, maintenance of an electric wheelchair is more frequent than a standard wheelchair.
Different Types of Manual Wheelchairs?
When it comes to wheelchairs, there are various types that are suitable for every specific situation and user. There are varieties of wheelchairs that might fit the individual needs of your senior or loved ones, depending on their lifestyle, condition, tastes, and preferences.
The main types of manual wheelchairs out there include:
1. Standard wheelchairs
Standard wheelchairs remain the most common choice for people with limited mobility. These wheelchairs provide smooth gliding motion, and they are easy to use and adjust. They don’t provide any customization or have built-in adjustments.
People who are viewing mobility problems in the short term can get them because they are basic and simple for temporary use. Generally, standard wheelchairs are the most reliable and efficient option, but they are not the most convenient. Typically, they are constructed out of steel, they are cost-effective and are very simple to operate.
2. Transport wheelchairs
Transport wheelchairs also called companion wheelchairs, transport wheelchairs are more convenient and suitable to use during travel. However, they restrict the user’s independence because they require aid from a carer or caregiver. Generally, transport wheelchairs are built from aluminum, they feature swing-away footrests and small wheels to make sure the chair is compact, lightweight, and easily fits through doors and under tables.
3. Ergonomic wheelchairs
Ergonomic wheelchairs are specifically built to decompress pressure points, enhance posture and relieve back strain. These products are typically lightweight, and easy to store and transport. They are usually covered in an anti-bacterial fabric; they are very convenient and they remain the most comfortable of all models out there.
4. Lightweight/Ultra-lightweight wheelchairs
Lightweight wheelchairs are products that are very easy to fold and lift, without compromising support or durability. They are available in both large and small wheels and are the most appropriate for quick travel and transport.
Best Manual Wheelchairs (Buying Guide)
Are you overwhelmed with the choices of wheelchairs and you are unsure of which product to buy? If yes, this guide is specifically made to help you know the factors and variables to consider when purchasing a wheelchair.
Who Needs To Get a Manual Wheelchair?
Anyone who has trouble walking should consider getting a wheelchair to aid his or her mobility issues. Manual wheelchairs increase mobility and restore the freedom of those facing mobility challenges.
As the name goes, they are not propelled by any power source. Rather, they are powered and driven by the upper body strength of the wheelchair user or the caregiver who push the chair using its handles. Newer chairs are now more compact, sturdy, and lighter than the previous models so more people are able to use them without struggle.
People who do not have enough strength to self propel a manual wheelchair due to age or other health issues may need to consider getting electric wheelchairs to regain freedom and independence.
How heavy is the wheelchair?
The heavier the person in the manual wheelchair, the more burdensome it will be over the long haul to keep pushing yourself. In the same way, it will also be more difficult to pick up and store the wheelchair in a vehicle.
If you are a smaller person or an individual who will have trouble moving a heavy wheelchair on your own, then you may have to opt for a lighter model. There are several ultralight wheelchairs on the market that typically weigh anywhere from 15 lbs to 25 lbs.
What are the Things To Look For When Buying A Manual Wheelchair?
The primary things you should take note of before buying a wheelchair include the personal choice of your loved one, their physical ability, and medical needs. Other essential factors include the cost, size, and portability of the wheelchair in question.
There are numerous elements to consider, according to what is suitable for your loved one or relative. Some of these elements include their mobility level, posture, body weight and weight, skin condition, and cognitive ability, but also the armrest height and backrest height, leg rigging type, seat width, and depth.
Below are some questions that can help you identify what product would be the best fit for your family:
- What is the height and weight of your loved one?
- Will a caregiver be needed to push the chair? If so, what’s their strength level?
- What’s their level of mobility and how extensive is it?
- What period of time will you spend using the wheelchair?
- What feature is most important to you: comfort, durability, or convenience?
- Do you intend to use the wheelchair outdoors or during travel?
- How often do you plan on hauling or transporting the wheelchair?
In addition to what has been mentioned above, there are lots of other features to look for in a quality wheelchair. Some of them are indispensable for your loved ones while others may be compromised.
Factors To Consider When Purchasing A Manual Wheelchair
Manual wheelchairs are typically the least expensive wheelchair option, and they provide a high degree of independence for their users. However, there are many factors to consider when purchasing a manual wheelchair.
Below is an in-depth and detailed guide that looks into the important variables that are needed in quality and high-performing wheelchairs.
If you will be sitting in a wheelchair for lengthy and prolonged periods of time, you want to make sure you get as much comfort as possible. For increased comfort, look for armrests and seats that are padded. However, you can buy accessories for your chair to make it more comfortable.
Secondly, the wheelchair you plan to purchase should be one that appropriately fits your needs. If you intend to go out and catch fun with the aid of a wheelchair, it better be a safe, easy, and relaxed ride.
There are wheelchairs built for every body type from bariatric to pediatric. Back height, seat height, seat width, seat depth, armrest height, footrest height, and style are important variables in choosing the wheelchair that fits your needs.
3. Length of Use
Manual wheelchairs are typically perfect for short-term use such as rehabilitation. When you walk but need regular assistance, or when you need a caregiver to push you around when the need comes up.
4. Folding Chairs
Most people with mobility issues may need to get their wheelchairs into a vehicle from time to time. That said, those models that are foldable may be more appealing and interesting to you. If you do not have a large car or truck that can accommodate a larger wheelchair without it folding, then that chair may not be the best option for you.
5. Level of Support
High-back wheelchairs or wheelchairs that come with headrests and safety belts can be helpful especially if you don’t have good motor control or if you cannot support your upper body. A lightweight and ergonomic wheelchair can be a great option for your loved ones if they are going to be using it full-time.
6. Wheelchair Width
One of the popular complaints about sitting in a wheelchair is that the user doesn’t fit properly into the wheelchair. The information shared below will help you fit into any wheelchair of your choice.
> Wheelchair seat depth
Ensure that you have sufficient room for the seat depth. Also, you should be able to fit at least three (3) fingers horizontally from the individual’s back of his knees to the front edge of the seat. If you are able to do this, then you should have enough room.
> Wheelchair seat height
This can be measured by moving from the individual’s heel to the middle of the knee pit. From this point, you would optimally like to have a minimum of 2 inches to make sure the footrest stays at the right place from the floor.
> Wheelchair seat width
The commonest seat width is 18 inches. It is ideal to allow at least 2 inches especially if you are putting on winter clothes. This will provide enough room required to still fit into the chair. The seat width is also crucial for tighter doors, hallways, and other spaces that a wider wheelchair may not be able to fit. Narrow-style wheelchairs can easily navigate these areas easily.
Though there are many factors to consider when purchasing a manual wheelchair, most people typically focus on the frame and wheels. However, the components used to construct a wheelchair are actually the most important features to consider.
Individual needs usually vary, especially when the items used are of great importance, but you can still learn from this article which manual wheelchairs are the best for consumers.
In deciding which manual wheelchair is best for you, consider the type of support needed and the specific activities you are planning to do. Delve deeper in your research to find a wheelchair that offers the optimum delivery for each component of your needs.