If you happen to be an active wheelchair user, then you probably understand the importance of having the right wheelchair for the job. For most people, however, this is easier said than done.
Wheelchairs with the wrong fit, features, and specifications will not only limit your mobility but will also make even the simplest tasks pretty difficult. Going to the store, playing your favorite sport, or even going to work may become a real hassle. All these minor inconveniences could collectively ruin your otherwise active lifestyle.
Luckily, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of things you should look out for when buying a wheelchair to get the most value for your hard-earned cash and find the right wheelchair to fit your active life.
Let’s get straight into it
Fitted or Bespoke
Most wheelchair users use these two terms interchangeably or sometimes to mean the same thing. So here’s the gist of things:-
Bespoke wheelchairs are specifically designed for the client in question. Apart from the usual measurements by the dealer, the user chooses specific features and parts that the manufacturer will weld into place. These parts include specific wheelchair arm pads, backrests, and calf straps, to name a few.
Bespoke wheelchairs are mostly unique, so it’s difficult to find two bespoke wheelchairs that are exactly alike.
Fitted wheelchairs, on the other hand, are wheelchairs derived from existing parts. A dealer will take your measurements and select the most suitable model for you. Most high performance wheelchairs fall into the fitted category.
Apart from the accessibility of a wheelchair, comfort should be a priority during your wheel chair selection process. Ergonomic seat designs and comfortable calf straps should be on top of your list, especially for active users.
Most manufacturers construct high performance wheelchairs with plush cushioning for bumpy rides. If you have the cash, then you should get one as soon as you can.
The functionality of a high performance wheelchair is etched in its handling. The handling of your wheelchair, therefore, determines how good you’ll play your favorite sport, how early you’ll get to work or how easy it will be to maneuver the streets.
With that in mind, finding a wheelchair with proper handling is a function of your day to day activities and the purpose of your wheelchair. Sports enthusiasts are encouraged to look for lightweight wheelchair builds made from aluminum, carbon, and titanium to ease movement. People with a preference for a high performance wheelchair could settle for those with sturdier and more durable builds for rough terrain and steep slopes.
The overall design of your wheelchair will either make or break your wheelchair experience over the period of usage. For active wheelchair users, the design will play a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of your wheelchair in achieving specific tasks.
Reclining wheelchairs are great for people looking for extra comfort during mobility. These wheelchairs can tilt at specific angles easily for ease of use and relaxation. Napping after intense activities is made easier with this particular design.
Manufacturers design bariatric wheelchairs for obese individuals. These wheelchairs come reinforced with cross braces for extra weight and have increased width.
Ultra-lightweight wheelchairs are great for active people. These folding wheelchairs are extremely light and durable making them excellent for sports.
High performance wheelchair gives you that added boost in power and speed to navigate rough terrains smoothly and power through steep slopes easily.
All in all, the choice of wheelchair ultimately falls on the user. These few pointers will give you a clear idea of what you should scout for when in the market for a new wheelchair.
Any high performance wheelchair would fair nicely for whatever use if you keep these few factors in mind. For active users, remember to always take good care of your wheelchair by undertaking periodic maintenance and doing repairs as soon as they occur.