Modern wheelchairs are now widely available and come in different designs and frames. Wheelchairs that fold have become popular as more persons accommodate inclusive travels within their daily schedules. The folding wheelchair can be easily dismantled and fitted in a car. In fact, 98% of public transportation buses are now appropriately equipped to accommodate people with wheelchairs.
Folding wheelchairs are ideal for persons with an active lifestyle and constantly move from place to place. With a wide selection out there in the market, it may not be that simple to choose the best folding wheelchair. Here are some factors to keep in mind while searching for one.
1. Frame Material
The material used to construct the wheelchair frame determines its strength, weight, and durability. It would be best to find a wheelchair with a higher strength to weight ratio. Most foldable wheelchairs are mostly made from steel, which offers sturdiness and corrosion resistance.
Aluminum frames are lightweight but require an additional coating to protect them from corrosion. A titanium wheelchair is more lightweight than steel and aluminum, allowing for easier transportation. Carbon fiber frames are ultra-light with incredible levels of durability. The material you choose should offer long-lasting support as well as ease of the transportation.
2. Powered Wheelchairs vs. Manual
Electric wheelchairs have a dedicated motor that independently propels the wheelchair. The foldable powered wheelchairs come in different models that facilitate mobility, both indoors and outdoors.
The level of autonomy of the owner dictates the type of manual wheelchair to choose from. The wheelchair can either be self-propelled or non-self-propelled models that require another person to push.
Wheelchairs that fold usually incorporate more joints and hinges to support the dismantling of the seats. Most foldable wheelchairs have quick-release buttons that allow for faster removal of the wheels for compact storage and transport. Besides, the wheelchair may have additional technical aids such as armrests, footrests, and cushions, depending on the needs of the user. Try to find a wheelchair that folds with adjustable and detachable components for easier disassembly and storage of the wheelchair. You can make further adjustments for more effortless propulsion and maneuverability.
4. Weight Capacity
The weight capacity of the various foldable wheelchair models will influence your choices. Wheelchairs that fold are generally lightweight, weighing between 28-40 lbs. While ultra-lightweight models are the preferred option, you need to verify if the wheelchair can accommodate your size and weight. As a general rule, go for a wheelchair with a seat 2cm to 4 cm larger. Most manufacturers produce seats with widths ranging from 16 inches to 20 inches. Lightweight frames may be easier to fold and pack within your trunk.
5. Environment of Use
Another factor to consider is the purpose of the wheelchair and conditions it might be exposed to. Indoor mobility wheelchairs may not necessarily need a high tensile material compared to outdoor performance wheelchairs. If you live in a humid environment, you may require a wheelchair that folds with rust-resistance properties. Rough pavements and paths may necessitate the use of off-road wheelchair tires.
Wheelchairs that fold provide increased mobility for persons with disabilities with active lifestyles. The wheelchairs vary in design and how they function. These five tips can guide you in choosing the right foldable wheelchair for your needs.