Ensuring a wheelchair remains stationary is crucial for users and caregivers when transferring, reaching, or performing daily tasks. Understanding the different types of wheelchair locks will help wheelchair users select locks that will work best based on comfort and abilities. Before delving into the various types of wheelchair locks, it's important to understand the difference between wheelchair locks and wheelchair brakes.
Wheelchair Locks vs. Wheelchair Brakes
Wheelchair brakes slow down or stop the motion of the chair, and locks hold the chair in place once it has stopped moving. On some chairs, users employ the locks as brakes, although they aren’t really designed for that purpose; other types of chairs—electric and power assist chairs—have separate braking and locking systems. Manual wheelchair users who propel their chairs by turning the wheels with their hands and arm strength can brake by applying pressure on the wheel rims.
Push-pull locks function as their name implies—by pushing or pulling a lever to engage or disengage the lock. These devices require minimal effort and are perfect for users with good upper body strength and hand function. The lock is usually mounted on the side of the wheelchair, making it easy for the user to reach and operate.
Foot Locks for Caregivers
Foot locks are helpful solutions for caregivers who need to secure a wheelchair in place. These locks are not accessible to the wheelchair user and take the form of a foot lever attached to the back of the chair. The caregiver engages the lock by pressing a lever or button with their foot. This makes it great for caregivers working with wheelchair users who don’t like people getting close to them, bending over them to engage push-pull brakes, or don’t have the hand and arm strength to manage locks on their own.
Scissor locks are ideal for active wheelchair users who don’t want lock handles to get in the way of their hands. These locks engage on the wheel hub, not the tires. When they’re not in use, they’re tucked away under the wheelchair’s seat.
Wheel Hub Locks and Extensions
Wheel hub locks, sometimes called hub locks, prevent the wheel from turning by locking directly onto the wheel hub. These locks require less force to engage and disengage than other types, making them ideal for users with limited hand strength. Hub lock extensions can be added for users who have difficulty reaching the wheel hub.
Understanding the different types of wheelchair locks will help you choose the parts you need to upgrade or modify your chair for your comfort. DME Hub offers a variety of wheelchair brake parts as replacements or upgrades to wheelchairs. We also offer cushions, backpacks, gloves, and more products to personalize your chair for maximum utility, comfort, and style. Find rigid or folding chairs here, plus accessories and parts to keep your chair in top condition and enhance useability.