Standard Wheelchairs: Who Can Use Them and Why

What is a “standard” wheelchair?

Standard wheelchairs are wheelchairs that have the basics and don’t provide many options for size or features. Their framework is made from steel and upholstery is made from heavy vinyl material. They are not easily customizable and they are fairly heavy weighing between 45 to 60 pounds depending on their size, brand and if they have footrests.

The pros and cons of standard wheelchairs:

Pros:

  • The steel frames of standard wheelchairs are strong and they last a long time.
  • In the design process of these chairs, weight isn’t a major concern and the parts are heavier compared to lightweight wheelchairs and they are very stable.
  • They are relatively inexpensive and cost in the $200 – $500 range while lightweight wheelchairs can go for $1,000 or more. The heavier parts of a standard wheelchair are less expensive to produce.
  • Because of the simple design of the standard wheelchair, they don’t breakdown as often and if they do, repairing them is relatively easy.
  • They have bigger wheels which make pushing or self-propelling them much easier.
  • Standard wheelchairs are foldable from side to side for easier storage or transportation.
  • Great for a user who is self-propelling or as a transport wheelchair that is pushed by a caregiver or attendant.

Cons:

  • Standard wheelchairs have little in terms of options beyond footrests; you can get elevating footrests on some models but very limited accessories.
  • Weighing in at 45 + pounds, compared to lightweight wheelchairs that weigh around 30 pounds, the standard wheelchair is considered heavy
  • The seat widths of these wheelchairs are usually 16″ or 18″. Some brands have 20″ and 22″ seat width, but once you get over the 18″ seat width, the price sky rockets.
  • The length of the foot rest is pretty much the only thing that is adjustable on the standard wheelchair.

Who uses standard wheelchairs:

Commercial – Institutional

The standard wheelchair is the popular choice with institutions. Due to their reliability, low cost, strength and simplicity, health facilities, nursing homes and various other institutions opt for this kind of wheelchair for transporting their patients.

Residential – Personal Use

Good candidates for standard wheelchairs are people who need it for their basic mobility or those who use it daily for longer periods.

The users might only require the wheelchair for temporary outings like doctor appointments, shopping trips or other outings that might require long walking distances.

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