A Guide To The Different Types of Wheelchairs

November 16, 2015 | 5:00 am | By Pants Up Easy

If you are a new wheelchair user, or are looking to upgrade your current wheelchair, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to start your search. There are so many different types of chairs available, each with their own pros and cons. Your personal needs as well as your preferences will determine which chair is the best fit for you and your lifestyle. Below you will find a quick guide to the different types of wheelchairs available.

Lightweight Wheelchairs


Lightweight wheelchairs are much easier to maneuver than the more heavyweight traditional wheelchairs you may be familiar with. These chairs are most often foldable and created with a lighter frame that will allow you to easily perform your daily tasks without the weight of your wheelchair holding you back. These chairs are easily portable, which makes them ideal for those who travel often, and lead to more independence because they are so easy to use as a self-propelled chair.


Transport Wheelchairs


A transport wheelchair is designed for a companion to push the user, rather than for the user to manage by themself. The smaller wheels make it impossible for the chair to be self-propelled, so this type of chair can only be used when a companion is near. These chairs are small, lightweight, and easily maneuverable. They are ideal for travel for those who don’t normally require the use of a wheelchair, but may need the assistance during long lasting or strenuous activities.


Ergonomic Wheelchairs


Ergonomic wheelchairs are designed to effectively relieve pressure throughout the body. They can increase stability, distribute weight more evenly, and lower the risk of pressure sores and spinal injury. The ergonomic cushion provides more comfort than the typical wheelchair, leading to a much more comfortable time spent in your wheelchair.

When you remain seated for quite a long time, as most wheelchair users do, many issues may arise. These ergonomic chairs encourage blood flow and improve your overall condition.

Standard Wheelchairs


Standard wheelchairs are strong and durable, and come with many different features that may be added on. The majority of standard wheelchairs are made with a steel frame and can be quite heavy. The best way to determine which standard wheelchair you need is to consider your lifestyle, daily level of activity, how much time you will spend each day in your wheelchair, and your physical condition. This will also help you determine which, if any, additional features you may need to add on.


Recliner Wheelchairs


Reclining wheelchairs are created to accommodate severe hip extension contractures, orthostatic hypotension, and pressure re-distribution for prevention of skin breakdown. These chairs are best used along with elevating leg rests, which will allow the user to reposition their legs and feet as well.


Active Wheelchairs


If you live an active lifestyle and enjoy sports and other activities, an active wheelchair is typically your best bet. These chairs are designed to be ultra lightweight and aerodynamic so that you can easily take on any physical challenge you wish. There are many different types of active wheelchairs available, and it’s important to make sure your wheelchair fits perfectly before making your purchase. The better your chair fits, the more easily you will be able to take on the athletic endeavors that you desire.

As you can see, there are many available options when it comes time to choose a wheelchair. Doing your research to determine exactly which chair is your best fit is vital. Speak with other wheelchair users, your doctors, and physical therapists to ensure that all of your needs will be met with whichever chair you choose. Finding the right wheelchair is essential when it comes to living your life to the fullest.

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