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Wheelchair Advice


Wheelchair Advice

At WheelchairsOnSale.com we realize that a wheelchair is not a usual everyday purchase. In this section you will find advice to minimize the confusion and give you the confidence to make the best choice to suit your needs.

There are a few important things to consider when selecting a wheelchair:

  1. How frequently will the wheelchair be used?

    If the wheelchair will be used more than a few hours a day, consider a lightweight wheelchair. They provide more support, have more options to increase comfort and functionality, and are lighter weight which makes them easier to propel. Standard wheelchairs are great for occasional use, but really aren't designed to be used more than a few hours per day. Always consider a wheelchair cushion to increase the comfort and reduce the risk of pressure sores. Transport chairs are ideal if the user will never be propelling the chair themselves, because you save at least 4" of total width due to the lack of hand rims, plus they are significantly lighter weight and easier to transport.

  2. How much weight will the wheelchair support?

    Select a wheelchair based not only on your weight, but also on the seat width and depth. Most wheelchairs can support at least 250 lbs, but the standard seat width of 16” or 18” may not accommodate everyone who weighs 250 lbs. Depending on your height to weight ratio, users over 225 lbs. may want to consider a 20” wide seat. Conversely, slender users may want to consider a 16” wide seat to reduce overall width, and provide more support while seated. Use the wheelchair measuring guide to determine the appropriate seat width. If you will be using the chair with bulky clothing, like a coat, allow for an extra inch or two of width.

  3. What options and accessories are important to you?

    There are several options to consider when selecting your wheelchair. Not every chair will offer all of these options.

    • Pneumatic (air-filled) tires

      Pneumatic tires provide a softer ride, which can be important if you will be using the wheelchair outside your home. The downside is the possibility of flat tires. Just like a bicycle tire, pneumatic tires have an inner tube which must be kept inflated. You can just use a regular bicycle tire pump to maintain the tire pressure.

    • Vinyl Vs. Nylon Upholstery

      Vinyl upholstery is ideal if you are concerned about incontinence problems, because it can easily be wiped cleaned and disinfected. However, it can also be hot and sticky in warm weather. Nylon upholstery is more comfortable and cooler in warm weather. Both types of upholstery can up replaced over time if they get worn. You can order replacement upholstery from WheelchairsOnSale.com and it only requires a screwdriver to replace the upholstery.

    • Height-adjustable Arms

      Height-adjustable arms are a nice feature for taller users (6' or taller), so that you can adjust the arm height upward.

    • Angle Adjustable Back

      This feature allows the back to be tilted backwards by up to 15 degrees. The angle can NOT be adjusted on "the-fly". It must be set using a screwdriver while the user is out of the chair.

    • Desk length vs. Full length arms

      Desk length arms are around 10" long while Full-length arms are around 14" long. Desk length arms make it easier to pull up to a table or desk, while full-length arms provide more support while resting your arms on the armrests.

    • Elevating Legrests

      Elevating legrests allow you to adjust the legrests so your legs are elevated in front of you. This can be important for reducing fluid in the ankles, or supporting a broken limb.

    • Anti-tippers

      These are small protrusions off the back of the chair frame that keep a user from tipping the chair backward accidentally. They are very important if the user does not have good balance, or is a new to using a wheelchair. They can always be removed.

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