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What Is a Transport Wheelchair?

The average attendant chair weighs between 15 to 20 pounds and folds in seconds, making transport and storage very easy. The more manageable weight of these chairs also makes them easy to maneuver, and their compact frames fit into smaller spaces for additional convenience.

Most transport chairs have a weight capacity of 250 to 300 pounds. For heavier weight needs, look for a bariatric or heavy-duty transport chair, which can support up to 450 pounds. Best used for light or short-term purposes such as doctor’s visits, shopping trips, and occasional travel, transport wheelchairs are great to have, even if you already have a heavier, permanent wheelchair.

How to Choose the Right Transport Wheelchair

One’s choice of a transit wheelchair can depend greatly on a number of factors. Needs like the required weight capacity can influence the decision, but often it is not the only factor. A person needs to consider many other points when choosing the proper portable wheelchair for their transport. Some of these are:

Size of the Seat

This factor should be one of the first considerations, along with the weight capacity. Once a user has narrowed down the choice based on weight capacity, he may need to be fitted for the proper seat size. Depending on the intended use of the transfer wheelchair, the seat needs to be large enough to suit the user so there is plenty of room on either side of the seat, but also not so much that the user is able to slide around.

If the wheelchair is being selected for medical use; for instance, as a hospital transport chair, then an assessment of average patients’ measurements may be prudent. Most hospitals actually stock both standard and bariatric transport wheelchairs in order to fit most of their patients, and in these cases, it may be necessary to have larger 20-inch transport chairs (versions with a 20-inch seat), or possibly one with a 22-inch seat. In general, average users require no more than a 20-inch seat.

What Kind of Handicap the User May Have

When shopping for a transport wheelchair, it’s also important to understand just what the user’s handicap is. For example, if a person is shopping for transport chairs for elderly people, then choosing a model specifically tailored to users who lack independence and confidence may help begin the process. Transport wheelchairs are primarily for those who have more serious disabilities and more limited mobility than is standard. 

These transfer chairs are frequently used by those needing extra portability because they can fit into smaller spaces than electric wheelchairs. This makes them a great accessory for use when needing to transport a patient from one spot to another, say, to access or exit a vehicle.

How Much the Transit Chair Weighs

Most transport wheelchairs are lighter than standard wheelchairs. They offer mobility and safety without too much additional bulk of standard frames and accessories. Aluminum transport wheelchairs can generally weigh between 19 and 25 pounds. Some lighter models also exist, and this adds to the portable functionality of the chair itself. 

Many standard manual wheelchairs weigh more than this, but they don’t always offer the portability of transport chairs. The material does affect the weight somewhat, and while some people may think that steel is better because it is stronger, aluminum transport chairs offer identical stability and security. Some of them even have higher weight limits than their steel counterparts, but they remain much lighter in terms of actual seat weight.

Additional Options the Chair Offers Caregivers

A user should never neglect the needs of the person facilitating his transportation, and, truthfully, many features that are made for caregivers prove helpful for both parties. Some wheelchairs come with hand brakes in order to help the caregiver provide an extra bit of support to keep “roll-aways” from happening. At the same time, a transport chair with hand brakes also helps the caregiver keep a good grip on the chair itself while transferring the user or patient.

Additional Accommodations for Special Users (Tall, Adjustable Seats, Etc.)

Each individual user has unique needs. If someone is taller, he may need a tall transport chair or an adjustable model that is taller than others. These transport wheelchairs offer the same capabilities as any other wheelchair for transit, but they feature adjustable leg rests that may be higher than others, or even higher seats and handles to accommodate those users (and their caregivers).

While all transport wheelchairs fold up into a compact profile, some are also specially designed with travel in mind. These often fold into extremely small profiles, and fit into the trunk of a car. These also enable easier air travel by fitting into a bag that can be put on an airline flight as luggage.

Combination Transport Chairs

There are two types of combination transport chairs.

The first kind is designed to serve individuals who can walk with help, but sometimes need to take breaks. It is called the rollator/transport chair, which quickly and easily transitions from a transport chair into a rollator that the user can use to walk with. To make this switch, simply flip the backrest of the rollator to the other direction and pull out the leg rests. Your model will have transformed into a transport chair!

The second type is the combination transport/manual wheelchair. This combination version serves either as a manual wheelchair, allowing users to maneuver themselves independently from a seated position, or as a transport chair, allowing the user to sit back and let others do the pushing. All one needs to do in order to make the switch is pop off the 2 large propellable wheels. 

 

When choosing a transport wheelchair, keep in mind that shipping for wheelchairs is always fast and free. To learn more about how to choose the wheelchair best suited to your needs, check out our buying guide or contact us at 1.877.813.7799 – we’re always here to help.