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How Wide Does a Doorway Need to be for a Wheelchair?

 

Whether you are a wheelchair user yourself, or someone trying to make your business or home more accessible, knowing how wide a doorway needs to be is crucial.

A good rule of thumb for a standard wheelchair is about 27” wide. Standard interior doors are 28”, which makes for a tight fit. Exterior doors generally run 36” wide.

Depending on size and type, a wheelchair's width could range from 21” (for narrow transport chairs) to 40” wide (for heavy duty wheelchairs).

If you are purchasing a wheelchair, be sure to measure all the doorways, interior and exterior, and any tight corners before making your purchase. This may narrow down what type of wheelchair you can use indoors, especially in smaller or older homes. The size of every wheelchair should be included with the manufacturer's specifications.

Helpful Hints:

  • Consider the approach to the door: is there room to maneuver to head straight through?
  • Once you pass through the door, do you need to turn or maneuver immediately? How narrow is the turn?

  • Once you pass through the door, do you need to turn or maneuver immediately? How narrow is the turn?

  • Is there a threshold or lip, or any other sort of separation or break in the flooring? If so, consider a small ramp to ease your wheelchair over the barrier.

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) sets forth the following recommendations:

  • A door requires a minimum of 32” with a maximum of 48” which would accommodate most wheelchairs. (Hallways require 36”). 

  • The height of a door should be 80”.

  • Hardware, such as handles and locks should not be higher than 48” from the floor.
  • Thresholds higher than ½ inch require a ramp. 


Additional helpful wheelchair measurements:

Seated figure in wheelchair with door frame.

 

How Wide Does a Doorway Need to be for a Wheelchair?