Buying a wheelchair can be a daunting task. There are just so many different models and brands online that finding one that you’re going to love is harder than ever.
This is doubly true if you are capped by a hard budget. Not all insurance covers the cost of wheelchairs unless they fall under very specific circumstances which could leave you footing the bill. This leaves many people in a familiar situation: you need a wheelchair, you don’t want to end up with a bad product, but you are on a strict budget.
That’s why we put together this cheap wheelchair reviews guide. In this guide you’ll find reviews of eight of the best cheap wheelchairs, so you don’t end up with a bum product just because you’re on a budget. We also review the best buying practices when you are looking for something on the low end of a budget.
With this guide, you should be able to find a wheelchair that is right for you and that fits your budget, no matter how small it may be!
What is the Price Range for Wheelchairs?
The biggest question you are probably asking yourself is how much do wheelchairs typically cost? That answer depends on a lot of different factors. According to economic data, the average cost of a manual wheelchair today is $500. Powered wheelchairs and chairs meant for all day use can run anywhere from $1000 to $2000. If these numbers seem high, don’t worry, the chairs on our list are much cheaper than that.
The price range for a cheap wheelchair runs from $80 to $200 depending on the type and style. That covers the lower end of the wheelchair spectrum and is far cheaper than the average price of $500. At these lower prices, you are sure to be able to find a chair that will benefit you without breaking your budget.
Best Cheap Wheelchair (Overall): Drive Medical Blue Streak Wheelchair
The Drive Medical Blue Streak Wheelchair is the best overall cheap wheelchair on our list and it is not hard to see why. It is a best selling wheelchair across the internet, it boasts thousands of five star reviews and it has every standard feature you could want out of an affordable manual wheelchair. If you are looking for the total package, the best deal and the best wheelchair all rolled into one amazing product, the Drive Medical Blue Streak Wheelchair is the one for you.
Despite costing just over $100 this wheelchair features a standard size comfortable 18” seat, large smooth wheels, an easily foldable design, a backpocket, a foot rest stabilizer, flip up arms and ergonomic push handles. Yes, all of that comes included at that price. And, better yet, the whole chair just works well. It works consistently well and has no drawbacks.
Drive Medical is an expert company that has crafted the perfect wheelchair for cheap. If you want the absolute best in terms of a standard manual wheelchair with few drawbacks, on a budget, this is the wheelchair for you. And it isn’t even close!
Best Cheap Electric Wheelchair: ELENKER 2020 Electric Wheelchair
Electric and powered are the most expensive type of wheelchair available. Their electronic features, advanced controls, and the engineering required to create them drive the price up to extremely high levels. Some powered wheelchairs can go for as much as $3000, or more.
The ELENKER Electric Wheelchair is available for a grand but still features some excellent parts that are sure to surprise you. If you need an electric wheelchair but are not in a position to drop multiple thousands of dollars the ELENKER could be a lifesaver for you.
The chair only weighs 41lbs making it super light and slim, especially for an electric chair. It is powered by a 250W brushless motor that is super quiet and offers hours of powered mobility. If you ever run out of juice or do not have a charger nearby, the chair can be used like a standard transport chair which is where the 41lb weight is going to be highly appreciated.
It is foldable, includes two modern stabilizing anti-wheels, and is small enough to fly with you in case you need to take this wheelchair on the go. For $1000 you won’t find a cheaper, or better, electric wheelchair available right now.
Best Cheap Lightweight Wheelchair: ProBasics Aluminum Transport Wheelchair
If you are looking for the absolute lowest in terms of both weight and price there are few wheelchairs on the market that will give you that combination as well as ProBasics does with their aluminum transport wheelchair. This chair is not only available for a stunningly low price but it only weighs 20lbs which is one of the lightest wheelchairs that you can find in any form.
This transport wheelchair can get the job done without fleecing you. The aluminum frame is made from durable high grade parts that bolster the strength without adding to the overall weight. It has lasting 8” composite wheels that are made to give you a smooth ride and an easy push.
To top it off it is available in four eyecatching colors, including pink, in case you want to make a statement. If you want something more subdued they have classic colors as well such as black and blue.
The 20lb weight plus the 250lbs weight capacity plus the price equals the best lightweight wheelchair on our list of the best reviewed cheap wheelchairs available today.
Best Cheap Manual Wheelchair: Drive Medical Silver Sport
The verdict is in, and the public absolutely adores the Drive Medical Silver Sport Wheelchair. This is a fantastic manual chair that checks every box and can be yours for a price you won’t think is fair. It seems like too good of a bargain and, to be honest, it might be.
The Silver Sport is a sleek and stylish wheelchair that has urethane tires over composite wheel frames. The chair’s body is made from durable steel. The upholstery is breathable and easy to clean nylon. The wheels are large and easy to push while in motion giving you a lot of speed with little effort.
The speed and power that gave this wheelchair the “sport” designation is derived from the truly large 24” rear wheels which work to propel you forward in almost any situation. It even features a storage pocket and padded armrests for additional value.
If you are someone who gets a thrill out of finding the best bargain, you are sure to get that chill when you purchase the Drive Medical Silver Sport Wheelchair.
Best Cheap Transport Wheelchair: Drive Medical TR39E-SV Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair
Transport wheelchairs are oftentimes designed for short trips and infrequent use. That means you do not need to spend a lot of money for a quick and easy transport chair that can get an injured person, sick patient, or visiting guest from point A to point B quickly and easily without making them walk. That is where the Drive Medical Lightweight Transport Wheelchair kills the competition.
This wheelchair is super light, super strong, and, best of all, super cheap. Coming in right around $80 at most retailers this is one of the cheapest chairs on this list by far. If you really just need a basic transport wheelchair and you are looking to spend as little as possible, this has to be on the top of your list for consideration.
Transport wheelchairs, by design, are often the cheapest kind of wheelchair to begin with and this is one of the cheapest offerings in that category. But this chair does not drop the ball in terms of design features. It is made by Drive Medical, a large and reputable company with hundreds of durable medical equipment products shipped worldwide.
With a steel frame, nylon seats, and ergonomic handles, this wheelchair gives you everything you need for a simple transport wheelchair at a price you will love.
Best Cheap Bariatric Wheelchair: Medline Excel Bariatric Wheelchair
The Medline Excel Wheelchair is the most expensive chair on this list, there is no way around that. However, that price is justified due to the extra features that Medline packed into this chair aimed specifically at bariatric patients. Other chairs claim to be bariatric friendly but then force them to cram into standard sized chairs with an extra lug nut or two and they call it a day.
The Medline Excel has a certified weight capacity of 500lbs which is nearly double the industry average. Average chairs either have a weight capacity of 250lbs or 300lbs but few have higher capacities than that. This means the Excel can hold a lot more weight than the competition.
But that is not all it brings to the table. On top of one of the best weight capacities in the industry, the Medline Excel also has a super large seat that is designed to be comfortable for a whole range of people. The seat dimensions measure 24” wide by 18” deep. For example, the standard wheelchair seats are 18” wide by 14” deep. This upgraded seat size means no more cramming into a small uncomfortable spot and being forced to endure painful conditions while using your wheelchair.
The extra attention to detail, true bariatric features, and relatively low price land the Medline Excel Bariatric Wheelchair in this spot for the best in class cheap bariatric wheelchair.
The Karman Transport Wheelchair makes this list as an honorable mention due to the prevalence of transport wheelchair features present in this model. Coming in just north of $100 the Karman Transport Wheelchair still has everything you expect out of a transport chair without sacrificing much.
It has a foldable backrest, a three stage handle brake for added safety and security, footrests that swivel and can be detached as well as a super lightweight aluminum frame. If all of that sounds appealing to you, you should take a look at this Karman model. You get a lot for the money.
The whole chair only weighs in at 23lbs making it super easy to fold, transport and store. You do not need to be super young or strong to handle this chair on your own if you have to. All of these features come together to give you a solid transport wheelchair at a super great price.
Another fantastic wheelchair available for less than $200 is the Medline Strong and Sturdy Wheelchair. This chair has many of the same great features as the Medline Lightweight Wheelchair but with an added bit of security and durability that makes it great for people of all stripes. This manual wheelchair is capable of serving as a fairly regular day-to-day wheelchair and has upgraded features to enhance durability and strength.
The frame of this chair made from durable, high grade steel and is covered with a hammertone coating. The steel gives the chair its strength while the hammertone gives it its durability. You do not have to worry about accidentally running this chair aground and coming up with a dent or busted weld because everything is reinforced to take a little bit of extra punishment.
If you are worried about accidentally harming your wheelchair due to extended use or poor driving (wheelchairs can be hard to steer for the uninitiated!) then you should really look into the Medline Strong and Sturdy Wheelchair. Most retailers have this chair pegged right around $180 making it super affordable for anyone looking for an upgraded durable chair.
Buyer’s Guide To Finding Cheap And Affordable Wheelchairs
Now that we have gone over some cheap wheelchair reviews, you should have an idea of what is out there, what you can afford, and maybe even what you want to buy.
But if you have not made up your mind yet, there are a few things you should keep in mind. You should also know what to expect, how not to get disappointed and how to get the absolute maximum bang for your buck.
There is a difference between a standard feature, an add-on, and an accessory. Wheelchairs can come with all three of these different things but in this group, you won’t find any that have all three. Here are some great tips, tricks, and things to look out for when you are shopping for cheap wheelchairs online.
There are some common and useful add-ons that you can expect to find on wheelchairs at this price point. These add-ons include things like safety brakes on transport chairs, flippable or removable armrests for better maneuverability, foldable parts, and large wheels. These are all quality of life upgrades that you should be on the lookout for, even at these prices.
What features to look for?
You won’t be able to find all of the features you are probably looking for in a wheelchair for the cheapest prices around but you can still get some good ones without shelling out too much cash. Some easy to find features at these prices include things like foldable designs, nylon upholstery, elevated leg rests, and dual axel smooth wheels.
You also can find some truly lightweight models at super low prices as well. Don’t get stuck with bulky and heavy wheelchairs because you think you can’t afford slimmed down aluminum models.
What kind of accessories can I expect at this price?
Wheelchairs actually have a lot of neat accessories that you can get to customize and upgrade your ride. Unfortunately, at the lower end of a budget, you are not going to be able to find many chairs with included accessories. Things like seat cushions, cup holders, and upgraded footrests are going to be extremely hard to come by. You can find tons of great chairs that have a lot of great features but when it comes to accessories, they do not come included at this price point.
What makes a wheelchair more expensive than others?
Wheelchairs have a very large price spread ranging thousands of dollars. So what makes some wheelchairs more expensive than others?
The biggest indicator is the type of wheelchair that it is. Powered wheelchairs are the most expensive because they are automatic and come with a host of modern features, they are designed to be used all day long for months or even years at a time.
The next most expensive wheelchair is the permanent manual wheelchair. These are self propelled chairs that are designed for all day use, also for months or years at a time. Anything designed for permanent consistent use is going to be more expensive than temporary wheelchairs.
The cheapest wheelchairs are all temporary chairs, and that is what is featured most prominently on this list. Temporary chairs are meant to be ridden for short periods of time, infrequently. These cover transport wheelchairs, recovery wheelchairs, or bariatric wheelchairs. All of these are designed for a person to ride them for short periods under specific circumstances. This allows costs to be saved on features that would benefit a wheelchair in constant use rather than one that is used intermittently.
Where can I buy cheap wheelchairs?
The best place to look for the lowest price on wheelchairs is going to be online. Brick and mortar retail stores are going to have a limited selection and a fixed price which makes price shopping in person much more difficult than it needs to be in 2021. Online, you can compare and shop multiple different vendors in minutes which makes finding the cheapest prices easier than ever.
There are some great online retailers that specialize in selling wheelchairs where you can look and find the best price and a true bang for your buck.
Other prominent online vendors that deal primarily in wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment are 1800 Wheelchair and Spinlife. Between these three sites, you can easily research, sort, and shop for the cheapest wheelchairs available from the comfort of your own home or phone.
Tips for finding the most affordable wheelchair to meet your needs
The internet is a powerful tool and I suggest that you use it to find the absolute cheapest, and best, wheelchair that you can possibly find. You can sort by price, sort by rating, sort by type and more. If you go through the lists of wheelchairs available online and start sorting through the options it will be easy to pick out cheap wheelchairs that have good reviews and a lot of positive feedback.
Do not get discouraged by too many options and do not give up if you find chairs that are too expensive, simply refine your search. There are many great wheelchairs available for right around $150 or less if that is what you need.
Once you have some cheap wheelchairs lined up, you can also narrow it down by feature and type. Do you need a transport wheelchair or a manaul wheelchair? Are you more interested in durability or comfort? Do you need to travel long distances in your wheelchair or only need it for short trips? These are all important questions to ask and answer when looking for your next cheap wheelchair.
Wheelchair Buyer's Guide by CareCo
Budgets are a natural part of life. Times can be tough, times have been tough, and being on a budget is nothing to be ashamed of. The good news is that there are plenty of wheelchairs available online for people who need to come in under a certain amount. No one really ever wants to be in a wheelchair but sometimes it is a necessary part of life. With this guide, no matter where you are in life, or what your budget is, you will be able to find a wheelchair that will fit your needs and your budget.