What wheelchair can be considered lightweight?
Lightweight wheelchairs typically weigh anywhere between 14.5 and 40 pounds. They usually have an aluminum frame that’s lightweight enough to be carried in one hand when folded. Ultralight wheelchairs such as the Medline Ultralight Transport Wheelchair weigh under 15 pounds.
Features to consider before you buy a wheelchair
There are lots of features to consider when choosing a wheelchair, with the most important of them being the type of wheelchair, seat size, overall dimensions, materials and durability, weight limit and wheels.
Wheelchair type: Electric or manual, standard or transport
There are two main types of wheelchairs available: manual and electric. Manual ones are propelled by the user’s own strength, whereas electric ones have a motor and can be operated with the help of a joystick.
Standard wheelchairs are made with the user in mind, which means they can easily operate them themselves. Transport ones are suitable for situations where another person pushes the chair and are also more suitable for travel.
The seats are generally available in different widths and lengths, so it’s important to make sure you choose a comfortable one. Some models offer firmer seats and you can also enjoy more postural support with extra cushioning.
The overall dimensions of the wheelchair are important not only because they often determine how lightweight the chair is, but also because you need to make sure the chair will fit your home and lifestyle. If you opt for a foldable model, make sure it folds to the right dimensions to fit in the trunk of the car, for example. The Porto Mobility Ranger Foldable Electric Wheelchair is a model that folds to the dimensions of a suitcase.
Materials and durability
Most lightweight wheelchairs have a frame made from aluminum, which is not only lightweight, but also durable. Our editor’s choice, the Karman Healthcare Ergo Flight Ergonomic Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair, has a frame made from 6061 T-6 aircraft-grade aluminum. The seating part is generally made from nylon, which is comfortable and easy to maintain at the same time.
Most lightweight wheelchairs have a weight limit of up to 300 pounds, but you can also find models that go over that limit, with the Drive Medical K320DFA-ELR Cruiser III Light Weight Wheelchair featuring a weight limit of 350 pounds, for example.
Armrests and leg rests
Most wheelchairs have adjustable armrests and footplates so you can easily find a comfortable position. Removable armrests are a good option if you want to feel comfortable at the table.
Most standard wheelchairs that are self-propelled generally have larger back wheels for easier control, but this makes them bulkier and more difficult to load in a car. Lightweight wheelchairs designed to be pushed by someone else have smaller wheels that are easier to navigate and control for the person pushing.
Most wheelchairs come with a limited warranty that ranges from one year to limited lifetime, but this varies from one model to another. For example, the Porto Mobility Ranger Foldable Electric Wheelchair has a five-year limited warranty for the battery, but only one year for the rest of the parts. If you’re looking for a wheelchair with a limited lifetime warranty, the Karman Healthcare Ergo Flight Ergonomic Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair and ProBasics Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair are good choices.
The price of lightweight wheelchairs varies depending on build quality, the reputation of the manufacturer, features, and length of warranty. You can expect to pay anything from around $150 to $2,000.