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The Weight of Mobility: How to Select the Right Wheelchair for Your Needs

The primary purpose of mobility equipment and wheelchair technology is to allow individuals to move more comfortably. A wheelchair, in particular, provides users with better mobility in their daily lives. However, it's not just about mobility. We believe that it is about the quality of mobility. 1800Wheelchair has spent time developing a product line of lightweight wheelchairs to ensure our customers have the lightest mobility options on the market. 

All wheelchairs have specifications you need to consider before buying. However, wheelchair weight plays an important role in how well it meets your needs, specifically in how well it moves and how much comfort it provides. Additionally, its weight is a factor in how safe it is to use. By familiarizing yourself with these different factors, you gain a better understanding of what to look for when selecting a custom lightweight wheelchair

The Importance of Wheelchair Weight

Several factors come into play when selecting a wheelchair by its weight. Keep them in mind to select the best option for your medical and lifestyle needs. 

Balance

The purpose of a wheelchair is to provide you with better mobility. It means you’ll likely be leaning sideways and bending forward and backward while you’re seated. You risk falling out of the wheelchair when its weight is incompatible with your center of balance. 

  • A lighter wheelchair might topple over when you lean or bend to reach for something. You also risk suffering from additional injuries when the chair falls on top of you.
  • A heavier wheelchair gives you ample support to move around. But it can also make it harder to carry out daily activities. 

Experts advise that you practice leaning and bending in different directions when selecting a wheelchair. This will give you better insight into how compatible the wheelchair is in meeting your needs. 

Mobility

If you plan to operate the wheelchair on your own, you need to make sure you can move it easily and comfortably. Operating a manual wheelchair requires significant upper body strength. 

  • A lighter wheelchair presents braking problems when you’re unused to its weight. Going too fast, for example, can result in accidents when you don’t have proper control over your wheelchair.
  • A heavier wheelchair might exacerbate existing medical conditions because of the difficulty in moving it. It can lead to muscle strains and other musculoskeletal problems.   

When selecting a wheelchair, determine how often you will use it and where you plan to use it. These things will help you decide on the equipment’s weight.  

Comfort

Your comfort is another factor to keep in mind when selecting a wheelchair. Most wheelchairs may be equipped with specialized enhancements to provide additional support, but these come at the cost of extra weight. 

  • A lighter wheelchair is better for additional enhancements. Its initial weight can offset the heaviness of these attachments. 
  • A heavier wheelchair’s mobility will be affected by these enhancements. Without the help of a motor, you might find it hard to operate the chair. 

When looking for a wheelchair with enhancements, consider testing it out on the floor. It will give you better insight into how well you can move around with the additional weight. 

Choosing the Right Wheelchair for You 

Wheelchairs come in two main categories: manual and electric. The latter is often heavier because of its built-in motor and battery pack. But these provide user convenience in terms of mobility. A manual wheelchair, on the other hand, comes in a wide range of designs and weight categories. Although slightly less convenient, manual wheelchairs continue to be the most popular because of their functionality and affordability.

When selecting a manual wheelchair, consider asking yourself the following questions. Your answers will help you determine what you need in this type of equipment. They can provide you with additional information in identifying the weight of your wheelchair. 

How often will you use it?

If you plan to use your wheelchair in most of your activities, you should consider one that has a simple and light design. A heavier wheelchair is better suited for occasional usage. 

Where will you use it?

Although most wheels on wheelchairs are highly durable and resistant to wear, different surfaces can accelerate their deterioration. If you live in an area with rough and uneven roads, you should consider finding wheels made for outdoor use. These also come with better traction, providing you with better control and enhanced safety. 

How will you move it?

Although all manual wheelchairs are designed to be foldable, some are bulkier than others. This is often due to design specifications, like footrests. If you plan on loading your wheelchair in a car, consider its size when folded. Additionally, determine the difficulty of this process to identify potential problems. If it’s too heavy, you might have a hard time lifting it in and out of your car. 

1800Wheelchair: Your Partner in Finding the Right Wheelchair for Your Lifestyle

For over two decades, 1800Wheelchair has provided high-quality mobility equipment to people throughout the US and UK. We have a wide selection of products, including different types of manual wheelchairs. Using our industry expertise, we can help you find a wheelchair that suits your lifestyle. 

Get in touch with us to find out more. Call us on 1-800-32-7140 or email us at [email protected]