How do I choose an active wheelchair?
With a huge market available on active wheelchairs, we know it can be difficult to pick the right active wheelchair for you. It is important that your new wheelchair matches you and your lifestyle. We have put together a guide to help you.
There are a few points to consider when choosing the right active wheelchair for you, so you can get the most out of your new wheelchair.
Where are you going to use your active wheelchair?
Indoors – turning circle radius making sure that you can turn the chair around inside also consider the length and width of the chair so it can fit easily through doorways etc. For tight indoor spaces, then a chair with a compact frame and inset front end would be worth considering.
Outdoors – what type of journeys you are going to make on the wheelchair will depend on what type of tyres you will need, for instance if you will be going over rougher ground, then additional option to choose is chunky mountain-bike tyres that will give better traction, but also consider power add-ons (see below)
Have you used an Active Wheelchair before?
An Active Wheelchair may not be right for you, it can take a while to work out your best technique and seating set up for you. Plus, you need to have good upper body strength.
If you have used one before, what do you like and dislike about your current wheelchair?
Types of Active Wheelchairs?
Folding - are easy to fold, and store.
Rigid – are the most popular on the market, they are the lightest making it easier for you to propel around.
Both Rigid and folding can be transported easily in the car, the wheels can be taken off, making it easier for you to lift into the car and taking up less room in the car.
Power add ons
There is a huge range on power add on you can add to your active wheelchair, you can get off roading hand bikes to power add-ons to the wheel.
There is also a range of accessories, from cushions to track wheel.
With such a huge range on the market, they all vary in product and user weight. The overall weight reflects how heavy the wheelchair will be when you’re propelling around, so it’s critical that you are able to propel yourself in the chair. The transport weight is how heavy the chair is once the removable sections are removed, therefore it is important that whoever is lifting the chair (yourself, carer, family member) can comfortably lift it.
How do you prefer to transfer yourself? Consider the type of legrest you need to make this as easy as possible. Plus, the seat height is critical to enable transferring to and from chairs, beds, vehicles, while also considering access under tables and desks.
If you are sitting in your wheelchair for long periods of the day, the vibrations can have an impact on your body. Frog legs castor forks provide some suspension isolation from jolts etc. Also, Loopwheels provide suspension to your chair, cushioning your ride.
Your future needs
Is your condition expected to deteriorate over the next 5 years, if so choose options that will support you and your condition during the next 5 years.
Your new Wheelchair is an extension of you. Wheelchairs are available in a wide range of colours to suit your personality. Spoke guards can be attached to your wheels, these come with a range of different artworks available.
How are going to fund your new wheelchair and set yourself a budget.
What size wheelchair do I need
The key measurement for your new wheelchair is
- Seat Width
- Seat height
- Seat depth
- Back rest height
- Arm rest height
The ideal seat width should give you enough room to be comfortable but not to wide so you don’t have the support of the arm rests, or overstretching when self-propelling yourself. Don’t forget to include your outdoor clothing when choosing your new wheelchair
The seat depth should be the length of your thigh less approx. 1”. If the seat is too short the length of the thighs will not be supported and if too long can cause undue pressure behind the knee.
Ideally for the seat height it is recommended to have a 90 degree angle at your knees. Most leg rests are adjustable in height.
For the back rest height, for Active users generally the back rest is lower so you are not restricted when self propelling .
Armrests should support your arms comfortably, if they are too high this will cause your shoulders to hunch, although some Active users prefer not to have any armrests.
Hopefully, this guide will help you choosing your new Active Wheelchair. You Active Wheelchair can be fully customised to your needs. For more help and support, please get in touch.