Home / Wheelchair Guide
This guide is intended to help explain the features and factors to consider when buying a wheelchair. There are many different types of wheelchairs available nowadays, some of which are designed for users who have complex requirements and who need to spend significant periods of time in the chair. Below, you will find a detailed but not exhaustive list of factors and features to keep in mind. Please remember that this guide is not intended to replace this specialist help.
Manual wheelchairs are usually most suitable for people who:
- Require a wheelchair all or most of the time (indoors and/or outdoors)
- Those with limited walking mobility – perhaps they can walk with a walking stick or frame – but are unable to cope with longer distances, so have to use a manual wheelchair when out and about.
Manual wheelchair users will need adequate strength and movement in the arms to use a self-propelled wheelchair. Self-propelled wheelchairs have larger back wheels, each has with a ‘pushrim’ that you turn to control and propel the chair yourself. If you aren’t able to manage this, you would be more suited to an attendant-propelled wheelchair, designed to be pushed from behind by another person.
Think about the overall weight of the wheelchair.
The weight of the wheelchair is obviously important if you are intending to transport it by car and it can also effect how difficult the wheelchair is to push by an attendant. The lighter the frame the easier it will be to lift and therefore to put in to the car. It will also be easier to push the occupant as there will be less weight and the chair will be more manoeuvrable.
Featured Product: ProBasics High Performance Lightweight Wheelchair
The ProBasics High Performance Lightweight Wheelchair features swingaway footrests or elevating legrests and comes equipped with flip-back, desk length arms to make transfers in and out of the wheelchair easier. Also, anti-tip devices for added safety, composite footplates and handrims for durability, and a dual axle for easy conversion to hemi height.
|16" - 20"
|Front Wheel Size
|Rear Wheel Size
|Warranty on Frame
|Five Year Limited
|Warranty on Wearable Parts
|One Year Limited
Electric or Powered Wheelchairs
For those who want total independence but struggle to propel themselves, then we would recommend you consider a powerchair. These move entirely via electricity and are controlled by a control pad or joystick on the armrest of the chair. The popularity of the powerchair is down to its outdoor adaptability. Thicker wheels, powerful motors and advanced built-in technology means that travelling distances, up and down kerbs and over a variety of terrains, is less of a challenge and more of a smooth, stable and enjoyable journey.
There is a wide variety of models available, best divided into three categories:
Indoor/portable: for use at home, or in places with smooth, even flooring such as shopping centres or garden centres. Usually easy to fold for fitting in the boot of a car.
Outdoor: If you will be using it outdoors a lot of the time, you will need to consider kerbs. Larger rear wheels will make it easier to navigate up and down kerbs than smaller wheels because the drop will not be so great and the ride will feel smoother and more stable.
Indoor/outdoor: designed to offer the best of both worlds. These types of wheelchairs offer a good balance of features.
You may hear electric or powered wheelchairs be described as either Class 2, meaning they can be used outside on pavements, or Class 3, for use on roads and pavements. All are generally a lot heavier than manual wheelchairs because their frame must be stronger in order to support the battery and motors.
Featured Product: Invacare Pronto M94 Heavy Duty Powerchair
The Pronto M94 from Invacare is a strong, innovative power chair. Featuring patent-pending Stability Lock technology, this model remains steady over even the toughest terrain. Despite its rugged construction, however, the M94 is agile and compact enough for comfortable indoor use. This exciting chair also features SureStep technology, which allows the user to effortlessly negotiate thresholds and transitions of up to two inches high.
|18" - 24"
|16" - 22"
|Front Wheel Size
|Mid Wheel Size
|Rear Wheel Size
|Max Climbing Angle
|Warranty on Frame
|Five Year Limited
|Warranty on Motor
|18 Months Limited
|Warranty on Batteries
|Three Months Limited
Other Factors to Consider:
Batteries and storage
Batteries are charged by mains electricity, so the wheelchair should generally be stored next to a socket for charging overnight. Some of the larger outdoor-type wheelchairs may need to be stored outside the home – in a garage, for example.
Featured Product: UB-22NF GEL Sealed Lead Acid Gel
All of Universal's state-of-the-art lead-acid battery are valve-regulated (sometimes called "sealed" or maintenance-free), which fixes the acid electrolyte in a gel or in an absorptive fiberglass mat. The advantage of this design is that the battery needs no water additions, can be operated in any position, and can be used in close proximity to people and sensitive equipment.
|One-Year Limited Warranty
Shop now: http://medsupplynow.com/wheelchairs-and-scooters/wheelchair-accessories/ub-22nf-gel-sealed-lead-acid-gel.html
If you have steps up to your house, office or have small changes of level inside the building, portable ramps are essential. They are available in various materials, widths and lengths, depending on your needs, so do your research before buying.
Featured product: PVI Solid Ramp
The Solid ramp is an excellent choice when a more permanent ramp is desired. No assembly required. Its one-piece design makes it ideal for wheelchairs and scooters with three or four wheels. This ramp is constructed of aluminium and has a slip resistant surface. The PVI solid ramp is available in three lengths and two widths. Custom widths are also available.
|Product Weight 15 lbs
|3' - 5'
|One Year Limited
Shop now: http://medsupplynow.com/wheelchairs-and-scooters/wheelchair-accessories/pvi-solid-ramp.html
Customisation, adjustments and accessories
Wheelchair manufacturers tend to be more flexible than mobility scooter makers when it comes to customising their products. Some of the things you can often choose or adjust include: Seats: often available in different lengths and widths, or a firmer seat can be custom built. Support or cushioning can be added to give more postural support.
Featured Product: Hemi Height Wheelchairs - Most hemi wheelchairs are built on a dual axle, which allows for adjustments from standard height to hemi height. The lower hemi height, which is generally two to three inches, allows the seated user to easily propel their wheelchair with their feet. Lower height also allows for a better fit for users under 5'2" tall.
E.G Freelander Low Seat, 16", Wheelchair
The Freelander Low Seat Wheelchair from Keen Mobility features the same great features as the original Freelander, but with a lower seat to floor height that is perfect for shorter users or those that prefer to foot propel their wheelchair.
Some of the Freelander's great features include breathable nylon upholstery, adjustable flip-back armrests, an adjustable seat-to-floor height, quick-release wheels, wheel locks, adjustable anti-tippers, adjustable backrest height and much more.
- Desk-length adjustable height flip-back non-removable armrests
- Lightweight 28 lb. frame
- Nylon upholstery is breathable and water resistant
- Non-peeling, non-tearing armrests prevent skin tears and minimize infection
- High impact composite foot plates
- Wheel locks
- Rear anti-tippers come standard
- Quick-release wheels, Dual axel for adjustable seat height
- Adjustable 16" - 21" height backrest
- Easily folds for storage or transport
- Highly visible blue wheel locks
- .5" Tilt from front of seat to back helps prevent falls
- Free Shipping
Bags and baskets designed to fix onto wheelchairs or scooters. These are available in various styles, either fixing by straps or hanging from the back of the chair or to the side.
Wheelchair bags come in handy when you are grocery shopping, or just need to transport larger items.
Featured Item: EZ-Access Wheelchair Pack Carry-On Bag
This weatherproof pack features large privacy compartments. Spacious main compartment has zippered closure. Also features deep side pockets which are perfect for holding beverages, newspaper, or magazine. Buckled straps fasten over the seat and loop handles slip over wheelchair canes for quick and easy attachment.
Carrying handle included for using as a portable tote.
- Carry handle lets you use bag as tote
- Large zippered compartment
- Two Mesh pockets on each side
- One Mesh pocket on the back
- Buckled straps
- Made in the U.S.
- Attaching straps
- Carrying handle
Sitting in a wheelchair for long periods may leave the user prone to pressure sores and postural discomfort. A wheelchair cushion can greatly reduce this risk and many types are available.
Where will the wheelchair be stored?
Most wheelchairs fold upwards by pulling up on the seat. This operates a scissor action folding mechanism, pulling the wheels together. Dependent on the specific type of wheelchair, a range of parts may also be detachable such as the footrest, arms and wheels. Typically, the footrests have a quick release lever for easy removal. It may also be possible to fold down the back to half the normal height. Once all of these parts are removed, the wheelchair can normally be stored quite easily.
Overall, when purchasing a wheelchair, there are key factors to consider. Making sure that the wheelchair is the optimal size, weight, and that it has the correct specifications are vital in ensuring the wheelchair is right for you. Should you need assistance in purchasing a wheelchair from our website, please do not hesitate to get in contact with a member of the team. We will be more than happy to help.