Let’s face it, the options available to us when it comes to wheelchairs is overwhelming, but we’ve put together this informative buying guide to help you make the correct purchase.

 

Throughout our wheelchair buying guide, we’ll help you understand the key differences between certain wheelchairs and help you identify which product is the right one for you.

Manual or Electric?
First thing to consider is whether the user’s requirements specifically point towards a powered wheelchair operated using a joystick, or a manual wheelchair. Usually, the decision between a manual wheelchair or powerchair is an easy one, but both feature their own pros and cons.

Additional power packs are available that can transform a manual wheelchair into a powered wheelchair such as the TGA Powerpack Duo. This allows the attendant to easily push the user using a powered motor that connects the wheelchair frame.

When it comes to popular products in both of these categories, we always recommend the following:

Manual wheelchair – Karma Ergo Lite II
Powerchair – KWK D09 All-terrain Powerchair

 

The KWK D09 is a powerful all-terrain powerchair made from alloy and features lithium batteries.

 

Self-propel or attendant-controlled
If choosing a manual wheelchair, you may wish to wheel yourself along with a ‘self-propel’ wheelchair. These wheelchairs have larger wheels and hand-rims but most have handles for attendants when needed. ‘Attendant-controlled’ or ‘transit’ wheelchairs have smaller rear wheels. If you need the best of both options, a self-propel wheelchair would be the better choice.

Self-propel wheelchair: Karma S-Ergo 115
Attendant-controlled wheelchair: TGA Strongback

 

The TGA Strongback is the perfect all-rounder, available in a transit and self-propel model and comfortable S-ergo backrest.

 

Equipment weight
Is folding/collapsing the wheelchair/powerchair going to be a regular occurrence? If so, it’s a good thing to take a look into the products overall compact size when collapsed, and also its weight. Although most wheelchairs are made out of aluminium and only weight around 10kg, cheaper alternatives are often built out of steel and can weight up to 18kg, proving difficult to lift. Let’s take a look at two very different wheelchair options:

Alerta Crash-Tested – Transit Wheelchair

  • Price: £179.00 (ex. VAT)
  • Material: Steel
  • Seat width: 17″ (only available option)
  • Max user wight: 18 stone
  • Product weight: 18kg

Karma Mobility Ergo Lite II – Transit Wheelchair

  • Price: £465.00 (ex.VAT)
  • Material: Aluminium
  • Seat width: 18″ (also available in a 16, 20, 22″)
  • Max user weight: 18 stone
  • Product weight: 9.2kg

 

Our best selling wheelchair, the Karma Ego Lite II is incredibly lightweight, weighing in at just 9.2kg.

 

Your measurements
Most wheelchairs and powerchairs are designed for a maximum user weight limit, so be sure to bear this in mind! 18 stone tends to be the user weight limit on a majority of wheelchairs, however many manufacturers offer a HD/bariatric model that can support up to 25 stone. Powerchairs are built to be more robust and offer a generous user weight as standard from 20 stone upwards.

Seat width is also another measurement which you must be aware of. The standard is 18″ wide, whilst narrow (16″) and wide (20/22″) are also available options. Please bear in mind however that wider tends to mean a higher price point! Taller backrests and adjustable footrests mean that finding the right balance between width and height should be rather easy!

Storage
Often overlooked, but rather essential. If you plan on storing your product at home but have limited space, prioritising the compact size of the product could be critical. As mentioned earlier in this blog post, many wheelchairs and powerchairs have a folding/collapsing feature that allows for easy transport. This however varies between products and is something which can be demonstrated to you in-store.

Our Verdict
When it comes to finding the right wheelchair for you, there can be many options to choose from. Establishing exactly what your needs are from the start will certainly help in identifying the right product. Ask yourself these questions when deciding what product you’re looking for:

  1. Does the product need to be powered, or would manual be fine?
  2. Is the occupant able to propel themselves in the wheelchair?
  3. What is the occupants measurements? Is standard width the best fit?
  4. Can the product fold to a size/weight that can be safely lifted and stored?

Of course, if you have any more questions, we’d love to hear them! You can call us on 01223 756440, email via: Info@threecountiesmobility.co.uk or drop by our showroom in Castle Camps, Monday-Thursday, 10:00am to 4:00pm.