Wheelchairs are the source of mobility for walking-impaired people. A wheelchair allows such people to live their lives to maximum capacity by providing the freedom to access all social settings and gain more independence in their daily life chores. A good wheelchair not only boosts mobility and confidence in the user but also helps improve the user’s overall health by reducing the pressure sores, increase in the disability, risks of injuries, etc. When looking for a wheelchair, it is important to keep in mind the needs of the user. Not all physically impaired people can use the same type of wheelchairs; it all depends on the level of impairment, age, size, social needs, etc. One other factor that you must keep in mind while looking for a wheelchair is the social availability of facilities to navigate a wheelchair through buildings, roads, etc.
There are several types of wheelchairs that you can search for by reading their user reviews to find out what suits your or your loved ones’ needs the best. The types vary according to the type of your mobility needs; for example, do you live in a sandy beach area or have to navigate through corporate buildings or busy markets? Imagine yourself as either a caregiver or a person who is physically impaired to understand the importance of a wheelchair in your life; you will need it to navigate through all your daily chores and for commuting from one place to another without depending too much on others. Now look at the wheelchair options available and see how you can find the best one that will cater to all your needs in one product.
Although there are a huge number of people with varying degrees of physical impairments who need assistance in mobility to some extent every day, there are very few people who actually get access to wheelchairs and similar healthcare facilities to not let their handicap hinder their daily life. According to research, there are more than 65 million people who need wheelchairs but only 20 million of those actually have access to proper healthcare facilities. If you notice, these wheelchairs are mostly quite pricy if they are offering excellent features that can help you live a somewhat normal life. A wheelchair is not a medical luxury but a necessity for physically impaired people.
If you are in need of assistance in choosing the best wheelchair for your needs, here is a list of some products that may be useful:
Porto Mobility Ranger D09S
The Porto Mobility Ranger D09S is an automatic electric wheelchair with dual suspension, which allows for smooth navigation through any type of terrain. It also has a dual motor of 250 W each, with a manual override system to help the caregiver assist the user if need be. It has a small turning radius of only 33 cm, which allows you to navigate through tight spaces. This product checks all the boxes for a perfect wheelchair that will help you to gain mobility and independence. With a weight limit of 350 lbs. and 19-inch seat width, this wheelchair is the best for everyday use. It is easy to fold and place in medium-sized cars. It weighs 52 lbs. without the battery, so it depends on your capacity to carry and maneuver it when not in use. This, however, is a one-of-its-kind wheelchair when it comes to comfort, lightweight, sturdiness, and strength. It has an adjustable travel speed of 5 mph and can travel up to 16 miles in one go. It is super efficient with an electromagnetic brake system and a 360-degree navigational joystick. Online user reviews rate it as being the best based on its value for money, battery life, and maneuverability.
- Easy to use in small spaces
- Longer battery life
- Double motor power
- Longer distance covered
- Quite heavy to carry around when folded
- Not suitable if you’re 6 ft. tall or more
If you buy the Forza FXC wheelchair, you will not need to look for anything else for your mobility needs. This is easy to fold and to maneuver with its super sturdy frame and efficient brake system, along with the powerful dual batteries. With a 20-mile driving range and a 15-degree slope gradient, this is a very safe mobility choice no matter where you need to go. It comes with a customized joystick for both right and left-handed users and has a weight limit of 360 lbs., which makes it usable for a wide range of body types. It includes not only options to fold and carry on the go to easily fit into your car trunk but also allows you carriage options like a travel bag, battery bag, cup holder, and storage bags. It has super-absorbent shocks to facilitate any kind of travel needs you may have. Its unique ergonomic design makes it perfect for the kind of freedom you need to enjoy your life to the fullest without any fear of slipping or toppling over. Its stylish outlook and comfortable features are your dream choice to make your journey through life as comfortable as possible.
- Very easy to use
- Stable on every kind of terrain
- Long battery life
- Suitable for all body types
- Very high price
- Not suitable for tight places or turns
The Innuovo Intelligent electric lightweight wheelchair offers premium safety and comfort. It lets you choose a customized seat height and width according to your body’s size, weight, and impairment needs to give you maximum comfort. It offers an anti-leaning rear design to keep you safe at all times no matter how rough the terrain is. This wheelchair gives you the freedom to move anywhere with a small turning radius – the seat-belt and anti-tipper, along with an adjustable armrest position, helps keep you comfortable. It uses one battery at a time and contains a second battery for backup use as it can travel up to 6.25 miles with a single battery and up to 12.5 miles with both batteries. With a climbing angle of 6-8 degrees max, it offers very stable maneuverability. It can speed up to 3.7 mph and has a braking distance of 40 inches on a level surface. This wheelchair includes a 360-degree joystick, a solid and stable front, and rear wheels to give you maximum agility and reliability. If you choose this easily foldable and lightweight wheelchair, it will help you live your life just the way you want.
- Good braking system
- Easily portable
- Shorter battery life
- The motor isn’t too powerful
Electric Wheelchairs Verdict
If you look at the details mentioned above, you will see that each of these wheelchairs offers great features and smooth mobility; however, the Forza FCX offers the best features amongst the three wheelchairs mentioned above. Although both Forza FCX and Porto Mobility Ranger D09S have dual motors and dual batteries, there is a large difference between their prices, with Forza FCX being more expensive. Also, Forza FCX can travel up to 20 miles in one go and Do9S runs for 16 miles on dual batteries. The Forza FCX can navigate through a 15-degree slope gradient and Do9S can navigate at a 25-degree slope. In comparison to these two, the Innuovo Intelligent is even cheaper; it operates on one battery but it comes with a spare battery to run for about 12.5 miles.
Out of these three electric wheelchairs, we would recommend the Forza FCX. Even though it’s expensive, it will give you maximum comfort and that alone will make the investment worth it.
Self-Propelled Manual Wheelchairs
Karman Ergonomic Wheelchair
If you are looking for a manual super lightweight wheelchair for your everyday needs, the Karman Ergonomic Wheelchair is an excellent choice. Weighing only 19.8 lbs., this wheelchair is your perfect companion if you wish to travel or simply stroll through your local park. Its ergonomic design helps you get the maximum comfort and maneuverability while putting the least amount of pressure on the caretaker’s back. It is very safe to carry and travel with due to its lightweight frame. It comes with different seat width options (16” x 17” and 18” x 17”) and can hold up to 220 lbs. of weight. Since it comes with wheel locks and hand brakes, it allows you to commute across all kinds of surfaces. Its removable footrest and anti-bacterial upholstery ensure that you can keep the wheelchair clean at all times. This wheelchair’s small size makes it portable and easy to travel with.
- Super lightweight
- Easy to store
- Too expensive for some people
- Lesser weight limit
Medline MDS806900 Excel
The Medline MDS806900 Excel wheelchair has a carbon steel frame with rust-resistant chrome plating, which makes it super sturdy and strong. Its adjustable seat and footrests make it very easy to use without having to carry around tools to manage its settings. It offers a wide range of seat width adjustments and has a maximum limit of 33 inches, which makes it suitable for heavy-bodied users. Although it is quite heavy compared to other wheelchairs of a similar kind, it is best to be used in one place for regular use and offers great reliability and comfort for the users. This is the most common type of wheelchair that you will find in hospitals and community service settings because of its durability and easy to clean upholstery. Also, this wheelchair offers not only mobility but its brakes let you go down a steep incline with ease.
- Sturdy and well made
- Good for long term use
- Adjustable foot lengths
- Not very smooth
- Braking system isn’t great
Drive Medical Cruiser III
Weighing 41 pounds with a weight capacity of 350 lbs., the Drive Medical Cruiser III is a very good choice for a medium-weight wheelchair for heavy-bodied people. It has push-to-lock brakes, which are an added safety feature along with its sturdy tires, and that makes it the best choice for long walks while also providing you with independence in mobility with safety and comfort. It is a very comfortable wheelchair for everyday use and has several width settings for different body types. With this wheelchair, you can easily navigate around the city and live your daily life independently. Its detachable armrests and easily elevating footrests make it easy to fold and store in small spaces. The tires have precision fitted wheel bearings, which make them very smooth and sturdy.
- Higher weigh capacity
- Cheaper price
- Adjustable seat depth
- Varying seat widths
- Not very durable
- Brakes aren’t good
Self-Propelled Manual Wheelchairs Verdict
When it comes to manual wheelchairs, it is always a good idea to choose the most lightweight wheelchair as it will make it easier for you to fold and carry it with you. Karman’s Ergonomic Wheelchair is one of the best options available for self-navigating manual wheelchairs. It is not only the most lightweight in comparison to the other available options, but it is also quite cost-effective if you look at its features.
The Drive Medical Cruiser III is also a good option but it is on the heavier side. The Medline MDS806900 Excel is an excellent choice for people with heavy-duty wheelchair needs. It is mostly used in hospitals and places where several different people use it for mobility purposes. One of the major deciding factors in manual wheelchairs is their ability to navigate through small spaces. The Karman Ergonomic Wheelchair is the best choice if you need to use your wheelchair in small places; however, it has a much smaller weight limit so if you are looking for a bigger weight limit, your choice should definitely be the Medline MDS806900 Excel.
Assisted Manual Wheelchairs
Elite Care ECTR01
The Elite Care ECTR01 is a very affordable lightweight wheelchair that offers you mobility with style. It is easily foldable and can be carried and stored in your car trunk for all your daily commute purposes. It has solid puncture-proof tires and attendant handbrakes. This is a very useful product from the caretaker’s point of view as it is very easy to maneuver in all situations without putting too much pressure on your back. If you are a caretaker, this is your dream choice for a very affordable and easily portable wheelchair.
- Easy to fold
- Has puncture-proof tyres
- Bigger rear wheels allow for easier maneuverability
- Not as sturdy as other wheelchairs
- Foot pedals are too high for elderly people
NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair
With a weight capacity of 300 lbs., the NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair comes with a seatbelt and is a very safe wheelchair option for heavy-bodied users. It is very lightweight, easy to fold and store in your home or your car. It has very efficient handbrakes and solid study tires to help you easily navigate through all sorts of terrains. Its padded upholstery ensures comfort for the user and its 27 lbs. weight makes it very easy for the caretaker to carry around while navigating the patient. Its handbrakes are a very well-liked feature along with its probability and lightweight; these features make it a very good choice for everyday use for a wide weight range of patients.
- Higher weight capacity of 300 lbs.
- Easily portable
- Easy to use footrests
- Efficient braking system
- Poor quality construction
- Not suitable for long-term use
ProBasics Aluminium Transport Wheelchair
The ProBasics Aluminium Transport Wheelchair is one of the best options to buy if you need to travel with your wheelchair and cover different terrains. This chair is super lightweight and sturdy due to its aluminum frame. It can carry up to 250 lbs. of weight and is very easy to clean with its nylon upholstery. It has user-engaged press-to-lock foot brakes; this makes it easy for the caretaker to navigate the wheelchair across any type of surface. Considering the price it is offered in, this wheelchair offers reliability and long-term good quality mobility with its salient features.
- Works easily on different terrains
- Smooth mobility
- Cheap compared to other options
- Not easy to carry
- Lesser weight capacity
Medline Lightweight Transport Wheelchair
The Medline Lightweight Transport Wheelchair is the lightest wheelchair you will find, along with being sturdy and budget-friendly. Its lightweight makes it easy for you to travel with it. It offers great comfort and navigational ease with its foldable footrests, lower armrests, a cup holder, and back pockets for the caregiver. This is a very durable chair considering it weighs only 15 lbs. and can carry up to 300 lbs. of weight.
- Super lightweight
- Easy to navigate
- Not efficient on all terrains
- Bad welding
Assisted Manual Wheelchairs Verdict
Amongst the wide range of assisted manual wheelchairs, the Medline Lightweight Transport Wheelchair tops the list. The difference between a wheelchair and a transport chair depends on the size of their back tires. Considering that assisted manual wheelchairs depend more on the caregiver than the patient, it is a good idea to consider the factors from the caregivers’ point of view.
Navigating a wheelchair for longer distances can put a physical strain on the caregiver; therefore, the tyres must ensure that the wheelchair is easy to travel with. The NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair is a very good choice for heavy-bodied people as it offers more weight capacity. The ProBasics Aluminium Transport Wheelchairs offer an excellent press-to-lock feature that makes it very easy for the caretaker to navigate the wheelchair.
From the list of assisted manual wheelchairs, the Elite Care ECTR01, and the Medline Lightweight Transport Wheelchair are the most favored choices considering how lightweight they are and their greater weight capacity.
A wheelchair offers a great chance of navigation for physically impaired people. There is a wide range of products that you can choose from, according to your comfort and particular physical, economic, and social needs. However, here are some things you need to keep in mind when searching for a wheelchair that fits all your needs:
- First, you must keep in mind that your wheelchair should be foldable and must have easily removable tyres, armrests, and footsteps so you can adjust its settings accordingly from time to time. The folding ability is a major factor, as a wheelchair needs to be taken wherever the user goes. Adjustable parts also ensure that the settings of the wheelchair are according to the users’ own physical needs and size; this also helps reduce the space the wheelchair occupies while storing at home or in a car.
- A wheelchair must come in either a completely assembled form when you purchase it or it should require the least amount of work for the assembly process; this will let the user utilize the wheelchair without any added hassle and ensures a complete check on the company’s part for ensuring that everything is in place.
- Since the wheelchair needs to be folded, carried, and stowed manually by the caregiver, you should look for a wheelchair that is lightweight to ensure lesser pressure on your back while handling it. Also, if it is lightweight, it is more likely to occupy less space and therefore can be easily transported if you need to travel with it.
- When you need a wheelchair to navigate, you are most likely to spend a lot of time in it; thus, your wheelchair should be able to support your body weight especially if you’re on the heavier side. Therefore, you must look for a wheelchair that offers a wider range of weight limits and offers varied sizes of seats so it can accommodate you comfortably.
- Keep in mind that the upholstery needs to be kept clean and needs to be comfortable enough in design and material so that your body does not suffer any damage that can aggravate your problems, like pressure sores, etc.
- Tires are the most important part of the wheelchair, after the seat. When looking for a wheelchair, make sure you buy the one with the most sturdy and least damage-prone tires to ensure the durability of your wheelchair. The size of the tires ensures a smooth navigation experience and their material helps in commuting on different surfaces. Hence, a wheelchair that offers the best tires should be your priority.
- Brakes are just as essential as the tires because they help keep you safe while you operate your wheelchair on any kind of terrain. There are different options for a wheelchair with brakes available, be they on the tires on the handles; this helps the patient as well as the caretaker to navigate the wheelchair more smoothly.
- The size of the seat is a very important thing to consider along with the size of the wheelchair itself. It will help you determine beforehand whether you can use your wheelchair in certain buildings or through all door frames. When a big wheelchair size needs to be navigated in a small space, it becomes a major problem for the user as well as the caretaker.
- Leg rests and armrests keep you comfortable while you navigate in your wheelchair; therefore, their removability along with their elevation size, and their placement and upholstery – all play a major role in determining your comfort level.
- Price is a major factor in determining whether your investment is worth it or not in the end. Once you see a wheelchair and research its reviews and are sure that the one you are looking for falls within your budget range, you should complete the purchase. If you feel that you can compromise any of the features depending on your needs, then you may also find similar products at much lesser prices. In the end, it is always a good idea to invest in a wheelchair that offers the maximum of all the good features at a market competitive rate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to purchasing a wheelchair:
- What is the most suitable braking system in a wheelchair?
If you have a manual wheelchair, then it is a good idea to have push-to-lock brakes as it makes it easier for the user to navigate the brakes themselves. However, if you have an automatic wheelchair, then it is better if you purchase a wheelchair that has pressure brakes, as they are more manageable and are operated with the help of a joystick
- What is the standard seat size in a wheelchair?
In general, most of the wheelchairs come with a 19-inch seat but there are also adjustable seat settings available for users that wish to customize their seats. You can ask for a particular size in the given size range so the wheelchair suits your body type.
- I have received a damaged part of the wheelchair, what should I do about it?
Reach out to the customer support service as soon as you receive damaged goods; this will ensure their compliance and will help you get either a refund or your product replaced.
- The brakes have failed on my wheelchair, what do I do now?
If your wheelchair’s brakes have failed, you can either contact customer support to help you get that part replaced or you can look online for cheaper options for spare parts.
- How much distance does a wheelchair cover with fully charged batteries?
For most battery-operated wheelchairs, you can travel up to 11-12 miles with dual batteries; however, it depends on the brand or model of the wheelchair.
If you are physically impaired on any level and require a wheelchair for your daily navigational needs, you must research well and invest accordingly because it will ensure an independent, comfortable, and practical lifestyle for you. While looking for the kind of wheelchair that will best suit your needs, you will come across several different options that may seem lucrative for you. However, do not buy a wheelchair by just looking at its features because you will not always get what is being offered on the website. It is always a good idea to go through the reviews people have posted online so that you know whether the features you are looking for suit your needs or not. Also, before buying a wheelchair online, always make sure you can get to the customer support service so you can seek help if what you receive is not what you were looking for.
Did you ever think about how much a small wheelchair feature can affect the patients’ or the caretakers’ life? You will come across several stories where people talk about their wheelchair use experience and notice that even a small thing like an adjustable footrest or the tire quality can affect the user’s daily life. Once you understand the importance of each feature and how it adds to the overall performance of a wheelchair, you will be able to choose better for yourself or for your loved ones.
The best wheelchair is the one that will cater to all your needs without putting a dent in your pocket or on your back. The simplest way to find exactly what you are looking for is to make a list of things you are looking for and then doing a quick survey of the products and their online reviews; even then, if a problem comes up, customer service is your friend.
We are confident that any of the above-mentioned wheelchairs will work great for you; however, we would recommend only buying a wheelchair that perfectly suits your needs. The final decision rests on you.