It’s estimated that 1% of the population within developed countries requires a wheelchair. That’s roughly 10,000,000 people!
Wheelchairs are a necessity for many people, but it can be hard to find the right one. From the different sizes to the options, to the accessories — it can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what to look for.
If you are buying a wheelchair, or are looking to upgrade, there’s no need to spend hours researching on your own when we’ve done all the work for you!
Here are five things you should know before you buy a wheelchair.
1. Types of Wheelchairs
First of all, you should understand the types of wheelchairs available to you. There are three types of wheelchairs — manual, power, and transport. Here’s a little more about each type.
Users propel manual wheelchairs by using their arms and hands. They come in a range of sizes and styles and are the most affordable option. They are the preferred choice for people who have good upper body strength and can self-propel.
The benefits of a manual wheelchair include:
- Greater independence and freedom
- Low maintenance
Power wheelchairs are electric and propelled by a motor. They come in a range of sizes and styles and are typically more expensive than manual wheelchairs. They are the preferred choice for people who have limited arm or hand strength, or who need assistance getting around.
The benefits of a power wheelchair include:
- Powerful and lightweight
- Greater speed, going up to 5mph
- Increased comfort and adjustability
You can easily start your search for power wheelchairs with an online search of, “electric wheelchairs near me.”
Transport wheelchairs are small and lightweight and you can fold them up for easy transport. They are typically used by people who only need to use a wheelchair short-term or occasionally.
The benefits of a transport wheelchair include:
- Ability to fold up for easy storage and transportation
- Lighter and collapsible
- Greater affordability while still offering quality
2. Types of Wheelchair Seats
Next, you’ll want to understand the seat types and make sure that you choose one that fits your needs. There are two types of wheelchair seats — standard and reclining.
Standard Wheelchair Seats
Standard wheelchair seats are the most common type and are supportive and comfortable. They have a variety of adjustments that can fit the user’s needs, such as height, depth, and angle.
The benefits of a standard wheelchair seat include:
- Full range of adjustments to suit the user’s needs
- Easy to clean and maintain
Reclining Wheelchair Seats
Reclining wheelchair seats are typically used by people who have reduced mobility, such as those with medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis. The seat has a reclining backrest that allows the user to recline and rest.
The benefits of a reclining wheelchair seat include:
- Ability to recline and rest
- Increased comfort
3. Wheelchair Accessories
There are a variety of wheelchair accessories available that can make using a wheelchair easier and more comfortable. Here are some of the most common accessories:
Wheelchair bags are a great way to carry personal belongings with you when you’re using your wheelchair. They come in a range of sizes and styles and can attach to the wheelchair or be carried separately.
The benefits of a wheelchair bag include:
- Convenience – no need to carry belongings in your hands or a separate bag
- Increased storage space
- Attractive and stylish designs
Wheelchair cushions provide comfort and support for the user. They come in a range of sizes, shapes, and materials, and can attach to the wheelchair or be used as a separate cushion.
The benefits of a wheelchair cushion include:
- Comfort and support
- Ability to attach to other accessories, such as carry bags or leg rests
4. Mobility Aids for Daily Lifestyle
There are a variety of everyday aids available that can help increase your independence when using your wheelchair. Think about these when browsing for a chair. Here are some examples.
Wheelchair Carry Bag
A wheelchair carry bag is similar to a wheelchair bag but is for caregivers or family members, rather than the user. These bags are typically larger and sturdier than other types of carrying bags. Some come with adjustable straps so you can wear them across your body when walking, while others have handles for easy carrying.
The benefits of a wheelchair carry bag include:
- Convenience for caregivers and family members
- Increased storage space
- Sturdy design
A wheelchair ramp is a great way to make getting in and out of your wheelchair easier. They come in a variety of sizes, materials, and styles, and can attach to the wheelchair or be used as a separate ramp.
The benefits of a wheelchair ramp include:
- Convenience – no need to climb into the wheelchair
- Increased independence for people with reduced mobility
- Greater safety and security
Wheelchair gloves reduce the risk of pressure sores developing on your hands when you’re using your wheelchair. You can find them in a variety of materials, and typically have a grip on the palm side to make gripping objects easier.
The benefits of wheelchair gloves/mittens include:
- Reduces risk of pressure sores developing
- Increased independence – able to hold onto objects with ease
- Comfortless need for heavy clothing to keep you warm
5. How Much Do Wheelchairs Cost?
This is probably the toughest one to list, mainly because everyone has a unique set of needs for their chair.
Wheelchair cost varies widely depending on the type, size, features, and brand. Some wheelchairs are relatively inexpensive because they don’t have many features or are smaller in size, but larger or more advanced types can be very expensive.
When shopping for a wheelchair, it’s important to consider how much you’re willing to spend and what features are most important to you. Speak to your doctor or healthcare professional for advice on the best type of wheelchairs for your needs and budget.
Start Your Search to Buy a Wheelchair Today
Start with these 5 tips and you’ll be on your way to finding the perfect wheelchair for your needs. Remember to consult with your doctor or healthcare professional to get specific advice on the best type for you.
And when you buy a wheelchair don’t forget to consider accessories, such as wheelchair bags, cushions, and ramps, that can make using a wheelchair easier and more comfortable. Best of luck with your search!
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