Manual wheelchairs are non-electric wheelchairs. They can be pushed by a caregiver or can be self-propelled. Standard manual chairs weigh more than 36lbs and have a weight capacity of 250lbs or less. Heavy-duty chairs have a weight capacity greater than 250lbs. Lightweight wheelchairs are light, foldable, portable and easy-to-store manual wheelchairs with high demand. They normally weigh between 28-34lbs. When buying a manual wheelchair, consider the following:
-large rear wheels, which make wheelchairs easier to maneuver
-wheels positioned further forward on an adjustable axle that need less effort to move the chair
-lightweight chairs that fold or can be dismantled easily if the wheelchair has to be lifted and transported regularly
-seat size, angle and style, and position of the foot, back and arm rests – these should all be taken into account when thinking about the comfort of the chair
Wheelchair specifications are very important –the specifications of a wheelchair that you intend to buy will depend on your structure and conditions (or those of the intended user, if you’re buying it for someone else).
Seat width: This should not be confused with space between the arms. For this, you should measure the patient bottom in the back when sitting on a flat surface.
Space between arms: This determines whether the user can actually fit into the wheelchair. This is the space between one arm of the wheelchair to the other.
Seat depth: The height of the user is very important when considering the depth of the chair –this is measured from the front of the seat to the back. On the user, you would need to measure from the back of the buttocks to the inside of their knee while they are in a seated position on a flat surface.
Seat-to-floor-height: This is the height from the floor to the seat. If it is too short, the user’s leg will drag on the floor, and if it is too long, the user’s legs will dangle.
Product weight capacity: You should generally buy a wheelchair that can handle at least 50lbs more than your body weight.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of specifications that you should take into account before buying a wheelchair. We encourage that you speak with a healthcare professional, such as your doctor or physical therapist, for advice before purchasing a wheelchair, and of course, that you shop around before undertaking this expensive investment.