If you're a wheelchair user, one of the new
lightweight wheelchairs available might be better for you than
one that's of a heavier weight. That depends on your situation,
of course, but if you're active and want a wheelchair that's
easy to maneuver and get around in, one of the newer model
lightweight wheelchairs might just be for you.
Advantages to Lightweight Wheelchairs
Today's lightweight wheelchairs are every bit as sturdy as
their heavier weight counterparts, but they're much easier to
maneuver and transport. So, you get strength and lightness in
one chair, which is an advantage. It's much easier to push this
type of chair in outdoor situations, too, and the frame and
wheels adapt themselves to rough terrain much easier so that
you don't just have to limit yourself to the indoors.
Perhaps the most popular brand in lightweight wheelchairs
today is the Quickie. In general, these chairs are going to
cost around $1000, but they're made of aluminum titanium, which
is very sturdy and should last several years for even the most
Most lightweight wheelchairs come with two types of frames
for you to choose from. That is, rigid or folding. Both of
these have advantages and disadvantages.
Folding wheelchairs have many of the advantages of rigid
frames, but they're generally easier to transport. That means,
if you're driving in your car and you need to sit down in the
front seat, pull your wheelchair up to fold it, and stick it
behind your back seat, you should have a much easier time doing
so with a folding lightweight wheelchair. The wheels can stay
on your folding lightweight wheelchair, which means it's less
messy to take in and out of your car, too. With these types of
chairs, generally, the foot pedals fold up so that they can
stay on the wheelchair when you fold it; they'll also detach if
this is easier for you.
Rigid frame lightweight wheelchairs are generally more
stable on rough ground than are folding lightweight
wheelchairs, so they're better for lots of outdoor use. One of
their disadvantages, though, is that the frame itself does not
fold, so it's a little tougher to transport. Folding frame
wheelchairs, for example, fold up to very narrow dimensions so
that they can fit in small spaces like the backseat of a car.
By contrast, the rigid frame wheelchair's dimensions are its
seat width plus a couple of inches for protuberances. With the
rigid frame wheelchair, you take the wheels off by what are
called "quick release axle" options to make it "narrower" for
transport; although the wheels are very easy to release,
remember that wheels do come into contact with the ground and
can be dirty. This can mean that it's quite messy in bad
weather or snow, for example, to disassemble and reassemble
your wheelchair when you're getting in and out of your car.
Finally, some people use both rigid frame and folding
lightweight wheelchairs, depending on the user's needs. For
example, rigid frame wheelchairs are better for very active
sporty-type activities, while folding frame wheelchairs are
much easier to transport, as previously discussed, and
therefore may be better used when you're going to work at a
relatively sedentary job or are going to be indoors.