A reclining wheelchair consists of a backrest which tilts back from almost straight up; literally 90 degrees and nearly horizontal. The act of reclining makes the user’s hips to widen and changes their position from a seated one to one similar to sleeping on their back.


A wheelchair which tilts consists of a seat structure which tilts to the back in different degrees; from nearly vertical back around 50 degrees.  The position of the hip does not widen due to a tilting wheelchair’s tilt action. The user remains in a similar position when seated; however, is tilted to the back. Tilt wheelchairs are normally selected for children or the elderly, who need relief, security and position management.

Comparing Tilt and Recline

I am a huge supporter of tilting wheelchairs rather than recliners; however, each is meant for a particular aim and there are some factors which make reclining wheelchairs more appropriate for some users.

Features for Recliner

  • Regularly utilized by individuals having catheters who desire to change them while seated in their wheelchair.
  • Will normally fold to be stored and transported.
  • Normally utilized to carry people into cars where the headroom is not enough someone using the wheelchair.

Reclining wheelchairs possess some crucial elements which should be considered:

When a user is partly reclined, gravity makes their bottoms attempt to slide in front, away from the wheelchair. If they slide, it is possible for them to fall out and land on the floor; if seating restricts them from slipping, force is exerted, known as shearing. This is extremely painful and will finally cause skin deterioration.

In addition, when reclining, the back of the user slips down the upholstery’s back. This impact presents two intrinsic issues:

  1. Firstly, no backrest which is molded or contoured can be utilized since the user will continuously be moved from position.
  2. Secondly, after the user is returned to an upright stance, this leads to shearing again as gravity is attempting to keep the user’s back from slipping up the upholstery’s back.
  3. Orders for elevated leg rests are nearly always made with reclining wheelchairs which increases the wheelchair’s price and weight. To a lot of users, being reclined is extremely painful, except when the legs are lifted.
  4. Reclining wheelchairs are normally heavy and difficult for a user to propel on their own.
  5. The last disadvantage is that care givers need to control the recline operation on reclining wheelchairs which are manual (high quality power wheelchairs enable the user to manage their back position independently).

Features of Tilt

  • Assists in controlling position and pose for children as well as grownups.
  • Alters the pressure areas for the user and decreases the likelihood of pressure sores when tilt position is altered constantly.
  • Facilitates appropriate positioning when a lift is utilized to transfer users into the wheelchair.
  • Appropriate for nearly each system for custom seating and seating components available from the counter.
  • Will assist to raise the area of visualization for users who are critically bent to the front because of a kyphosis, also known as hunched back or round back.
  • Raise the amount of time the user remains in the chair if the angle of tilt is altered often.
  • It is possible to tilt it back to facilitate access into short entrances of cars.
  • It is possible to tilt it entirely backwards for relaxing or sleeping.

Disadvantages of Tilt

  • Apart from some tiny pediatric types, they cannot fold. This signifies that moving and keeping them will need some consideration and planning.
  • A second disadvantage is that because of how heavy they are, it is not easy to propel them and should not truly be regarded a mobility mechanism for independence.
  • The last disadvantage is that it is mandatory for the caregiver to manage the tilt mechanism on the tilting wheelchairs which are manual (high quality power wheelchairs facilitate the user to independently manage their seat tilt).


Reclining wheelchairs are hugely available; however, they are rarely selected by wheelchair users nowadays. Tilt wheelchairs present literally all the advantages, minimal disadvantages and some additional advantages compared to recliners.

The personalities of these two kinds of wheelchairs offer benefits for users whose requirements are more complex than the ones for a lot of normal wheelchair users.


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