Ins and outs of advanced manual wheelchairs

Advanced manual wheelchairs offer more options are often light and easy to manoeuvre. CANDICE BRUNSDEN from CE Mobility explains what to look for when you’re going shopping…

There are many factors to consider when selecting an advanced manual wheelchair and it can be downright confusing trying to navigate through the mountain of choices and information. Chairs today have come a long way in terms of performance, weight and customisation. And there are pros and cons to each choice.

The first criterion to consider is whether the wheelchair should have a rigid or folding frame. Generally, a rigid frame transfers more of the user’s energy into the forward motion and has fewer moving parts. It is therefore lighter and easier to propel. The primary advantage of a folding chair is portability. You’ll need to think about what aspects are more important to the wheelchair user’s daily activities.

The weight of the wheelchair will be the next major consideration. Remember that manufacturers will advertise the lightest possible weight achievable on that model (with possible corresponding upcharges).

Choosing certain options might make the wheelchair heavier than the advertised minimum weight. Consult the manufacturer about any changes in the weight before buying the wheelchair.

The level of adjustability on the wheelchair is also important, especially for a first-time or new wheelchair user. Fine-tuning adjustments like the centre of gravity, seat height, backrest height and angle can make the difference between a perfect fit and an uncomfortable, difficult ride.

Lastly, look at the abundant options available such as wheels, tyres, sideguards and frame materials. These will greatly influence the aesthetics, weight and function of the wheelchair.

High-tech wheels

For some wheelchair users, the basic manual wheelchair is not adequate. Click here to see some of the more advanced wheelchairs on the market from wheelchair manufacturers and sellers in south africa. All information is supplied by the selected company. Weight of wheelchair may increase when wheels are added. Price may vary. This guide features wheelchairs weighing less than 15 kg (with the exception of Shonaquip).

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