Manual Wheelchair Types & Styles

Once it' decided a wheelchair is needed, the first decision that the buyer needs to make is on the type that will be most suitable. Your retailer will help you work through the choices but it's helpful if you know what your options are before you contact them.

Below are a list of manual wheelchair styles and a brief description of each:

Economy Wheelchairs: These are the lowest priced wheelchairs that the user is able to propel themselves. They usually have folding steel frames and all the basic necessities but offer few, if any, options and can not be modified or adjusted beyond the foot plate height. They are suitable for occasional trips and short term use and often are found in stores as loaner wheelchairs. Approximate Cost: $150.00 to $300.00

Standard Wheelchairs: Standard wheelchairs are a step up and usually have a bit heavier frames than economy wheelchairs but otherwise they very similar. They are also suitable for short trips and occasional use but can usually be found in institutions where they will be heavily used by multiple users and need to be able to withstand a certain amount of misuse and abuse. Approximate cost: $450.00 to $1,000.00

Lightweight Wheelchairs: These wheelchairs have lighter weight folding aluminum frames, are available in multiple sizes and offer many different options. The lightweight wheelchair is intended for frequent use by a single user and the user can usually choose the size and type of wheels, seat height, seat width, back height, arm style, footrest style, upholstery type/colour, frame colour and more. The base price of a lightweight wheelchair will be a round $900.00 but once the different options are chosen the low end will likely be around $1,200.00 and could rise to as much as $2,000.00

Lightweight Adjustable Wheelchairs:The lightweight adjustable wheelchair is very similar to the lightweight chair but will have an adjustable axle plate, and possibly, adjustable caster angles. These chairs are intended for single user use and can be adjusted for seat angle (front to back, also known as seat dump), the camber of the rear wheels (angled inward at the top) and to adjust the center of gravity which will affect the ease of propulsion. The base price of a lightweight wheelchair will be a round $1,200.00 but once the different options are chosen the low end will likely be around $1,500.00 and could rise to as much as $2,500.00

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Rigid Wheelchairs: Rigid wheelchairs are non-folding wheelchairs with frames usually made of aluminum but could be titanium (very,very light & strong) or other exotic materials. These chairs are very light and are custom configured for a specific user. They have few options and are ideal for teens and adults who lead very active lives requiring strong and rugged wheelchairs. The prices can vary greatly based on several factors but the low end will be around $2,000.00 and a high end titanium could be as much as $10,000.00

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