Dana works as a nurse in one of the retirement homes in Colorado Springs. She knows for sure what the elderly really want and need: our love, care and attention. Dana is also a loving wife and mother of three boys.
Last updated: May 02, 2021
Seniors Journal is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links.
A loss of leg(s) isn’t the loss of life or mobility. For you to keep moving again as an amputee, you have two general options for mobility. These include using prosthetics and resorting to wheelchairs, whether manual, assisted, or motorized.
Thanks to the elevating leg rest of the best wheelchair for amputees, among other special features, there are many types of wheelchairs increasingly being designed for amputees today. We examined the top wheelchairs in stock, and in this post, we will help you choose the best amputee wheelchair built right for you.
More features: user-friendly; lightweight; desk-length arms; elevating leg rests; latex-free
This Medline MDS806550E Wheelchair has been designed to guarantee the comfort of its user and simplify the assistant’s task. It is equipped with an ultra-light steel structure, a padded nylon seat, and a padded adjustable seat. Just like the other models, it is foldable and can be carried very easily in the trunk of your vehicle. The manual wheelchair can be self-propelled by the user by his feet. It can also be pushed by an assistant.
The wheelchair is ideal for amputees because it has leg rests, which you can elevate to the height of your legs or remaining limb(s). It differs from other models of the brand, thanks to its lightweight. It weighs just 34 pounds. The small front wheels are made of high-strength materials, and the rear wheels are made of rubber for optimum shock absorption and great stability when traveling. Additionally, the wheels don’t include latex.
What are our favorite features?
This model is an excellent choice if you want lightness and comfort when choosing your wheelchair or loved ones. Despite its ultralight weight and overall build, the chair is highly resistant as it has a weight capacity of 300 pounds. We love the great overall comfort and security it provides. This is mainly thanks to its elevating leg rests.
What could be better?
Some feel the front wheels are too small, and they could be longer in diameter. Also, a few users had problems with the armrests. They are a bit too small and couldn't be well held on to while rising.
More features: elevating leg rests; flip back desk arms; nylon padded
Are you looking for a piece of equipment that is light, robust, and offers an optimal level of comfort? Designed from steel, the Drive Medical wheelchair has a lightweight construction, perfectly suited for anyone who cannot move alone. It has a padded nylon seat with a width of 18 inches. The model is built for users who don’t weigh more than 250 lbs. But it weighs around 41.25 lbs.
The wheelchair has a set of two elevating leg rests, nylon paddings, and flip-back desk arms. This makes it one of the best wheelchair adaptations for amputees produced by Drive Medical. This model is a great option for people who have difficulty moving or walking, for the elderly, and for individuals who have just had amputation surgery. As a matter of safety, the model has brakes operated from handles for optimum safety for the user and the assistant.
What stands out?
We found this wheelchair helpful for many reasons. To ensure user comfort, it is fitted with swiveling and removable footrests and legs so that it can be adapted to all circumstances. Thanks to the lever at the foot, this model will certainly not leave you helpless when you descend or climb small steps. With a collapsible structure, you can go through narrow places or store your equipment without taking up too much space. Overall, we liked its very light and foldable structure and its suitability for all circumstances. It is also very inexpensive.
What cons did we manage to find?
The chair may be comfortable and safe to use, but it has some downsides, which you may want to see before adding it to the shopping cart. The main one is its weight capacity. With a frame made of steel and more robust construction, we expect it to be more resistant and ideal for people weighing up to 300 lbs. Some other models we saw don't weigh as much but have a higher weight capacity.
The Hovearound Electric Wheelchair is a power chair that’s made in the USA. The motorized wheelchair has a rounded footplate. Most have a square footplate, but this is a rounded footplate, and you can raise it. It has a heavy-duty safety belt and an adjustable arm that you can flip up. The seat is extra large, measuring 23 inches. And if you need more width, it is adjustable. This device can also be tipped. It has a nice turning radius. You turn in a circle, and it turns on its self.
This wheelchair is ideal for amputees who want to go out and about independently. Should in case you need help, at the back of the chair, you have a pouch for your manual. You have knobs for extending the arms out. Great still, the devices from Hovearound come with flat-free and pneumatic tires.
Why are we impressed?
We love this premium wheelchair for its ease of use and the freedom it gives users. It is an electric model with all features placed in the reach of a user with mobility challenges. It comes with two batteries and will get about 15 miles on the battery charge, depending on where you're using it. The unit comes with a charging kit with a 24 voltage 5 A output capacity. As soon as the charge light turns green, it's fully charged! Each charger will show a triangle automatically; once the batteries are full, you don't have to worry about overcharging your chair.
What negatives must you be aware of?
First, the amputee wheelchair could be faster. Also, tipping the scales at a whopping 173 pounds, it's a very heavy type of wheelchair. Hence, mobility, storability, and transportability aren't usually a breeze. A few users think it does not get as fast as 12 mph, as the brand says.
More features: folding backrest; removable footrest; fixed armrest
The S Ergo 115 is a highly ergonomic wheelchair that is ultra-lightweight as it weighs about 25 pounds without the footrest. Starting from the top, you can find ergonomic arms that are very comfortable and easy to push. This chair comes standard with an antibacterial pull-string that is easily removable. This material is also washable in the machine, and you can throw it in the dryer. It also has mesh that is also breathable. This chair has a foldable back which makes it very easy to hold down. The whole frame, in general, is foldable. It takes about three easy steps to fold this chair. The first step would be folding the backrest, the second step would be holding up the footplates, and the third step would be putting the sides together.
This is the wheelchair for you if you want the utmost comfort. It will not give you any blisters. The wheelchair is versatile. It’s not just for people with disabilities. It’s ideal for a new mother. Also, we can’t forget to mention the ergonomic brake tips, which are easy to engage. And the main feature of this chair will be the ergonomic seating system. The frame is shaped like an S. The seating system relieves pressure, feels comfortable for the body, and prevents slipping from out of the chair. Unfolding is just as easy. The footrests and the chair are easily ready for use again.
What are its best features?
What we found unique about this chair is that everything about it is ergonomic. This starts from the handles to the ergonomic arm pads that are concave for your arm, the ergonomic handrail, which makes it easy to spin, and easy to propel yourself. Also, the weight capacity ratio to chair weight ratio is very high.
What could be improved?
Users wish it was height adjustable. This is something Karman Healthcare may want to include in its next version.
More features: wide seat; desk-length arms; carbon steel frame; heavy-duty
Need an ultra-lightweight folding wheelchair with high-strength material? Then the Invacare Lightweight Wheelchair should appeal to you! With its lightweight design and carbon steel construction, this model is one of the most durable for people who need strength. The heavy-duty frame, wide seat, and desk-length arms make it all the more appealing for those who love quality and strength.
Extremely light, the Invacare Wheelchair seems very easy to transport. This is perfectly ideal if its user regularly travels outdoors. Equipped with a practical opening system, this top-of-the-range model allows very easy storage and carrying to reassure the accompanying person. It also has brakes actuated by the latter, as well as a brake release lever for optimal handling, especially during descent.
Why are we impressed?
For comfort, it is provided by the backrest and seat padding. We also love its heavy-duty and elegant design. It's one of the most lightweight wheelchairs on this list. Easy to collapse, you can make it go through a narrow way or store it in your car trunk.
What negatives must you be aware of?
This is not a tenable downside as the brake works well, especially when you see users' comments about this. But the system would work best with a brake extender, which you'd need to get separately. Also, we wish it is designed more ergonomically, considering it has no footrest.
More features: rigging options; quiet; easy to set up; heavy-duty frame
Providing a pair of removable and adjustable footrests that the Invacare model lacks and a lightweight design, this wheelchair means many things to those who have tested and used it. At 27 lbs, you would be right if you call it one of the most lightweight wheelchairs around. With a heavy-duty steel frame, this is also a heavy-duty wheelchair specially designed for people with a heavyweight.
With strong semi-pneumatic wheels, the risk of misplaced puncture is minimized, making it a suitable wheelchair for any outdoor use. The wheelchair is also a great choice for businesses, shopping malls, and hospitals. It’s for people who want no allergens as the tires are free from latex.
What are its best features?
This manual model, in its unique design, offers optimum safety and comfort, not only for the user but also for his assistant. Designed from high-strength steel, the wheelchair also offers excellent stability when on the move. Thanks to the push-to-lock brakes, it climbs and descends on small steps easily.
What could be improved?
They may leave black marks on the floor. Also, a few users find it a bit complicated pushing themselves in the manual wheelchair.
Things to Consider
A serious accident, an important operation, or a disability – there are many reasons for a physical impairment. And everyone can come into a similar situation at one point or another. If you can no longer walk, you need support and are mostly dependent on help. A mobility aid like a wheelchair gives those affected a bit of freedom. In this section, we’ll provide you with all information needed for purchasing one.
What do you need to know about a wheelchair for amputees?
A wheelchair for amputees consists of a comfortable seat, a sturdy frame, a fixed or reclining backrest with or without a headrest, rear handles, comfortable armrests, two large rear wheels fitted with handrails and a braking system, two small front wheels, as well as a leg rest which should be adjustable and/or removable.
Thanks to a wheelchair for the disabled, the patient will never be immobilized on a bed for the rest of his life. Young and old alike will both be able to enjoy their lives by having the possibility of moving around their house or even outdoors according to their desires.
This medical vehicle will be the best way for them to find a new life marked by a return of mobility and autonomy without necessarily having recourse to the help of a third party.
Features to consider before you buy a wheelchair for amputees
Below are some of the features and criteria you should consider while choosing a wheelchair for amputees.
Several types of chairs are grouped in this model, each suitable for a particular use. There are mainly two types you can choose from:
Manual model: A manual wheelchair is characterized by the absence of a motor. It requires physical effort by the user himself or by another person. It is a model equipped with handles accessible behind the backrest. This facilitates its movement in all directions. Good examples are the Karman Healthcare S-115 and the Invacare Lightweight Wheelchair.
Electric model: Like the Hoveround Electric Wheelchair, this is a wheelchair with a built-in motor powered by a rechargeable battery. The electric control which allows it to move is accessible on the sleeve.
The width varies depending on the wheelchair, so no general answer can be given to this question. The width of the wheelchair depends on the width of the seat.
The optimal seat width should not restrict the person concerned. There should be about 2 cm space on each side, depending on the width of the buttocks. The standard wheelchair is, on average, 60 to 75 cm wide.
However, there are also models for stable people, which are a few centimeters wider for better comfort.
The seat depth should not be too high or too low. The legs should be able to touch the ground or footrests so that you can move your feet if necessary. The risk of injury is minimized, especially indoors. It also prevents your hands from being trapped.
For optimal seat height, you should sit in a wheelchair. You can measure the distance between the back of your knees and the floor. The value determined does not have to be the exact seat depth. As a rule, there is a margin of around +/- 10 cm.
If the wheelchair is only used outside or if you cannot or do not want to use your feet to move around anyway, the seat depth is less important when buying a wheelchair. In any case, a seat depth that is too low should not be chosen.
The same applies to the height of the back. This should reach no more than the shoulder blades to still be able to use the handrails well.
It is very important to determine the dimensions of your wheelchair, first of all, according to your morphology, but also to the environment where you are going to use it. Choosing the best size is important for portability, ease of access, and ergonomics’ sake.
We advise you to take into account the width of all your doors, at least those through which you will pass most often. These can be the door of your room, that of the toilet and the bathroom, the main entrance door, and that of the living room. You won’t have much trouble choosing your chair if your doors are all the same width.
Otherwise, it’s either you equip yourself with a second transfer chair to access certain rooms, or you will have to content yourself with not going through the doors that are inaccessible to you. Note that the overall width of a manual wheelchair is equal to its seat width plus 17 to 21 cm.
The maximum load capacity of a wheelchair should be included in the datasheet of the product. This is based on the body weight of the person concerned.
The least acceptable capacity is around 200 lbs. Meanwhile, most models weigh 250 lbs, and you can even find ones such as the Medline MDS806550E Wheelchair that can be used by someone who weighs up to 300 lbs. Still, there are more resistant models on the market.
The wheelchair must not be too heavy – regardless of being manual or electrical. Both variants are useful in everyday life, especially if you like to travel alone. When traveling, a light wheelchair such as the foldable wheelchair is particularly suitable, as this wheelchair is very mobile, compact, and quickly stowed away at all times.
A very heavy wheelchair makes movement difficult and can be slower. It is therefore important to pay attention to the weight of the mobility aid when buying a wheelchair. A standard wheelchair, for example, is very heavy at around 50 lbs. You can find lightweight models such as the Karman S-115 on the market and super heavy models like the Hovearound Electric Wheelchair, which without a grant more freedom. That is why it is not recommended as a wheelchair for children or seniors. A lightweight wheelchair weighs only 20 to 30 lbs. Although this range of chairs may be lighter, they will require a lot of force.
The design and comfort level
The choice of a folding model can, for example, be very useful to facilitate the transport of equipment by car. You just have to make sure that the folding system is simple enough, fast, and requires little effort.
Also, pay close attention to the level of seating comfort. For this, we recommend that you opt for a wheelchair with a backrest, with padded armrests, as well as height-adjustable and removable footrests to allow less bulky transport.
You can even choose a reclining wheelchair to avoid the fatigue associated with a 90° seated position. Also, be sure to choose a material that is both durable and lightweight to ensure the sturdiness of your equipment. And as far as the brakes are concerned, check that they are indeed an efficient and manageable mechanism for the user.
The stability and safety of the user are generally guaranteed by the tires of the wheelchair. The wheels must be of good quality and chosen in size and a certain resistance according to the intended use of the material. The drive wheels of such equipment are generally 24 inches in diameter for adults. And for that, you have the choice between several models. If you prefer wheels that do not require any maintenance, opt for solid wheels equipped with tires.
For outings on uneven ground, opt instead for low-pressure fine-toothed tires or MTB-type tires which absorb shocks. And for better performance, high-pressure tires of 5 to 8 bars will be perfect.
Also, don’t forget that if you often travel on uneven ground, your best bet will be to have large front wheels that will easily overcome small obstacles, i.e., 8 inches. For a more maneuverable chair for use indoors, choose small 3-inch front wheels.
So many additional accessories can complete the main function of the wheeled cart. Among these elements is, for example, the tray allowing the user to enjoy a meal in complete stability in his chair, even while he is out for a walk or at home.
A wheelchair with a tray also offers him the possibility of going about his leisure activities without necessarily having to stay at a table. It’s a very practical way to do your crosswords under the shade of a tree, for example.
The adjustable footrests are necessary if you want the best wheelchair for lower leg amputees. And when they are removable, the better!
Also, some vehicles offer a shopping basket or a bag hanging from the wheelchair that can be used to store a few things, especially during an outing.
These storage units also offer the possibility of storing purchases to prevent the person from having to carry them on his knees. Some tools like the ramp, transfer board, and grab bar can also complement the convenience of the wheelchair.
You can use socket head spanners to adjust the leg rests. However, In any case, it is often necessary to remove some removable accessories before folding the chair to minimize clutter. Then, using only one hand or a finger, the folding should be done easily and quickly, without exerting great effort. The adjustment and folding system are specific to each chair. A manual usually tells you all the steps you need to follow to easily adjust and fold the material.
You can use mild soap to clean your wheelchair. To clean the backrest or the seat cushion, you can use a damp cloth with a little soap.
The Medline MDS806550E wheelchair, which is rated 9.9/10, is our Editor’s Choice. This weighs just 34 pounds but can accommodate a weight capacity of 300 pounds. Its small front wheels are made of high-strength material. The rear wheels are made of rubber for optimum shock absorption and great stability when traveling. It is our overall best wheelchair for amputees.
Drive Medical BLS18FBD-ELR has probably the best value for money presently on the market. Designed from steel, the wheelchair has a lightweight construction, perfectly suited for anyone who cannot move alone. It has a padded nylon seat with a width of 18 inches.
Care for a high-end model with more independence? Then you should choose our Premium Pick, the Hoveround Electric Wheelchair. It is an electric model that comes with two batteries.
Equipment for individuals with limb deficiency - Physiopedia
Original Editor - Ahmad Al-Mosa Al-Malkawi as part of the World Physiotherapy Network for Amputee Rehabilitation Project.