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When you are shopping for a manual wheelchair, you notice quickly there is a huge range of prices out there. Let’s look at the materials that go into making the frames of wheelchairs so we understand the reason for the wide range of prices.
Standard wheelchairs are made from mild steel. It is inexpensive, easy to work, readily available, and versatile. It is fairly strong, but in order to be very durable the metal itself has to be thick, so your wheelchair will weigh in between 37 and 52 lbs. on average. Standard wheelchairs are the least When expensive to buy.
Lightweight wheelchairs are built from high strength alloy steel, which is easy to work with and stronger than mild steel. Since it is stronger, the frame metal does not have to be as thick so a chair made of high strength alloy steel will be lighter- 33 to 37 lbs. most of the time. High strength lightweight wheelchairs are lighter and more expensive.
Ultra-light wheelchairs are built for performance, so they use the lightest materials available that can stand up to the kinds of stress’ they will be subject to. Aircraft aluminum is sometimes combined with high-performance aluminum to create chairs that are super strong and very light. Top of the line ultralight wheelchairs are made from Titanium, which is truly an exotic, and expensive metal requiring special tooling and construction techniques to fabricate. Some ultra-light frames weigh as little as 14 or 15 lbs., and as you might imagine, the cost of these highly custom chairs can run into the thousands of dollars.