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Best Manual Wheelchairs / Best Portable Wheelchairs for Elderly

To find the best lightweight wheelchair, one should know the type of wheelchair they are looking for to help narrow down the list. Once aware of the types of lightest wheelchairs on the market, it is time to get acquainted with features that are available for those models. Learning about the unit’s specifications and their measurements can help also. Comfort and safety tips are always great to know as well and can help with the final decision. Read more...

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What Are the Most Common Lightweight Wheelchairs?

Manual wheelchairs are the most common wheelchair purchased. Manual wheelchairs are often the best choice for customers seeking the lightest folding wheelchairs as well. These units are self-propelled, using hands on the rear caster wheels or using feet to move. Manual wheelchairs are often foldable for storage, portable for transport and travel, reclinable for comfort & safety, and heavy-duty for bariatric use.

Ultra Lightweight Wheelchairs

The best lightweight wheelchairs have many model varieties available. The majority of lightweight wheelchairs will range in product weight of 25 to 35 lbs while the standard wheelchair weighs around 35 to 45 lbs. The best lightweight wheelchairs often feature lighter frames made from tig-welds, however, bariatric lightweight models feature frames that are made of durable, heavy-duty materials and cross bars to assist in supporting their max weight capacity. 

Folding Lightweight Wheelchairs

The best lightweight folding wheelchairs often have features such as removable rigging and a removable rear axle to make them lighter to enable transport, travel, and storage. Many manual wheelchairs have these options available, although some don’t and some are non-collapsible. Often times, the lightest folding wheelchair is going to be one that has no rigging attached to it (e.g., no arm rest, leg rest, or feet rest). For the best choice, one might opt for lighter, more breathable seating material, Mag spokes, lighter frame construct, and minimal rigging attached.

The Best Features of the Best Lightweight Wheelchairs

Most brands offer models with features that can be disassembled to decrease their weight. Some of the best lightweight wheelchairs for the elderly have features such as padded armrests, the ability to remove rear caster axles to become a transport chair, and padded leg rests for comfort. While these ultra-light wheelchairs may seem best for the elderly, they can be great for anyone.

Accessory & Part Adjustments

Many of the best light wheelchairs also have removable rigging, armrests, leg rests and feet. Many self-propelled wheelchairs perhaps have removable 24-inch wheel casters to sit on four 8-inch casters that have removable rigging. These are often referred to as transport chairs.

What Kind of Frame a Wheelchair Has Matters Too

Framing construction has a lot to do with whether a wheelchair makes the list of best light wheelchairs. Some framing might be heavier to users than others. It is important to consider the material in the product information guide. 

The Actual Weight of the Wheelchair and Weight Capacity

Both the weight of the wheelchair itself and its weight capacity remain crucial factors in choosing a chair that’s lightweight and able to accommodate the user’s needs. Sizing of the wheelchair seat, as well as the size of the wheelchair itself, can be a feature that puts it in the lineup for the best rated lightweight wheelchair.

Average Measurements of the Best Lightweight Wheelchairs

Measurements of the best lightweight wheelchairs include seat sizes, weight capacity, frame weight, and frame measurements. 

  • Seat sizes are generally 16 inches (narrow adult), 18 inches (average adult), or 20 inches (wide adult-sized). In order to properly measure the seat size, measure the hips in a straight line from side to side then add around 2 inches to find the seat size that is more appropriate for the individual. Not to worry, though, as seat sizes go up to 30 inches.
  • Frame measurements are typically from seat to ground and are around 18 to 20 inches in height. To measure the preferred height needed, one would need to measure vertically from the back of the knees to the ground, with feet resting flat. If the user would be using footrests, it would be best to add about two more inches that would help with foot clearance when in use. 
  • Weight capacity of lightweight wheelchairs range from 250 lbs to 700 lbs, and usually, the more weight capacity preferred the more durable and heavy duty the frame will be. 
  • Frame weight of a standard manual wheelchair is often between 35 lbs and 45 lbs, but the best lightweight wheelchairs are often between 25lbs-35lbs. Typically there can be customizations available such as removable rigging for when it’s not necessary.

Part Specifics of the Best Lightweight Wheelchairs

  • Frame construction of the lightest wheelchairs include tig weld frames (for extreme durability) made of lightweight aluminum, carbon steel, durable heavy duty steel, and reinforced gussets for bariatric wheelchairs.
  • Wheel Spokes are often steel, blow-molded plastic, or aluminum.
  • Portable features of the best lightweight wheelchairs may include the ability to fold, a removable back axle for the 24 inch caster, or removable or swing arm and leg rests.

Additional Options Available on the Best Lightweight Wheelchairs

  • Rigging can often be detached or reattached for many manual wheelchairs and can help ensure your chair meets your individual mobility needs.
  • Bariatric wheelchairs can sometimes have heavy duty frames that increase their weight, however there are still lightweight models which allow removing of the rigging when it is not needed. This reduces the model’s weight.
  • Care givers can gain help from features such as removable rear casters and rigging to help with transport and transfers. Textured hand grips and hand-brakes are also great features for caregivers to have.
  • Transfers are made easier for many if features such as removable armrests/legrests and removable rear casters are in place.

Getting the Most Comfortable Lightweight Wheelchairs

  • Seat cushions can aid users in achieving a higher floor to seat height for easier sitting. This feature also increases comfort. Cushions can help reduce pain and the chances of getting sores or skin tears.
  • Reclining options for the best lightweight wheelchairs assist users who have less mobility and need the added support. Reclining features aid in helping users who cannot sit upright for extended periods of time or at all. 
  • Padded rests for arms and legs are always great for users in reducing sores by adding a soft place to rest their limbs.


AvaCare Medical has highlighted the best lightweight wheelchairs in this section for you! With unbeatable prices, we will gladly help you select the right solution for you and walk you through the ordering process. Be sure to call us toll-free at 1-877-813-7799 or send an email to our support staff with any questions or comments.