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Wheelchair Guide - Buying the perfect wheelchair

Finding a wheelchair that works for you doesn’t have to be hard. With the help of this guide, you can easily make an informed decision.

Wheel chair Type Price Range1 Effort Required To Navigate Ease of Steering & Maneuvering Average Weight1 Ease of Storage & Transportation
Transport $95 - $300 No effort Average 15 – 20 lbs. High
Manual $125 - $550 Effort required Easiest 35 - 40 lbs.
(LW2: 27 - 35 lbs.)
Scooter $600 - $4,260 Some effort Difficult 220 – 400 lbs. Low
Power $1,400 - $2,150 Some effort Easy 150 - 400 lbs. Low

1 Values are approximate. 2 LW - lightweight

Transport Wheelchairs Transport Chair

The least expensive and lightest chairs are the transport wheelchairs. Since they are designed to be propelled by an attendant, they are also known as attendant or companion chairs. Their average weight of 15 to 20 pounds means easy transportation and storage. With this push-chair, you may want to look into cushions for extra comfort, especially if you will be using it for longer periods of time. Heavy duty transport wheelchairs should be used for heavier individuals.


Manual Wheelchairs Manual Wheelchair

For independent individuals with enough upper body and arm strength, the manual wheelchair is the most efficient and affordable option. Self-propelled wheelchairs are propelled by the occupant by turning the rails of the large rear wheels. These chairs are durable and are great for long-term use, especially since the exercise it provides is beneficial to the user's overall health.

This basic wheelchair, which can weigh up to 40 pounds, can be folded and supports, on average, up to 250 pounds. For a lighter chair that requires less effort, you’ll want to look at lightweight manual wheelchairs. Heavy duty wheelchairs provide more support for higher than average weights.

Reclining wheelchairs have controls that allow the backrest to recline from its normal upright position.


Scooters Mobility scooter

Mobility scooters are a fun and often cheaper alternative to power wheelchairs and are navigated by the occupant with a tiller  that has direction and speed controls. Although they are more difficult to transport and maneuver, power scooters have the advantages of a swiveling seat that makes it easier to get on, and longer distance capacity on a single charge.

An extra battery or two can and should be stored on the scooter.

4-Wheel scooters are good for outdoor use, especially when the terrain is rugged, while 3-Wheel scooters are ideal for indoor use, and provide more legroom.

For those who like traveling, we recommend using portable travel scooters, which can either fold or disassemble for easier transport.


Power Wheelchairs Power Wheelchair

With power wheelchairs, less mobility doesn't have to mean less independence. Motorized wheelchairs have an electric motor and are navigated with an easy-access joystick .

Electric-powered wheelchairs are also more practical for outdoor use when the terrain is uneven and are more maneuverable than scooters and transport wheelchairs.


Pediatric Wheelchairs Pediatric Wheelchair

Pediatric wheelchairs are designed with kids in mind, with seat width and depth adjustability to accommodate children's growth. These chairs are typically lightweight and have an average seat width of 14 inches.


CushionsWheelchair cushion

Wheelchair cushions are an important part of making your wheelchair comfortable and safe.  Pressure management, positioning and sitting stability can all be provided with the use of seat cushions.

Cushions vary by the material it is filled with: air, foam or gel. You can now also get a Gel Foam cushion, a combo cushion with gel packed inside. Choose the cushion type best suited to your individual needs by referring to the chart below.


 Price RangePositioningSeating Surface StabilityLow MaintenanceAdjustable FirmnessPressure Reduction
Foam Cushions $20 - $215 Good Good Yes No None
Gel/Gel Foam Cushions $28 - $180 Best Good Yes No Good/Best
Air Cushions $80 - $400 Low Low No Yes Best

Many customers prefer foam cushions because they are inexpensive and lightweight. A contoured foam cushion provides improved sitting stability and comfort.

The most popular cushion is the Gel/Foam variety, a relatively inexpensive but dependable cushion that offers better pressure relief than foam cushions.

Gel cushions such as EquaGel are more expensive, but they can be contoured for better support and excellent pressure distribution. EquaGel is more durable than regular gel cushions because it is filled with solid gel and won’t leak like their liquid counterparts.

Air cushions are used by patients at high risk of pressure sores and need proper maintenance to ensure that they’re functioning properly.

The higher-priced cushions are quality cushions designed for therapeutic purposes such as sore prevention.


Accessories Wheelchair Accessories

Your needs are unique, and it’s easy to make your wheelchair unique, too.

Add accessories such as cup holders, trays and carry bags for your convenience and wheelchair parts like anti-tippers, break extensions and seat belts for your safety.

Also look into options such as wheelchair ramps and wheelchair replacement parts.

Wheelchair guide - how to choose the best wheelchair for your needs


At AvaCare Medical, we’re here to help you find a wheelchair that works for your needs.
If you’re still confused about your options, give us a call today at 1-877-813-7799.

Disclaimer: No information presented on this website is medical advice or intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician. All information on this website concerning medical conditions is from publicly available sources.


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