Friday, 28 November 2008

How do I know which Wheelchair to buy?

We get a lot of people contacting us about what are the differences between the many wheelchairs on offer. It can be quite confusing as there are many different types and all have their benefits for certain needs.

Wheelchairs are probably the most widely used walking aids and by far the most suitable for disabled people. Despite being larger than other walking aids such as 3 or 4 wheeled walkers, often called 'zimmer frames', they are by far the most versatile as they can be used both indoors and outdoors. As the technology has developed, there have been more and more types of wheelchair available for people to use and suitable for a variety of different needs. Not only have the frames changed in materials, from the heavier steel to the lightweight aluminium frames, but they now come with powered motors for even more mobility control.

As the developments have made the selection even greater, getting the right wheelchair for you requires considering things such as age, disability, personal lifestyle and budget. Broadly, wheelchairs fit into two distinct categories; Electric (or powered) Wheelchairs and Manual Wheelchairs.

Electric Wheelchairs

The more advanced electric wheelchair comes with its own battery and motor to drive the chair by a 'joysitck' controller. Being much more rigid and heavier than manual wheelchairs, not only do they offer excellent manouverability but also confidence to the person to get out and about with ease. Some powered wheelchairs even come with a rotating seat for aiding people to get on or off. These wheelchairs are perfect for conserving energy as they do not need to be propelled.

Manual Wheelchairs

The more traditional form of wheelchair is available for different kinds of needs, including sports, travel, indoor and outdoor use. Most of these wheelchairs are propelled using upper body strength and have features that make it easier for people to do so. Some of the wheelchairs are designed to be pushed and have a heavier and more sturdier frame for durability and practical use. Manual wheelchairs can be separated into different categories according to the requirements of the user:

Lightweight Wheelchairs

Lightweight Wheelchairs mostly made from Aluminium making them not only strong by very light and easy to propel. The rigid frame can also come with larger wheels making them easy to and manoeuvre. The lightweight frame is ideal for travel and certain products can have a folding frame, allowing the wheelchair to be packed away in the back of a car. Lightweight wheelchairs were originally designed for sports but as they are both portable and easy to use they are very adaptable for everyday use.

Folding Wheelchairs

Most manual wheelchairs fit into this category as they have the benefits of having a collapsible frame. Folding wheelchairs can also come with folding or detachable leg rests to make them ideal for folding away for starage in the home and for travel. As they do not have any removable parts, these wheelchairs are ideal for temporary use or storing in the home.

Travel Wheelchairs

Travel wheelchairs have the benefit of being the most portable wheelchairs available. Being the most lightweight of all wheelchairs, they are suited for occasional use and getting to and from places. Collapsible, lightweight and durable they are often used for both indoor and outdoor use such as transit to and from a car, using in shopping centres or retail locations and for short distance flat terrain applications.

When considering which wheelchair is the best for you, it is best to think about the needs of the user and also what is the most convenient wheelchair for you. The prices vary from different suppliers but it is always best to check the level of after sales service and customer care before you buy. Wheelchairs can make a real difference in someone's life so be sure to think about what is best for you and where the best place to purchase it from is. stock a wide variety of Manual and Electric Wheelchairs for every individual's needs and budget.

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