Empowering Personal Mobility
There have been tremendous advancements in the technology used in the manufacture, design and production of wheelchairs over the last decade. Models are now being developed and that can traverse off-road trails, climb stairs and turn tight corners, while at the same time being lighter and much more maneuverable than earlier generations.
- Designers have created new slimmer, stronger models, using new materials and folding processes to create much more user-friendly models, or changing the orientation of components to slim down the overall profile without compromising on performance.
- The new models are lighter and sturdier, with models built with light weight metals like titanium and aluminum, or carbon fiber and hybrid plastics to be lean and light but durable.
- There is new innovation due to technical breakthroughs in software, batteries, sensors and lower-cost hardware manufacturing
As technology moves forward there really is an absolutely monumental amount of potential to create outstanding products in this area.
Every disabled or mobility-impaired individual, who uses a wheelchair to be mobile, is different, thus selecting a model that will be right for them is not a simple task.
You have to spend some time researching models that have all the features and aspects that will meet the prevailing needs of the user, plus it should also be adaptable when it comes to change, should the user’s needs and preferences shift in the years to come.
The situation may also call for others to select a wheelchair that will prove to be a good fit for their relative, family or loved one. They certainly feel they have the duty to make the right decision.
If this is the case, you can make the whole procedure of searching for the best wheelchair easier by keeping their needs and preferences in mind at each stage of the search, and engaging them in the search in every way during the decision-making process.
Wheelchairs are grouped into two categories: the manual, and the powered or motorized. Manual wheelchairs are those that are operated by the rider or user; thus, the user has to have ample upper body strength if they want to work the wheelchair by themselves.
But there are also lightweight options being sold on the market, and this makes moving from place to place easier for the rider. Prior to purchasing a manual wheelchair, make sure that you or the patient tests the item first.
The manual kind can be used in conditions in which a companion or attendant is available to move the wheelchair, such as taking care of senior citizens or handicapped individuals. If you are going to be the companion for a family member or a loved one, go with them to the store or showroom so that you can also test out the wheelchair.
Powered or motorized wheelchairs, on the other hand, are also normally known as electric wheelchairs. This kind of chair provides the rider with the versatility of moving from one point to another with powered controls, rather than making use of their strength to move the wheelchair around.
The powered kind is deemed by experts as more suitable for individuals with reduced mobility or patients who limited in the strength of their upper body. Employing a powered model also provides individuals the self-assurance to become independent, since they will be capable of moving about without assistance or physical effort.
As soon as you have made a decision which group of wheelchair would be suitable for you or a family member, you have to identify the precise model that will meet their requirements or preferences in the best ways possible.
As mentioned earlier, the lightweight wheelchair may just be the item you need, or it can be an adjustable model which will assist you more when it comes to mobility. Weight constraints, ease of usage, the seat size, and additional support should also be taken into account.
Temporary and long-term use wheelchairs
Some chairs are only required to be used temporarily. People who suffered a fractured leg, have undergone surgery, or any comparable short-term illness might be advised to make use of a wheelchair for a number of weeks based on the degree of the injury or condition.
If the need for using a wheelchair is only temporary, the patient might be able to lease one or borrow a wheelchair rather than buy a new unit.
Other customers might have a more long-term condition, and this kind of situation often calls for the patient to employ a chair for an extended period of time. The buyer has to invest in a model with high-quality construction that is capable of enduring wear and tear for a longer time.
The materials that the chair is made of, and the way it was designed and manufactured, should be excellent and sound.
Wheelchairs for outdoor use
In case the user wants to employ their chair out of doors, they will need a chair with additional features. Powered or motorized wheelchairs are ideal for outdoor conditions because it will not obligate users to move them throughout walkways and inclines.
These chairs will spend an ample amount of time traversing over rough surfaces, like parking lots and walkways, the tires should have great quality and must be durable.
Regular vs. specialized
For a number of users, the common wheelchair will decently do the job. Others might need a particular type of wheelchair though, more likely a model with extra features, distinctive controls, and supplementary supports that are made for their specific condition.
Specialized wheelchairs, on the other hand, requires an all-inclusive discussion with a healthcare professional, like an occupational therapist, who can help patients when it comes to selecting and buying the best wheelchair for their condition.
There are users or riders who might be capable of walking by themselves with the help of support, but they might also lack the capability to accomplish extended walks in the park or mall. For these people, the folding kind might be more ideal for them.
Senior citizens and other individuals, who may not be capable of joining their families or loved ones for a walk in the mall or market can make the most out of these beneficial, compact wheelchairs. Due to their portable and lightweight design, collapsible/folding wheelchairs typically lack several of the distinctive features that standard wheelchairs have.
Primary considerations for wheelchairs
Wheelchairs are made to be the steady companion of the rider or user who needs it in order to move throughout different places in their houses or out of doors. They need it in order to go to work, school, the market or other places of interest or need.
These chairs are stiff in general, which means transporting them from one location to another engages a great deal of physical effort and specialized devices. If consumers are buying a long-term use wheelchair, they must be ready to invest in durability, maneuverability and comfort.
The rider who plans on using the wheelchair out of doors frequently or aims to use the chair for participating in lively activities like playing tennis or basketball, and will require a model that is stronger and more durable than standard wheelchairs.
Chairs meant for sports are more ideal for the active rider. Many of these wheelchairs have titanium frames, or other key titanium aspects, to guarantee a lightweight, yet sturdy mobility unit.
There are riders who might be constrained by their ailment, handicap or preferences, opting to remain within a restricted location in the house. Others employ a wheelchair for activities that a normal walking person could do like working, shopping, fitness routines, everyday errands, and chores at home.
The rate of maneuverability that an individual requires will be based on their lifestyle and the limits imposed by their conditions. But is it recommended to select a chair with plenty of maneuverability and features that patients understand.
Being seated in the wheelchair all day can be a rather uncomfortable task if the seat is not cushioned and shaped in an appropriate manner. In case the wheelchair is too rigid or creates tension or pressure in unsuitable areas, it can lead to chafing, sores, and poor posture.
This makes the chair a device that the user will avoid rather than a beneficial unit meant to provide mobility. As consumers look for the best wheelchair, they must guarantee that the back, seat, and armrests of the wheelchair have enough padding, and are fixed in place correctly.
Here is a list of five ideal wheelchairs that you might want to check out. Read and examine the models on the list and get a better idea of what is available on the market, and how it stacks up compared to similar models.
Medline Transport Wheelchair with Brakes
Transport wheelchairs make your loved ones and their companions free to move from one location to another without being a burden.
Measured against common wheelchairs, the transport chair needs a companion or caregiver to move the chair around. It is lighter than a standard wheelchair, and it more compact, which makes lifting and storing the chair easier.
This model from Medline has loop-lock handbrakes that can be worked easily, and for transfers, it is recommended for locking the rear wheels. It also includes a seat belt, is compact enough to make folding and assembly easy, and also includes nylon upholstery, armrests and removable footrests.
- Has bigger rear wheels for improved performance on bumpy outdoor surfaces.
- Has handbrakes on top
- Has aluminum frame with powder finish
- Has lightweight, hardwearing frame
- Includes a seat belt for added safety
- Has full-length permanent armrest
- Includes removable footrests
- Can accommodate up to 300 lbs.
- Light at 22 pounds
- Perfect for travel
- Includes seat belt, removable footrests, and permanent armrests
- Includes loop-style handbrakes
- Has comfortable nylon upholstery
- Easy to assemble
- Needs to be pushed by another individual
- Has weak brake adjustment
Drive Medical BLS18FBD-ELR Blue Streak Wheelchair
The Blue Streak Wheelchair from Drive Medical offers high-quality mobility that features a well-thought out structure and materials. It meets the expectations and needs of a wider variety of users who are into independent mobility and comfort.
The item features a strong blue frame with powder coat finish, a black cross bar and durable nylon upholstery that is stylish, yet easy to clean and maintain. It has tires that are made from firm rubber material, and which provide extreme durability too.
It does not require much maintenance, and it comes with convenient and workable push-button lock brakes with elevating leg rests. This is indeed something that you have to check out if you are into freedom and comfort.
- Has blue powder finish and black cross brace
- Has flip-back and padded desk length arm
- Includes durable nylon upholstery
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Has solid rubber tires on composite wheels
- Has push-to-lock wheel locks
- Has calf strap
- Accommodates up to 250 lbs. of weight
- Weighs 41.25 lbs.
- Back of chair height is 16 inches
- Has folded measurements of 42″ x 12.5″ x 36″
- Convenient push button lock brakes
- Easily folds and unfolds
- Simple and easy to maneuver
- Has top notch turning radius
- Includes handy Allen wrench
- Includes extra pocket at the back
- Heavy at 40 pounds
- Short handlebars
Drive Medical’s Fly Lite Ultra-Lightweight Transport Wheelchair
On the lookout for an affordable transport wheelchair that is light enough yet can take plenty of weight? Look no further, for Drive Medical’s Fly Lite Ultra-Lightweight Transport Wheelchair is something that will cater to the needs and comfort of people with a mobility handicap.
It is durable, made with prime aluminum material, is easy to clean and maintain and it also includes a handy carry pocket located at the back so users can carry their everyday needed items along with them.
The unit also includes a seat belt for added safety, and has swing-away footrests that are height-adjustable. The excellent back release allows easier folding of the back, thus making the chair a cinch to carry and store.
- Has lightweight and durable blue frame
- Includes carry pocket
- Includes seat belt
- Has stylish plaid nylon upholstery
- Has height adjustable footrests
- Has 8-inch casters at the back and 6” casters in front
- Has foldable back
- Includes aluminum rear wheel locks
- Has handy cup holder
- Can accommodate up to 300 lbs.
- Has total weight of 24 lbs.
- Lightweight at under 20 pounds
- Includes foldable backrests
- Has seat belt for maximum safety
- Has height-adjustable footrests
- Compact, quick and simple to travel with and store
- Made from high-quality aluminum
- Some customers said brakes were difficult to work on
- Locking can be difficult
- One customer said the back tires were not sturdy
MedMobile Self Transport Folding Wheelchair
The manual wheelchair is the kind of unit that an incapacitated individual needs so they can move and become mobile once again, without the help of a motor or a companion.
You can select from a self-propelled model, which obligates the rider to move the chair forward by means of their limbs. To choose the proper wheelchair, it is required that you do your research first then decide which model, features, and price point suits you or the patient best.
You can choose a model that features bigger rear wheels, which are typically self-propelled models like this MedMobile Self-Transport Folding Wheelchair. The model has a seat width of 19” and a depth of 16”. It also includes front casters, removable footrests and armrests, and is capable taking in up to 250 pounds of weight.
- Includes elevating and removable footrests
- Includes removable desk armrest
- Includes 8” front casters and expanded 24” rear wheel with soft-grip tires
- Has total measurements of 36” H x 27” W x 30” D
- Has seat-to-floor height of 19”
- Has 18” x 16” black nylon upholstered seat
- Has total weight of 49 lbs.
- Accommodates up to 250 lbs. of weight
- Includes lifetime frame warranty and 1 year on all parts
- Solid flat-free tires
- Excellent design and construction
- Adjustable seat height
- Can roll and turn smoothly
- Easy folding and opening
- Lightweight enough for travel
- Includes lifetime warranty for frame and 1 year for parts
Has noticeably strong rubber scent that lasts for weeks which can put off customers
Giantex 24-inch Lightweight Folding Wheelchair
Folding wheelchairs like this one from Giantex, the 24” lightweight model, presents more flexibility compared to standard stiff chairs. The model has an edge when riders move towards moderately uneven ground as the folding frame of the chair will flex and bend depending on the ground surface.
Folding chairs offer plenty of benefits too—they can be collapsed, folded and stored without taking away components, and it helps users save space. The flexibility that it imparts allows for better stability when traversing rougher ground.
Folding models also feature swing-away leg rests, this Giantex model being an example. It is an excellent space saver and will hugely benefit users who are strapped for space since it can be folded down and stored in tight spaces.
- Designed and manufactured from PVC and steel materials
- Front wheel has a diameter of 8” while back wheel is 24”
- Has a folding size of 42” x 16” x 34”
- Has a seat size of 19.6” x 16.1”
- Backrest has a size of 19.6” x 17.7”
- Recommended for moderate normal wear out of doors on solid surfaces
- Has stylish chrome-looking spoke wheels
- Affordable and lightweight
- Easy to manage and maintain
- Can be folded for transporting
- Comes assembled
- Includes swing-away footrests
- Arms are not adjustable
- Does not include holes for spring-loaded wheelie bar
- Requires a cushion like majority of wheelchairs
- Several customers complained of loose screws and bolts
Discovering the best wheelchair can take time, and consumers who want to rent or borrow wheelchairs should not forget to test them out as well as they would a store-bought wheelchairs. They should carefully examine the rented chairs and determine their choice features.
Consumers should also make the most out of knowledgeable advice coming from therapists, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. Be patient and carefully consider each and every model you are interested in, and it will lead you to a great wheelchair.