Wheelchair Consumer: Where to Start

We are going to take a look at the different wheelchair options for those who need a wheelchair permanently.

Do you require a rigid or folding frame? Are you going to put this chair in an automobile on your own or will you need assistance? Do you want to use this chair for sports and everyday use? Or, what type of electric powered chair do you require? Will you need one of the specialist tilt in space and recline or will a regular power chair fit your needs?

This list of questions can go on and on but we’ll take a look at some of the basics.

Manual Chairs

Most Paraplegics can make use of a lightweight rigid frame wheelchair since most are entirely independent and can transport their own wheelchairs if it is light enough.

Fixed of rigid frame wheelchairs tend to be neater than folding frame wheelchairs and the weights very considerably from light to super light. For paraplegics these are the chair of choice and they often become the “legs”: for them since they have good upper body strength. These chairs are highly customizable but they are also very costly since they are mostly built overseas. However there are some imported chairs that are comparable to the expensive brands but cost a fraction of the price.

If you go with the expensive para chair or the cheaper version will be dependent on your budget and personal taste.

Manual Wheelchair Frame Material

Folding frame chairs material range from steel to super lightweight components and similar to the rigid frames, they come in a variety of styles, prices and can be customized to suit almost any user’s requirements. These chairs are more suited for those with neurological diseases and low level quadriplegics.

The larger bariatric wheelchairs range in size from 22″ to 26″ but keep in mind that 22″ is the opening of most door sizes. Anything larger will need modifications to the doorways in the home.

One more type is the Porter chair and it is mostly used at hospitals and air ports. The brakes are on the push handle instead of being on the wheels making the pusher totally in charge of braking. These chairs usually have smaller wheels at the back.

Power Chairs

These range from the basic joystick operated electric chairs to the custom built chairs for those with severe injuries or neurological diseases. Electric chairs provide some level of independence to those who would have to rely on others to push them.

These chairs are bulky and very heavy and are not meant for every day folding. However, they can be folded for long trips.