Determining the seat width for a wheelchair

Seat Width Popularity

What is the seat width of a wheelchair?

The wheelchair seat width is usually the measurement of the seat upholstery between the arm rests. An 18″ wheelchair refers to the width if the seat upholstery being 18″ wide.  Look on each of our product pages by scrolling all the way down to see open width, closed width.  Inside seat width and also outside overall width.  A large amount of the typical sized width would be an 18″ seat width.  However, some people would often like to have supportive cushions or pillow or simply just extra room on each side as they would in selecting any type of desk chair or office chair as well.  

What is the importance of seat width?

Depending on the amount of time you are expecting to sit in the wheelchair on a daily or regular basis, this might be one of the most singular important decisions.  See the video below.  It is important to have the proper seat width because it adds to both comfort and function. It is even more important for those who spend extended periods in their wheelchairs. For those who only use it on short errands or just to go shopping, wheelchair width is of less importance. If the width is too narrow, the arms of the chair will put pressure on the hips and thighs, which could lead to pressure sores. If it is too wide, the user will have a hard time pushing the wheelchair using the hand rims. It also reduces the wheelchair maneuverability in tight spaces.

Typical wheelchair seat widths:

Standard wheelchairs widths are 16″ (narrow adult), 18″ (average adult) and 20″ (wide adult). For children and small adult sizes as small as 8” are available. Adults with wider body frames can get seats from 28” and wider. The increments for wheelchairs are usually 2” but you can get custom sizes in 1” increments and odd numbered sized widths.  Check our our most popular wheelchair at an 18 inch seat width; the LT-980 at 13 lbs* weight, as shown in the below picture in burgundy color.  It’s really almost a merlot red which shines nicely in the sun.  

How to determine the proper wheelchair seat width:

Initially the approach for figuring out the correct seat widths was to add 2” to the widest point of the user in a seated position, usually the hips. The idea was to provide for enough room for the user when using a winter coat. Nowadays wheelchair users don’t spend long periods outdoors in winter weather so they don’t really use long coats, therefore not much added seat width is required. To properly determine the correct width, have the user sit on a solid surface and measure their widest part, be it hips or thighs. When that measurement has been determined, figuring out the final width of the wheelchair, a few things will have to be considered: The wheelchair removable arms are installed on the outside of the seat frame; therefore, the chair width can be pretty much the same as the user. Fixed arms are sometimes mounted above the side edges of the seat and would require an extra inch or two be added to the width. Keep in mind other special seating accessories like hip guides, abductors and adductors might need a bit more width to the wheelchair seat. If you need such specialized seating, your health care professional will help you determine the proper seat width for your wheelchair.  

When choosing a wheelchair, whether it’s a manual wheelchair or transport wheelchairthe foremost basic specification you would like to understand is how wide and deep you would like the particular seat to be. When checking wheelchairs for a compatible seat, confine mind that the listed seat width of any wheelchair indicates the space between armrests, as against the measurement of the particular upholstery of the seat. If you’ve got shall use the wheelchair indoors, the general width may be a vital thing to stay in mind. Although standard-sized wheelchairs fit through most regular doorways, narrow doorways or extra wide wheelchairs can pose problems, so make certain to see this measurement before making a wheelchair purchase. Armrest Height: the acceptable armrest height is vital because if the user must hunch to rest their arms comfortably on an armrest that’s too low, they’ll develop back pain. to make sure the right height, have the user sit on a chair with their arm at a 90º angle and measure the space from the elbow to the seat. For a perfect fit, search for a wheelchair that features height adjustable arms. While the user is seated, measure the space from the seat to the user’s collarbone or should be.

My first encounter with a wheelchair was a rather sad part. I had just stepped out of stage after a knee replacement operation. What I didn’t know was this. Having a wheelchair meant that i used to be getting to make tons of adjustments in my lifestyle. I had to unexpectedly change my home design, furniture arrangement, flooring plan, and even simple accessory layout.

Life became more of creating choices. I had to line on properly where to set my shoes, boots and the way to store my cornflakes. I had to make sure that everything that I needed was easy to access. More importantly, I had to make quick access round the home. I took my seats to 2 , removed the table, and created more room round the couch. My path to the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom was also cleared of any clutter. there have been no more laundry baskets lying around.

My Lesson: the proper Wheelchair Size

The truth is that once you introduce a wheelchair into your lifestyle it changes everything. you’ll need to rethink of the way to make the movement easy. To do so, one among the vital questions that you simply must ask is “how wide may be a wheelchair?” Simply put, the simplest size of a wheelchair is that of the quality wheelchair. This wheelchair measures about 28″, which makes it a perfect model for the 32″ standard door.

Standard wheelchairs accompany a spread of styles a number of them are heavy-duty, wider, and straightforward to suit through door. Standard wheelchairs will accommodate various body statures. The seat height of the quality wheelchair is additionally 20 to 21 inches. this is often when measured right from the bottom . The armrest of the wheelchair sits at 11 to fifteen inches.

However, they won’t work for teenagers because the kid’s wheelchairs are often narrower. Why this disparity between this two categories?It is simple. the quality manual wheelchairs are designed for people that weigh but 300 pounds. However, the extra-wide wheelchair models are for guys that weigh over 300 pounds. Pediatric wheelchairs, on the opposite hand, are for youngsters and guys with smaller frames. These wheelchairs have their weight limit at 250 pounds. They also narrower seats at 14 inches wide too.

NOTE: Sometimes the width of the wheelchair may vary counting on an individual’s size, stature, and weight. That’s why a correct wheelchair sampling will leave you with models between 24 and 27 inches wide.

Why Wheelchair Sizing?

If you reside within the US where I do, there’s the quality government-recommendation of how wide any doorway must be designed. The door minimum width here for any doorway opening is 32” and applies from the door face right to the doorstop. this is often what the ADA standard demand when it involves doorway accessibility.

In other words, for any home designer to satisfy the vital ADA accessibility standard, any door they install must have clear width of not but 32 inches from its face to the other stop at any time. The reason for this is often simple. This space is that the minimum amount of space/clearance that’s needed for the wheelchair to comfortably fit through the most doorway. This doorway range isn’t fixed thereto . It also can be extended to about 36” for the foremost comfortable wheelchair fit.

NOTE: Some wheelchairs including the transport wheelchairs are often slimmer than your standard wheelchairthis sort of design helps them to simply slot in through smaller spaces which will not be intended for a typical wheelchair.

How to Determine the acceptable Wheelchair Size

When you want to work out the acceptable wheelchair width for the quality wheelchairthis is often what you ought to do: First measure across your hips and permit some spacing for the clothing too. Then measure the width of the wheelchair space. While doing this, it’s important to recollect that any properly sized wheelchair should leave quick access through doorways and at an equivalent time leave you with enough room to maneuver you ought to shift positions easily and avoid any sort of pressure round the hips.

If you would like to work out the right seat depth for your use, here is what you ought to do. Start by measuring from the rear and reach right behind the knee. While doing so, here is what you want to remember. For drive wheelchair to offer a correct fit a private , the resultant height of the wheelchair seat should be the precise distance from your heels to where your knees bend with a further 2 inches. For the adults, this measurement is usually between 19.5 to 20.5 inches. additionally thereto , the seat’s width should be the precise measurement between the 2 widest points of your lower body with a further 2 inches.

Other Reasons for Wheelchair Sizing

The first question is “how wide may be a wheelchair?” we’ve seen the solution thereto . However, it doesn’t stop there. There are many other reasons aside from ADA accessibility law that also determine the dimensions of the wheelchair. Let’s take a glance at them.

Sharp Bends

If you’ve got a pointy bend or turn after the most doorway, ADA requirements state that there should be a bigger doorway, which may easily accommodate the wheelchair’s turning radius. This is mostly applicable to the most entering section of a doorway. It also can apply when there’s a wall or barrier which will be blocking the wheelchair’s approach.

Narrow Doorways

Apart from sharp turns, if your situation is at an area where the doors don’t suits the ADA accessibility rules like places outside the US, you’ll purchase a wheelchair that’s specifically designed for the narrow doorways. this could be a transport wheelchair.

Counter Top Heights

To accommodate individuals that use wheelchairs hotels, eateries, and snacking joints should have tables that a wheelchair can easily access. the typical counter top or board for a wheelchair should be raised to permit enough space for the 30” standard lap height. It is also important that you simply consider the typical width of a nova wheelchair when creating the proper dining spaces. It should be accessible and straightforward to use when on a wheelchair.

NOTE: If you’ve got a ramp or want to make a ramp on your home, make sure that you get the proper wheelchair ramp design measurements.


So how wide may be a wheelchair? Now you recognize . Every wheelchair user has their preferences and preferences. They even have their own budget. It is such factors which will determine the sort of wheelchair to travel for. they’re going to also determine the dimensions of the wheelchair. Even so, any wheelchair that you simply use should be ready to get through the door. they ought to slot in tight spaces and possibly leave free movement. an honest wheelchair should even be easy to navigate.

In case you would like such a wheelchairyou’ll always use the ideas that I even have given you here. There are many sorts of wheelchairs that you simply can choose between anytime. Good luck and blast together with your next wheelchair.

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