Hello, welcome to ReviewBox! Choosing a wheelchair may seem a matter of opting for the most economical or the most aesthetic, however, there are several factors that make the ideal chair for each person, since users are different for different morphological characteristics, and chairs must be adapted to each patient.
For this and more is that in ReviewBox we want to give you every detail, so that you are able not only to choose the ideal wheelchair, but also to understand each factor that influences the diversity of the wide range of wheelchairs, do not miss it!
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- 2 The Best Wheelchair: Our Picks
- 3 Buying Guide
- 4 Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate different wheelchair models
The Best Wheelchair: Our Picks
What is a wheelchair and what are its advantages?
Wheelchairs consist of a chair adapted with at least three wheels for medical use. They are primarily intended for people with limited locomotion or reduced mobility due to injury or physical illness.
The major benefit of their use is to allow mobility to people who have lost the ability to move themselves using their lower limbs, thus providing autonomy in their daily life to be able to transport themselves to their place of work, recreational sites or leisure spaces.
Today, wheelchairs are indispensable for many people around the world for all the advantages they are able to provide to users, from transporting injured people to empowering the lives of users with motor limitations.
Conventional or electric wheelchair - what should you pay attention to?
Wheelchairs, being such an indispensable object nowadays, have undergone changes and updates, as many as human development, these, generally, to improve its operation and allow greater autonomy to regular consumers, from conventional wheelchairs, to sports and electric wheelchairs.
In the medical field, by general rules, the best known and most used are conventional and electric wheelchairs, since they are perfect for everyday use and allow users to move normally within their daily routine, while there are other variations, but they are for specific cases.
Conventional wheelchair. This is the one that has always been used, generally made up of four wheels, two large rear wheels and two slightly smaller front wheels. They provide autonomy to the patient, since he/she can push the rear wheels with his/her hands, however, this can be a limitation in some cases.
Generally, a companion would be needed to help push the wheelchair under specific circumstances, such as very steep slopes, as this would otherwise be a great physical effort for the user in question.
Electric wheelchairs: These generally consist of three or more wheels, which are driven by an electric motor that can be controlled from a joystick on the armrest, usually a joystick to control the movement and another control centre to adjust the speed or other accessories such as lights or a horn.
These chairs allow total autonomy to the patient, as they do not necessarily require a companion in most cases, and the patient could move freely during their daily routine and without making excessive physical efforts to be able to move around.
|Conventional wheelchair||Electric wheelchair|
|Weight||Around 15kg||Up to 60kg|
|Power supply||No need||Electric|
What other types of wheelchairs are there?
Just as there is a sea of options when it comes to choosing a wheelchair because of the vast amount of features that can be altered in each one, we can also get different types of wheelchairs, as users may have different uses depending on their daily activities.
Conventional chair: Precisely this is the most common of all, a chair with three or more wheels that moves thanks to the push, it could be of a third party, if it is a transfer chair or self-propelled, which gives greater autonomy to the user allowing him to mobilize by himself.
Sports chair: If in your daily life it is common to practice exercises or sports such as basketball, volleyball, rugby, athletics and even dancing, it is possible to continue doing these activities normally thanks to the ideal chair, these are lighter and are specifically designed for high speeds and sharp turns.
Handbrake chair: This is a tricycle that can be propelled with the hands, it has a very peculiar shape and far from the image of the conventional chair, as it is elongated, similar to a small car that is able to move thanks to the pedals located in the front part at the height of the arms.
How much does a wheelchair cost?
The cost of wheelchairs depends on the different factors that characterise them, since they vary according to their type, support and other criteria to be taken into account, as well as their price, since in the market we can get from the cheapest and simplest wheelchairs to the most expensive and luxurious ones.
In the market we can get very simple conventional wheelchairs, with four wheels and that meets the basics from 2,000 MXN, to electric wheelchairs with a variety of accessories and even light or portable, with a price ranging from 50,000 MXN.
Where to buy a wheelchair?
Since wheelchairs are so indispensable, they are not a difficult product to find on the market, so you can find them in hundreds of orthopaedic or medical shops, such as Total Medic, Vida Abuelo Coapa or Aktiva, where you can find a wide variety of types, models and prices.
Nowadays there are much more comfortable, simple and easy ways to acquire the products of our difference, such as buying online through platforms like Ebay, MercadoLibre and Amazon, where we will get a greater diversity of products, without stock limits and with delivery to the door of the house.
Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate different wheelchair models
Wheelchairs come in a wide variety of types, models and more. There are anthropological features of the user that must be taken into account for the wheelchair to be truly ideal for everyday use, as it is a product for everyday use, so it must be extremely comfortable and ergonomic for common activities.
Circumstances of use
Taking into account the use of the wheelchair is really necessary, as this affects all the other characteristics that will consolidate your ideal wheelchair. This is because each wheelchair adapts to the different anthropological factors of the users, i.e. their morphology, their activities and their environment in general.
For example, it is not the same type of material that a chair should be made of for an active person who lives in a rural area, where the chair should be more resistant to move around, than for a sedentary person in an urban environment, since he/she only needs comfort and would not need to move for long distances.
Wheelchairs have different uses depending on the use case. They can be used for minor injuries, where permanent use of the wheelchair is not necessary, for transport or for permanent, everyday use.
Temporary use: In some cases the injury is minor enough that permanent use of the wheelchair is not required, and on these occasions, it is best to use a conventional, inexpensive wheelchair, as it would be healthier to return to your routine once you have healed and no longer need the wheelchair.
Hospital use: They are generally used to transport patients from one part of the hospital to another, or from the ambulance. Also for the mobilisation of patients who cannot move on their own. It is not necessary to have self-propulsion or greater comfort, since its use is usually quite brief.
Everyday use: In some cases, due to a total loss of mobility in some limbs, it is necessary to use the wheelchair permanently. In these cases, a really comfortable chair is recommended, and if possible, an electric one, since it would provide greater autonomy to the patient and would make day-to-day use more pleasant.
When choosing the ideal wheelchair for your case, you should take into account the materials used in its manufacture, mainly so that it adapts to the climate to which you are usually exposed. If you live in an area with high humidity, it is advisable that the chair is made of materials that do not rust.
Aluminium is a material resistant to humidity and much lighter than others, which gives multiple advantages to the chair if this is the choice.
Steel is the most commonly used material in the construction of these chairs, it rusts easily and is much heavier, but also cheaper.
Titanium or carbon, their prices tend to be much higher due to the benefits they present, but they are rare materials.
The material from which the seat and backrest are made is also of utmost importance, as we must ensure that it is comfortable, strong and durable. It should fit the size and also the climate you are exposed to, for durability and comfort.
The dimensions of the wheelchair are a key factor in the choice of your new acquisition, since different morphological aspects of the user must be taken into account, otherwise, it would be subtracting comfort in its use, since in the human body there are variations in sizes and sizes.
The most recommended is to take the user's measurements in the back and hips, and that the chair has at least two centimetres more than these on each side. It is really necessary to take care of this feature, since wheelchairs of generic sizes could affect people with a thick morphology, for example.
It is ideal to take into account the weight of the chair we want to buy, mainly because in most cases this tool must be light and very easy to transport. The lighter it is, the more comfort and autonomy the user will enjoy, as it will be easier to move around and simpler to lift and store in a car.
Wheelchairs are essential and everyday objects in a wide variety of cases, so it is really important to be concerned about the comfort they can provide, as an uncomfortable seat or the wrong backrest can ruin our day, when in fact we are looking to improve it.
So make sure that your ideal wheelchair has a soft, cushioned and comfortable seat, that the backrest is really comfortable for your back, that the dimensions suit your needs and that the material is suitable for the climate you are exposed to.
The most important thing about a wheelchair is that it allows you to be fully autonomous, and there are several features to take into account to ensure that this is the case, as there are wheelchairs that are only for transport, and these depend on external help to push them, which detracts from the autonomy they should provide.
Make sure that the wheelchair you are purchasing is self-propelled, i.e. that the user can move around without the help of a third party to push them, simply by moving the larger wheels with their hands, although this depends on the use case.
Wheelchairs can have additional accessories that add value to the aesthetics, use and autonomy of the wheelchair. From the most basic and inexpensive accessories to the most luxurious and expensive that can be found on the market, but they are always useful and add value.
Practical accessories: In the market we can get really practical accessories that facilitate the day to day with a wheelchair, for example, bags that are placed on the armrests, front or front of the chair, as well as some accessories that help convert a conventional chair in an electric one.
Aesthetic accessories: In the case of electric wheelchairs we can get lights or horns to facilitate traffic in common areas, also ideal to avoid unforeseen events in case of a night out.
(Featured image photo: Fabio Formaggio/ 123rf.com)