Over the past couple of years we have seen the rise of aging population and new life saving medical interventions which give people a longer life to spend with the people that matter. Looking at this and data from censuses carried out over the past couple of years we can see that more and more people are relying on mobility aids and wheelchairs to get around and interact.

When it comes to purchasing a wheelchair, one has to understand that different wheelchairs exist for different tasks and necessities that one undertakes during his or her life. Before you purchase a wheelchair you should discuss the primary functions that the user needs to accomplish during his or her day-to-day life. Below is a guide to what you need to keep in mind when choosing a wheelchair.


All wheelchairs have the same basic characteristics. They are constructed from a durable metallic frame with a seating platform with foot and leg rests and come in a variety of seating sizes to accommodate various patients.


Seating sizes can be split into 4 groups. Narrow wheelchairs are typically used for paediatric patients, young adults and adults with a small build. The normal size of the seat is 16 inches but can also be found in sizes as small as 12 inches. Standard size wheelchairs are sized 18 inches while extra wide wheelchairs are normally ranged between 20 inch and 24 inches. Bariatric wheelchairs are for patients who have a seating area of 24 inches or greater or need a wheelchair which has a high weight bearing capacity.


One needs to look out for key seating necessities when it comes to choosing a wheelchair. The primary and most important feature is the seat size and make-up. Users may spend a whole day seated in the wheelchair so it is important to first establish the seat width, this can be done by seating the user and measuring from the outer part of his or her right hip to the outer part of the left. As a general rule always add at least 1 extra inch to allow for room to move and for thicker clothing in winter. Also, one must take into account the length of time the user may spend in the wheelchair and how susceptible he or she is to pressure ulcers. This will determine if the user requires a pressure relief cushion and if so what type of cushion would be best suiting their needs.

One must also take into account if the wheelchair is to be transported from one location to another to deem if the wheelchair needs to be folding, includes quick release wheels, a folding back or other features which will save on space and weight when moving the wheelchair in and out of a vehicle.

Finally, one must look at the mobility of the user in the wheelchair. Is he or she able to propel the wheelchair manually or would they require it to be electric due to poor strength or long distance of travel.

After determining the key points above, one should then look at which wheelchair best suits his or her needs as follows:


Light weight wheelchairs are best suited for users who travel or need to transport the wheelchair from one location to another frequently. These wheelchairs do not have a high weight bearing capacity.


Standard steel wheelchairs come in a variety of sizes from 14 inches up to 30 inches. They can have various accessories, materials and attachments and have various weight bearing capacity proven to be a good all-rounder.


Also known as power wheelchairs these wheelchairs are driven or propelled using electric motors and a joystick. They are also available in various sizes and power outputs according to the range and terrain which is to be covered.


Specialised wheelchairs are wheelchairs which are custom made for users make use of various materials, having a vast range of attachments, propulsion modes and sizing options these wheelchairs are designed for fully dependant users.

If you still have queries or not sure of which model would fit your needs best you can have a look at our product range, visit us at our showroom (map found here) or contact us and we would be more than happy to help!

Article Written by: Paul McAlister