A wheelchair can help you get around much easier, whether you have an illness or injury.
But it’s important to ensure that your wheelchair is a lightweight one if you want a portable option.
What are lightweight wheelchairs made of? They’re usually made out of aluminum so that they are strong but easy to carry.
With that in mind, here’s the best lightweight wheelchair that we have found, along with two alternatives.
Best Overall: Karman Healthcare S-115 Ergonomic Ultra Lightweight Manual Wheelchair
This Karman Healthcare wheelchair is focused on an ergonomic design, which makes it perfect for you if you use your wheelchair a lot.
Why we love it:
- This wheelchair is ergonomic and has been designed according to the body’s natural curves to make it more comfortable.
- It has wider arm pads that offer support and comfort for your elbows.
- The hand rim is easy to use and propel the wheelchair with, thanks to its textured grip.
- It’s made with a removable and washable upholstery that’s also antibacterial.
- The fabric is breathable mesh to make it more comfortable.
- The wheelchair can be folded and unfolded easily, which makes it the best ultra lightweight wheelchair as it gives you greater convenience.
What could be improved:
- The wheelchair tends to tilt forwards if you sit too far forward in it, which is something a few people have reported on Amazon.
Runner Up: NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair
This light and portable transport chair is made of aluminum and has a larger weight capacity than the previous wheelchair we featured – 50 pounds more.
What we love:
- This chair has secondary wheel locks and an anti-tipping design to make it safer. This is important because tipping is a common concern when it comes to wheelchairs.
- It’s got 12-inch rugged rear wheels so you can safely navigate trickier terrain.
- It has an adjustable seatbelt as well as a small storage bag for valuables.
- It has removable desk arms that increase the ease with which you can transport this wheelchair. The desk arms also make using the wheelchair at dining tables and desks much more comfortable.
- The footrests are adjustable and have heel loops to make them more comfortable.
What could be improved:
- Some people who have purchased this chair have reported that it’s not comfortable to sit in for long periods of time. The seat could do with some extra support.
- Others have reported that the wheels don’t move that well on carpeted floors.
Alternative: Medline Lightweight and User-Friendly Wheelchair with Flip-Back
This Medline lightweight wheelchair is full of user-friendly features to make it as comfortable as possible while also offering support when you really need it.
What we love:
- This lightweight wheelchair has a flip-back design and desk-length arms so you can sit comfortably at dining room tables or at your desk when working on the computer.
- It comes with elevating leg rests to offer you more support when you need it, and this is one of its features that makes it the best lightweight wheelchair for elderly people.
- The back is also adjustable to help you feel more comfortable.
- It contains premium welds that make it stronger.
- It’s made of nylon upholstery that’s sure to last a long time while also being comfortable.
What could be improved:
- Some people have reported suffering from abrasions on their hands after rolling the wheels.
- Others who have purchased this wheelchair have reported that they sweat easily in the chair.
Lightweight Wheelchair FAQ
Now that we’ve looked at three of the best lightweight wheelchair reviews, let’s answer some common questions related to lightweight wheelchairs so you can find the best one for your needs.
What does a lightweight wheelchair weigh?
While a standard wheelchair can easily weigh over 35 pounds, lightweight wheelchairs tend to weigh between 28 and 35 pounds, and this is largely because they tend to be made out of aluminum or steel alloys.
They also come with features that can reduce their weight further when they’re transported, such as removable parts. An example is the NOVA wheelchair in our best lightweight transport wheelchair reviews that has removable armrests. This makes them much easier to move around and handle.
How do I choose a wheelchair?
When purchasing a wheelchair, it’s important to consider the following:
- Ergonomic features. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the wheelchair, you want to ensure that it will be as comfortable as possible.
- Support. If you have mobility issues, you’ll want to find a wheelchair that offers more support, such as in the form of seatbelts, headrests, and adjustable features like for the back and footrests.
- Consider electric vs. manual wheelchairs. Whichever one you choose will depend on your specific situation. If you don’t have the upper body strength to propel yourself in a wheelchair, you’ll be better suited to choosing the best electric wheelchair that will keep you gliding along comfortably. On the other hand, a manual wheelchair will work well if you can propel yourself forward and want more independence. In that case, a lightweight wheelchair will be a good option to make it easier to move around.
- Take your weight and height into account. These are crucial to help you find the right chair. It’s important to check the measurements of the wheelchair, namely its height and width, so that you can be assured that you’ll fit in it comfortably. Wheelchairs also come with a weight capacity so make sure you check that prior to buying one.
- Where you’ll use it. The wheelchair’s wheels need to be suited to your needs. If you’re going to be using the wheelchair outdoors, you’ll need more rugged wheels, such as those on the NOVA wheelchair we featured, than if you’re mainly using your wheelchair indoors.
Does Medicare pay for wheelchairs?
Medicare does cover the cost of wheelchairs as long as certain criteria are met. These include if your doctor submits a written order that clearly states you need a wheelchair, and you have limited mobility and meet the following conditions (via Medicare):
- You have a health condition that makes it difficult to move around the home;
- You can’t complete daily activities, such as dressing yourself or getting out of bed, even with the assistance of a walker, crutch, or cane;
- You can get into and out of the wheelchair easily, or you have another person’s assistance with these tasks;
- Your doctor and wheelchair supplier are enrolled in Medicare;
- You’ll be able to use the wheelchair in your home (for example, the doorways are large enough for the wheelchair to enter).
You might need to pay 20 percent of the amount that Medicare has approved after you pay your deductible for the year and Medicare will cover the other 80 percent.
However, if you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you’ll need to get in touch with Medicare to find out about the costs involved and what wheelchair suppliers you’re allowed to use.
Buying a wheelchair can feel overwhelming, but it’s good to consider a lightweight wheelchair that is easy to transport and comfortable, especially if you need to spend many hours in the wheelchair every day.
In this article, we’ve featured the best lightweight wheelchair for 2020, along with two alternatives. We’ve also featured some important questions to help you choose the best wheelchair for your needs.