What do you typically see when you take a look at a wheelchair? Probably a seat of some kind along with two sets of wheels to propel the user forward and backward. Usually, there are also some handles on the back of the seat so that others can push the user, and some armrests as well. And although wheelchairs may seem pretty straightforward, there are many other features that a good wheelchair should have.
Nowadays, manufacturers have created all sorts of new and adaptive wheelchairs to better accommodate the needs of their customers. Unless you live under a rock, you know that there are both manual and power wheelchairs, but the specialization goes even further. Customers now can buy a wheelchair designed to fit their specific purposes thanks to the wide range of wheelchairs available on the market today.
If you need to buy a wheelchair for yourself or for someone close to you, the first thing to decide on is the type that will be most suitable. The vendor will help you work through the choices but it’s definitely helpful if you know what your options are before you go on a shopping spree. Here is an overview of some types of manual wheelchairs.
Standard Manual Wheelchairs
These wheelchairs feature large back wheels with a push rim that allow the user to grip it to propel themselves. They are a suitable option for those who have control of the upper limbs and can safely self-propel the chair. Standard chairs are usually folding, which makes them easy to store when they’re not in use or when traveling. The weight for this type of wheelchair starts at 15 kilos.
Transport Manual Wheelchairs
These are designed to be propelled by a caregiver or a friend who will push the chair using the handles. They feature a small back wheel so the user can reach it. This type of wheelchair is commonly seen at medical offices and hospitals. Like standard wheelchairs, they also fold for easy storage.
Heavy-Duty and Bariatric Manual Wheelchair
Heavier users may need this type of chair to accommodate their size or weight. Heavy-duty chairs feature a larger and sturdier frame and wider seats and their weight capacity ranges anywhere from 100 to 250 kilos – depending on the brand of the chair. Bariatric models can support up to 300 kilos and sometimes recline to distribute a person’s weight more easily.
Light and Ultra Lightweight Manual Wheelchairs
Lightweight wheelchairs are becoming quite popular due to the convenience they offer to users. You can find ultra lightweight wheelchairs weighing 10 to 13 kilos and light wheelchairs weighing under 18 kilos. They are good for traveling as they can easily be folded and placed in a car. These chairs can have either a large back wheel so users can propel themselves or grips to be pushed by others.
Hemi Height Wheelchair
This chair is designed for users who can use their feet to propel themselves better than their arms. It can come with lower seat height or it can be made on a dual axle so it can be raised to standard height and lowered to a semi height.