Answering the question about the differences between "light weight" wheelchairs and "standard" wheelchairs.
Some of the questions we get asked most often are about the height, width and weight of our wheelchairs. Many times people are looking for a "light weight" wheelchair. People want to know if they are collapsible. If they fit in the trunk of a car. Or, will fit through the doorways in their houses. In this article we'll answer these questions and give you a solid understanding on what to expect when you rent or purchase a wheelchair from us.
Are your wheelchairs "light weight?" The answer is "yes" and "no." But before we can answer that question we have to understand the difference between a true light weight wheelchair and a standard wheelchair.
Light Weight Wheelchairs
Made of high tech material
Weigh around 19-27lbs (Depending on model)
A light weight wheelchair by definition is made of expensive components and materials like aircraft aluminum. The material itself is lighter than the standard steel or aluminum that a standard chair is made of. Light weight wheelchairs are minimalistic. The components on the chair like the seat and back are usually thin canvas which also cuts down on weight.
A true light weight wheelchair is typically designed for someone with a lifelong disability. Their light weight and minimalist design make it easier for the owner to maneuver on a daily basis. They are also easier to manipulate in and out of car trunks, into bathroom stalls, around the office, etc. Because of their semi-custom or custom design and high tech materials they tend to be very expensive.
So, a "light weight" wheelchair is defined technically by being lighter than a standard wheelchair. We do not typically carry high-tech, semi-custom wheelchairs in our inventory. We carry what are considered to be "standard wheelchairs."
Designed for better comfort
Made of steel or aluminum
Typically weigh 34-39lbs (Depending on model)
"Standard wheelchairs" get this name because their near universal weight, height and width across all brands. Just about every manufacturer makes a front line model wheelchair. And each manufactures chair is nearly identical in dimensions and capabilities. It's like Ford's F-150 vs. Chevrolet's Silverado. Both great trucks with nearly identical dimensions and capabilities.
The standard wheelchairs that we carry are made by Drive and have the following dimensions:
18" Drive Silver Sport Wheelchair
Detachable desk arms and premium swing-away leg rests provide customizable support.
Seat to floor height: 19.5”
Overall Dimensions: 42"(L) x 24"(W) x 36"(H)
Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
Unit Weight: 37 lbs.
A standard wheelchair is 18" at the seat. This means the actual sitting area is 18" wide. The wheelchair itself 24" wide from wheel to wheel. The additional width comes from the wheels and the outer hand control rings. Most standard household doorways are 27" wide. Doorway width should always be considered when choosing a wheelchair. Sometimes bathroom and bedroom doorways are narrower.
The size of the occupant should also be considered. We typically match a wheelchair to an individual based on their weight. Our standard chairs hold up to 300lbs. Sometimes the 18" seat may be too narrow for the individual. A persons specific injury or build may require a wider chair for comfort. We carry wider versions of our standard wheelchairs to accommodate these individuals.
Standard wheelchairs are collapsible
Standard wheelchairs fit into any mini-van or SUV, and most car trunks
Standard wheelchairs will fit through most standard doorways
Standard wheelchairs come with standard or elevating leg rests (customers choice)
Some of the other areas to consider are what and where your wheelchair will be used. The physical capabilities of the user and the users care givers should also be considered. As stated above a standard wheelchair can weigh up to 37lbs. The wheelchair can also be a little awkward to pick up and place in a car trunk or SUV. These are typically not issues but should be considered if any of the involve parties have limiting physical issues.
Standard wheelchairs are collapsible. A standard wheelchair will collapse in on itself like an accordian allowing it to be laid flat. The leg rests are also detachable. This is important to consider when stowing the chair in the back of a vehicle as they tend to be the most vulnerable pieces for damage.
Light Weight VS Standard
Light weight wheelchairs tend to be made of high tech materials
Standard wheelchairs are made from steel or aluminum
Light weight wheelchairs are minimalistic
Standard wheelchairs are designed for comfort
Light weight wheelchairs weigh appx. 19-27lbs
Standard wheelchairs weigh appx. 34-39lbs
Light weight wheelchairs can be semi-custom, designed for life long use for a specific person.
Standard wheelchairs are universal. They are designed to be the most comfortable, universally compatible, and can be used for a lifetime or a weekend.