One of the reasons that people hesitate to embrace getting a walking cane is that they become very clunky and annoying the moment that you stop to sit down.
This nuisance - not being able to keep your cane out of the way when you aren't using it - is exactly why folding canes exist. And in this complete guide to the 8 best folding walking canes we help you find the one that fits you best!
What is a Folding Cane?
Rather than being a category of cane in and of themselves, folding walking canes are simply any cane that separates into two or more pieces. Typically, these pieces are connected by an elastic band that runs through the inside of the shaft – much like the poles on a camping tent. These gains are valued by many seniors for their convenience, ease of use, and practical design.
Pros & Cons of Folding Canes
- 1They’re Convenient
Using a walking cane has tons of benefits for seniors. they're helpful for people with various conditions and walking issues such as the complications of recent hip replacements, recent strokes or mini-strokes, and more commonplace issues such as knee osteoarthritis.
However, all of those benefits do not notify the fact that canes can be pretty annoying as soon as you sit down and no longer need one to stay upright. Folding canes are the solution to this issue, and this makes them incredibly convenient.
Whether you’re riding on a crowded bus, squeezing into a table at a restaurant, or just sitting on the couch at home, the last thing you need is for your cane to be in the way. Getting a folding cane means your mobility aid will be within reach but not in the way - exactly what you need.
- 2They’re Safe
Using a folding cane is also a good idea for people who have back issues that make it difficult for them to bend over. If your cane is not propped up against a chair or wall, it is likely going to wind up flat on the floor. This will force you to stoop over to pick it up, potentially risking an aggravated injury in your back. Folding canes, on the other hand, are sitting right next to you, ready to be put into service at a moment’s notice!
- 3They’re Inexpensive
Folding is an extra feature that comes, for the most part, at no extra cost. In fact, folding canes are so common that you can find this feature in both the cheapest and most expensive canes on the market. This leads us to the next benefit of folding walking canes...
- 4They Come in Many Forms
Choosing a walking cane that folds up is not a choice between one valuable feature and another. you don't have to decide between “adjusting” and folding or “quad base” and folding. Rather, folding is a feature that is often included in all types of canes- so you’ll never be forced to choose between two great options based on this feature alone!
For all their many benefits, there is one risk in getting a cane that folds up- they can be flimsy. If you aren't careful with your purchase, you may end up with a cheap plastic cane that will collapse on you at the worst possible moment. You won't find any of those canes on our list- we’ve included only the safest, most trustworthy models. It’s just something to watch out for as you shop!
The Best Folding Canes for Seniors in 2021
1. Best Folding Cane (Overall): Ohuhu Adjustable Folding Cane
The Ohuhu Folding Adjustable Cane is one of the most comfortable and versatile on the market- and it costs less than $30. The best part about this cane is not that it folds or that it has a strap that keeps it together while you aren’t using it. Rather, the best part about the Ohuhu Folding Cane is that it comes with two different bases- one standard single-point base and one quad base.
Single-point canes are efficient and light; quad canes are extremely stable and perfect for people with balance issues. This product gives you the option to choose which type of cane base suits you the best- or to figure it out if you don’t yet know which is best.
This cane also has a very soft foam grip; it will keep your hand from getting sore if you are putting lots of weight on it as you walk. Virtually any senior (so long as they weigh less than 220 pounds) can use this cane to great benefit!
2. Best Folding Cane With Seat: M-GYG Folding Canes Seat Walking Cane, 300 Pound Capacity
Seat canes may look a bit silly at first, but they deliver real and valuable benefits to the people who use them. This seat cane has a very high weight capacity and an equally wide seat- something that is hard to find on these types of products.
It can also be adjusted in two different places: first, near the handle, and second, each of the three legs is adjustable. This means that you can make the cane taller, as you’d expect, but you can also make the seat taller- perfect for anyone with bad knees.
The beauty of folding seat canes is that, any time you need a moment to rest, you have a seat waiting for you. The second that you’re ready to get up and go? Simply fold it back into a cane, and you’re off!
3. Best Adjustable Folding Cane: Big Alex Folding Adjustable Quad Cane
The Big Alex cane has two things going for it that make it one of the best canes on our list, and the market as a whole. First, it extends up to 38 inches in height; most canes only go up to 36 inches and aren’t great for tall people, but this cane can accommodate nearly anyone.
Second, the Big Alex cane has a pivoting quad base, a recent development in cane technology that many seniors love. The base of the cane will pivot and flex, mimicking the human ankle and providing superior traction and stability no matter where you’re walking. All things considered, it’s a folding cane that anyone would benefit from using!
4. Best Folding Travel Cane: Walk Buddy 4-Prong Cane with Light
The lightweight and simple Walk Buddy cane is designed to be the type of cane you’ll value for more than just balance. It has a built-in LED flashlight, USB charging port, SOS alert button, and even an FM Radio!
The Walk Buddy’s quad base is much smaller than the bases you’ll find on cheaper canes. While it’s still very stable, it’ll never get in the way of your feet as you’re walking. If you want a cane that does more than just keep you moving, the Walk Buddy is what you need!
5. Best Bariatric Folding Cane: BeneCane Folding Tripod Walking Cane
If you weigh more than 300 pounds, this is the cane for you, hands down. It has a weight capacity of nearly 400 pounds, but it only weighs 1.3 pounds itself- it can carry 100X its weight without an issue!
Beyond that, this cane uses a tripod base which, while lighter and slimmer than a quad base, still provides a very high level of traction and support. Tripod bases are recommended by researchers for people who want a cane that can help them manage pain and difficulty balancing at the same time.
If you’re a heavier person who wants to avoid large, bulky canes, this is the way to go. It’ll go anywhere you need it to go, without slowing you down!
6. Best Bariatric Folding Cane With Seat: M-GYG Deluxe Folding Seat Cane
This seat cane has a very high weight capacity, one of the highest on the market. If you are a heavier person who is struggling with COPD, sciatica while walking, or another medical issue, this product will let you take a rest no matter where you are. Sometimes, five minutes of rest- taking the weight off of your knees, ankles, and hips- can make all the difference.
This seat cane is much heavier than most of the canes on our list- it weighs 2.2 pounds. That might not sound like much, but it can really take a toll on your energy levels over time. The good news is, when the cane does make you tired, you can just unfold it and have a seat! It’s an all-around great choice for any senior who weighs more than 300 pounds and is looking for a cane that doubles as a seat!
7. Best Folding Quad Cane: HealthSmart Sit-to-Stand Quad Cane
This sturdy quad cane can accommodate users of virtually any height, but that’s not the only thing that makes it great for seniors. The HealthSmart Sit-to-Stand cane includes a second handlebar that you can use to pull yourself up out of your seat or lower yourself back into it.
Many seniors, especially those with knee osteoarthritis, have problems sitting and standing without pain. If that describes you, this cane should be at the top of your shopping list. It’s comfortable, easy to use, and still incredibly affordable! You’ll rarely have to worry about falling or losing your balance while sitting/standing again.
8. Best Folding 3-Prong Cane: HurryCane Freedom Edition
The HurryCane is famous for its long-running commercials, but it continues to be popular with seniors for more reasons than that alone. The HurryCane was the first to introduce the pivoting quad base to the market and remains one of the most popular canes in the US today. It is extremely stable and reliable, and you can trust it to keep you upright no matter where you’re walking.
The quad base on the HurryCane Freedom Edition pivots just like your ankle does, and the adjustable shaft truly becomes like an extra leg, keeping you upright and moving at all times. If you want a cane with proven dependability and effectiveness, this is the way to go!
9. Best Folding Offset Cane: Nova Medical Folding Offset Cane
Offset canes (distinguished by the “J '' shape the shaft forms) distribute your body weight more evenly across the shaft of the cane. This makes a slight but helpful difference in the way you are able to balance yourself with the cane. It’s a bit easier to lean heavily on the cane without falling over, even though this product is just a single-point walking cane.
The biggest drawback of offset walking canes is that they aren’t usually foldable; you have to leave them fully extended no matter where you go, and they can get pretty annoying when you’re sitting down in a tight space. If you want the added balance of an offset cane with the convenience of being able to fold it when you aren’t using it, the Nova Medical Folding Offset Cane is perfect for you!
FAQs: Folding Canes
Are Folding Canes Safe?
These canes are very safe. Most walking canes are rigorously tested before they're put on the market to ensure that they’re safe for seniors to use. Because walking canes are considered a medical device, manufacturers open themselves up to lawsuits if their products are subpar in a way that makes them dangerous.
Furthermore, walking canes are regulated by the FDA (although loosely) to ensure that people do not market products as walking canes when they aren’t. So, you can trust that most canes from most manufacturers are very much safe to use.
However, you should still be careful of choosing a cane that comes from an untrustworthy manufacturer or seems “too cheap to be true”. If a cane seems too cheap (under $15 is a good benchmark) or the manufacturer appears to be shady (not promising a warranty or giving clear product details, for instance), we’d suggest avoiding them just to be safe! Sometimes, you get lucky with ultra-cheap products, but a walking cane is not an item you should take a gamble on!
Finally, when you unfold your cane to use it, you need to make sure that it is completely unfolded and it is locked in the upright position. If you don't, you run the risk of injuring yourself because you did not fully open up the cane- an unfortunate and painful case of user error!
How to Fold a Folding Cane
Many folding canes use metal pins/buttons that lock into position and unlock when you press them. Others can be simply pulled apart and separated, just like tent poles for camping. When separated, you will usually see a length of elastic cord running inside the shaft from the handle to the base. This cord keeps the pieces from getting too separated- a.k.a. Lost.
If your cane has metal pins, simply push them in and pull the cane apart to separate the pieces. When you put it back together, the pins will “click” back into place to form a secure, fully assembled cane.
How to Adjust Height on a Folding Cane
If your folding cane is also adjustable, it will have a separate metal pin/button, usually near the bottom. Push that button in, and your cane will telescope in or out until the pin clicks back into place. Once you hear the click, you know that it’s locked into position.
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Folding Cane for Your Needs
Cane Height Matters
If there were one recommendation about shopping for a walking cane that we could make over and over and over, it would be to be very careful about the height of your cane. If your walking cane is too tall, it will increase your postural Sway and result in your balance being thrown off. Postural sway describes the way that your center of gravity changes as you walk; if it is too great, you will have trouble balancing.
This was proven in a 2019 study - elderly women who used a cane that was too tall each experienced increased “postural sway”, and therefore an increased risk of falling with their cane. If you want to achieve proper balance, make sure that your cane is the right height for you!
Using a walking cane that is too short is equally risky. If your cane is too short for you, you will be stooping over every time you lean on it, eventually making your posture even worse and potentially causing back pain and other gait-related issues.
How Do You Measure for a Cane?
It would be a bit useless to encourage you to find the right cane height and then neglect to tell you how, would it not? Here are the two measurements you can use to find the right height for you:
- 1Standing straight, measure the distance between the floor and your hand when your arm is at your side and your elbow is bent at a 15-degree angle. This is the correct posture for walking with a cane and the most important measurement.
- 2Standing straight, with your arms straight at your sides, measure the distance between the floor and your wrist. This will give you what amounts to a “second opinion” about the height of your cane and is very reliable, too!
Check the Weight Limit
Folding canes are typically lighter than canes that don’t fold, which can also mean they have a lower weight limit. While not every senior will need to worry about this, you may want to double-check a cane’s weight limit before you buy it. This is especially important to anyone who weighs more than 250 pounds- many folding canes have a maximum weight limit of 250 or less.
Designer vs Orthopedic Canes: Which is Right for You?
“Orthopedic cane” is a general term that describes any cane designed to be used for medical reasons. “Designer/decorative cane”, on the other hand, describes canes that are beneficial for medical purposes but are designed with an equal emphasis on style/aesthetics.
Generally, orthopedic canes are the most beneficial- they have handles that are ergonomically shaped and construction that you can depend on. Canes with a focus on fashion may or may not live up to those same standards of dependability.
If you want to get a designer cane, you should- just accept the small likelihood that you’ll have to return it if you buy it and it doesn’t help you medically. Many designer canes will, but not all!
Folding canes are, by and large, the most convenient walking canes for seniors. They’re strong and dependable when you need them to be, and they’re out of the way when you don’t need them. Which cane from our list stood out to you? Have any questions about the benefits of these canes? Leave your thoughts below!