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Do you know that wheelchairs come in various sizes and types? They can also have additional features and accessories to make the ride as comfortable as possible.

If you’ve never been in need for one, you probably have never paid attention. However, if you think that a wheelchair would be a good solution for your loved one, then you need to know which one would be the most suitable.

There is a massive difference between an older adult who’s mobile and needs a chair only for longer distances, and a senior who needs it for permanent use.

These are the basic types of manual wheelchairs:

  • Standard
  • Lightweight
  • Heavy duty
  • Tilt and recliner
  • Transport
  • Other types

Here are the overviews of every one of them.

Standard Wheelchairs

Manual standard wheelchairs usually have large back wheels, while the front ones are noticeably smaller. This type is the most common, and people typically opt for the standard version.

A person using this kind of wheelchair can push themselves easily, since all of them have gripped handles. There are also handles at the back of the chair so a caregiver can push them.

The only problem with a standard wheelchair is that it’s a bit heavy. This doesn’t make it suitable for traveling, since it is difficult to lift.

Lightweight Wheelchairs

Lightweight wheelchairs are very similar to the standard type with one huge advantage. As the name suggests, they weigh less and so are more appropriate for traveling. Being light (typically between 25 to 40 lbs), it is easy to lift it and put in the trunk without any difficulties.

This type of wheelchair is lighter thanks to the particular materials they are made from. They are usually constructed with aluminum or titanium, or even carbon steel.

Like the standard model, lightweight wheelchairs have one pair of large wheels and one pair of small ones.

older adult in a wheelchair

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Heavy Duty Wheelchairs

Heavy duty wheelchairs are designed for people who are overweight. They can usually support a person up to 700 lbs.

When compared to the standard type, a heavy duty wheelchair has a larger seat. The frame is also stronger.

It is designed so that, despite a substantial weight, a caregiver can push them easily.

Tilt and Recliner Wheelchairs

A tilting or reclining seat is of great help when getting out of or into bed. It also makes things easier when an older adult goes onto the toilet.

With these wheelchairs, you can safely lean them towards the ground and then lift your older adult.

Transport Wheelchairs

Transport wheelchairs are often used in hospitals and less so in a home environment.

They are significantly different than the other types. This type features wheels of all the same size. There are no large and small wheels.

For short outings, they are great, since these wheelchairs don’t weigh much. However, for long and outdoor use, types with large back wheels are preferable.

The problem with these chairs is also the inability for a person to push themselves. There always needs to be someone to propel a transport wheelchair.

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Other Types of Wheelchairs

The other types are specifically designed for specific purposes.

sports wheelchair

For instance, there is a particular type of wheelchair for children. Also, athletes with disabilities need a wheelchair designed according to their needs. The list goes on.

Talk to your loved one and decide which type would be the best for them. If none of these types fits them, think about contacting a producer and ordering a personalized wheelchair.


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