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When you or someone you know is permanently or temporarily disabled, a wheelchair can literally be a lifesaving device. These devices add mobility and ease of access for those unable to walk. Finding the right equipment may mean multiple chairs for different situations or one that works for all purposes.

How can you find the right wheelchair?

The right choice will depend upon individual measurements, preferences, and needs.

  • Size: First, you will need the user's measurements. Specifically, you should measure from palm to shoulder for arm-rest height. Measure from shoulder to backside for seat height. Finally, measure upper and lower leg length to determine depth and footrest height.
  • Electric or manual: Depending on individual preference and needs, electric and manual options both have benefits and downsides depending on where they will be used. For long distances, electric models offer speed and ease. For shorter distances, lightweight manual wheelchairs are easier to carry and store between uses.
  • Folding: You can fold this lightweight type into a flat shape, which makes them easier to store and carry when not in use.
  • Colors and designs: Last but not least, keep in mind that this is one of those devices that has multiple uses. Find a color and design that is appealing to individual tastes.
Why do some manual wheelchairs have angled wheels?

This type of manual wheelchair offers two benefits: The wider base makes it more stable, and the closer tops are easier to grip. With origins in Special Olympics racing, its benefits have led to this design gaining favor among the broader market.

How heavy are wheelchairs?

Weight varies depending on the material and design of individual models. Lightweight folding models generally weigh only a few pounds, because makers deliberately design them to be light. High-end electric chairs may have weights anywhere from 100 to 400 lbs.

How do wheelchairs work?

This equipment consists of three basic parts: a seat, wheels, and axles connected to the seat. Most models also come with optional folding footrests. Users can move manual wheelchairs by placing hands on the wheels and turning them. Electric wheelchairs use motors and control panels for speed and direction. Designed to be used by people with limited mobility, wheel placement on either side gives chairs balance while making it easy to step straight in or out before and after use. Brakes generally work by clamping down on one or both wheels to keep them from rolling. Most of these separate parts can be replaced and repaired as needed, and some standard parts are interchangeable.