One of the things that surprised me most when I first started researching walkers for dad was just how much the cost of walkers varies.
The price of a standard non-wheeled walker starts at around $30 and goes up to $110 or more. Prices for front-wheel walkers are around $30 to $230. Three-wheel rollators start at around $70 and go up to $400. While four-wheel rollators have the largest range in price, starting at just $60 and going all the way to a staggering $700.
In this article, I’m going to dig a bit deeper into why prices can vary so much, what the differences between the low-cost and premium walkers are, and whether it’s worth investing in a more expensive walker or not.
The Cost Of Walkers Explained
With prices ranging from $30 to $700 you would think there are some pretty significant differences between walkers, and you’d be right. While they all do the same basic job and will help you get from point A to point B, the difference in your experience of how you get there can be a little bit like driving a Fiat 500 Vs a Mercedes 500.
Why Do Prices Vary So Much?
The main reasons for the diversity of pricing are:
- Design – On one end of the spectrum you have no-frills basic walkers like you find in a hospital. They’re made of a couple of metal tubes and not much else. At the other end you have ultra-lightweight, compact, and foldable works of art such as the Able Life SpaceSaver.
- Frame Material – Cheaper walkers tend to use lower grade materials for the frame which are often not as strong, not as long-lasting, or not as comfortable to use as their more expensive counterparts.
- Frame Size – The more raw materials that go into making a product, the greater the expense. So tall walkers for seniors tend to be a little more costly than their petite counterparts.
- Component Quality – One of the most commonly overlooked variables is the quality of each of the individual components that makes up your walker. For example, the wheels on two different products may look very similar in a photo, but could be made of vastly different plastics.
- Weight Capacity – Hand-in-hand with frame material and component quality is the ultimate weight-bearing capacity of your walker. Better engineered heady duty products use more expensive materials designed to handle heavier individuals.
- Manufacturer Location – Like it or not, most products these days are made in China. (And to be fair, China does make some great products… but also a lot of junk.) But if you want a walker that’s either made in the USA, or in another country known for engineering brilliance like Germany or Sweden, then you’re going to pay a premium.
- Wheel Size – Larger wheels not only provide a smoother ride over rougher terrain, they also cost more to make.
- Brakes – Higher quality walkers generally come with more powerful brakes made of longer-lasting materials. Some rollators have the brake cables fed inside the frame of the walker so they cannot get caught on anything and cause a fall, which is more expensive to manufacture.
- Brand – Companies that have been around for many years creating mobility aids, doing R&D, and serving the senior market rightfully command a premium for their products because you know they are a brand you can rely on.
- Guarantee – A cheaper walker might sound like a great deal at first, but when something goes wrong and the manufacturer is nowhere to be found (or worse, simply ignores you) then you realise the importance of a good guarantee. Most of the high quality brands we review on our site come with a lifetime guarantee.
Now, let’s see what you can expect to pay for either a walker or a rollator, with specific examples of exactly what you get for your money…
How Much Does A Walker Cost?
At this price you’re getting a no-frills product without any bells and whistles.
Sure it looks like something Granddad borrowed from the hospital, but it’s lightweight, can support up to 300lbs, and will get the job done without any fuss.
If you’re on a real budget or only need a walker for a short period of time then this may be all you need.
High End Option
At the higher-end of the standard walker market — closer to the $100 mark — you’re looking at products like the Able Life Space Saver (Check exact price on Amazon here.)
Here you’re getting a much sleeker design, adding 6-inch wheels on the front which make it much easier to walk with, a side-to-side folding action, support for up to 400lbs, and an ultra compact form.
One of the best-looking walkers we’ve looked at, the Able Life is touted as the world’s most compact walker and folds down to about the size of two canes. It even stands upright while folded so you can tuck it out of the way while keeping it within arms reach.
If you’re looking for a walker that doesn’t even feel like you’re using a walker then this is one of our top picks.
How Much Does A Rollator Cost?
Three Wheel Rollators
Drive Medical are one of the most trusted brands in the market and their 3 Wheel Rollator is a good low-cost choice. (See Amazon price.)
But if you’re willing to spend just a little bit more there are some excellent options reviewed in our Best Three Wheel Walker Roundup.
Four Wheel Rollators
Once again, Drive Medical make a fantastic budget-minded four wheel rollator which you can find here.
It’s hard to beat for the price, and comes with all the basic features you need, including large 7.5-inch wheels, a seat with backrest, locking brakes, and a carry basket.
Middle Of The Road Option
The winner of “Best All Rounder” in our Top 4 Wheel Rollators review, the Drive Medical Nitro is an absolute joy to use.
If you use one of these back-to-back with their base model above you can instantly see where the extra money goes.
- Larger wheels
- More comfortable seat
- Better brakes
- Side-to-side folding
- Bigger basket
And it’s much nice looking!
If money is no concern and you want the best all-terrain walker then you can spend a small fortune on something like the Volaris Smart Rollator. (Check current price on Amazon.)
Here you get a lightweight side-to-side folding walker with large cushioned 8-inch wheels that are designed to go anywhere.
Swedish engineering gives you a unique design that allows you to stand “inside” the walker. This lets you stand completely upright rather than bent over pushing the walker in front of you.
Yes, it’s a lot of money for a walker. But if you can afford it, and you want the best money can buy, then the Volaris is hard to pass on!
Is It Worth Spending More?
Speaking from my own personal experience, and the countless hours we’ve spent testing different walkers, the old saying “you get what you pay for” generally holds true.
If you only need a walker for a short time (perhaps to help overcome an injury) or you only plan on using it in a limited capacity, such as short occasional trips to the doctor, then you might be able to get away with going down the cheap route.
However, if you’re planning on using your walker on a daily basis, or if you’re going to be using it for longer than a couple of weeks, then in the long run it’s going to be wiser to invest in a high-quality walker. Because on average it’s going to be lighter, more comfortable, roll smoother, function better, and last longer.
How To Save Money
Just because you go for a high-quality walker or rollator doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. There are bargains to be had and we’ve got a couple of tricks up our sleeve to help you save money.
- Always check the price on Amazon first. In most cases you’ll find the new price on Amazon is close to (if not better than) the used price on other platforms. Factor in fast free shipping, easy returns, and a giant selection, and this should always be your first shopping destination.
- Check the price of different colours of the same model. Prices can vary up to 30% (or more) for the exact same product just in a different colour. So if you don’t mind whether you get a red or a blue walker then you might be able to save a bundle!
- Click the “See All Buying Options” or “Other Sellers on Amazon” links to see other deals. Sometimes the default purchase option shown on Amazon is not actually the best deal. Take a few moments to look at the other buying options to see if there’s a bargain to be found on a near-mint used walker.
- Get an Amazon Prime membership. Not only does Prime give you FREE same day, one day, and two-day shipping, you also get exclusive deals and 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals. Click here to get a 30-day free trial.
Hopefully now you can see why the prices of walkers varies so much and why it usually pays to spend a little bit more on a better quality product.