Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Welcome to our big active wheelchair test 2019. Here we present all active wheelchairs that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and also added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best active wheelchair for you. Furthermore, you will find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy an active wheelchair.

Contents




Summary

  • With an active wheelchair, you can meet your personal needs and get more movement back into your life. They often have adjustable wheelchair back angles, seat coverings and seat heights.
  • Due to the high level of comfort, the low effort required to move around, as well as the flexibility and functionalities, active wheelchairs are the best option to get back to an active lifestyle.
  • When buying an active wheelchair, you should always consider your individual needs first. However, when buying, always look at the functionality, the load capacity, the material as well as the design.

The Best Active Wheelchair: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an active wheelchair

What is an active wheelchair and what is it used for?

An active wheelchair, often called an adaptive wheelchair, is usually used for long-term use by relatively lively and agile wheelchair users.

With the right active wheelchair, you will get more movement back into your life and there are many options open to you. (Image source: unsplash.com / Josh Appel)

Of all the different types of wheelchairs, they can be best adapted to individual needs and are a good tool for promoting mobility. Many people often become immobile due to certain illnesses, such as a stroke or multiple sclerosis, or due to an accident. A good wheelchair can be crucial for more mobility in life and beneficial for personal freedom.

Why is an active wheelchair useful?

Because an active wheelchair can be easily adapted to individual or disability-specific needs, it is highly recommended for most people. They allow the user to regain an active lifestyle, are lighter than other models, require less energy to move around in and have a high level of comfort.

Active wheelchairs have many different functions and are therefore very practical. Many models have adjustable wheelchair back angles, variable positioning of the seat upholstery and also adjustable seat heights.

Caution: People with care needs should not use an active wheelchair alone.

For which diagnoses is an active wheelchair needed?

Basically, an active wheelchair is always needed when you are dependent on it. It is often the case that an accident or illness is the decisive reason for an active wheelchair for some people.

For example, this can be a car accident or illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, hereditary diseases, permanent paralysis, weakness in old age, fractures of the legs and ankles or even a stroke.

What are the dimensions of an active wheelchair?

Of course, active wheelchairs come in different sizes, but they are often similar and only differ in construction. They often have a weight from 8 kg and a load capacity of up to 140 kg.

Here you can see an example of the dimensions of an active wheelchair:

Active wheelchair dimensions
Weight from 8 kg
Maximum load 110 - 140 kg
Seat width 30 - 50 cm
Seat depth 34 - 50 cm
Seat height front: 43 - 56 cm, back: 32 - 50 cm
Seat angle 0 - 16 °
Back height 25 - 47.5 cm
Back angle -15 - 13 ° (optional)

What costs are covered by health insurance?

For the health insurance, a wheelchair generally counts as a medical necessity and is a necessary aid in nursing care. Depending on your individual needs and which model suits you best, the health insurance company will give you a subsidy.

First, you should get a prescription from your doctor and submit it to the health insurance company. Normally, a standard model is often prescribed.

However, if you have certain features that are absolutely necessary and you are able to present them, the medical supply store will make a cost proposal and prepare an additional cost declaration. You then have to submit this to the health insurance company so that additional costs can be covered.

The co-payment should not be more than 10 euros, no matter which model is suitable for you.

What does an active wheelchair cost?

The costs for an active wheelchair always depend on the manufacturer, the model and the functions and features. On average, you can expect a price of around 1,000 euros to about 5,000 euros.

What are the alternatives to active wheelchairs?

Standard wheelchair

If you are not going to use the wheelchair for a long time, then the standard wheelchair is probably very useful for you. It is basically very flexible and adaptable and is often used as a means of transport in the stationary sector.

A standard wheelchair is usually relatively heavy, but robust and has a long service life.

Multifunctional wheelchair/care wheelchair

If you need a lot of functions and are also in need of severe care, the multifunctional wheelchair or the nursing wheelchair is exactly the right one for you.

Compared to the standard wheelchair, it has many features and adjustment options and is also very comfortable. A sitting and lying position is also possible with nursing wheelchairs.

Power wheelchair

If you need a power wheelchair, you can use it for long journeys without any problems. These often have a high level of comfort, a high degree of mobility and can be changed at the touch of a button. There are power wheelchairs for indoor and outdoor use.

Standard Care Electric
Flexible Many options High comfort
Robust and heavy Very comfortable High mobility
Long life Sitting and lying position Long journeys without problems

Decision: What types of active wheelchairs are there and which one is right for you?

Basically, there are three different types of active wheelchairs. They differ in terms of construction and are divided as follows:

  • Rigid frame wheelchair
  • Folding frame wheelchair
  • Sports wheelchair

What distinguishes a rigid frame wheelchair and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Rigid frame wheelchairs are much lighter than folding frame wheelchairs. For example, there are many ultra-light rigid frame wheelchairs made of carbon, which make transport easier.

This type of active wheelchair is ideal for sporty and advanced wheelchair users because it is more torsion-resistant. Rigid frame wheelchairs require less force to move and are more sensitive to steering impulses.

Advantages
  • Relatively light
  • Especially suitable for athletes
  • Requires less force to move
Disadvantages
  • Lightweights are more expensive

What are the characteristics of a folding wheelchair and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

As the name suggests, folding wheelchairs can be folded up. Even the seat and the backrest can be folded to simply save space and be easy to store. You can easily put it in the car or the boot and transport it. Even if you have a smaller car, this is no problem.

The wheels of many folding wheelchairs can be folded down. Some of them you can even dismantle or fold so that they fit into your hand luggage and you can even take it with you on a plane.

Advantages
  • Takes up little space
  • Folds easily
  • Practical
Disadvantages
  • Weighs more
  • Less torsionally rigid
  • Can only be moved with a lot of effort

What are the characteristics of a sports wheelchair and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

As the name suggests, sports wheelchairs are not intended for everyday use but for sporting activities. Sports such as tennis, hockey, basketball or handbike racing are possible with a sports wheelchair. Sports wheelchairs must meet certain requirements in terms of resilience, speed and safety in order to prevent risks and injuries.

In order for the sports wheelchair to be really useful, it must also be adapted to the individual needs.

Advantages
  • Particularly practical for athletes
  • High load capacity
  • High speed
Disadvantages
  • Not an everyday wheelchair
  • Only suitable for sports

With sports wheelchairs, almost all possible sports can also be performed from a wheelchair. They can be adapted to personal needs. (Image source: unsplash.com / Audi Nissen)

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate active wheelchairs

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate active wheelchairs. This will make it easier for you to decide whether certain active wheelchairs are suitable for you. The following factors should be taken into consideration:

  • Functionality
  • Load capacity
  • Material
  • Design

In the following paragraphs you can read in detail what the individual purchase criteria are and how they should be classified.

Functionality

If you are prescribed an active wheelchair or should buy one, your personal needs always come first. When buying an active wheelchair, you should have already answered these questions:

  • What is the active wheelchair needed for?
  • Where will the active wheelchair be used?
  • How much power do I need to drive it?
  • Do I need special additional equipment?
  • Is the active wheelchair transportable?
  • What safety features do I need with the active wheelchair?

Load capacity

Here, too, your individual needs are important. If you want an active wheelchair with a very high load capacity, you can also buy such a chair. Basically, the material is also important for the load capacity. To determine the optimal load capacity, use the formula below. Add to your own body weight the clothes and things you will be carrying.

Own body weight + 10 kg = load capacity

Material

Nowadays, it is common practice to manufacture robust active wheelchairs. After all, they have to withstand a lot. For example, sports wheelchairs have to be very robust and durable in order not to injure oneself during sports. Active wheelchairs are generally made of different materials such as aluminium, magnesium and carbon.

Design

Even if the active wheelchair meets your individual needs, this does not mean that it looks good. The design plays just as important a role here, because as a user of an active wheelchair you should feel comfortable in it, also in terms of aesthetics.

In order to cover all personal needs, the active wheelchair should not only be able to fulfil all functions, but also be beautifully designed. Aesthetics also have a positive effect on the mental state. (Image source: unsplash.com / Doug Maloney)

Facts worth knowing about active wheelchairs

Where can I apply for an active wheelchair and how can I get one?

You can always apply for an active wheelchair if you really need one. If you need one after a serious operation or after an accident or illness, we recommend that you consult your doctor. Basically, your family doctor or a specialist will prescribe an active wheelchair, which can also be a neurologist or an orthopaedist.

The doctor will then prescribe you a prescription. You can then pick up the active wheelchair with the prescription at a medical supply store. It is really important that the prescription states in detail what kind of wheelchair it is, as there are many different types.

Normally, the medical supply store will show you the different wheelchairs so that you can find the perfect or optimal active wheelchair for you. This will then be adapted to your body size. However, you may have to wait for the health insurance company to approve the active wheelchair.

From a legal point of view, the wheelchair then belongs to the health insurance company, as you are only "borrowing" it.

My application for an active wheelchair was rejected - why?

Unfortunately, it can often happen that the health insurance fund decides not to cover the costs of a therapeutic or assistive device. Health insurance companies do not reject applications out of principle, but because of the legal regulations.

Before this happens, check again whether you have filled out the initial application correctly, because this is crucial! The doctor's prescription should also refer to your active wheelchair as precisely as possible. The only thing you can do now is to file a written objection within one month and give reasons. You can also ask your doctor for help here.

Can I also borrow or rent an active wheelchair?

Yes, you can also borrow or rent an active wheelchair from a medical supply store. You might need this, for example, if yours is being repaired. You can find the rates and prices at the local medical supply store.

What is the difference between an active wheelchair and a lightweight wheelchair?

As mentioned above, the active wheelchairs have excellent adaptability to personal needs. The amount of force needed to move around is also low, which means less strain on the joints and less pain.

In contrast to the active wheelchairs or adaptive wheelchairs, lightweight wheelchairs have poorer rolling characteristics and less adaptability and are therefore more suitable for temporary use. Since they require more strength, they are not suitable for longer periods of use.

Are there active wheelchairs for children / seniors / overweight / disabled people?

Yes, active wheelchairs can also be easily used by children, senior citizens, overweight people or disabled people. For overweight people, however, the load capacity should be a very important purchase criterion, as you should also consider the clothes and things you want to transport.

What accessories can I buy for my active wheelchair?

Various accessories can of course make your everyday life, your leisure activities and your living situation a lot easier. In most shops you can find accessories such as backpacks and bags, seat cushions, side panels, ramps, lighting and various other items that can be useful.

Photo source: 123rf.com / 112890745

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