In recent years, wheelchair technology advanced significantly to provide mobility for just about anyone. Heavy-duty wheelchairs may be powered by a strong battery that has the ability to run the chair for a long time. This helps those who want to go quite a distance. However, because of the battery weight, motor, and steel construction, these wheelchairs are very heavy. They cannot be picked by one person. These wheelchairs need to go up ramps to be taken along in a vehicle, like a passenger van, or to enter a facility.
In comparison, sometimes a lightweight wheelchair is more appropriate and useful. Ultra-lightweight wheelchairs weigh only around 27 up to 30 lbs. This weight can be lifted by most people, which makes them very portable. Even though they are very light, they are strong enough to support a person who weighs from 250 to 300 lbs. Many appreciate having both a motorized, heavy-duty wheelchair and a lightweight wheelchair in order to have the option to use whichever one is more suitable.
Lightweight Wheelchair Construction
Lightweight wheelchairs are usually made from aluminum to reduce weight and perhaps have some parts made from steel. Ultra lightweight wheelchairs are made from aluminum and aluminum alloys, without any steel being used. The metal used is aircraft aluminum, which is the same type used for commercial airplanes due to is strength and low weight.
Benefits of Lightweight Wheelchairs
These popular styles of portable wheelchairs can fold up easily, which makes them easy to take along.
Medicare and the standards of the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) categorize lightweight wheelchairs as those that weigh under 33 lbs. Ultra-lightweight wheelchairs are those under 30 lbs.
The new technology and designs of lightweight wheelchairs have many benefits, which include:
- The ability for many to be able to lift the wheelchair fairly easily.
- Provides healthy exercise for those with upper-body strength.
- Compact enough to take along in a car trunk.
- Useful as a spare wheelchair that can be stored in a closet when not in use.
- Great choice to take along on vacation, such as on a cruise ship.
- Helpful to have if the power goes out for an extended period.
- Modestly priced models are available from under $200 to around $400.
- May be covered by insurance, such as Medicare Part B.
Comfortable and Attractive Designs
Even though these wheelchairs are lightweight, they do not sacrifice comfort. Seat width is available from 12 to 30 inches. There are choices of leg rest types that include elevated leg rests and models that have swing-away footrests to make it easy to exit the chair. Armrests available on different models may be permanent or removable. Some have armrests in desk length to be used while sitting at a desk. Others offer full-arm length armrests for complete arm support.
These newly designed wheelchairs are very attractive. The newest color choices may include polished chrome, glossy black, bright blue, cherry red, and shiny silver depending on the manufacturer.