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Wheelchair Buying Guide

Wheelchair Buying Guide
November 29, 2016

A wheelchair can vastly improve your quality of life if you are disabled or have a health condition that affects your mobility. As with other types of mobility aid, choosing the right one is important. This guide is designed to help you find the most suitable wheelchair for you or a loved one.

A wheelchair can vastly improve your quality of life if you are disabled or have a health condition that affects your mobility.

As with other types of mobility aid, choosing the right one is important. This guide is designed to help you  find the most suitable wheelchair for you or a loved one.

Should I buy a manual or electric wheelchair?

The answer to this question depends on how you intend to use the wheelchair.

Wheelchairs can be divided into two main categories.

Manual wheelchairs - Propelled by the user or an attendant/carer.

Electric wheelchairs/power chairs - Propelled by an electric motor and battery.

Wheelchairs of either type tend to be smaller than mobility scooters, and are often more manoeuvrable, so may allow better access into shops and other buildings.

What is the difference between a transit and a self-propelled wheelchair?

Self-propelled wheelchairs - Designed with large diameter rear wheels that allow the wheelchair to be moved by the wheelchair user.

Transit wheelchairs - Have smaller wheels and rely on an attendant or carer to get moving.

An attendant or carer can push both types, with some users preferring the ride comfort offered by the larger wheels of a self-propelled wheelchair.

The smaller wheels of a transit wheelchair often make them a better choice for loading into the boot of a car or storing in the home.

What other types of wheelchairs are there?

In addition to electric wheelchairs, transit wheelchairs, and self-propelled wheelchairs, there are a number of other categories you may come across.

Wheelchair in car

Folding/lightweight wheelchairs - Otherwise known as travel wheelchairs, these can be folded to just a third of their normal size and sometimes come with a travel bag included.

These compact folding wheelchairs fit neatly into the boot of a car and are ideal for holidays, days out, shopping trips, or other less frequent use.

Bariatric wheelchairs - This type of wheelchair is designed to accommodate the larger wheelchair user. They’re usually heavier and feature wider seats than other types of wheelchair.

Bariatric wheelchairs are also available in self-propelled or transit variants depending on the user’s requirements.

What else do I have to consider when buying a wheelchair?

When considering which wheelchair to buy, it’s important to make sure it is one that best meets the unique needs and requirements of the user.

Weight: How much does the wheelchair weigh?

You can check the exact weight of each wheelchair we sell here at Fenetic Wellbeing by looking at the specification tab on the page of the product you are viewing.

Most of our wheelchairs weigh between 10kg – 15kg and can in many cases be lifted with one hand.

Bariatric wheelchairs usually weigh between 15kg – 20kg because their frames are built with added strength in mind.

Wheelchair up stairs

Weight Capacity: How much does the user weigh?

All of our wheelchairs support a maximum user weight of at least 115kg or 18 stone.

For the heavier user, our bariatric wheelchairs can support a user weight of 23 stone, up to a maximum of 50 stone for some models.

Seat Width: How wide is the wheelchair seat?

It’s always advisable to make sure the seat of the wheelchair is going to accommodate the user comfortably.

You can check the seat width of our wheelchairs on the specification tab which can be found on the individual product pages of our website.

If you want to test a wheelchair for yourself, we welcome visits to our warehouse to try out any of the products you find.

Simply let us know that you’d like to come down and see us!

Does the Wheelchair fold away?

Many of our wheelchairs feature a folding frame design. These wheelchairs can be folded away quickly and easily to make transporting and storing them hassle-free.

The folding mechanisms do sometimes differ from product to product, but are all designed with minimum effort in mind.

Look out for the video demonstrations on the wheelchair product pages, under the ‘video’ tab.

You can also ask us for a product demonstration or test drive by visiting our warehouse!

What brakes does the Wheelchair have?

Attendant loop brakes are a popular choice for wheelchair users as they are familiar to most people and easy to use. You can find them on the majority of transit wheelchairs that we sell, and even on some self-propelled models.

They resemble the brakes you would find on a bike, and require the user to squeeze and pull upwards to slow down.

Look out for dual action locking brakes that can also be used to lock the wheelchair in place by pulling down towards the ground. The braking action is often fairly instant and thus must be used cautiously.

What adjustments and accessories are there?

Wheelchair Cushion

Look out for additional features such as:

• Folding back mechanisms
• Puncture proof tyres
• Quick-release wheels
• Detachable/height adjustable footrests

And accessories such as:

• Storage bag
• Safety lap belt
• Gel/memory foam wheelchair cushion
• Walking stick holder

All of which can be found on our wheelchair accessories page.

If after reading this guide you’re still unsure about which wheelchair is best for you, we’re always on hand to offer practical help and advice to make sure you make the right choice.

Email, or call us on 0800 567 7618 between 8am – 8pm.

You can also instant message us using our online Live Chat, or drop us a message on Facebook or Twitter!

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Is Your Home Prepared for Winter?
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