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Selecting the best manual wheelchair involves considering various factors to ensure that the wheelchair meets the your specific needs and preferences. Here are some important considerations:
1. User's Measurements: Seat Width and Depth: Measure the user's hips and thighs to determine the appropriate seat width and depth. The user should sit comfortably without feeling cramped or too loose. Seat-to-Floor Height: Measure the distance from the user's heel to the back of their knee while they are sitting. This measurement helps determine the seat-to-floor height for proper foot placement.
2. Mobility Requirements: Self-Propulsion vs. Assistance: Consider whether the user will self-propel or if they will require assistance. This affects the type of wheels and handrims needed. Wheel Size: Larger wheels provide better propulsion efficiency. Users with good upper body strength may prefer larger rear wheels for easier self-propulsion.
3. Weight Capacity: Ensure that the wheelchair can support the user's weight. It's crucial to consider both the user's body weight and any additional weight from accessories or personal items.
4. Frame Material: Wheelchair frames are commonly made of aluminum or steel. Aluminum is lighter but may be more expensive, while steel is durable but heavier.
5. Folding vs. Rigid Frame: Folding frames are easier to transport and store, but rigid frames generally provide better performance. Consider the user's lifestyle and transportation needs.
6. Adjustability: some wheelchairs offer adjustable features such as seat height, backrest angle, and footrest height. Adjustability can enhance comfort and accommodate changing needs.
7. Cushion and Back Support: Choose appropriate cushions and backrests to provide comfort and support. The right seat cushion can help prevent pressure sores. The proper back support can aid in good posture, for ideal line of visual sight.
8. Armrests and Footrests: Consider the type of armrests and footrests that are most comfortable for the user. Options include detachable or flip-back armrests and swing-away or elevated leg rests.
9. Transportation and Storage: If transportation is a concern, consider the weight and folding mechanism of the wheelchair. Ensure it fits easily into the user's vehicle.
10. Budget: Wheelchairs come in a range of prices. Consider the budget and explore options that provide the best balance of features and affordability.
SpinLife groups wheelchairs into 5 basic groups to help you narrow down which wheelchair category might be right for you.1. Transport & Basic Wheelchairs
With four small wheels and lightweight frames, transport chairs are the perfect choice for moving someone to and from the house or around the mall. Transport wheelchairs are narrow, making them a good choice for tight hallways and narrow doorways around the house. These chairs are meant to be pushed by someone else, so the person in the wheelchair will not be able to self-propel.
Basic or standard wheelchairs have starting weights around 35 pounds, basic wheelchairs are a reasonable choice when you need a wheelchair that will be used for less than 4 hours per day and when the user needs to self-propel, but you won’t be moving the wheelchair from place to place much. Our selection ranges from the most basic models with fixed legrests and armrests to models that have elevating legrests and removable armrests. There are also models with a "hemi" height option, which allows the user to lower the set-to-floor height and remove the legrests so they can use their feet to help propel the chair. All of these chairs fold for transport and storage, but keep in mind that they can be on the heavy side, so we recommend considering a lightweight chair if you intent to take the chair with you in the car. Many people also find a cushion helpful for additional comfort.
These chairs weigh between 28-34 pounds, and are a great choice when you need a chair that will be used more frequently and that is easy to move from place to place. Lightweight wheelchairs also offer more customizable options than basic wheelchairs. Custom options include adjustable angle backs, more frame and upholstery colors, pneumatic (air-filled) tires, easy to remove wheels, a wide range of seating sizes and heights, and multiple legrest and armrest choices. These are our most popular chairs, and the category we most highly recommend. Many of the chairs are offered in Quick Ship configurations and can be on their way to you the same day you order.
Ultralightweight chairs weigh as little as 14 pounds and are available in both rigid and folding models. An ultralightweight chair is ideal for advanced users who spend the majority of their day in their chair and users who demand superior performance. These chairs are highly customizable and made to fit you like a glove. Our Product Experts can help you to select and configure the perfect ultralightweight wheelchair to fit your lifestyle and preferences perfectly.
Heavy Duty chairs can be transport wheelchairs, basic wheelchairs, or highly configurable models. The weight capacity for a heavy duty wheelchair will range from 300 pounds to 850 pounds. Our transport models will feature removable armrests and Legrests. Standard models will typically have seat will have seat widths ranging from 18" to 24". Seat heights that can be adjusted to 19.5" or 17.5" for those who propel with their feet. Higher weight capacity models will seat width options up to 30" and will have options as varied as our most complex ultra lightweights.
5. Specialty Wheelchairs
Reclining Wheelchairs: Manual chairs with reclining backs and elevating legrests
Sport Wheelchairs: From the track to the court - wheelchairs for all sports and recreation
Shower and Toileting Chairs: Added bathroom safety with roll-in shower chairs
Beach Wheelchairs: These can handle the sand and surf