Choosing the right wheelchair can make all the difference in your everyday life. From lightweight attendant-propelled chairs to the rugged all-terrain Mountain Trike, there are options available to suit all body shapes, daily activities and personal needs.
The best way to work out which chair is right for you is to try some out! Visit your nearest Snowdrop shop, where our friendly staff will help you find your perfect match, or give us a call to arrange a free home assessment and demo.
You will need sufficient strength and movement in your arms to use a self-propelled wheelchair. If you aren’t able to manage this, you would be more suited to an attendant-propelled wheelchair, designed to be pushed from behind by another person. It’s worth noting that most self-propelled wheelchairs will also have push-handles for times when extra help may be needed.
Self-propelled wheelchairs have larger back wheels, each with an outer ‘pushrim’ that you turn to control and propel the chair. These wheels make for a bulkier chair, which may be less easy to pack into the boot of a car. For this reason, if you are choosing a self-propelled chair, look for one with quick-release wheels, now commonly available.
Attendant-propelled wheelchairs have smaller back wheels, so are often lighter and easier to transport. They are also easier to navigate and control for the person pushing, although they can prove trickier than larger-wheeled chairs to mount obstacles such as kerbs.
Sometimes called powerchairs or electric wheelchairs, these chairs are ideal if you don’t have the strength or stamina to use a self-propelled wheelchair, but don’tt wish to rely on being pushed – or if you sometimes want to take longer journeys in your wheelchair.
Powered wheelchairs are described as being either Class 2, meaning they can be used outside on pavements, or Class 3, for use on roads and pavements. All are generally a lot heavier than manual wheelchairs because their frame has to be stronger in order to support the battery and motors. Bear this in mind when thinking about the ease of transporting a wheelchair.
Batteries and storage
Batteries are charged by mains electricity, so the wheelchair should generally be stored next to a socket for charging overnight. Some of the larger outdoor-type wheelchairs may need to be stored outside the home – in a garage, for example.
A great option for manual wheelchair users who feel they could use a boost here and there is a wheelchair power pack. We have several options to suit most chairs – get in touch for a free demonstration to see how an electric power drive like the Smoov One could help you get more from your chair.