Read our Drive Medical Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair review to learn more about how this model can help you get around!
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What We Like:
- Breathable, clean fabric
What We Don’t Like:
- Requires help
- Too simple
Our Conclusion: The Drive Medical Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair, on top of being supremely affordable, is safe, versatile, and portable. It’s a great mobility aid for seniors who cannot use a manual wheelchair, need a backup for their powered wheelchair, or want a lightweight option for travel.
Manual Wheelchair vs Transport Wheelchair: What’s the Difference?
Non-motorized wheelchairs are generally thought to be all the same, but that isn’t actually the case. There are two types of wheelchairs that aren’t powered by electric motors. The first is what most people picture when they think of traditional wheelchairs: manual wheelchairs. These have large rear wheels, typically 24 inches tall. These tall wheels have a handrail on them that seniors and other wheelchair users push to propel themselves forward and slow down.
Transport wheelchairs, on the other hand, cannot be propelled by the person in the chair. They require a second person to push the user from behind. This makes them a better option for seniors who may not have the dexterity or arm strength to propel themselves around. For example, people with ALS, cerebral palsy, or MS may not be able to safely use a manual wheelchair. It’s also ideal for seniors who are traveling or in rehabilitation/recovery from a recent accident or surgery!
Features and Benefits of Drive Medical Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair
This transport wheelchair weighs just 26 pounds in total. Compare that to the 50-plus pounds that manual wheelchairs typically weigh in at, and you’ll see the benefit. Your caregiver can push you farther, faster without getting worn out. On top of that, this transport wheelchair is quite easy to lift and store.
The biggest drawback to using a transport wheelchair is that tipping can happen easily if your caregiver is going too fast and not watching for bumps. A small bump in your path or an unexpected obstacle can result in a nasty fall; the wheels are very short, making transport chairs very top-heavy.
That top-heavy design, combined with the fact that your caregiver is pushing from the top, means you can be tossed from the chair quite easily. This isn’t a major concern, because most caregivers will use enough caution to avoid a tipping situation. However, in the event that you do tip, a sturdy safety belt can reduce a disaster to a mere close call. The safety belt on this transport chair is thick, strong, and comfortable; with it on, there is little reason to worry about tipping.
This transport chair folds in two places: the backrest folds in half, and the entire chair collapses inward. When the transport chair is folded up, it is a mere 11 inches wide and 29 inches tall. That’s hardly bigger than a small suitcase, and it makes this transport chair an absolute breeze to travel with or store in a closet for emergency use.
Rather than using cheap plastic or synthetic leather, the Drive Medical Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair uses durable and breathable nylon. If you’ve used a wheelchair in the past that left you feeling sweaty and sticky, it was likely due to cheap fabric. Nylon allows your body to breathe in the chair, won’t make you feel sticky, and is non-irritating. Nylon is also much easier to clean than other fabrics, and is not prone to odor!
Wheelchairs can be very pricey; top-of-the-line manual wheelchairs can set you back up to $900, and even average models can be in the upper $300 range. The Drive Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair is available for less than $100! Even though Medicare and Medicaid can cover most, if not all, of the cost of your wheelchair, some seniors are unable to get the required prescription. If cost is a concern for you, and Medicare won’t cover your wheelchair, this affordable option might be the route for you.
Drive Medical Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair Specification
drive medical lightweight steel transport wheelchair
Overall Height of Wheelchair
Length (with leg/foot riggings)
21.5 inches (open), 10.75 inches (closed)
17 inches (W) x 16 inches (D)
Seat To Floor Height
Video Overview of Drive Medical Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair
Pros and Cons of Drive Medical Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair
- Lightweight: This transport chair is easy to lift, store, and push. It makes needing and using a transport wheelchair much easier for everyone.
- Foldable: The collapsed size of the Drive Lightweight Steel Transport Chair is small enough that it can be stored and transported just about anywhere!
- Safe: Transport chairs are safer for many seniors to use because they aren’t required to propel themselves. This removes the possibility of injuries arising from overuse of a manual wheelchair, as well as the danger of using a manual wheelchair with limited arm strength and dexterity. Plus, the safety belt reduces the risks of tipping and accidents, one of the biggest drawbacks of transport wheelchairs, and wheelchairs in general.
- Breathable, Clean Fabric: Nylon fabric keeps you cool and comfortable in the chair and is easy to clean when you’re out of it. It resists odor well and makes using a transport chair just a bit better.
- Requires Help: Transport wheelchairs require the help of a caregiver to get around. While this is no problem for some seniors, others may not have the luxury of assistance. If you have severely limited mobility but no access to a caregiver, something like an electric wheelchair may be a better fit for you.
- Too Simple: This transport wheelchair is best for short-term or occasional use. It isn’t designed to be the type of chair you use multiple hours a day, seven days a week. Using it this often will likely become uncomfortable over time. If those are your needs, it may be wise to look for a wheelchair that has more padding built-in.
Who is the Drive Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair Best For?
Rehabilitation and Recovery
If you’ve recently had an accident, injury, or surgery that has limited your ability to walk, chances are high that you cannot safely use a manual wheelchair. Since electric wheelchairs are very expensive, it makes a lot of sense to get a transport wheelchair for your recovery journey.
With a transport wheelchair, you are ready for doctor’s visits, physical therapy, and simply getting around the house. As long as your spouse or caregiver is there to help you, you are able to go about your day without risking aggravating your injury or slowing down your rehabilitation process.
Backup for Motorized Mobility Aid
Electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters are great solutions for seniors who want to stay active and independent, but they don’t work everywhere. Particularly indoors, motorized mobility aids can be pretty difficult to use. When the batteries die or there is a mechanical issue, you are essentially stranded. This makes it a great idea to keep a backup mobility aid on hand just in case something goes wrong. This is an affordable, portable option that any senior should keep in mind!
Severe Mobility Limitations
Having limited mobility isn’t always as simple as no longer being able to walk. Often, the same issues that affect the legs affect the arms. For people who have limited dexterity and muscle strength in their arms, manual wheelchairs can be pretty dangerous to use. If that describes you, this chair is a great way to get around and stay safe!
Helpful Links for the Drive Medical Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair
- Click here to access the Drive Medical Lightweight Steel Transport Chair Owner’s Manual
- Click here to find replacement parts for your Steel Transport Chair
- Click here to troubleshoot issues with the Steel Transport Chair
Top Competitor Product: Vive Mobility Transport Wheelchair
This transport wheelchair has many of the things that make the Drive Medical chair great, but with some added comfort and versatility. The seat and backrest use thicker foam that will be more comfortable for long-term users.
The rear wheels on the Vive transport wheelchair are 12 inches tall and extra-wide, which both reduces the risk of tipping and make it suitable for outdoor use on light grass and dirt. And, it can support up to 300 pounds yet only weighs 29 pounds itself!
If you’re looking for a more comfortable transport wheelchair for long-term use, or need a higher weight capacity, put this model at the top of your list. It’s not quite as portable as the Drive transport chair (it folds, just not as compact), and it costs more than twice as much. However, the benefits of this transport chair are pretty significant, and it’s worth weighing your needs against both models!
Rueben Bechtel’s Drive Medical Ligthweight Steel Transport Wheelchair
If you’re looking for a transport wheelchair that can keep you moving without breaking the bank, Drive Medical Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair is the one for you! Do you have any questions, or have tips for other readers? Leave them in the comments section below!
Drive Medical Lightweight (Click image for more info)