The humble wheelchair may not seem like a hotbed of innovation, but you’d be wrong. Over the last decade, a range of new wheelchair technologies has to come to market which means wheelchair users today have more choice than ever before.
So in this blog, we thought we’d summarise the most popular wheelchair types. This is far from an exhaustive list. Wheelchairs today can be tailored to meet the needs of any user, but these are the wheelchairs which meet the most common use cases.
The manual wheelchair is the most common type, where the user propels the chair forwards and backwards using their arms. This type of chair also comes with handles which allow a second person to push the chair from behind.
The advantage of manual wheelchairs is that they are light and easily manoeuvrable for both the user and carer. They can also be easily folded down, allowing them to be transported in a car or on public transport.
This means manual wheelchairs provide users with a degree of independence so long as they have strong arms. However, extended use of manual wheelchairs can lead to fatigue which may restrict their use somewhat.
Motorised wheelchairs have an electric motor which drives the back wheels. The motor is controlled by the user via a joystick, although other options are available for people with restricted arm or hand movement.
This type of chair resolves the issue of fatigue in manual wheelchairs and provides support for users with impaired strength in their arms. This gives all wheelchair-bound users more independence compared to a manual chair.
However, the downside to this type of chair is that they are extremely heavy, which restricts their use somewhat. Also, they cannot be folded down which means travelling on some types of public transport may present an issue with this type of chair.
Paediatric wheelchairs are specifically designed for children. They are usually smaller than regular wheelchairs and come with a wider range of styling options to help children personalise them to their own taste.
A wide range of paediatric wheelchairs is available including both manual and powered options. Chairs can also be tailored to specific disabilities such as those with specific mobility disorders.
Paediatric wheelchairs give children the option to lead more independent lives. They can also help children improve their balance and coordination by improving muscle tone. This will also help them to remain healthier throughout their lives.
Sports wheelchairs are designed to help wheelchair-bound users participate in various sports. They are usually manual and designed for specific sports such as basketball, tennis and football.
This type of chair is typically smaller and lighter than a traditional wheelchair. The user is also positioned lower to the ground to improve stability. Most sports wheelchairs also protect the user’s legs to avoid injury.
Sports wheelchairs allow wheelchair-bound users to lead more active lives. But because they are designed for specific sports and made from more exotic materials such as carbon fibre. they are much more expensive than traditional wheelchairs.
All-terrain wheelchairs are designed to give users the ability to transverse rough ground. They are particularly useful for wheelchair-bound users who live in remote areas such as the outback or mountainous regions.
They typically come with wider wheels fitted with heavy-duty off-road tyres. Because of this most all-terrain vehicles are motorised with the motor and batteries placed low in the chassis to improve stability.
All-terrain wheelchairs afford users more independence and allow them to visit places that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. However, these wheelchairs are heavy, so they are not suitable for everyday use.
As you can see there is a wheelchair for almost any application, gone are the days when wheelchair users had to be pushed around by a carer 24 hours a day. The latest wheelchairs provide more freedom and independence than ever before. If you would like help choosing the right wheelchair. Get in touch with our mobility specialists by completing the form here.