The 5 Best Lightweight Wheelchairs [Ranked]
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In this post, we ranked five of the best-selling lightweight wheelchairs- and provide a bunch of detailed information to help you select the best option.
According to Karman Healthcare, lightweight wheelchairs offer:
“an immense upgrade…over a heavy wheelchair that can cause your condition to worsen and may also lead to further physical problems. In the last decade, wheelchairs that are lightweight and foldable have become the norm in [the] industry (Source)
Are you looking for a wheelchair that won’t be too awkward or heavy for the user to maneuver?
If yes, you’re probably in the market for a lightweight wheelchair.
While a standard and heavy wheelchair can worsen the condition of the user and may lead to further physical problems, lightweight wheelchairs are easy to maneuver and propel (Source).
These days, these wheelchairs have become the norm in the healthcare industry.
Probably the biggest reason behind this popularity is that they come with an overall lighter frame and lighter equipment that help users perform daily activities without the wheelchair’s weight becoming an obstacle.
- Carbon steel frame with silver vein finish; Nylon upholstery is durable, lightweight, attractive, and easy to clean; Weighs under 36 pounds (excluding front riggings)
- Durable steel frame provides reliable stability when using independently or with assistance
- Medline transport lightweight wheelchair has large 12 inch rear wheels for better performance on uneven outdoor surfaces | Loop-style manual handbrakes are ideal for locking the rear wheels during transfers
- Powder coated silver vein steel frame with nylon upholstery is durable, lightweight, attractive, and easy to clean
- Flip-back, desk-length arms make it easy to navigate under tables | elevating leg rests enhance comfort and remove easily
While lightweight wheelchairs have gained fame mainly because of their lighter frame, there’re different factors that you’d need to consider to help the user get optimal comfort and support.
- Clinical Needs: When you’re buying this product, your top concern should be to meet the clinical needs of the user. It means seating position, seat support, the backrest etc should be tailored to the user perfectly. For instance, if the user has poor core muscle strength/tone, a backrest molded to his/her body will reduce fatigue and offer better support. Or, if the user is paralyzed, choosing a manual chair that comes with a frame inset will help him/her to keep the knees closer together.
- Seat Requirements: The second most important thing you should do is get the seat right as it’ll also impact the position of the center of the gravity, height of the casters, and the size of the frame.
- General Considerations: Next, you should consider how the product will help the user in his/her everyday life. For instance, fold-down push handles would be good if the user wants someone to assist him/her, or fender could prove to be effective if the user wants to protect the clothing. However, it’s important to remember that all additions weigh something and thus, the lighter the initial frame is, the more it’ll be easier for you to add one or two options without impacting the wheelchair’s propulsion significantly (Source).
A wheelchair is a device that sets the user in motion if he/she cannot get there by himself/herself, so it’s an immensely valuable product in the user’s quality of life.
And lightweight wheelchairs are meant for easy transportation and handling.
These products are not only perfect for the elderly with limited mobility but they can greatly help patients suffering from a temporary injury like a twisted ankle or a broken leg.
There’s a significant number of lightweight wheelchairs are available in the market – from simple ones to models with several bells and whistles.
In some cases, having this product can help the user maintain his/her independence. If the person is able to lift and use it on his/her own, he/she won’t need the assistance of a caregiver.
Similar to other wheelchairs, these products also come with weight limits and tend to hold less weight compared to conventional models.
The price of lightweight wheelchairs varies to a good extent based on the materials used.
The ones on the affordable side usually come with an aluminum frame but there’re products made of other materials like carbon fiber (Source), titanium etc that tend to cost a lot more compared to standard options.
However, it all depends on the affordability and needs of the user when it comes to choosing between materials.
One additional note- some people like to supplement with a folding cane seat. This way, you’ve got a portable seat at a pinch, especially if the user isn’t completely incapacitated and just needs to be able to sit every so often.
The proper choice of wheelchair impacts maneuverability, frequency of use, durability, injury risks, and many other aspects.
These days, ultra-lightweight wheelchairs are gaining steady popularity and there’re reasons behind it.
These products are made of lighter materials and come with a higher strength to weight ratio so they’re not only longer but offer significant durability as well.
Usually, these are highly customizable to the user, with additional adjustable features which add to the wheelchair’s sustainability.
While lightweight wheelchairs usually come with the foldable feature, ultra-lightweight models generally have a combination of both a folding and rigid frame.
According to studies, properly configured ultra-lightweight wheelchairs can reduce secondary complications, increase levels of function, last longer and are usually cost-effective than standard models.
You can watch this video to learn more about these products.
Electric Lightweight Wheelchairs
- ULTRA LIGHT WEIGHT! It is just 36 lbs with battery! The versatile wheelchair is assembled with Aluminum Alloy Foldable chair, 10AH Lithium battery, antiseptic, breathable seat and back cushions.
There’re lots of wheelchair users, who have some types of disabilities or injuries that keep them from using manual wheelchairs, even the lightweight ones.
For these users, power or electric lightweight wheelchairs can be a great solution to help them get back to the normal rhythm of life.
How To Use Them
These products can be propelled by means of a battery-powered electric motor and controlled by a joystick mounted on the armrest.
These wheelchairs aren’t only useful for those who’re unable to maneuver a manual one but are also helpful for those who need to use a wheelchair over terrain or for distances which would trigger fatigue in a manual option.
These can also be used by people having fatigue-based and cardiovascular conditions.
To learn how an electric lightweight wheelchair operates, you can have a look at this video ().
Lightweight Bariatric Wheelchair
- Overall Dimensions: 32.5" x 36.5" x 32" (WxHxL)
For those wheelchair users, who’re clinically obese, using a regular lightweight wheelchair sometimes becomes uncomfortable and makes them feel cramped.
In this scenario, a lightweight bariatric wheelchair may prove to be helpful to a good extent.
These products are designed to empower bigger users with all the benefits offered by a conventional wheelchair.
These let users maintain their autonomy and move around. In some cases, people having higher weight together with muscle weakness become prone to experience additional risks when using a standard lightweight wheelchair.
A bariatric product is designed to overcome these issues and maybe the best option for heavier users who need both security and comfort alongside their independence and mobility.
Best Lightweight Wheelchair
Both disability and age sometimes make it difficult to transport a wheelchair (even a lightweight one) and just a few more pounds may be the difference between independence and dependence.
While lightweight wheelchairs come equipped with different features, the best one is defined based on how the product caters to the needs of the user.
For example, for some users, portability matters a lot while some others prefer easy setup and maintenance.
Also, weight-bearing capacity may not be much of a concern for an average wheelchair user but it significantly matters to heavier users.
If you want to learn about some of the best lightweight wheelchairs available in the market, you can have a look at this guide.
Lightweight Portable Wheelchair
- Durable steel frame provides reliable stability when using independently or with assistance
While using a regular lightweight wheelchair can help the user to move around as others who don’t use such a product, it may become difficult sometimes when it comes to traveling outside the town or to anywhere the user wants.
And that’s where the utility of lightweight portable wheelchairs comes in.
Even if the user needs assistance sometimes while traveling, a lightweight, portable, and handy product can make everything easier for both the user and the assistant.
Lightweight portable wheelchairs usually fulfill these criteria completely.
Here’s a good selection of these products that would help you get an idea about their common features.
How They Fold
One of the difficult things to design into a lightweight wheelchair is the folding mechanism.
While many of these products come with several steps needed to close them, there’re some wheelchairs that have reduced the steps and effort dramatically to fold them.
In general, folding wheelchairs aren’t very accommodating for users with disabilities but some products make sincere attempts to cater to these users.
You can watch this video () to learn how to fold a lightweight electric wheelchair.
If you need a lightweight wheelchair only for a short period of time, taking one on rent would be a good idea.
While these products come in a good condition, thoroughly sanitized and cleaned, you’d also need to check out some factors to ensure optimal comfort and safety provided to the user.
First of all, ensure that the product comes in the right size to offer maximum comfort to the user.
You should also check key design features like foot and armrest style, stand up options, frame style, and others that can improve the overall experience of the user.
Another important thing to review is the drive wheel configuration.
These wheels can be placed in the back, middle, or front of the wheelchair. Generally, rear-drive wheels are ideal for outdoor terrain while front-drive ones allow for increased traction and are able to navigate close corners.
Centralized drive wheels come with the features of both rear- and front-drive wheels for stable movement and intuitive driving.
What Do They Actually Weigh?
Holding excessive weight can make any device unsafe and lightweight wheelchairs are no exception. Therefore, it’s important to have a clear idea of the weight capacity of these products.
Though there’re exceptions to this rule, lightweight products can bear a weight of around 200 pounds usually.
When it comes to the product’s weight, these wheelchairs tend to be lighter than standard ones (usually between 28.6 and 39.6 pounds) as they’re generally manufactured using lighter materials (Source).