For centuries, wheelchairs have been used to help the elderly, disabled and injured people get around easily and lead active lives. Some of the earliest wheelchairs have been found in ancient Chinese history.
Modern wheelchairs first appeared in the market in Atlantic City in 1887.
Read this wheelchair reviews article to find out about the best wheelchairs in the market. All the wheelchairs on our list are of high quality and are manufactured by trusted companies. Our reviews of the wheelchairs below are based on dependability, durability, comfort and price.
What is a Wheelchair?
You probably already know what a wheelchair is. For formality, a wheelchair is a mobility aid that helps seniors or other people that have lost most or all of their ambulatory ability to move around easily. People with mobility problems can easily move around with the help of wheelchairs.
Wheelchairs enable individuals to become independent and be free to move around.
Types of Wheelchairs
There are different types of wheelchairs in the market. For example, some wheelchairs are motorized while others are not. There are those designed for indoor activities while others are designed for sports. The best wheelchair to buy will depend on what you want to achieve.
Below is an overview of the main types of wheelchairs.
1. Sports Wheelchairs
These wheelchairs are specifically designed to be used in competitions such as tennis, dancing, racing, and basketball. If you want to compete in a sporting event for the disabled, you will need a sports wheelchair. The chairs are popularly used in Paralympics and other sporting events.
2. Standing Wheelchairs
Standing wheelchairs are constructed with a standing frame and enable users to other sit or stand. Using this wheelchair will enable you to be more independent to engage in various activities on a daily basis. With the chair, you can sit, stand or move, which is crucial to your independence.
3. Reclining Wheelchairs
With a reclining wheelchair, a user can tilt forward or back for comfort. These are the best wheelchairs for elderly folks who have to sit for long hours at a time or disabled people with postural deformities such as scoliosis.
Reclining wheelchairs can either be motorized or manual. The wheelchairs are designed to support and provide comfort.
4. Powered Wheelchairs
These mobility aids are also referred to as motorized wheelchairs or “power chairs”. The mobility aids rely on electrical motors and batteries to move a user forward. Most of the chairs have a joystick on the armrest for control. If you cannot operate a joystick manually, you may be given a chin-operated joystick.
Power chairs are made using different technologies and are available in a wide range of models and price ranges.
5. Manual Wheelchairs
These are basic mobility aids built with a standard frame, 4 wheels, footplates, armrests, backrests and seat rests. Manual wheelchairs have two large wheels at the back and two small ones at the front. The large back wheels are used to move the wheelchair forward.
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3 Best Lightweight Folding Wheelchairs
Below, we have 7 reviews of the recommended wheelchairs of 2017. From the lightweight and power wheelchairs reviews on this list, you will find the top 3 wheelchairs based on their functionality and price.
We have chosen the lightest, most affordable and functional wheelchairs to be in our top-3 list. The three best wheelchairs are:
The NOVA Comet features a solid build and is an inexpensive transport chair. These make it one of the best transport wheelchairs in the market. The wheelchair is made of a 38-pound foldaway frame, which is easy to fold and store into a closet or toss into a car trunk.
The NOVA Comet seat is made from durable materials that are easy to maintain. The wheelchair is comfortable and can be carried anywhere.
This is a basic, affordable wheelchair that is self-propelled. The manual wheelchair stands out for its comfort and stability made possible by dependable, solid rubber tires. The Blue Streak is one of the best lightest wheelchairs. Its small frame should not fool you; the Streak can handle up to 250 lbs. of weight.
The Blue Streak is ergonomically designed and made of durable nylon material. The wide wheelchair is also easy to clean.
Foldawheel is one of the best electrical wheelchairs in the market. The mobility aid is highly functional and weighs only 45 lbs. The affordable, motorized wheelchair can be folded easily for storage indoors or loading in vehicles.
The performance of the Foldawheel is excellent. You can use the wheel for up to 8 hours a day without having to charge it. Using the wheelchair will improve your mobility and increase your independence.
How to Choose the Best Wheelchair
To find the best wheelchair, you should consider your needs. By using common sense and doing research, you should be able to find the perfect wheelchair model to buy. Below is an overview of what to consider when looking for a wheelchair.
i) Get advice from your rehab therapist or doctor
Your rehab therapist is knowledgeable about the different wheelchairs available in the market. Get in touch with your therapist to know which wheelchair will be best and why. Your doctor will consider your personal diagnosis and health situation to guide you on the best wheelchair to buy.
ii) Select a category
Consider the category of the wheelchair that will be right for you. For instance, do you prefer a motorized wheelchair? Are you planning to engage in a sport of being active indoors?
Buying a wheelchair is an investment in your future. Therefore, take time to determine which category of wheelchairs will be suitable for your current and future needs.
iii) Choose the right size
Finally, choose a wheelchair of the right size. Check the specifications of the wheelchair you are interested in, especially the width and depth. The right size wheelchair will ensure you are comfortable.
When it comes to size, consider the following:
- Leg rests
- Back height
- Seat-to-floor height
iv) Start with wheelchair rentals
Before buying a wheelchair, it is important to get a feel of its performance to know what to expect. You can do this by renting different types of wheelchairs from local medical suppliers. Renting a wheelchair will help you know whether a particular model you want will be best for you.
7 Best Lightweight Folding Wheelchairs (Reviews)
If you are short on time, watch this video on best lightweight folding wheelchairs.
- 12-inch wheels that provide a smooth ride
- Can carry up to 300 lbs. of weight
- Made of lightweight 28-lbs. foldaway frame that makes storage and transportation easy
- Easy-to-use and dependable “Feature Tough” locking handbrakes
- Has flipup desk arms for more movement and independence
The NOVA 325 transport chair is also known as the “Comet”. This is one of the best transport wheelchair options in the market thanks to being lightweight and its functionality. The lightweight is due to the folding aluminium frame used to make it.
The chair is designed with NOVA’s patented “Feather Touch” locking handbrakes. Its seat and back are nicely upholstered and padded. There are also quick-release desk arms that are reversible and detachable. The desk arms fold back down, are nicely padded and are 19.5 inches apart from each other. The seat measures 18.5 inches wide.
The rear wheels of the NOVA Comet lock solidly in place and can be easily controlled with the handbrakes. The seat can comfortably hold anyone weighing up to 300lbs. It also folds up easily for storage and transport.
The NOVA Comet comes with a lifetime limited manufacturer’s warranty.
Comfort and reliability are two things that define the Nova Comet 325. The wheelchair is a perfect blend of function and form. Its padded seat folds back down and makes storage and transportation easier.
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- Easy to store and transport as you simply need to push the sides together
- Ergonomically designed and padded for maximum comfort
- Has durable tires that give a smooth and comfortable ride
- Has swing-away leg rests and detachable desk arms that make it entering or exiting the chair easy
- Has a strong, functional frame with a cross-brace that can support up to 250 lbs.
You will find everything you need in a basic wheelchair in the Blue Streak model. The wheelchair has desk arms that flip to the back to allow easy entry and exit as well as engaging in particular activities. To leave the chair, just swing away the elevated leg rests/footrests.
The Blue Streak wheelchair gets its name from its blue, powder-coated frame. The chair has a sturdy black cross-brace that makes it not only stable but also strong. Its tires are made of solid rubber on composite wheels. The wheels are low-maintenance, durable and provide a comfortable ride.
The back and seat have a durable, nylon upholstery that is easy to maintain. The wheelchair weighs about 42 lbs., has an 18-inch or 20-inch seat and can carry anyone weighing up to 250 lbs.
The Blue Streak wheelchair features a durable frame reinforced with a black cross-brace. The wheelchair has a single axle and moves comfortably on composite wheels made of durable, solid rubber. This makes the Blue Streak the best lightweight wheelchair in the market.
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- Is stable thanks to its hydraulic, anti-tilt support and wide, large 7-inch front wheels
- Features high quality rubber tires designed for traction, especially when going up inclines
- Powered by Soft Pack Polymer Li-ion battery that can keep it running for 8 miles when fully charged
- Portable and easy to transport thanks to its low weight of just 45 lbs.
- The most powerful and best electric wheelchair in the market for its weight
- Folds easily for storage or transportation
Foldawheel Wheelchair 88 is one of the lightest wheelchairs in the world. The mobility equipment is made of high-quality materials and features a compact design. The size of the wheelchair makes it easy to fit into your trunk.
The Foldawheel is powered by Soft Pack Polymer Li-ion batteries. These batteries are not only light in weight, but also durable. When the batteries are fully charged, you can drive the wheelchair for more than 8 miles. You can also add a secondary battery to power the Foldawheel to increase the mileage that can be covered to 16 miles.
The wheelchair has compact, brushless motors that are quiet and save energy. You can easily control the wheelchair using a joystick controller. For comfort and convenience, the leg rests and armrests are movable. There is also anti-tilt support that works with a hydraulic system to reduce the risk of the chair falling backwards.
When you buy the Foldawheel wheelchair, you will also get its charger, which can be packed in a travel bag and carried along.
The Foldawheel PW-999UL has a powerful motor, joystick controller and extendable footrests. The motor is charged by a high capacity battery and can power the wheelchair for up to 8 miles when fully charged. The wheelchair is made of durable aluminium frame that makes it light, weighing only 45 lbs. The Foldawheel is the lightest and most compact motorized wheelchair in the market. The wheelchair is also foldable.
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- Handles up to 250 lbs. of weight
- Easy to enter and exit thanks to the swing-away and folddown footrests
- Made of nylon upholstery that is comfortable, bacteria-resistant and easy to clean
- The frame is made of sturdy steel coated with silver vein powder and comes with a lifetime warranty
- The chair is affordable, economical, durable and comfortable
The Self Transport Folding wheelchair is a basic, manually-driven wheelchair. The mobility aid has large 24-inch rear wheels and solid 8-inch front castors. The traction of the rear wheels is augmented by soft-grip tires.
The Self Transport wheelchair is designed to aid with basic transportation from one place to another in a comfortable manner. It has swing-away, detachable footrests and folds for easy storage and/or transportation. The wheelchair is made of high-quality steel grade coated with silver powder and weighs just 49 lbs.
The Self Transport wheelchair is among the best affordable wheelchairs for seniors. It provides ergonomic support and has some important features. For example, the padded upholstery is easy to maintain and is covered with bacteria-resistant nylon. The armrests are also padded and its wheels are easy to lock.
The wheelchair can support people weighing up to 250 lbs.
This basic, manual wheelchair has a 19-inch seat with a depth of 16 inches. The footrests swing away and are detachable to allow easy entry and exit into the seat. The arms are full length while 8-inch front casters make the wheelchair stable. The wheelchair comes with a 1-year warranty on parts.
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- Highly durable as confirmed through independent lab tests
- Requires very little maintenance
- You can mount the joystick on either the right or left armrest
- Made of an aluminum alloy frame and hence is lightweight
- Transporting the wheelchair is easy
- Can travel up to 10 miles when running on one Lithium ion battery and 20 miles when on two
The EZ Lite Cruiser is a lightweight, foldable motorized wheelchair made of high-quality aluminium alloy. The mobility aid is relatively compact and is one of the best electric wheelchairs you can buy. Without the battery, the wheelchair weighs 44 lbs. and can carry anyone weighing up to 264 lbs.
The EZ Lite wheelchair has 8-inch rear wheels that have rubber for improved traction. The wheelchair is powered by a 250-watts brushless HUB motor that uses one 15 Ah or 10 Ah battery. There is a joystick you can use to operate the wheelchair.
The mobility aid is foldable, which makes it easy to store and transport around. If you are going on a trip, this wheelchair will easily fit the trunk of your car.
The compact, motorized EZ Lite wheelchair weighs 50 lbs. (with battery) and can support anyone weighing up to 250 lbs. Since the wheelchair is foldable, you can easily transport it in any vehicle without needing a lift.
The EZ Lite wheelchair turning radius is at 33 inches. This makes the chair excellent for manoeuvring through tight spaces. The wheelchair is powered by one Lithium battery that can power it up to 10 miles per charge. You can add another battery to attain up to 20 miles per charge.
If you are looking for a powerful and economical wheelchair, you cannot go wrong with the EZ Lite.
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- The wheelchair rear wheels are farther back, making it more stable
- Durable and affordable
- Lightweight upholstery made of nylon fabric that is easy to maintain
- The frame is made of sturdy carbon steel
- Has extendable, padded armrests, elevated leg rests, and a padded head cushion for comfort
- Can be adjusted up to 180 degrees thanks to its hydraulic mechanism
The Drive Silver Sport Reclining wheelchair stands out for its comfort. The wheelchair uses hydraulic recliner technology and can be adjusted up to 180 degrees. Support extensions and padded arms make the wheelchair comfortable.
The wheels do not require any maintenance, are light and stable. To reduce the risk of tilting, the rear wheels are set back on the frame. Rear anti-tippers further reduce the risk of tilting. The armrests are detachable and set at desk length with extensions for when you decide to recline.
Carbon steel material with a silver vein finish is used to construct the frame. The durable frame comes with a limited lifetime warranty, weighs 60 lbs. and can support people weighing up to 300 lbs.
The Silver Sport wheelchair seat is 20 inches. The chair upholstery is made of lightweight nylon that is easy to maintain. For extra comfort, there is a headrest extension with a cushioned head immobilizer.
The Silver Sport Reclining is one of the most comfortable wheelchairs in the market. The mobility aid has a hydraulic reclining mechanism that makes it adjustable by up to 180 degrees.
When reclining the wheelchair, you can maintain stability thanks to the support extensions of the detachable arms. The headrest is also extendable and has a cushion for maximum comfort and stability. There are rear anti-tippers and push-to-lock wheels that reduce the risk of you tilting backwards.
The Silver Sport wheelchair frame is made of a touch carbon steel material that requires minimal maintenance.
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- Has detachable footrests
- The seat is made of nylon materials that are comfortable and easy to maintain
- Made of powder-coated aluminium that makes it lightweight
- Can support users weighing up to 300 lbs.
- Has a seatbelt and easily accessible access loop-lock handbrake for stability
- Has 12-inch large rear wheels that ensure excellent performance even when on uneven surfaces
You can easily move from place to place with the Medline Transport wheelchair. The chair is light, compact, comfortable and durable. This is also one of the best affordable wheelchairs you go for. Weighing only 23 lbs., the wheelchair is easy to fold for storage or to transport in a car.
For safety, the Medline wheelchair has loop-lock handbrakes. Its 12-inch rear wheels offer stability and traction. The wheelchair seat measures 18”x16”, is made of reinforced nylon upholstery and comes with a seat belt.
The Medline is made of high quality aluminum frame that can hold up to 300 lbs. The wheelchair parts have a one-year warranty while the frame has a limited lifetime warranty.
The Medline Transport wheelchair frame is made of a powder coated aluminum. The wheelchair has a lightweight upholstery made of easy-to-maintain nylon. The armrests are comfortable thanks to the existing padding. There are loopbrakes to control the wheelchair while stability is ensured by a seatbelt.
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FAQs About Wheelchairs
What is a transport wheelchair?
This is a mobility aid that is a light wheelchair. A wheelchair is ideal for seniors or disabled individuals that are usually active. A transport wheelchair does not have manual wheels like a standard wheelchair does.
What is a Bariatric wheelchair?
This is a wheelchair that can transport more weight than a standard wheelchair. While a standard wheelchair is designed to carry up to 250 lbs. of weight, a bariatric wheelchair can carry even more pounds.
What is the cost of a motorized wheelchair?
The prices of motorized wheelchairs vary depending on type, accessories available, options and features. You can get cheap manual wheelchairs for as little as $100 to expensive ones that cost about $1000.
Motorized wheelchairs are even more expensive than manual ones because of the technology they use. The cheapest motorized wheelchairs start at about $1000 while top-of-the-line ones can cost as much as $10,000. The brand, type and features of a wheelchair will determine its price.
Motorized wheelchairs designed for climbing or going through steep and tough terrain can cost as much as $30,000.
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Which is the best wheelchair brand?
There are many good wheelchair brands in the market. You should know your budget and requirements to determine which wheelchair will be ideal for you. The top three wheelchair brands are Wheelchair88, NOVA and Drive Medical.
- Wheelchair 88
This company is known for its range of products meant to assist seniors, the disabled and injured with mobility. Their popular products include walkers, canes and wheelchairs.
Wheelchair88’s main office is in Sacramento, US.
- NOVA Medical
Founded in 1993, NOVA focuses on producing equipment for physically challenged individuals. Its range of products include mobility aids such as walkers, canes and wheelchairs. The company’s offices are in Los Angeles, CA.
- Drive Medical
Formerly known as Drive DeVibliss Healthcare, Drive Medical has been in operations since 2000. The company manufactures and markets products meant to improve the independence and quality of life of seniors. The company’s headquarters is in Washington, NY.
Where to buy wheelchairs
You can buy wheelchairs from local stores such as QVC, Walgreens and other medical stores. The company websites of wheelchair manufacturers such as NOVA, Wheelchair88 and Drive Medical are also good places to check the selection of wheelchairs available. Amazon and other online retailers also carry the best wheelchairs in the market.
Final Thoughts (Conclusion)
Seniors who want to be more independent can use wheelchairs to improve their mobility. The chairs are perfect modes of transport for seniors that love going shopping, traveling or simply strolling around the house or at the park.
You can find the best wheelchairs to buy by considering your needs. Choose a wheelchair that fits your body well and that will complement your lifestyle.
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