Manual chairs require more upper body strength but are lighter weight and more affordable than electric chairs. They can be operated by the individual in the chair or pushed by the assistance of someone else. Wheel chairs can be used when walking long distances is a problem or for everyday use. I’m sure you’ll agree that a wheel chair must have be the correct weight for how you will be using it, meet the user’s needs with features, and be easy to push. That was our top criteria for selecting the best wheel chair. If you want to cut to the chase, the Drive Sport is a combination of all these features and was selected the “Best Overall” pick from our editorial team.
Wheel Chair Buying Guide
Things to Consider
Wheel Chairs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and features that allow you to customize your ride based on your needs. Buying a wheel chair whetheris an important purchase. It must be easy to get around. Comfortable to sit in and light enough to transport as needed. A proper fit will improve the comfort of the rider and therefore is an important decision. A few questions to consider before buying a chair include:
How Often Will You Use the Wheel Chair? When a chair is used frequently the comfort of the seat is of utmost importance. The ability to add pockets and other items will increase the comfort. If the intend use of your new wheel chair is daily versus occasionally there are certainly some differences, you’ll want to address. For everyday use you’ll want to find a wheel chair with material that’s easier to clean and to more durable materials. Higher quality wheels and a good braking system. Little things like a foot rest can improve the comfort of the rider when used regularly.
What Weight Capacity Do You Need?Not all chairs have the same weight capacity. Children need smaller chairs that have seats built for smaller frames. Older children and adults need higher weight capacity while still being lightweight enough to carry.
Will the chair be pushed or self operated? When the rider uses the chair they must have large back wheels to propel themselves for maneuvering. The front wheels are generally very small and agile for taking corners and turns. When the rider is always pushed you can opt for a lighter weight chair with smaller wheels.
Where will your wheel chair be used?If the chair is moved in different locations or for travel and places you would walk, it will need to be lightweight and compact so you can easily get it in and out of a car. The location of use will also impact the quality of the tires, wheels, as well as the frame.
How compact do you need it to be?Dimensions are critically important when it comes to wheel chairs. The size determines how easy it is to move and where it will fit. Larger chairs may require adjustments to the home like wider doors. Review spaces that it may need to navigate through and ensure that it will fit and comfortably. The seat also needs to be large enough to comfortably fit the rider. Measuring door frames, hallways, vehicle clearance, and other locations it will be used will help you get a chair that will safely and comfortably navigate wherever you may need.
Features to Consider
Valuable features that can be included in a wheel chair include the following.
Hand Breaks Hand breaks are easily accessible levers that apply enough pressure to stop the wheel chair wheels from rolling. These brakes are also a great feature when parking your wheel chair as well as entering and exiting so it does not roll or slip away.
Foot Rests Foot rests are usually small plastic pallets that rest in front of the chair where you can rest your feet as you ride, or are driven around. You want feet reststhat can be flipped to the side to get out of your way as you enter and exit.
Padded Arm Rests Almost every wheel chair has arm rests located on both sides to provide support to rest your arms. When the rider must sit for long periods of time the level of padding can make a big difference on the comfort level of the rider. Little details like extra padding can feel luxurious for those who spend long periods of time in the wheel chair.
Chair weight. Most chairs must be moved from place to place. You want to be able to lift the chair. Being able to put a chair in a truck or back of a car and then get it out again can cause a strain when they are heavy.
Nylon upholstery is very light weight which reduces the overall chair weight. It is also a comfortable material that is easy to clean and very durable.
Frame Material. Aluminum frames are lighter weight than steel frames. Powered coating can change the color of the chair and prevents rust enabling the material to last longer.
Movable arms allow you to have more room when sitting for long period of time. They also allow you to place a tray over the chair so you can work or move up to a desk or table with ease.
Wheel chairs give a person more freedom and mobility and can transport a person conveniently from place to place. They can significantly improve the quality of life for those who are unable to transport themselves. Wheel chairs can be lightweight and portable allowing this with mobility challenges to enjoy life more fully.