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The Different Types of Wheelchair Explained
Helping you decide on the right wheelchair for your needs

It doesn’t need to be difficult when deciding what type of wheelchair to choose. Here we have noted the basic things to look for. Some wheelchairs need to have special measurements taken and are built to fit certain criteria, others are what we call standard everyday use chairs.

Wheelchair type

Standard Transit wheelchair
This type of wheelchair is pushed by someone and cannot be moved by the wheelchair user.

Standard Self Propelled
This type of wheelchair can be propelled by the user or can be pushed by someone.

Which one you choose is all dependant on if the user wishes or is able to move around independently from a third party. In most cases if a user is unable to propel themselves a transit wheelchair will be adequate.

Wheelchair Size

Seat size
When choosing a wheelchair the weight of the user is a big factor. A standard wheelchair will normally carry approximately 18 stone. If the user is anymore than this they may need what’s called a bariatric wheelchair. A standard wheelchair seat width is 18” but you can buy smaller or larger. A basic rule is to measure hip width and add a couple of centimetres to be comfortable.

Seat height
The seat height can be determined by measuring the wheelchair user whilst sitting. The measurement is taken from the heel to the bend in the knee

Seat depth
This is taken from the user’s bottom to the bend in the knee. With all these measurements its best to take advice in store.

The weight of the chair will depend on if it’s made from steel or aluminum. Aluminum is much more popular as it will be lighter to both lift and push. Steel is heavier and in most cases is more robust. The weight of the person will be a deciding factor when choosing; an aluminum chair will have a maximum weight capacity of between 17 and 21 stone whereas a steel chair can be considerable more.

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