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Best Wheelchairs for Seniors

Getting old is a parcel of the human life cycle. With age comes the inability to perform regular daily activities like walking. Luckily, wheelchairs can efficiently help seniors be more independent in their everyday life.

best wheelchair

That’s why we’ve compiled together a few best wheelchairs for seniors out there and a buying guide to help you better understand the different factors that you should take into consideration. 

However, if you’re in a rush and want a cut-to-the-chase top pick, then the Drive Medical Cruiser III lightweight wheelchair is our favorite. It has almost everything you’ll be looking for in a wheelchair.

Best Overall
Drive Medical Cruiser III Light Weight Wheelchair with...
Best For Transportation
NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair with Locking Hand...
Best For Bariatric
Medline MDS806900 Excel Extra-Wide Bariatric...
Drive Medical Cruiser III Light Weight Wheelchair with...
NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair with Locking Hand...
Medline MDS806900 Excel Extra-Wide Bariatric...
Best Overall
Drive Medical Cruiser III Light Weight Wheelchair with...
Drive Medical Cruiser III Light Weight Wheelchair with...
Best For Transportation
NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair with Locking Hand...
NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair with Locking Hand...
Best For Bariatric
Medline MDS806900 Excel Extra-Wide Bariatric...
Medline MDS806900 Excel Extra-Wide Bariatric...

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Best Wheelchairs for Elderly: Reviews

If you’re feeling confused about which wheelchair will fit with your needs and preferences, we have listed out the six top recommended ones with a brief review. The best wheelchair features overview may help you figure out what you’re looking for. 

 Without further ado, let’s dig into our reviews.

1. Drive Medical Cruiser III Light Weight Wheelchair – Best Overall

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This is a well-designed, high-end, and versatile wheelchair. The Drive Medical Cruiser III Light Weight Wheelchair is affordable and reasonably lightweight. With a high-quality carbon steel frame, this model is sturdy and efficient. 

A nice feature is the adaptable 16-inch to 18-inch seat depth, designed to improve posture and offer comfort to users.

It prevents many back problems caused by sitting for too long. The padded armrests help add to the comfort. (You can also purchase an extra cushion for your wheelchair.)

This chair is also foldable and stored hassle-free thanks to a removable footrest with heel loops.

All in all, this wheelchair can meet your different needs from daily use to travel and easy storage.

Pros

  • Sturdy with high-quality performance.
  • Hassle-free storage.
  • Lightweight and transportable. 
  • Comfortable for long hours of sitting.
  • Affordable.

Cons

  • The footrests are plastic.
  • Brakes are slightly challenging to use.

2. NOVA Transport Chair With Locking Hand Brake – Best Transport Wheelchair

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The Nova Medical Products Wheelchair may not be the most famous model on the market. Yet, what makes this chair stand out is its mix of high weight capacity and the fact it’s easy to carry when it comes to portability.

Thanks to its 300-pound weight capacity, the Nova Medical transport wheelchair can be a good match for those of you who are heavily built.

On the other hand, it’s remarkably lightweight, weighing only 27 pounds, making it fit for outdoor activities and trips. 

Concerning the wheels, this wheelchair has 8-inch wheels and locking rear wheels, all made in a robust rubber.

The footrests come with two interesting features, they’re non-skid and easily adjustable with a swing-away release, making the Nova wheelchair both flexible and secure to drive around. 

If you have a heart for the outdoors and don’t want to be burdened with a heavy wheelchair, the Nova Transport Chair can cater to your needs. 

Pros

  • Lightweight and easily transported.
  • Good weight capacity for heavy users.
  • Adaptable and secure.
  • Great for any outdoor activity.
  • Seat belt for extra safety.

Cons

  • With time, the wheels can lose their sturdiness.
  • The armrest is not comfortable enough.

3. Medline Excel Extra-Wide Wheelchair – Best Heavy Duty Wheelchair

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The Medline Excel is a user-friendly wheelchair designed for everyday use. It offers sturdiness, comfort, and flexibility at an affordable price. 

For those of you on the larger side, this bariatric chair is extra-wide and has a generous weight capacity of 500 pounds.

The wheelchair features desk-length removable armrests and calf pads for added comfort. Additionally, the seat is made of breathable nylon material, providing softness and comfort. 

When it comes to mobility, the wheels are both sturdy and smooth, lending the chair a graceful and agile movement on any surface. The solid build provides this Medline chair with durability and a long-lasting feel. 

In short, if you’re looking for a more spacious option with a high weight capacity, this may be the best wheelchair for your needs.

Pros 

  • Good quality at an affordable price.
  • Suitable for everyday use.
  • Sturdy and flexible at the same time.
  • Comfortable to sit in for a long time.
  • Extra-wide and high weight capacity.

Cons

  • The soft nylon material may not be long-lasting. 
  • Heavy and not easily transported.

4. Drive Medical SSP20RBDDA Sport Reclining Wheelchair – Best Reclining Wheelchair

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Another Drive Medical product is the Sport Reclining Wheelchair. As the name itself entails, the wheelchair offers the ultimate flexibility and comfort to its users thanks to the hydraulic reclining mechanism.

By operating this system, the wheelchair can adjust at any angle up to 180 degrees. 

Moreover, the wheelchair is considered quite lightweight, foldable, and the most resistant compared to others.

As a result, caregivers can move it from one place to another hassle-free. The Drive Medical wheelchair also comes with padded armrests and spread headrest providing high comfort and adaptability. 

Choose between three seat widths: 16 inches, 18 inches, and 20 inches. If you’re looking for the best reclining wheelchair, this may be the product for you.

Pros

  • Fairly lightweight and foldable.
  • Hydraulic reclining mechanism.
  • Comfortable and adaptable.
  • Headrest extension and padded handles.
  • Three seat width options.

Cons

  • Difficult to raise from a reclined position with user in the chair.
  • Headrest is quite hard.

5. Drive Medical Blue Streak Wheelchair – Best Manual Wheelchair

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If you’re on a budget, the Drive Medical Blue Streak Wheelchair offers great value for money. The chair provides seniors with pocket-friendly, convenient, and independent mobility. 

The blue-powdered frame is durable, allowing a weight capacity of up to 250 pounds. When it comes to the nylon seat, it’s breathable and effortless to clean. Choose between a 16,18, or 20-inch padded seat that’s ergonomically designed for long-lasting comfort.

There’s also a choice between elevated leg rests or swing-away footrests depending on your requirements.

Pros

  • Easy to transport.
  • Offers security and steadiness.
  • Foldable and compact.
  • Choice of footrest and seat width.
  • Affordable.

Cons

  • It might be too basic for some.
  • Short leg rests.

6. Porto Mobility Ranger Foldable Electric Wheelchair – Best Folding Electric Wheelchair

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If you’re looking for a foldable electric wheelchair with the best extra features, then this is the one for you. The Porto Mobility wheelchair offers high adjustability and security for busy seniors who are able to spend quite a penny on a long-lasting and speedy wheelchair. 

Despite its relatively high price tag, this wheelchair is among the best in its category, offering the most reliable features one can need.

Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this wheelchair is its outstanding 33-inch turning radius, which will get you around any tight corner. Despite its versatility, this heavy-duty wheelchair can be folded in a few seconds and comes with dual batteries to get you anywhere you need to go.

Pros

  • Great turning radius for tight corners.
  • Easy to use and fold.
  • Handles almost all terrains.
  • High weight capacity.
  • Dual battery.

Cons 

  • A bit on the expensive side.
  • Not ideal for very tall users.

7. Karman Healthcare 19.8 lbs Ergonomic Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair – Best Travel Wheelchair

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As a traveler, you will enjoy something that is sturdy, comfortable, and lightweight. This wheelchair from reputable wheelchair brand Karman is a fantastic option for travel.

Made from aircraft-grade aluminum, it is super lightweight ( only weighs 19.8 lbs) and durable. You could take it anywhere without worrying about it will break during the journey.

What makes it stands up is its ergonomic S shape seating frame. This really helps you to relieve pains and feel relaxed. You know how tired you will be after sitting in a wheelchair after a few hours.

Plus, this chair could be easily folded into a small size, allowing one to carry it easily.

Pros

  • Only weighs 19.8 pounds.
  • Foldable.
  • Removable wheels.
  • S shape seating frame and antibacterial upholstery.

Cons

  • High-priced.
  • The lightweight build makes it easy to tipping.

8. Drive Medical SSP118FA-SF Silver Sport 1 Wheelchair – Best Foldable Wheelchair

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For seniors with weak hands, this easy-to-fold wheelchair comes in handy. The sport 1 wheelchair looks ordinary but you will be grateful to have it after using it a few times.

It is made with a powder-coated steel frame which is strong and durable. The upholstery is easy to clean and maintain. While it weighs 37.6 lbs which is pretty heavy, it still can be folded into a compact size for you to put in the back of your trunk.

Pros

  • Easy to fold.
  • Made with strong material.

Cons

  • It is heavy.
  • Not for bariatric patient.

9. Invacare 9000 SL Durable Wheelchair – Most Comfortable Wheelchair

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Not every wheelchair is manufactured to perfectly fit your body height, but the adjustable dual-axle of this Invacare wheelchair ensures you get a suitable position for yourself.

The padded armrest adds more comfort. We also like that it includes strong upholstery, offering enough support for your back and last for years.

Luckily, this manufacturer offers a few wheelchair seat widths from 16″ to 20″ to accommodate different body size. The carbon steel frame is very stable and sturdy.

Pros

  • Desk-length padded armrests
  • Adjustable floor to seat height.
  • Strong upholstery.

Cons

  • The product weight is heavy.

10. ProBasics Aluminum Transport Wheelchair – Best Narrow Wheelchair

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With a 21.5″ wheelchair width, this ProBasics transport chair is a great option for seniors who live in small spaces.

Featuring an aluminum frame, this chair is lightweight and foldable, making it a favorite for caregivers. Even though the overall width is narrow, the seat still comes with a 19.25″ width. This would be wide enough for most users.

Moreover, it comes with swing away footrest, seat belt, and padded upholstery. All of these add comfort and safety to older adults and people with disabilities.

While you have to spend a bit more money, you will get what you paid for.

Pros

  • Lightweight frame.
  • Comfortable upholstery and footrest.
  • 21.5″ wheelchair width.

Cons

  • Back and footrests are not adjustable.
  • Expensive.

11. DMI Rolling Shower and Commode Transport Chair – Best Shower Wheelchair

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This is a special type of wheelchair but is commonly used among seniors. As a shower wheelchair, you could use it in the bathroom or on the commode.

This DMI wheelchair is made with waterproof vinyl material. It is comfortable to sit on and the 4 wheels make it move from here to there with a breeze.

It is also easy to clean and maintain. The 250 lbs weight capacity will fit most elders.

Pros

  • Waterproof material.
  • Easy to move.
  • Comfortable to sit on.

Cons

  • You can’t adjust the height.

12. Karman LT-980-BD 24 Pound Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair – Best Lightweight Wheelchair

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In fact, we have mentioned a few lightweight chairs on our best wheelchair list. However, it is best if you are pursuing something ultra-lightweight.

Coming with a high price tag, this chair is well-made with Aluminum and only weighs 24 lbs. The big wheels have good maneuverability. As a manual wheelchair, this weight is very competitive.

What makes this chair stand out is its adjustable seat height and position, allowing you to feel comfortable while using it. The anti-tipper and soft-touch brake tip work together to protect you all the time.

Pros

  • Adjustable height and position.
  • Ultra-lightweight.
  • Made with high-quality material.
  • Safe to use.
  • No marking wheels.

Cons

  • Not built for tall people.

What Should You Consider Before Buying a Wheelchair?

best wheelchairs for seniors

Choosing the best wheelchair can be a rather hectic task, intensified with the pressure to provide your loved one with the most suitable option.

However, taking into consideration certain aspects can save you time and decision fatigue.

You can check this video to know how to get a good wheelchair correctly.

What Are the Two Main Types of Wheelchairs?

Before looking for the wheelchair design, price, or sturdiness, the most important factor to consider is the wheelchair type. Should you go for a manual or electric? Well, this highly depends on your needs and budget.  ( Or you can check here to find wheelchairs for free.)

If you have a rather low-key lifestyle, a manual wheelchair may suit you better. They are cheaper and fit simple and slow activities as they require effort to drive it. If the manual wheelchair is your chosen gadget, you also have to decide on a self-propelled or companion-propelled chair. 

Electric wheelchairs are more expensive but offer speed and self-reliance for people with busy lives. So if you’re always on the go, you may have to invest in one. 

Other Attributes That Distinguish a Wheelchair

Wheelchair Width

It is very important to decide the wheelchair width you need according to your body size and the place you live. Such as, if you live in a tight space with small door, you will need a narrow wheelchair.

Weight Capacity

Not all people have the same shape and weight. Considering what wheelchair capacity fits you is a determinant factor. At the end of the day, you don’t want to spend your time sitting in an inadequate chair. 

Price

Different wheelchairs come with a varied price range. While wheelchairs that cost around tens are usually basic types, the higher-priced ones come with a variety of accessories and incorporated technologies. For example, an electric wheelchair is much more expensive than a transport chair. Check our post to see how much an electric wheelchair will cost?

However, a key factor when making a clever purchase is not to compromise your requirements while staying within your budget.

As a clever purchaser, you should continuously examine, evaluate, and review the costs of different brands that meet your demands. It’s worth it to spend a little more for better quality. If you are on a tight budget, you could consider buying a used wheelchair.

Material

Depending on the purpose of your purchase, you can choose the best material that fits your requirements. Generally, steel wheelchairs are known to be much heavier and sturdier compared to other materials, including carbon fiber, aluminum, and titanium. 

Titanium wheelchairs, on the other hand, are considered lightweight and perfect for traveling. Moreover, carbon fiber wheelchairs are the lightest you can find on the market.

Carbon steel is also a great choice and widely used on standard wheelchairs as it’s light and durable.

Warranty

Maintaining your wheelchair is definitely crucial, especially if you don’t want to spend more in the long run. In this case, you may also want to consider a wheelchair that comes with lifetime warranty coverage, or at least one that covers you for a few years. This way you can repair your wheelchair whenever you notice any defects.

Transportability

A heavy wheelchair can make your life harder since it’s more challenging to transport and move around. It’s important to look for a lightweight and foldable wheelchair. One that you can easily store in your car on a trip. But you shouldn’t worry too much as long as you don’t mind getting an extra wheelchair carrier.

Adjustment Features

Features that offer adaptability like armrest adjustments can give you more freedom and comfort when you use the chair. Adjustment options can eliminate bad posture issues and cater to your needs.  

Accessories

Wheelchair accessories making the operating process become smooth and comfortable. Usually, you can get them from stores and they are not expensive. Typical wheelchair accessories include wheelchair gloves and wheelchair umbrellas.

Precautions

You should always be cautious when using a wheelchair of any kind. Tipping and falling are probably the most prevalent occurrences that can occur. With that being said, in order to avoid these potential accidents, take these safety tips into consideration:

  • Use your wheelchair in the right way, and make sure to read the guidelines that come with it. 
  • Don’t go too fast, especially on slippery terrains.
  • Lock your brakes if necessary.
  • Avoid road bumps in order to maintain its stability.
  • Consider buying a portable wheelchair ramp in case you need to cross some stairs.

Rolling in Style

Our pick for the best wheelchair for seniors is the Drive Medical Cruiser III lightweight wheelchair followed by the Medline Excel Extra-Wide Wheelchair. These two combine comfort, safety, sturdiness, and easy mobility.

Senior citizens can have a harder time performing their daily activities due to aging and the inability to walk properly. Since not all elders have access to 24/7 caregivers or available relatives, having the best wheelchair can help them be more self-reliant and give them the capacity to work and have fun.

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