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Mobility Aids

Top 10 Foldable and Transport Manual Wheelchairs

Introduction

We have already covered types of manual wheel chairs and things to consider when buying a wheelchair in general in separate posts. This post covers some of the best foldable manual wheelchairs and some important things to consider when buying one. One of the most important factors to consider when buying a wheelchair is perhaps the choice between manual and motorized wheelchairs. 

Each has its own pros and cons and choosing the right type depends on different things, including individual’s condition, the environment, daily travel distance, permanent vs. temporary disability, lifestyle and personal choices. A medical practitioner can better advise if someone needs a manual wheelchair or a motorized wheelchair, but manual wheelchairs are usually the only option on a tight budget.

Need Identification

Users should seek advice from a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist who can better access needs and recommend the most suitable wheelchair someone should buy, especially people who need a wheelchair for long-term use. However, there are a few important things that everyone should consider to pick the right kind of wheelchair including:

  • User’s own mobility and tolerance
  • Posture and balance
  • Body weight and size
  • Skin condition (pressure relieving cushioning needed for relieve pressure from potential pressure points)
  • Cognitive ability

Why Foldable Wheelchairs?

Foldable or transport wheelchairs are lightweight and easily transportable. That’s why they are inexpensive compared to standard wheelchairs as their primary purpose is to transport people. Many people like to buy a separate wheelchair for transportation as standard or power wheelchairs are too bulky and large to carry around in a vehicle.

Transport wheelchairs are recommended for people who either just need a wheelchair for short-term use or require a caretaker to propel them. Transport wheelchairs are also available in different variations such as the hybrid transport wheelchair and MRI-certified wheelchair. Typical usage of transport wheelchairs includes trips to malls, restaurants and of course the doctor. 

Transport wheelchairs:

  • Are the most affordable type of wheelchairs
  • Usually have smaller wheels
  • Are lightweight and designed for easier transportation
  • Foldable for storage in a vehicle or at home
  • Come pre-assembled or allow tool-less assembly
  • Are easier to push because of less weight
  • Usually have solid puncture-free tires

While most buyers normally keep weight and transportability of a transport wheelchair a top priority, comfort and safety are equally important. Users who plan on sitting on a wheelchair for more than two hours a day should opt for a wheelchair with proper cushioning to prevent pressure sores.

Our Top Picks for the Best Foldable and Transport Manual Wheelchairs

Product
Visual
Where to Buy

Drive Medical Blue Streak

Karman Ergonomic Wheelchair

Hi-Fortune Lightweight Magnesium Alloy

NOVA Bariatric Transport Wheelchair (Heavy-duty)

Medline Transport Wheelchair

Drive Medical Blue Streak

The affordable manual wheelchair has a reasonable price tag, is transport-friendly and offers great value in this price range. Padded leg rests, flip back, detachable desk arms and ergonomic design provide comfort and easier mobility without breaking the bank.    

Key features and specifications

  • Weight capacity up to 250 lbs.
  • 18-inch seat, padded nylon for comfort, easy to clean
  • Closed width 12.5 inches
  • Detachable desk arms
  • Elevated leg rests
  • Push-to-lock tires for safety
  • Solid rubber tires
  • Calf straps
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 42 x 24 x 36 inches
  • 19.5-inches Seat-to-floor height

Karman Ergonomic Wheelchair

An ultralightweight and ergonomic wheelchair that only weighs 19.8 lbs. and uses aircraft-grade T6 Alu. The S-shape seating frame helps prevent pressure sores and promotes a better sitting posture, which is especially useful for users who have to sit on a wheelchair for extended periods of time. The wheelchair includes companion brakes, which make it easier for attendants/caretakers to engage the brakes when ascending/descending slopes.

Key features and specifications

  • 16-inch seat (also available in other sizes)
  • Ultralightweight @ 19.8 lbs., frame weight 14.5 lbs. (without rear wheels and footrest)
  • Removable footrest
  • 20-inch Flat-free rear wheels (Polyurethane)
  • Anti-bacterial upholstery
  • Aircraft-grade T6 Alu
  • Ergonomic design
  • S-Shape seating frame
  • Easy-to-access companion brakes
  • Folds down the middle, foldable backrest

Hi-Fortune Lightweight Magnesium Alloy

Made from magnesium alloy, which is lightweight and durable, the wheelchair only weighs 21 lbs. and comes with nice cushioning and a travel bag. The folding wheelchair features a quick release mechanism that makes it easier to transport and store the wheelchair. Swing-away leg rests and padded armrests increase the comfort level, while large rear wheels enhance stability on uneven surfaces.

Key features and specifications

  • 17.5-inches seat width
  • Weight capacity 220lbs.
  • Magnesium alloy frame
  • Lightweight @ 21 lbs.
  • Quick release hinge
  • Swing-away leg rests
  • Padded arm rests
  • Top and rear hand brakes
  • Tool-less assembly
  • Removable footrests
  • Convenient hand strap
  • Large travel bag for transportation
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 27.5 x 30 x 35 inches
  • 22-inch rear and 6-inch front wheels (solid PU)

NOVA Bariatric Transport Wheelchair (Heavy-duty)

The heavy-duty transport wheelchair has a weight capacity of up to 400 lbs. and comes with an extra-wide seat measuring 22.5 inches. It is designed for heavy weights who want a reliable transport wheelchair. It’s easy to maneuver and folds easily, while removable anti-tipping wheels and secondary wheel locks enhance safety and allow caretakers to slow down or stop the wheelchair when needed.

Key features and specifications

  • Weight capacity 400 lbs.
  • 22.5-inch wide seat
  • Secondary rear brakes
  • Removable/flip-up arms
  • Anti-tipping wheels
  • Rugged rear wheels 12-inch
  • Adjustable seat belt and storage pouch
  • Fairly lightweight @ 22.75 lbs.
  • Dimensions when folded (W x D x H): 11 x 31 x 37.5 inches

Medline Transport Wheelchair

The affordable transport wheelchair comes with 12-inch rear wheels and manual handbrakes which make transfers easier. A weight capacity of 300 lbs. makes it suitable for most users, but heavier users should still consider a heavy-duty wheelchair such as the NOVA transport wheelchair. Detachable footrests, full-length armrests, nylon upholstery and seat-belt safety make this wheelchair one of the best options in this price range.

Key features and specifications

  • Weight capacity 300 lbs.
  • Lightweight @ 23.5 lbs.
  • 19 inches wide seat
  • Manual handbrake
  • 12-inch solid wheels
  • Aluminum frame
  • Full-length armrest (permanent)
  • Detachable footrests
  • Seat belt
  • Nylon upholstery
  • Dimensions when folded H x D x W: 32 x 24 x 10 inches
Product
Visual
Where to Buy

NOVA Transport Wheelchair

Medline Lightweight Manual Wheelchair

Invacare Tracer SX5 Recliner Wheelchair

Drive Medical Reclining Wheelchair

Medline Walker with Seat

NOVA Transport Wheelchair

NOVA’s lightweight transport chair is designed for people looking for an affordable transport wheelchair that’s compact and maneuverable. Anti-tipping wheels provide added safety and can easily be removed using the secondary wheel locks. Its weight capacity is 300 lbs. while the seat is 18.5 inches wide, which makes is suitable for most average-weighing users.

Key features and specifications

  • Weight capacity 300 lbs.
  • 18.5-inch wide seat
  • Fairly lightweight @ 27 lbs.
  • 12-inch rear wheels, 8-inch front wheels (Solid rubber)
  • Locking handbrakes
  • Flip-up/removable arms
  • Removable anti-tipping wheels
  • Adjustable (up to 41 inches) seat belt
  • Storage pouch
  • Aluminum frame
  • Swing-away footrest
  • Padded upholstery

Medline Lightweight Manual Wheelchair

The lightweight wheelchair comes with elevating leg rests for added comfort and is fairly lightweight at 31.5 lbs. Weight capacity of 350 lbs. and a dimension of 22 x 18 inches make the wheelchair suitable for most users. Desk-length arms enable users to easily site at a table, while breathable nylon upholstery provides comfort. The wheelchair strikes a nice balance between portability, comfort and durability in its price point.

Key features and specifications

  • Weight capacity 350 lbs.
  • 22 x 18 inches seat
  • Lightweight at 31.5 lbs.
  • Breathable nylon upholstery
  • Removable flip back
  • Removable, flip-back desk-length arm rests
  • Elevating leg rests for added comfort
  • Quick release wheels for easier transportation
  • Flat-free tires

Invacare Tracer SX5 Recliner Wheelchair

Although the Tracer SX5 isn’t strictly a transport wheelchair, it can still be folded and into the back of a station wagon. Being bulkier than other options, it’s less transport friendly, but makes up for that by providing more comfort than average transport wheelchairs. SX5 comes with desk-length arms, elevating leg-rests and padded calf pads for more comfort.

Other notable features of the reclining wheelchair (90-110 degrees) include carbon steel frame, urethane tires and durable inner liner, which keeps the seat/back from stretching. Anti-tipping wheels are also part of the package, while a seat width of 18-inches means the wheelchair is designed for people with average weight and build.

Key features and specifications

  • Weight capacity 250 lbs.
  • 90-110 degrees recline range
  • Carbon steel frame
  • Weights around 70 lbs.
  • Heavy-duty inner liner
  • Urethane tires
  • Anti-tipping wheels
  • Elevating leg-rests
  • Padded calf pads
  • Seat width 18-inches

Drive Medical Reclining Wheelchair

The reclining wheelchair by Drive Medical is another affordable option that comes with a hydraulic reclining mechanism, which allows as many adjustments the users requires (up to 180-degrees). Arms also provide support for reclining position. Lightweight and easy-to-clean nylon upholstery adds to the overall comfort, while elevating leg rest, desk-length arms and cushioned head mobilizer are nice-to-haves at this price point.

Key features and specifications

  • Weight capacity 350 lbs.
  • Weighs 64 lbs.
  • Seat width 20-inches
  • Hydraulic reclining mechanism
  • Arm support extension
  • Carbon steel frame
  • Breathable and lightweight nylon upholstery
  • Maintenance free wheels
  • Padded armrests
  • Headrest extension
  • Cushioned head immobilizer
  • Anti-tippers
  • Wheel locks (push-to-lock)
  • Dimensions when folded (L x W x H): 50 x 16 x 50 inches

Medline Walker with Seat

The Empower Rollator is a lightweight walker with a seat designed for seniors, but can also be used by other patients/users who are able to stand up. The foldable design makes it easier to transport the walker, while the memory foam seat provides comfort and can be easily be lifted up to create a space to walk. The cushioned backrest is reversible, while the backrest, seat and the handles are coated with antimicrobial material that prevents bacteria and mold from growing.

Key features and specifications

  • Weight capacity 300 lbs.
  • 17.5-inches seat width
  • 8-inch wheels
  • Memory foam seat
  • Cushioned backrest (reversable)
  • Cup holder and under stat storage bag (removable)
  • Tray organizer
  • Antimicrobial coating
  • Loop brakes
  • Adjustable height

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