Buying A Wheelchair? Here's Where To Start

7 Tips for Finding the Best Wheelchair for You

There is more to buying a wheelchair than simply choosing the cheapest model the local medical supply store has in stock. Just as we are all different, so are our needs and before you buy a wheelchair, there are many things to consider.

There are many types of wheelchairs that provide various features and comforts for different people. Accessories are also available that will enhance a wheelchair's safety, ease of use, and comfort. And beyond that, there is even more to consider.

Below are the most important things to look for and consider when buying a wheelchair. It is an important decision and you will be an informed buyer after exploring these resources.


man in wheelchair with dog
Frank Siteman/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Many people new to buying a wheelchair do not realize that there are many different styles and types available. There are chairs for adults, children, and infants and chairs are available for all of the various needs they have as well. 

It is important to have a basic understanding of these options because one may be better suited to your personal needs.



Pediatric wheelchairs are, of course, smaller. They also have their own stability features.  

Very small children and infants  born with cerebral palsy or some form of muscular dystrophy need wheelchairs and often have difficulty sitting upright. For this reason, pediatric wheelchairs include special safety and stability features designed to keep the children secure.



Transport wheelchairs are chairs designed for ease when traveling. They are typically lighter weight and easily collapsible. They look a bit "stripped down" in features when you look at them.

These are the chairs best designed for air travel, for example. The larger, more comfortable chairs are often too cumbersome to take on and off planes, trains, and buses. If you travel frequently, you may want to consider a transport wheelchair as well.



There are many accessories available that will make your wheelchair more comfortable. Cushions, leg braces, and weather garments to protect you from high winds and snow are just a few of the options.

Safety accessories can prevent tipping, sliding, and protect your hands from chaffing.

Storage accessories like bags, sacks, pouches, and shelves attach to the chair to store personal items and even specialty medical equipment like an oxygen tank.

Other accessories include trays that attach to your chair for meals, holding your drink, or use with a book or laptop computer.



You can save money by searching for a wheelchair dealer. They exist!

These are companies that specialize in wheelchairs and mobility supplies, rather than "all types" of medical supplies and equipment.

Some companies, like Marc's Mobility, sell used manual and powered wheelchairs. They have a number of videos on YouTube that demonstrate their use and features. This is a nice way to see how certain models perform without leaving home.



Once you have narrowed down the type of wheelchair best suited for you, you will need to determine the proper fit.

A wheelchair that fits correctly should decrease any discomfort or side effects you experience while sitting in it. Height, weight, and even the length of your arms and legs factor into finding the perfect wheelchair fit.



Don't forget to prepare your home (and possibly your vehicle) for your new wheelchair. Many accessories and equipment are available to make your home and vehicle much more accommodating to your new piece of equipment.


One of the most important is a wheelchair ramp for the home. It is easy to install and will ensure you can get out and about easily.


Continue Reading