Updated: Aug 20, 2020
Buying a wheelchair is often a frightening task lately with numerous options available within the market. Wheelchairs lately are available in various variants with plenty of add-on features. While these variants and add-on are available to make the life of a wheelchair user easy post purchase, choosing the proper variant and add-on may be a hell of a task. So how do I decide which variant to choose? How do I decide which features to opt for? We at STRENTOR strive to make this buying decision easy for you, hence we have come up with a list of considerations for purchasing a wheelchair. These considerations apply to all or any sorts of wheelchairs; be it manual, automatic, transport, etc.
Comfort: Whether you need a wheelchair for regular use, or you need it for transport purpose, as a wheelchair user you would like to be comfortable while sitting on the wheelchair. Many factors can be considered when choosing comfort. It is often the sort of seat the wheelchair has, the peak of the arm rest specially if you intend to use a self-propelling wheelchair and the height of the leg rest that contributes majorly to the comfort of the wheelchair.
Cushion: Cushions should be added not only to extend comfort, support, and stability but also to avoid bed sores from prolonged sitting on the wheelchair. Cushions also aid in correct posture and increased ability to navigate.
Seat Size: Seat size is measured as seat width (space between one armrest to other) and seat depth (distance from the rear rest to the front of the seat). Wheelchairs are available in several widths, from 14 to 20 inches, with 18 inches being most common. Seat depths also are variable and is best judged by having a user sit on the wheelchair with back upright and touching the backrest.
Seat Height: Seat height is measured as how high the seat is off the bottom. On an average most wheelchairs have the seat height of 20 to 21 inches, which is right for users that are 5 feet or above.
Chair Height: The usual height of the chair from the bottom to the upper end of the rear rest determines how easy it is to transport a wheelchair in a vehicle. Taller wheelchairs are difficult to fit within the trunk of a car, even when folded.
Chair Weight: Weight of a wheelchair is important to consider when you intend to transport your wheelchair in a vehicle on a frequent basis. Lighter weight chairs are easy to manage, fold and put within the trunk of the car.
Armrests: Height of the armrest is an important factor when buying a self-propelling wheelchair for easy maneuverability. Armrests should be removable or flip up to facilitate transferring in and out of the wheelchair.
Leg Rests: Leg rests provide support to your feet and stop your feet from dangling which if left unnoticed can result in your feet getting injured or swollen. Besides that, it is also important to have the leg rest swinging or height adjustable as it improves transfer-ability of a chair.
Wheels: Wheels can add stability and convenience to the general ride. One major consideration here is the size of the front wheel. Bigger front wheels make it easy to maneuver the wheelchair on a step or curb.
The above-mentioned list is not exhaustive, and we are sure that based on individual needs, there are often more considerations which can be added to the list. So, feel free to drop by your considerations in comments if it is not in our list.