How do I find the right wheelchair?
The most important thing to know before buying a wheelchair is the user’s height and weight. After you have measurements you need to think about any special needs—do legs need to be elevated? Is special cushioning required? Do armrests need to be removable for easy transferring? Make a list of any and all needs you have.
What are the differences between wheelchairs? What makes some more expensive?
Size is the most important difference between chairs. A 24” seat width will always cost more than a standard 18” width from the same manufacturer, as more materials used for construction.
Materials in general can greatly change the price on a wheelchair. Carbon fiber will be many times more expensive as a steel chair, as it is a much more expensive material.
Wheel size and styles will also add or subtract to the cost of a wheelchair. Most entry level chairs have plastic or rubber composite wheels. Spoked wheels and inflatable wheels are more expensive than the plastic or rubber ones.
If you look at the information above, you will notice a theme; the lighter the weight of the chair the more expensive it will be. This is not always true, but it is a great indicator of why two chairs that look the same can have very different prices.
What’s the difference between a wheelchair and a transport chair?
Transport chairs cannot be self-propelled. This means that transport chairs are only for users who are going to be pushed by a caregiver. If you need a chair that can be moved by the user, transport chairs are not an option.
What kind of wheelchair seat should I look for?
Most wheelchair seats are made of cloth of vinyl-style material. The majority of wheelchairs do not have special cushioning or back support. This makes it easier for the buyer—buy the chair that has the other features you need, then buy cushions for the seat. Cushions for the seat and back are available in too many styles to count. Make the wheelchair you buy have the seat you need.
Do I need to preform maintenance on my wheelchair?
It’s never a bad idea to take a look at any piece of medical equipment every few months. Wheelchairs are classified as durable medical equipment (DME), so they can take a bit of punishment.
If you notice anything that feels ‘off’ while in your chair, you need to check it out as soon as possible. This includes brakes popping, wheels feeling stuck, significant rips in the seat—anything that is not normal. You’ll want to have a technician look at your chair before you make any longer-distance trips.
What is the Average Price for a Wheelchair?
There isn’t a consensus average price for a wheelchair. Generally, they start at around $120 and go up to $800 for ‘standard’ models. There are cheaper models and more expensive models—most of the time you get what you pay for. A $100 wheelchair will wear down more quickly than an expensive wheelchair. If you use an extremely cheap wheelchair often, it may need to be replaced totally several times before you could recoup the cost of one ‘decent’ model.