Top 10 Best Wheelchair Reviews | Elderly, Lightweight, Manual 2018

Several years ago I had my first experience buying a wheelchair for my elderly father, and I was unprepared for the many different choices I had to make to complete this purchase. In this article I hope to help you find the best wheelchairs for your needs. I decided to write this and try to save someone else from the hours of frustration while trying to buy the perfect wheelchair for their needs, and their budget.

So, here is the list. Well, I did a deep research over the wheelchair market first. Surveyed some real time users. After comparing over 50 top rated wheelchairs finally I created this list for you.

Best Wheelchair 2018 Reviews

1. Drive Medical Super Light, Folding Transport Chair with Carry Bag

I chose this Drive Medical Super Light, Folding Transport Chair with Carry Bag because it makes it so easy for you to get a disabled individual to and from vehicles, and maneuvered around medical offices, and small spaces.

The chair is really light so it is easy to push, and it is durable so you can fully rely on it.

This chair weighs only nineteen pounds because of the aluminum frame so it is very light, and the wheels are proportioned perfectly so it glides effortlessly when it is pushed.

Best Wheelchair

More Photos & Price at: amazon.com

Key Features :

  • The carry bag has a shoulder strap to make it easy to carry
  • he chair folds so it can be stored or placed in the trunk of almost any car
  • Has standard wheel locks on the rear wheels
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    Has flip back armrests that are padded
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    Comes with a seatbelt
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    Has footrests that fold down
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    Aluminum frame weighs only 19 Lbs

Things I Like

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    Flip Back Armrests : The flip back arm rests can be positioned so that it is easy to transfer a person from another seated position to the chair. Then the armrests can be lowered so the individual stays safely positioned in the chair with less chance of them slipping, or falling from the seat.
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    The chair Folds : The chair can be folded so that it is easy to place it in the trunk of a car, or even in the space between the car seats. The footrests fold up, the padded armrests fold up, and then the seat lifts up making the chair take up very little space.

Things I Don't Like

  • The chair is not easy to get inside the carry bag
  • The chair only comes in blue

2. Invacare LightWeight Tracer EX2 Wheelchair 20" with Swingaway Footrest

I like this Invacare Lightweight Tracer EX2 chair because it is a dependable piece of equipment that is both affordable and comfortable.

Your loved one will be safe in this chair and you will have the assurance that they have a device that will last for as long as they own it. It's very easy to roll this device over uneven surfaces.

Invacare LightWeight Tracer EX2

More Photos & Price at: amazon.com

Key Features :

  • Adjustable seat to floor height
  • Weighs less than 36 Lbs without the footrests
  • Can support a person who weighs as much as 250 Lbs
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    Has rear wheel locks
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    Adjustable footrests require no tools to reposition.

The padded seat cushion helps to reduce pressure related sores and the swing-away footrest makes it easy to get people in and out of the chair safely. This might be one of the best portable lightweight wheelchair by Invacare.

Things I Like

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    Adjustable Seat Height : This mobility device has dual axles that can be positioned in such a manner as to raise or lower the height of the seat position. This allows the chair to accommodate people of varying heights more comfortably.
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    Lifetime Warranty : The lifetime warranty on the device assures you that you have a high quality item that you can rely on. If anything does happen to it you can simply return it to the manufacturer for replacement or repair.
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    Interchangeable with the 9000 Series : For the people with the 9000 series this means they do not have to buy all new accessories when they upgrade their device.
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    The chair supports up to 250lbs but only weighs thirty six pounds. That means the chair will be easy for most people to lift into the trunk of a vehicle or to place behind the front seat of a vehicle. It also means that the person sitting in the chair will need less upper body strength in order to manually propel the chair.
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    The large rear wheels make it easier to propel the chair over uneven surfaces like dirt, gravel, rock, or grass. This is very important if the chair is going to be used outdoors. Needed ramps for this wheelchair to move on cars.

Things I Don't Like

  • The main portion of the chair and the footrests come in separate shipments

3. Drive Medical Fly Lite Ultra Lightweight Transport Wheelchair

This Drive medical Fly Lite Ultra lightweight chair allows you to easily transport your disabled loved one. It comes in a variety of colors so you can personalize the look of the device, and it can handle a person that weighs as much as 300lbs.

When you lock the rear wheels you can be assured that the chair will not roll away. This is a safety feature that needs to be on every mobility chair.

Drive Medical Fly Lite Ultra Lightweight Transport Wheelchair

More Photos & Price at: amazon.com

Key Features :

  • Comes with a seatbelt
  • Comes with a carry pocket on the back of the chair​​​​​​
  • Can support a person who weighs as much as 250 Lbs.
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    Has rear wheel locks
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    Adjustable footrests require no tools to reposition

Things I Like

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    With the handy carry pocket on the back of the chair you can carry supplies that you might need during the day without having to carry a travel bag. The pocket is really handy on the days that you have to go to doctor’s appointments or outings away from your home.
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    Having the larger casters on the back of the mobility device makes it possible to use the device on uneven surfaces like rock driveways, or when you have to maneuver across grass.
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    The ability to adjust the footrests will allow the rider to be more comfortable.

Things I Don't Like

  • Some assembly required

4. Invacare Veranda Manual Wheelchair

A folding transport chair is a convenience that every person who has limited mobility can benefit from owning. The Self Transport Folding chair is one of the best wheelchairs for this purpose because it has all of the basic features at an affordable cost.

The Nylon Materials makes it very easy to clean the seat of the chair. But the sad part is, it only comes in black.

More Photos & Price at: amazon.com

Key Features :

  • Black nylon upholstered seat
  • Elevating footrests
  • Swing-away footrests that can be detached
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    Armrests that can be detached
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    24” rear wheels with 8” front casters
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    Rear wheels have soft grip tires
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    Lifetime warranty on the framework

Things I Like

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    The soft grip tires allow you to have better traction. The rear wheels are larger than the front wheels and that makes the chair roll easily across uneven terrain.
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    By detaching the armrests you can make it easier to transfer a person from a bed to the chair. The armrests can also be in the way if the person is trying to position themselves at a table so removing them makes the chair handier to use.
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    When you are transferring a person from a car to a wheelchair the footrests can be in your way. These swingaway footrests will easily be moved so you can make the transfer and then put the footrest back into position for the rider.

Things I Don't Like

  • The seat to floor height is not adjustable.

5. Medline Lightweight Transport Adult Folding Wheelchair with Handbrakes

This is an ideal transport chair that has a great braking system. The brake system is easy for the person seated in the chair to handle so it gives them more freedom to go out on their own.

The aluminum frame is the reason that this chair weighs only twenty two pounds, but is capable of supporting a person that weighs three hundred pounds. I like the strength and durability of aluminum.

Medline Lightweight Transport Adult Folding Wheelchair

More Photos & Price at: amazon.com

Key Features :

  • Powder coated aluminum frame
  • Can carry a person weighing up to 300lbs
  • Loop style hand brakes
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    12” rear wheels
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    Nylon upholstery
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    Weighs only 22lbs

Things I Like

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    The loop style handbrakes are easy for the person that is seated in the chair to use. They can lock the wheels of the chair anytime they want the chair to stay stationary, and release the locks when they are ready to roll without anyone assisting them.
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    I love the red frame of this chair. The color does nothing for the functions of the chair but it is cheerful and I believe that is important.

Things I Don't Like

  • Some assembly required
  • The seat height is not adjustable

6. Drive Medical Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair, Fixed Full Arms

This chair is a great choice for a transport chair. The back folds up and the armrests fold so the chair is easy to store, and easy to carry in vehicles.

The upholstered handles make it comfortable for anyone who is assisting the person in the chair and the rear locking wheels make it safe to use.

Drive Medical Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair

More Photos & Price at: amazon.com

Key Features :

  • Upholstered handles
  • Foldable backrest and armrests
  • Padded armrests
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    Weight capacity of 250lbs
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    Rear locking wheels
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    Nylon seat material

Things I Like

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    The foldable backrest makes it possible to get this wheelchair in and out of vehicles easily. It also allows you to store the chair in a small space.
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    The padded armrests are more comfortable for the rider to use. They reduce pressure ulcers that can occur from the arms being in one position on a hard surface for long periods of time.
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    The upholstered handles are more comfortable for someone who is pushing the wheelchair to grip.

Things I Don't Like

  • Seat height is not adjustable
  • Seat is only sixteen inches wide between the armrests

7. Drive Medical Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair, Fixed Full Arms

This Drive Medical Steel Wheelchair is a non-electric manually operated lift chair that will help you to get anywhere you need to go.

I loved the features it had, and I liked the quality craftsmanship that is apparent in the design of the device.

This chair has many excellent features to help a person that is mobility challenged to be able to perform their daily activities with ease.

Check More Photos & Price at: amazon.com

Key Features :

  • Nylon upholstery that is easy to clean and maintain
  • A silver vein finish
  • Folding backrest and foldable footrests
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    Weight capacity of 250lbs
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    Width between the armrest is 16.5”, 8” casters
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    Rear wheel locks upholstered handles

Things I Like

  1. The foldable backrest on this transport chair makes putting the chair into the trunk of a car easier to do. It also makes it easier to store the chair in a closet or small space in your house. You can fold the chair up and place it beside the patient bed and it will not be in the way.
  2. The nylon upholstery breathes so the patient does not get too hot while riding in the chair. The upholstery is also very easy to keep clean. You can use a damp cloth each day and wipe the seat off so that the chair stays clean and sanitary.
  3. The upholstered handles make it easier for someone to assist the person riding in the chair.
  4. The rear wheel locks insure that the chair will not move when you are getting in or out of it
  5. The footrests can be folded up so that it is easier to get the person into the chair, and these rests can be completely removed if they are not needed.

Things I Don't Like

  • The seat is narrow and not well suited to larger individuals
  • The arm rests are fixed in place

8. Karman Healthcare S-105 - Best Lightweight Wheelchair for Travel

This is an excellent transport chair that has all of the features that you would want to keep the individual using the chair safe, secure and comfortable.

A mobility device like this allows people to be able to leave their home environments and do things like shop and see the doctor.

It is vital that these individuals be safe while they are using these devices.

Check More Photos & Price at: amazon.com

Key Features :

  • Stain resistant seat coverings
  • Seat coverings that are bacteria resistant
  • Ergonomically shaped seats
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    Wider armrests that are ergonomically shaped to provide comfort to the user
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    Ergonomic hand rims on the wheels that make it easier for the individual to propel the chair

Things I like

  1. The ergonomically shaped seats are a wonderful feature because they help to alleviate pressure so the person riding in the chair has fewer pressure ulcers.
  2. The seat coverings are coated with a bacteria resistant coating so the person riding in the chair has less skin issues. Skin ulcers are extremely painful and hard to heal so it is wonderful to find a mobility device that helps prevent these ulcers from occurring.
  3. The newly designed hand rims allow the person riding in the chair to have an easier time propelling the chair forward.
  4. The wide arm rests are shaped so that they are comfortable for the seated individual and they are proportioned correctly so the person in the chair can position the chair at the majority of desks and work at the desk comfortably
  5. The chair weighs only twenty seven pounds so the majority of people can easily load it into vehicles, and a lighter chair is easier to push both for the person in the chair and the person helping push from the handles behind the chair.

Things I Don't Like

  • Some assembly is required

9. Medline Folding Wheelchair with Handbrakes - Best Lightweight Wheelchair for Elderly

I liked this Medline transport chair because it is versatile, dependable, and full of features that make it handy for the majority of mobility challenged people.

It is also designed to allow caregivers to assist the mobility challenged person. I think this chair offers a lot of freedom because it does increase the mobility of the people who own it.

As a lightweight wheelchair it's weight capacity is awesome, which is upto 300 lbs.

Check More Photos & Price at: amazon.com

Key Features :

  • Swing away footrest with padded arms and safety belt.
  • Has a cup and bottle holder and on the back side there is a cell phone holder. You can use that holder to carry items like wallet, key ring.
  • Has a limited lifetime warranty on the frame and the cross-frame.

Things I Like

  1. Foldable foot rests that can be swung out of the way to make it easy to transfer a person into the chair, and position them properly. With the footrests out of the way you can stand directly in front of the person seated in the chair and help them lift up and get into the best position without fear of tripping or falling over the footrests.
  2. The chair has pockets built on the back side of the seat so the caregiver has a place to put their keys, their cell phone, a water bottle, and other things they may need to carry with them while they are assisting the rider of the chair.
  3. Aluminum frame means the chair weighs less so the elderly patients are more capable of transporting the chair without assistance so they stay independent for a longer period of time.

Things I Don't Like

  • The permanent arms can make it more difficult for a person to transfer into this chair.

10. Karman 23 lbs Transport Wheelchair with Companion Brakes

I must admit that the burgundy color is one of the reasons I chose this transport chair. The upholstery on this chair is one of the best features. This upholstery is a sturdy nylon that is easy to clean and very durable. It can be removed to make it even easier to clean.

It has been treated so that it is flame retardant and treated with an antibacterial agent to help keep bacteria from growing on the seat. This chair is less likely to cause the person that uses it to ever have sores or infected ulcers because of dirt, or pressure from their chair.

Check More Photos & Price at: amazon.com

Key Features :

  • Upholstery that is treated with antibacterial agents
  • Backrest folds down
  • Upholstery that can be removed to be cleaned as it's made with breathable nylon. And it is flame retardant.
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    Aluminum frame with Handbrakes.

Things I Like

I liked that this chair was filled with features that help keep it sanitary and clean to use. This means the chair manufacturer is really concerned about the well-being of the people who use their products.

  1. This mobility device weighs only twenty three pounds. You can virtually lift this folded chair with one hand. It is very easy to transport and very easy to maneuver because of the light aluminum frame and the light nylon cushion fabrics. This chair is great for the young and the old.
  2. The handbrakes are placed strategically so that the person riding in the chair has no problems setting the brakes. Then they are safe when they transfer from the chair to another piece of furniture or vice versa.

Things I Don't Like

  • Some assembly is required

How To Choose The Best Wheelchairs

Before you can select a wheelchair you need to know what features are available on these medical devices and which of the features will be beneficial to your circumstances.

  • The age and size of the disabled person
  • The type of disability that the individual suffers from
  • Will the chair be used indoors or outdoors?
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    Other activities the individual may want to use the device to do; such as playing ball.
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    Personal likes and dislikes in color, style, and other features.

During the process of selecting the best six wheelchairs we carefully considered the features each chair had to offer, the strengths and weaknesses of the devices, and other important factors like durability, reliability, and availability. The following mobility devices were my favorites and I believe they will also be your favorites.

Wheelchair Types

When shopping for the best wheelchair the main consideration you will have will be what type of mobility device to buy. When you know what type of device you are looking for then you can compare the different styles, and brands of devices.

Lightweight Wheelchairs

Lightweight wheelchairs have frames that weigh less than the standard wheelchair frame weighs. A standard wheelchair weighs between thirty eight and fifty pounds, where the lighter varieties of chairs will weigh between twenty nine and thirty four pounds.

The lightweight varieties include chairs:

  • That can be folded so they fit into small spaces like the trunk of a car
  • Big wheeled chairs
  • Small chairs
  • Ultra light or feather weight chairs
  • chairs with removable arms

All wheelchairs that are considered to be lightweight will be manually operated. Colors and material types will be determined by manufacturer of the device.

Ergonomic Wheelchairs

Ergonomic wheelchairs are classified as lightweight wheelchairs. These mobility enhancing devices are considered to be some of the lightest weight chairs on the market. They are designed for both comfort and increased mobility.

They have unique seating shapes to improve the comfort and stability of the individual using the device. The seating allows the weight of the individual to be evenly distributed and this reduces the chances of the individual developing a pressure sore or spinal injury from sitting in the chair.

These chairs are well suited to people who have to stay in the chairs all of the time.

Manual Wheelchairs

Manual chairs are mobility devices that rely on the power of the individual to propel them. These devices usually have handles that protrude from the rear of the chair that will allow another person to push to push the chair.

Manual chairs may have big wheels that allow them to traverse over uneven surfaces easier, or they may have small wheels that are better suited to indoor usage.

These chairs may have no arms on the sides to make it easier for a person to get in and out of the chair from another location. They may also have removable arms that make transferring easier to accomplish.

Transport Wheelchairs

Transport chairs are designed for caretakers to be able to easily push the chair for the individual. They are not well suited to being propelled by the person seated in the chair.

The transport chairs are almost always made of the lightest materials possible to make it easier for them to be used in cars, and make it easier for the person pushing the chair to maneuver it.

Transport wheelchairs are usually designed to fold so they are easily placed in the trunks of cars, or stored in small spaces when they are not being used.

Step By Step Buying Guide For Lightweight Wheelchair

In my opinion the lightweight wheelchair is one that will be durable, reliable and be easy to use as a transport chair. The premises behind developing the best lightweight wheelchairs are to create a mobility device that allows people to have the freedom to go places, and do things that they could not easily do using a traditional wheelchair.

When you are shopping for the best wheelchair you want to get the best product you can for the amount of money you have to spend. Most people have no idea that wheelchairs have different features that accommodate different handicaps. I chose the following five chairs as my favorite lightweight chairs because of their features, their dependability, and their affordable prices.

Before you rush out to buy the best lightweight wheelchairs you should need to know a few basic facts about these mobility devices so you can choose one with the features that will be most beneficial to your particular needs.

  • If the individual that is going to use the chair is capable of operating the controls buy an electric powered chair so they can easily go where they choose to go
  • When you buy an electric wheelchair try to choose one that can also be manually operated in case the battery goes dead when you need to use the device
  • Buy a chair that has a folding frame to make transportation easier. The chairs without folding frames are hard to get into the trunks of cars.
  • Buy a chair with footrests that can be lifted during transfers into and out of the chair.
  • Buy a chair with a padded seat to help prevent skin breakdowns and with padded arm rests for comfort
  • Look for chairs that can have the controls switched to either arm
  • Look for chairs with breathable seat cushions and back rest so the individual stays cool, dry and comfortable while in the chair
  • Aluminum frames are sturdy and they are more than fifty percent lighter than some of the other frames
  • Try to get a chair that has rear locking brakes and brakes that can be controlled by the individual in the chair

Take Care Of Your Lightweight Or Portable Wheelchair

So, you already found your best lightweight wheelchair, right ? Now, a wheelchair is something that you rely on to help someone who cannot otherwise move around freely. These mobility devices are critical pieces of equipment that have to be properly cared for so the individual always has the means of being transported to the places they need to go, and so they can take care of their daily needs.

Some of the things you need to do in order to maintain a wheelchair properly are:

  • A bicycle pump for airing up the tires on the chair
  • A spoke wrench
  • A flat metal file
  • An adjustable wrench
  • A Phillips head screw driver
  • A flat screwdriver
  • Medium weight oil
  • A soft wax like the ones you apply to a car. Do not try to use candle wax it is too brittle and will not help you.

On a daily basis you should perform the following tasks to your chair:

  1. Clean the dirt from the frame of the chair using a soft cloth. The cloth can be dampened to make this easier to do, but you do not want to submerge the frame in water, or get the frame unnecessarily wet.
  2. Keep the chair in a dry climate so that the bearings located on the front and rear wheels are protected from getting wet.
  3. Check the tires to ascertain whether or not they have adequate amounts of air in them The tires on the chair should feel very firm and you should not be able to depress them using just your hands.

Each week you should do the following maintenance tasks to your chair:

  1. Check the tires to make sure they have adequate amounts of tread on them. Change the tires when the tread seems worn. When checking the tires if you discover a nail or foreign object has punctured the tire do not remove the object until you have repaired the inner tube of the tire. The punctured object will be keeping the hole it created sealed but as soon as you remove the object the air will be allowed to escape and the tire will go flat.
  2. Check the ball bearings on the rear wheels of the chair. To do this you want to spin the wheels and make sure that they do not make any unusual sounds or wobble as they spin. You might have to tighten the nuts that hold the tires in place occasionally. If you get these nuts too tight they will not allow the wheels to spin freely. If this happens simply back the nuts off a little bit until the tire can freely spin.
  3. Check the front forks to make sure they are not being rubbed by the footrest on the chair. If the fork appears to be loose you will tighten the top nut. Once again, if you over-tighten this nut you will hinder the wheels from turning freely. You want to loosen the nut up just a little if the tire does not spin freely.
  4. If the front tires are not spinning properly, and the nut to the fork is not over-tightened then take the chair to a repair shop to have the bearings in the front wheels examined for wear and tear.
  5. Remove any dirt or foreign matter you might find on the axle housings. You can place a few drops of oil on a damp cloth to perform this task.
  6. Check the spokes to see if they are firmly positioned. If you find a loose one use the spoke wrench and tighten it.

Each month you should perform the following maintenance tasks:

  1. Wax the frame of the chair so that it is easy to fold.
  2. If the ball bearings located in the center of the wheels are not factory sealed bearings then you should remove them and clean them. Once they have been properly cleaned you want to pack them with grease and replace them.
  3. Check the arm rests, the foot rests, and any other part of the chair that the patient comes into contact with to make sure there are no sharp edges that could cause a skin tear.
  4. Check all of the bolts and screws on the chair and make sure they are properly tightened. You will find screws located on the x-brace, the seat, the footrests, the armrests, the brakes, the front rear casters, the handles, the accessory carriers, and more
  5. Look the frame of the chair over carefully for damages like dents or cracks. Repair any cracks you find as quickly as you can.

Every six months you should perform the following maintenance tasks:

  1. Check the foam cushions in the chair to make sure it still springs back after being depressed. If the wheelchair cushion is beginning to become overly worn it will take a long time to spring back, or it may not spring back at all after being depressed. Replace when the cushion becomes too worn.
  2. Examine the fabric the seats are crafted from to make sure that it does not sag or that it is not getting worn. Worn seats causes skin breakdowns and pressure related skin ulceration's.
  3. Place medium weight oil on the pivot points of the chair
  4. Place medium weight oil on the center of the x-brace
  5. Check batteries to make sure they hold a proper charge you may need to put water in the battery occasionally and if you do it is recommended that you use distilled water. Every three to four years you will likely have to replace the batteries on the chair.

The best lightweight wheelchair will be a disappointment to you if you do not properly maintain these items. Front tires should be replaced in a licensed shop so that you know you have the right tires, and that they are properly installed. If you do not do this you could be setting the rider up for a serious accident.

Manual Wheelchairs VS. Power or Electric Wheelchairs

Though I described 5 types of wheelchairs above, but actually there are two main types of wheelchairs, manual and power or electric wheelchairs. Manual wheelchairs are propelled and controlled by pushing on rims attached to the wheels while electric wheelchairs are powered by a large battery and controlled by means of a joystick. Read more the electric wheelchair guide.

Here are The Difference​​​​​s :

Manual wheelchairs can be divided into two types as can be seen in previous section of this article about rigid versus folding wheelchairs. Rigid wheelchairs are generally lighter and better performing while folding wheelchairs have the advantage of folding relatively flat so they can be conveniently put in the back of a car without removing the wheels.

Rigid wheelchairs are generally the option of choice for an active wheelchair user, while folding wheelchairs are generally the option of choice for someone who is not very active. However, folding wheelchairs are constantly improving and while the difference in weight and performance is decreasing, rigid frames are still usually recommended for active wheelchair users.

There are two types of electric powered vehicles for disabled people, power wheelchairs and mobility scooters. While they have a lot in common as can be seen in this article about Best Electric Wheelchair, there are several key differences.

For example the turning radius of an electric wheelchair is smaller and so the electric wheelchair is more maneuverable. However, a scooter looks more like a motorcycle and thus draws less attention. From the esthetics point of view, many disabled people prefer a scooter.

Final Note

Buying the best wheelchair is the goal for anyone who is shopping for one of these items. We all want our loved ones to have the most mobility possible, and we want them to feel confident, comfortable, and safe, using their mobility devices.

I sincerely hope that this wheelchair review article has given you ample information to help you select the right wheelchair for your circumstances.