Transport wheelchairs can be a great option for many people who are faced with disabilities. Transport wheelchairs are typically compact, foldable, and lightweight, which makes them portable and easy to take from one place to another. Asides from being built for portability, they are meant to be used for just a short period.
They are great for occasions such as daily errands, shopping trips, vacations, days out, or seeing a doctor. Due to their lightweight nature, they can be easily folded and placed in your trunk when you are ready to take off. A transport wheelchair can be beneficial for you if you are having limited mobility or struggling to walk long distances.
When you purchase a transport wheelchair, it is imperative to get a model that is the best fit for you. In other words, find a model that offers whatever features you need: be it maneuverability, design, or comfort. With an overwhelming number of transport wheelchairs available for purchase, shopping for the right model can be difficult.
Don’t worry, we’ll help you narrow down your search. We have used our years of experience and expertise to make this detailed review of the best transport wheelchairs.
Best Transport Wheelchair Compared
Overall Best Transport Wheelchair
The Invacare Tracer EX2 Transport Wheelchair has everything you need and is ready to go. Durable, attractive, and built for lots of comforts, the Tracer EX2 has a padded back with ergonomic lumbar support and ample padding on the arms and seat. The Tracer EX2 delivers outstanding performance and convenience, making it the ideal solution for people of all ages who need to transport themselves with ease in a wheelchair that offers the latest in active user features.
Best Durable Transport Wheelchair
Drive Medical Blue Streak Ultra-Lightweight Wheelchair is a great option for those who need a durable stroll chair with the most functionality and comfort. This transport wheelchair is fashioned with an aluminum lightweight frame and an easy-to-clean vinyl upholstered seating system that makes it ideal for everyday use. It comes in a variety of stylish colors and is offered with a one-year warranty.
Best Budget Transport Wheelchair
The Invacare Tracer EX2 Wheelchair for Adults is comfortable, lightweight, and easy to use. It features a wider seat base, as well as a wider armrest and backrest area. The extra-wide padded armrests are 6 inches wide and extend halfway down the side rails for complete forearm support. This best affordable transport wheelchair comes in 5 attractive colors and is durable enough to withstand long travel and everyday use.
Best Transport Wheelchair For Travel
Healva Transport Wheelchair is the overall best transport chair for travel. It is designed in such a way that it can be disassembled easily and quickly, comes with brakes, and is perfect for aircraft and car travel. The manufacturers have gone out of their way to ensure that their wheelchairs are highly functional, fashionable, and above all, suited to the individual needs of each user.
Best Lightweight Transport Wheelchair
The Medline Transport Wheelchair is designed with all-day comfort in mind. The lightweight frame and the reclining, spacious design of this wheelchair make it easy for patients to be transported from one place to another. When you need lightweight, and quality wheelchairs on a budget, this wheelchair has a ton of features that can help you live comfortably even with a disability.
Best All-Terrain Transport Wheelchair
Strongback Mobility Transport Wheelchairs can be used indoors and outdoors. It is designed to assist those with impaired mobility who want the freedom to explore. This wheelchair has a lightweight design and features a larger seating area making it suitable for use in most public places. The folding handle and optional carrying strap allow it to be easily transferred from transport to storage and back again. And unlike most wheelchairs, this model has a supportive backrest that provides lumbar support so your spine remains healthy during extended sessions of traveling.
Best Transport Wheelchair For Kids & Adults
The Drive Medical K318DFA-ELR Cruiser III Transport Wheelchair is the best in class, even among power wheelchairs. With the patent-pending Flip Back Detachable Full Arms feature, you can draw the arms of the wheelchair completely behind the seat to maximize the maneuverability of your hands on the wheels while you push. This wheelchair is great for airports, train stations, and other public places because it folds quickly and easily with just one hand.
Best Easy To Use Transport Wheelchair
The Invacare 9000SL Durable Light Weight Wheelchair gives you comfort and durability in one chair. The strong aluminum frame with its added strength is a top seller. This chair will serve you well over time because of its durable construction. The Invacare 9000 SL wheelchair is an excellent choice for individuals who are new to manual wheelchairs. Easy-to-use features and reliable design make it the best full-size wheelchair for most users.
Best Compact Transport Wheelchair
Healthline Wheelchair Transport Aluminum Chair/Stair Lift Wheelchair is designed to be easily carried and it folds quickly and compactly, which makes it easy to fit into passenger vehicles, commuter and school buses, trains, and aircraft. The chair comes with a foldable with flip back arms which enables riders to load their wheelchair directly into the back of a car or trunk quietly and without hassle.
Best Transport Wheelchair For Tall People
The Beyour Walker is a quality, maneuverable wheelchair designed for taller individuals. It has a strong lightweight aluminum frame and an adjustable leg system that is designed for additional height; it also features a comfortable and supportive seat. It is the ideal mobility vehicle for anyone who is looking for a wheelchair that will give them maximum performance and comfort.
What Is A Transport Wheelchair?
A transport wheelchair is designed for short trips and outings such as seeing a doctor, visiting the mall, and other short excursions. Unlike a standard wheelchair, the transport models are made with four smaller wheels that more control for the caregiver or the person pushing the wheelchair.
Due to the small size of the wheels, this type of wheelchair is always pushed by someone, who is not the user. Transport wheelchairs also called travel or transfer wheelchairs, are typically lightweight, compact, and easy to transport. It remains the best choice for people who need the help of a carer or an attendant to assist them on outings. Transport wheelchairs are best suited for people who are looking for temporal mobility aids or those who are unable to use manual wheelchairs.
What’s The Difference Between Transport Wheelchairs And Regular Wheelchairs?
Regular wheelchairs come with large wheels that allow the occupant to self-propel them while transport wheelchairs are designed with smaller rear wheels that require an attendant to push them from behind.
Transport wheelchairs are not made for independent use; they remain an ideal option for people who lack the ability or power to operate a standard wheelchair. However, if you can still push yourself without the help of a caregiver or family member, getting a transport wheelchair can be a great investment.
Transport wheelchairs are great for people who love to travel or move out but have limited mobility. It is easier to get this type of wheelchair into a boat, train, plane, or bus. They are ideal for those on the go. However, they offer lesser features than a regular wheelchair.
Can Transport Wheelchairs Fit Through Bathroom Doors?
Obviously, transport wheelchairs can move through various passageways and doors that standard wheelchairs can’t.
How Useful Are Handbrakes On A Transport Wheelchair?
The handbrakes can be found on the handlebars of the wheelchair and they are operated by the caregiver. The benefit of handbrakes is that they increase the safety of the wheelchair user, especially if the person is overweight or on the heavy side.
Is A Transport Wheelchair Right For Me?
Choosing a transport wheelchair depends on various factors, including your mobility, condition, upper body strength, and the level of assistance you need. If you are used to navigating tight spaces, or you get tired easily when walking or you travel often, it might benefit you to get a transport wheelchair. Those who lack the strength to drive themselves and looking for wheelchairs on a budget should consider getting a transport wheelchair.
How Much Do Transport Wheelchairs Weigh?
The weight of a transport wheelchair varies by model, material, and manufacturer. Typically, transport wheelchairs weigh between 15 to 30 pounds on average.
What Is The Lightest Transport Wheelchair?
The lightest transport wheelchair on the market is the Featherweight Ultralight Transport Chair, which weighs just 15 pounds.
Will Medicare Pay For A Transport Wheelchair?
Medicare will pay 80% of the cost of the transport chair under ‘Medicare Part B’ as durable medical equipment (DME) only if your doctor prescribes it for home use. Nonetheless, Medicare only covers transport wheelchairs for specific medical issues. Therefore, visit your primary physician to know if you are a potential candidate.
Are Transport Chairs HAS or FSA Eligible?
Most transport wheelchairs are eligible for HAS or FAS.
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Overall Best Transport Wheelchairs Reviewed
Transport wheelchairs are designed with small wheels, which your hands cannot get to from the seat. They are meant to be propelled by a caregiver or an attendant. Also, they come with handles and sometimes brakes fixed to the rear for your caregiver to control, which makes them the perfect solution for shorter trips and excursions.
They are generally compact and lighter than other types of wheelchairs. Also, they are less versatile as smaller wheels cannot navigate bumpy terrains and outdoor surfaces easily. However, there are more affordable than a standard wheelchair, which tells why they are popular among users.
If you need a transport wheelchair, it is in your best interest to always choose the best wheelchair. If you’ve been wondering what the best wheelchair is, look no further. Below we’ve reviewed some of the top transport wheelchairs on the market today so that you can make a more informed decision when making your purchase.
1. NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair
Overall, the NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair is the best transport wheelchair on the market at the moment. This chair comes is equipped with several features. One of such features is the companion brakes that allow the caregiver to slow and stop the chair from behind.
It comes with anti-tippers for added safety and it allows you to fully lock the wheels. With this chair, you can secure your loved ones or yourself with the seatbelt across your hips.
This lightweight transport wheelchair has an adjustable seatbelt and it has flip-back arms that let you easily get in and out or sit normally at an office desk or dining table. This chair is incredibly compact, lightweight, and foldable. It is easy to store, so you can store it while using your regular chair.
This NOVA Lightweight Chair is of high quality but the only downside is the price. Although it is pricey, it’s worth every penny. This chair is built with wheels that can easily maneuver any terrain but may not be too comfortable for long journeys due to the seat’s angle. Nonetheless, that’s the standard for most transport chairs – they are designed for short trips.
This chair has an excellent build quality and is designed for anyone looking for a safe, versatile, and lightweight transport chair.
2. Medline Ultralight Transport Wheelchair
If you are looking for the best lightweight transport wheelchair, the Medline Ultralight Transport Wheelchair could be the right choice for you. This chair weighs less than 15 lbs (6.8kg), which makes it incredibly lightweight and portable. Being one of the lightest wheelchairs on the market, it is an ideal option for traveling, outings, shopping, vacation, hospital visits, and more.
If you are looking for portability, you wouldn’t go wrong with this wheelchair. The simple folding design allows you to fold it down for maximum portability and storage purposes. Also, it features stow-n-go-clips, which help to lock the footrests to the sides to prevent tripping over the leg rests. This helps to fold the chair flat and makes it easy to store the chair when not in use.
It can support up to 300 lbs (136.1kg) and is available in a variety of colors. It boasts an intelligent armrest design that you will not find in other wheelchairs. The armrests of this chair sit lower than other models; the ‘restaurant-style’ armrests allow users to sit normally at a dining desk or table without leaving the wheelchair. It also has additional features such as a cup holder and a rear-facing storage pouch.
Furthermore, the Medline Ultralight wheelchair features a sleek design alongside a top-quality aluminum frame and a padded nylon upholstery for more comfort. The 8-inch wheels allow the caregiver to maneuver and propel the chair in forward and reverse mode. The seatbelt also adds an extra layer of security. Both the user and the caregiver can travel without being weighed down.
This wheelchair is better suited for smooth surfaces such as tiles, concrete, or floorboards. Some users report that this chair doesn’t maneuver easily on uneven terrains and outdoor surfaces.
This chair doesn’t have companion brakes; therefore, your caregiver will be very careful when pushing you down slopes. Any individual who is looking for a portable, well-designed, and user-friendly transport wheelchair should invest in this Medline chair.
3. Drive Medical Fly Lite Ultra Lightweight Transport Wheelchair
Drive Medical is one of the biggest names in the wheelchair market. So, it is no surprise to have their product on the list of the best transport wheelchairs. This transport chair is one of the most affordable options on the market, meaning that it is a great choice for anyone on a budget. Other features of this chair may interest you.
It features a sturdy frame coupled with a 300-pound weight capacity. Although it is not a bariatric wheelchair, it could be a great option for those who need a chair more heavy-duty than the standard ones. It handles obstacles and bumps with ease and can maneuver any surface – including carpets and hardwood floors seamlessly.
Drive Medical’s Fly Lite Ultra Transport wheelchair is very lightweight. It weighs just 16.5 lbs and can be folded down into a compact shape. This durable lightweight chair comes with a deluxe back release, which lets you fold it in a compact shape for easy storage and transportation.
You can as well put the chair in the backseat of your vehicle, put it inside a wheelchair bag to take it on a travel trip or vacation, or store it inside your closet. The lightweight design allows you to fold, carry and lift the wheelchair without straining your back muscles.
The Drive Medical lightweight transport wheelchair includes other accessories such as swing-away footrests, a seat belt for safety, and removable armrests that enable you to sit normally at a table or desk.
The swing-away footrests are adjustable for more comfort and can be easily removed without any tools. Without a doubt, these add-ons will make you more comfortable in several situations, and will best fit your needs.
Moving forward, it has a comfortable seat that can reduce pains and aches while traveling and carry pockets at the back for storing vital items. The 8-inch wide rear wheels of this chair provide extra stability across any terrain, whereas the rear brakes lock the chair in position. However, some users claim that the brakes require too much force and can be difficult to lock.
Even though this transport wheelchair from Drive Medical is lightweight and budget-friendly, we noticed that it lacks some crucial features. It lacks companion brakes, which makes it dangerous to use on rough terrains and bumpy surfaces. Still, it remains a perfect transport wheelchair for indoor and outdoor use. It is useful in transferring patients from vehicle to beds and vice versa.
Features To Consider When Buying A Transport Wheelchair?
If you’ve never bought a transport wheelchair before, selecting one that is right for you can feel overwhelming. There are so many models and designs to choose from, and all of them claim to be the best wheelchairs.
The good news is that you’re in the right place. In this guide, I’m going to provide information on how to select the right wheelchair for your needs, as well as show the features of 5 of the top transport wheelchairs available today.
If you are going to be shopping for a transport wheelchair, comfort, maneuverability, and safety are some of the features to have in mind. So, let us talk about these features.
1. Easy to Maneuver
The best transport wheelchairs offer a high level of maneuverability; they should be easy to maneuver on different terrains and surfaces or designed to maneuver tight spaces. This would allow anyone to fit through narrow doorways.
Additionally, transport wheelchairs should have excellent traction on tarred roads, sand, and grass. The small wheels on travel wheelchairs are designed to swivel. The design of the chair enables them to quickly change direction and easily maneuver narrow openings, twisting hallways, and crowded spaces.
Transport wheelchairs are not built for long-term use; so, a lot of improvement is needed when it comes to comfort. Examine the overall design of the chair, including the backrest, seat, armrests, and footrests. Consider getting a transport wheelchair with a lot of padding or a seat foam cushion to avoid discomfort.
If you will be sitting for long periods, you may need to get a chair with some cushion. Armrests come in varieties of styles like rounded, flared, or flat and they come with or without padding. Get a style that would provide you with the best comfort. Also, you may want the footrests to be adjustable.
A lightweight transport wheelchair should not only be light enough to lift and carry but also be durable enough not to dismantle when anyone uses them. Find wheelchairs that are built from high-quality aluminum steel and have an average weight of 18 to 25 pounds. Such chairs will be easy to propel around and won’t fall apart on the first bumpy ride.
Transport wheelchairs are typically foldable, which allows for easy storage and transportation. Generally, a small wheelchair will be easier to move than a large one. Ensure that your chair folds and unfolds quickly and doesn’t require any tool to assemble or disassemble. The weight and ease with which the chair can be folded up or down greatly affect the level of convenience it offers users.
Transport wheelchairs weigh below 30 pounds, which makes them perfect for travel or for taking anywhere you go – whether it is for a vacation, doctor’s appointment, or visit to the hospital. Most of them have seats that are designed with flexible materials that can fit in the trunk of your car.
Seatbelts, anti-trippers, loops, and brakes are some of the built-in features you would want in a transport wheelchair – especially if you or the user lacks upper body strength. Pertinently, sufficient braking power is vital to prevent rolling on uneven surfaces.
Transport wheelchairs have different braking systems. Some are designed with brakes on the rear wheels that the user can access. On the other hand, some chairs come with brakes on the handlebars, like the ones on bicycles, which the caregiver or the pushing the chair can use. The handbrakes provide an extra level of safety on bumpy roads and inclines.
Furthermore, they allow you to lock the chair yourself and dictate the speed of the chair. Some wheelchairs come with both handbrakes and rear brakes. Make sure you consider your needs carefully on which braking system is safest for you.
How To Choose the Right Transport Wheelchair?
On average, you can get a good transport wheelchair for around $300 or $350. Certainly, this is affordable and is a considerable amount seeing that you want to invest in the right equipment for your mobility needs.
After you must have decided to buy a transport wheelchair, there are a few factors we would like you to consider in finding the right equipment for your needs. To avoid any costly mistakes, consider the following factors:
1. Wheel Size
Travel wheelchairs have smaller wheels than manual wheelchairs, however, their wheel sizes may vary. Consider how often you will be using your chair outdoors or on uneven surfaces. If you will be using the chair regularly or fairly often on uneven terrains, a chair with larger 12” wheels will be great for you to use. Large wheels allow the wheelchair to roll across rougher paths and surfaces without destabilizing or shaking you around.
After consideration, if you think you will be using the wheelchair indoors or on level outdoor surfaces, a chair with smaller 8” wheels will be fine.
Transport wheelchairs are built with smaller tires, however, these tires provide better maneuverability, especially in confined spaces and crowded areas due to the chair’s turning radius. While these chairs are designed for indoor use and short trips, they can be relied upon for outdoor journeys. If you plan to use your wheelchair for outdoor trips regularly, you should find a model that comes with larger steering tires.
Larger tires allow the wheelchair to roll over outdoor terrain safely and they also help to cushion or absorb any jolts or shocks that could arise when moving over bumpy surfaces.
Pneumatic tire gives the occupant a softer rider but flat-free tires are designed never to go flat. You must consider the type of tire your wheelchair is built with. This can save you the headache of unexpected wheelchair maintenance.
3. Braking System
Every transport wheelchair model is equipped with foot-locking brakes on the rear wheels, which are set by the carer. Transport chairs with companion brakes are deemed the safest option on the market because they let the caregiver stop the chair when rolling without having to exert physical effort. Apart from that, they reduce body strain and minimize the possibility of accidents.
4. Folding Design
Most travel wheelchairs on the market can fold, but you should confirm this before purchasing. Even if you don’t plan to travel with the chair, it is a great idea to use a foldable transport chair so that it can be stored when not in use. If you are the kind of user that is always on the go, you may want to check out how easily the chair folds. Other great options are chairs that can quickly be disassembled or chairs that can be folded into a bag.
Due to their lightness and foldable design, transport wheelchairs are incredibly portable. Transport wheelchair usually comes with a half-folding backrest coupled with swing-away or removable footrests that ensures the chair is folded quickly and effortlessly.
Some chairs will fold down compactly and can easily be stored out of the way or in the trunk of the car. This makes them suitable for vacations, travel, days out, hospital visits, and shopping trips.
Most transport wheelchairs make use of basic canvas seats instead of padded seats. This is done to ensure they remain as lightweight as possible. These seats are usually designed from either vinyl or nylon upholstery. Vinyl is waterproof and can easily be wiped clean, which makes it an ideal option for incontinent sufferers. Whereas nylon upholstery is a breathable material and can decrease excessive sweating, thereby allowing the user to remain comfortable and cooler for prolonged periods.
Although transport wheelchairs are not designed for heavy-duty use, there are periods when the user may occupy the wheelchair for several hours. In times like this, it can be helpful to get a wheelchair cushion that provides extra comfort and pressure relief.
Also, you would want to make sure the seat is correctly suited and sized for the occupant to provide optimum pressure distribution. A seat that is too narrow may make the user uncomfortable and it could increase the chance of developing pressure sores. Seat depth can range anywhere from 16” to 18”, while seat widths can range from 16” to 22”. Ensure that the chair offers seat padding and provides the correct dimensions for your body.
7. Seat Belt
Seatbelts are built in a transport wheelchair to increase the stability and safety of the wheelchair occupant. This device can prevent the user from falling out of the wheelchair and it lessens the risks of possible injuries.
Seatbelts are recommended for those who suffer from poor postural stability, or people who stand a high risk of slipping forwards or falling out of the wheelchair. Some transport wheelchairs come with safety aids like seat belts, while for others, they may be purchased separately.
8. Seat Size
The seat size is another factor to keep in mind when buying a transport wheelchair. The sizes of wheelchair seats vary, so here’s what you need to do to find the best size.
First of all, measure the width of your backside when sitting on a flat surface area. Add one or two more inches to this measurement to make sure you find comfortable seating. Doing this will give you a good idea of the seat width and size to get.
After that, measure the narrowest path that you will be using while occupying the wheelchair. You would want the overall width of the chair to be two inches, or at least an inch less than this measurement. With this, you can easily and safely maneuver through the passageway.
Transport wheelchairs typically come in three different sizes namely:
- Narrow (16” to 17” wide seat and are for users under 120 pounds).
- Medium (18” to 21” wide seat and are for users between 120 and 300 pounds).
- Wide (22” and above and are for users weighing above 300 pounds).
You must find the right seat size because you will want a comfortable chair that provides the support you need and easily maneuver through pathways.
9. Build Quality and Materials
Transport chairs are typically constructed using either aluminum or steel. Steel is an inexpensive option in the market and it can hold more weight than aluminum. Therefore, steel is an excellent choice for bariatric users or anyone buying on a budget. The downside is that steel is heavier than aluminum and it may be difficult to take it along with you for travels.
So, if you have been looking for a transport chair that is easy to transport and maneuver, then aluminum is the best option for you. However, chairs made with aluminum can be more expensive than the steel models and they have a lower weight capacity.
10. Armrests and Legrests
Choosing the right armrests and footrests will not only give you an extra layer of comfort but will also ensure safer and easier transfers. There are different styles of armrests including desk-length, full-length, and adjustable ones.
Desk-length armrests are shorter and they make it easier for the wheelchair to be placed closer to a desk or table. Full-length armrests on the other hand provide extra arm support; they left the wheelchair occupant to relax their arms comfortably for longer periods. They also help the user with extra leverage when standing or sitting, and this helps to reduce the risk of falls.
Armrests are often fixed, but some are height adjustable. The height-adjustable armrests are preferable because they can be adjusted for more comfort. Padded armrests also provide increased comfort and they aid in reducing the chances of sore forearms and pressure sores. Flip-back and detachable armrests enable quicker lateral transfers into and out of the chair.
Footrests, on the other hand, are of two types: swing-away footrests and elevating leg rest. Since transport wheelchairs are created for short excursions, most chairs are built with swing-away footrests.
These footrests rotate and allow you to get into and out of the chair with ease. While sitting on the chair, this chair allows you to position your legs in one position with your knees comfortably bent. Elevating footrests allow your legs to be positioned at the most comfortable angle. With the elevating footrests, you can relax your legs in an elevated position.
Another thing to consider is the type of foot support the wheelchair provides. Footrests safely keep the feet of the wheelchair occupant off the ground while they are propelled by their caregiver. Adjustable footrests are recommended for users because they help to maximum comfort and safety, and they can be adjusted to fit the user’s needs and preferences.
Usually, transport wheelchairs come with swing-away or detachable footrests that can be moved out of the patient’s away for stowage or transfers. They keep the patient’s feet from dragging when being propelled and they are often deployed for comfort.
11. Weight Capacity
Transport wheelchairs have the maximum weight they can hold. To be on the safe side, ensure that your transport chair can support your weight. The weight capacity of your chair will vary depending on the chair size. Most narrow chairs provide support for people weighing 120 pounds or under. The medium transport chairs can support a maximum weight capacity of between 120 to 300 lbs. For heavier users, there are heavy-duty transport wheelchairs that can support users weighing 300 to 500 pounds.
For your safety, it is a good idea to check the weight capacity of your chair before buying. Also, check if your preferred chair can provide support for your fully clothed body, and additional items you might carry along.
12. Overall Weight
Although most transport wheelchairs are considered to be lightweight, the exact weight of the chair varies from chair to chair. Standard transport wheelchairs weigh around 20 pounds. However, some ultra-lightweight chairs weigh as light as 15 pounds, and chairs with additional features can weigh up to 35 pounds or more.
Since transport chairs are a portable alternative to standard wheelchairs, you need to purchase a product that you or your companion can easily lift and carry when needed. Since transport wheelchairs are built to be propelled by a caregiver or someone other than the wheelchair user, it is crucial to take note of the wheelchair weight.
The lighter the transport chair, the easier it will be to push with someone in it, and the easier it becomes to lift the chair into the trunk of a car for storage or transport. The heavier the chair, the more force, and physical effort are required by the caregiver.
If you are searching for a wheelchair that is easy to maneuver, then consider choosing a chair with an aluminum frame over a steel frame. The aluminum frame chairs are generally lighter and they can help reduce the strain on your back and shoulders.