Drive Wheelchair Reviews

Drive Wheelchair Reviews (2021): 8 Best Drive Wheelchairs for Every Need

By jwilder

Drive Wheelchair Reviews

Wheelchairs are a great way to improve your freedom and quality of life. They can even improve your respiratory and digestive health!

However, it’s important to find the wheelchair that will accommodate all of your needs. No two seniors have the exact same needs, and no two wheelchairs have same features. Drive Medical provides a wide range of options for all types of needs; read our Drive wheelchair reviews guide to find the model that suits you best...

The 8 Best Drive Wheelchairs Reviewed

Drive Medical Blue Streak Wheelchair with Flip Back Desk Arms, Swing Away Footrests, 18 Inch Seat

Features and Benefits:

The Blue Streak is a great example of the simplicity that a good manual wheelchair should have. It works very well, folds up flat, and supports your body’s weight in a way that is comfortable and beneficial. The arms flip back so that they are out of the way when you want to sit at a desk or table, and so that a caregiver can easily lift the user out of the chair.

Many manual wheelchairs can set you back upwards of 500 dollars, and they don’t provide anything that the Blue Streak doesn’t! For just under $125, you get a high-quality, portable wheelchair that you can use for years. It’s not as comfortably padded as more expensive models, but this is easily remedied with a quality wheelchair cushion upgrade.

Some users report frustration with the folding/unfolding because of a clasping piece that can get stuck. If you go with the Blue Streak, keep this in mind and make sure that clasping piece isn’t interfering with the folding/unfolding process! Lastly, this chair has a weight capacity of 250 pounds, which is less than ideal but still suitable for most seniors.

Pros

  • Very affordable, comparable to chairs that cost 3X as much
  • Flip-back armrests for easy entry/exit
  • Quality footrests provide comfort and ease pressure

Cons

  • Only supports 250 pounds
  • Can get stuck while folding/unfolding

Who is it best for?

This is a great wheelchair for short-term rehabilitation and recovery, as well as in-home use. It’s not ideal for pushing yourself long distances, but it can be a valuable companion while you recover from an injury or surgery. If you like to stay close to home, or need a portable option to keep in the car for trips, the Blue Streak can help!

Drive Medical K320DFA-ELR Cruiser III Light Weight Wheelchair with Various Flip Back Arm Styles and Front Rigging Options, Flip Back Removable Full Arms/Elevating Leg Rests, Black, 20 Inch

Features and Benefits:

The Cruiser III’s best quality is its padded calf supports. For people who’ve had a recent accident or injury that affects their legs, that level of support is vital to the success of the wheelchair. It can support up to 350 pounds and features a thick padded seat for extra comfort.

This wheelchair has a carbon steel frame that lets you install custom backrest and seat inserts that will be more comfortable and beneficial for you. It also has a simple folding process, allowing you to transport it, and tuck it out of the way, with ease!

Pros

  • High weight capacity (350 pounds)
  • Great calf/leg supports (removable if not needed)
  • Thick padded seat; larger surface area than most seats

Cons

  • Not ideal for very long legs
  • Plastic pieces on frame may break easily with rough use

Who is it best for?

The Cruiser III is a great option for indoor use or outdoor use on sidewalks close to home. It’s easy to customize the seat, backrest, and footbed with upgraded attachments so that you can use it comfortably for hours at a time. It’s also a great wheelchair for seniors who have had recent leg injuries or surgeries and require lots of support below the knee!

Drive Medical SSP118FA-SF Silver Sport 1 Wheelchair with Full Arms and Swing away Removable Footrest, Black

Features and Benefits:

The Silver Sport 1 is a slim, compact chair that makes it quite easy for seniors to access narrower and tighter spaces in their homes. It’s also quite light, weighing in at 37 pounds; this means it’s easy to transport and store.

It has a narrow seat, only 18 inches wide, that will be uncomfortable for large users but come in quite handy for seniors who need to use their chair in tight spaces. The footbed on the Silver Sport is a bit lacking, too; it’s not unsafe, but it might not be comfortable for seniors who need lots of leg and foot support.

Pros

  • Narrow, compact design can be used in tight spots
  • Easy to fold and transport
  • Extending foot supports

Cons

  • Low weight capacity
  • Too compact for larger/heavier users
  • Not ideal for outdoor use

Who is it best for?

This is the best Drive Medical wheelchair for smaller seniors, or people who need to use their wheelchair in narrow hallways and doorways. It’’s great for using in the home, or for keeping in the car/garage as a backup to be used when your mobility scooter or motorized wheelchair can’t be used. It’s very affordable, too, making it a great short-term investment for seniors who need a wheelchair to use temporarily!

Drive Medical Silver Sport 2 Wheelchair with Various Arms Styles and Front Rigging Options, Black, 20 Inch

Features and Benefits:

This is the next model in the Silver Sport lineup, and it’s a bit larger and sturdier than the Silver Sport 1. It features a wider seat (20 inches), higher weight capacity (350 pounds), and upgraded foot and calf rests. It’s a very comfortable wheelchair for nearly any senior to use!

While it may be larger than the Silver Sport 1, this wheelchair is still narrow enough that it provides advantages over standard width (24 inches wide) wheelchairs. It’s easier to roll through doorways without hitting the wheels (and your hands) on the door frame, and it’s more convenient in narrow hallways or sidewalks with other foot traffic to contend with!

Pros

  • High weight capacity- 350 pounds
  • Narrower frame for versatility
  • Soft padded calf and foot rests
  • Easy to fit into a car for transportation

Cons

  • Footbed doesn’t extend far enough for users with very long legs
  • Vinyl seat covering can lead to “sticky” feeling

Who is it best for?

This is a great wheelchair for heavier users who still need a more compact model. It supports the weight of nearly any user, and is narrow enough for tight spaces. If you live in an older home, odds are you have doorways that would be tough for a wider wheelchair to fit through. This wheelchair is a great balance between compact and sturdy design, great for any senior’s needs!

Drive Medical SSP20RBDDA Silver Sport Reclining Wheelchair with Detachable Desk Length Arms and Elevating Leg Rest, Silver Vein, 20 Inch

Features and Benefits:

This entry in the Silver Sport line has one of the best features a wheelchair can have: reclining. Sure, reclining features are great for relaxation, but that’s not why Drive Medical made this chair. Reclining allows for seniors with severely limited mobility to be safely lifted into and out of their wheelchair by their caregiver. It’s much less straining on the spine for both people, and can sharply reduce the risk of accidents while lifting!

As far as reclining wheelchairs go, this is one of the most affordable on the market. Similar wheelchairs can cost up to $900, but the Silver Sport Reclining Wheelchair costs one-third as much! It also features an adjustable head and neck cushion that will immobilize your neck for superior safety and stability.

Pros

  • Tall back can accommodate users up to 6’6” tall
  • Breathable nylon upholstery
  • Reclining function for safety and easy lifting of users
  • Padded neck cushion for high stability and comfort

Cons

  • Not the softest seat in the world

Who is it best for?

Many seniors, as they age, experience increasingly limiting health complications. For some, it eventually means they need to be lifted in and out of the wheelchair. Reclining wheelchairs make this process as safe and comfortable as possible for all parties. If you’re in that boat, this is the ideal wheelchair for you! It’s also ideal for taller users and seniors who need lots of neck and head stability while being pushed in a wheelchair!

Drive Medical TR39E-SV Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair, Fixed Full Arms, 19" Seat, Silver

Features and Benefits:

This wheelchair gives you two very valuable things: low weight and affordability. It weighs only 26 pounds, meaning nearly any senior will be able to lift and store it in the car! It also means this chair is very easy for caregivers and spouses to push around.Speaking of pushing around, this is a transport wheelchair, not a manual wheelchair. This means that you cannot push yourself; you must be pushed by someone else. This helps the chair cut down on weight, since there are no heavy wheels to deal with.

Purchasing this transport chair will cost less than $90, making it one of the most affordable mobility aids on the market! It comes with a safety belt, which is a helpful feature since transport chairs are mostly used for people who cannot propel themselves. They have a tendency to tip easily if the caregiver is pushing too fast, so the safety belt makes a huge difference!

Pros

  • Very light, easy to fold and store
  • Safety belt included

Cons

  • Users cannot push themselves
  • Transport chairs can tip easily

Who is it best for?

This transport chair is built for people who have lost the use of at least one arm in addition to the ability to walk. It allows you to be pushed by a caregiver, making it ideal for hospital, nursing home, and short-term recovery purposes. It can also be a great supplement or backup to your electric wheelchair, since the principle is the same: they can’t be pushed by the user and require a different force to roll.

Drive Medical Lightweight Expedition Transport Wheelchair with Hand Brakes, Red

Features and Benefits:

The Expedition is a transport chair that is meant for more long-term casual use. It shares many of the same features as the transport chair we just looked at, but with some added safety and convenience. The Expedition has hand brakes that your caregiver can access with a light grip. This helps them stop you before any nasty falls and accidents can take place. The brakes also lock, so your caregiver can step away from the chair for a moment without you rolling away!

The rear wheels on this transport chair are 12 inches tall, which helps reduce the tipping tendency that many transport chairs struggle with. It also includes a safety belt, a necessary feature that helps keep you still in the chair at all times. The best part, however, is that it only weighs 19 pounds! That makes it very convenient both for you and your caregiver!

Pros

  • Hand brakes and tall wheels prevent tipping
  • Weighs just 19 pounds
  • Folds up into a very compact package

Cons

  • Not a very comfortable seat
  • Tall users may find the chair uncomfortable

Who is it best for?

This is a great transport chair for seniors who know they’ll need it in the long term. It provides a great deal more stability and safety than other transport chairs, so you can use it confidently for years without feeling like falls are a constant risk. It’s also great for short-term use, but it has the extra features that give it an advantage over other transport chairs for long-term needs!

Drive Medical Fly Lite Ultra Lightweight Transport Wheelchair, Black Frame, 16.5 lbs

Features and Benefits:

This is Drive Medical’s lightest and most portable model! It weighs 16.5 pounds and folds up in a cinch, making it a perfect choice of backup or emergency transport chair. When a moment arises to use it, it’s right there for you. When you don’t, it won’t be taking up space in your home like bulky wheelchair or electric wheelchair would.

It comes in three different color patterns: plain black, blue plaid, and red plaid patterns. This is a minor luxury, but can help you feel more comfortable in a chair that you don’t think is boring and ugly. Because it’s so light, it lacks many of the safety features that heavier transport chairs have; it has a safety belt, but not much more. That shouldn’t be a cause for concern, as proper caution should prevent any tipping in this transport wheelchair!

Pros

  • Ultralight design, only 16.5 pounds
  • Folds up easily
  • Locking brake on rear wheels

Cons

  • No anti-tip wheels
  • Seat needs more padding

Who is it best for?

This is the perfect backup chair for people who use an electric wheelchair to get around. It’s lightweight, easy to keep in the car or closet. Since electric wheelchairs can’t go everywhere, situations may arise where you need to be pushed in a transport chair.

This is a great model to have on hand for things like the doctor’s office or just a mechanical issue with your electric wheelchair.  It’s also a great transport chair for seniors who need a short-term option for recovery, or those who reside in assisted living facilities and don’t need to use a transport chair every day.

FAQs/Buyer's Guide

What is Drive Medical’s Background?

Drive Medical opened for business in the year 2000 as a US-based company and operates across the globe today. They have offices and warehouses across North America, and they’re one of the leading providers of health products for seniors in the United States!


Drive Medical’s reputation centers around two things: medical/health benefits and fair pricing. Drive’s products, from shower stools to long-range mobility scooters, are often the most affordable in their classes. Drive Medical’s products are also heavily focused on providing real health benefits. For example, while some mobility scooters are designed to function more or less as golf carts, Drive’s line of scooters are built in a way that supports the body and accommodates many different health issues. This focus on health is one of the reasons Drive Medical has been increasing its visibility and positive reputation across the country- they design things that actually improve your quality of life!

Where are Drive Medical Wheelchairs Made?

Drive Medical has regional manufacturing plants across the globe, so it’s hard to trace exactly where each piece of your wheelchair came from. However, most of their North American products are manufactured (or at least assembled) in North America, so they save money on import costs. So, you can have a reasonable confidence that your wheelchair is at least partly American-made!

What is the Price Range for a Drive Wheelchair?

Drive wheelchairs, on the whole, are quite affordable. The normal range for a manual wheelchair or transport wheelchair is between $200 and $900 when you look at other company’s catalogs.


Getting your Drive Medical wheelchair will cost between $80 for something like the Fly Lite Ultra-Lightweight Transport Wheelchair to a bit over $300 for the Silver Sport Reclining Wheelchair. That makes Drive Medical one of the most affordable options in mobility, pretty much across the board!


However, just because Drive wheelchairs are less expensive than some of their competitors doesn’t mean that they’re cheap. Shelling out $150 for anything can be a tall ask for many seniors. Fortunately, Drive Medical participates in Medicare, so you have the chance to get up to 80% of the cost of your wheelchair covered or reimbursed as something called DME! This makes purchasing a Drive Medical wheelchair online a no-brainer for many seniors!

Tips for Buying a Drive Wheelchair

Finding the right wheelchair has more to do with your needs and desires than it does the features of the wheelchair. So, while it’s helpful to look at the different specifications and features of Drive wheelchairs, it’s still hard to decide without considering how it will impact your life. Before buying a wheelchair, check out these helpful tips!

  • Width (Seat and Total Width)

Seniors who live in older, historical homes know the struggle of dealing with narrow hallways and door frames. It makes it exceedingly difficult for bulky objects- like wheelchairs- to be used at all. If you know that your home or work require you to fit into a tighter space, look for a model such as the Silver Sport 1 that has a narrow frame that’ll work to your advantage!

  • Weight Capacity

If a wheelchair is listed as having a 250-pound weight capacity and you are hovering around that weight, it’s best to find one with a higher weight capacity. It’s possible to use a 250-pound rated wheelchair if you weigh 245 pounds yourself, but the chair likely won’t support you in anything but ideal conditions. You could break part of the chair on a bump, or tip over very easily. Before getting a wheelchair, make sure it can support not only your weight, but your weight plus another 50 pounds!

  • Medical Needs

If you have full control of both of your arms, you can safely use a manual wheelchair. If, however, you have a condition affecting either your muscles or bones, using a manual wheelchair can be foolish and even dangerous.


Similarly, if you have more serious medical concerns, you may need a reclining wheelchair that will allow your caregiver and doctors to safely help you. Depending on what your needs are, a transport chair is much safer than a manual wheelchair. An electric wheelchair might even be the best option!

  • Manual vs Transport Wheelchairs

Manual wheelchairs are the type of wheelchair you think of when you hear the word: two large rear wheels that the user pushes on to propel themselves forward. These wheelchairs have some drawbacks, even though they are a valuable mobility aid for millions of Americans. They make your arms very tired, and can even cause injuries with overuse. Plus, they require the user to have complete control of both arms; if not, manual wheelchairs can become quite dangerous and inconvenient.


Transport chairs are the answer to the issues that manual wheelchairs can present. Instead of pushing yourself, you are pushed by your spouse, partner, or caregiver. This makes them a suitable choice for people who cannot safely use a manual wheelchair. They don’t provide the same kind of freedom, though, since you’ll be relying on someone else to get around. In either case, it’s important to make sure your wheelchair purchase is going to help- not hinder- your mobility!

Conclusion: Drive Wheelchair Reviews

Drive Medical’s lineup of wheelchairs are affordable, long-lasting, and designed for a variety of needs. There are compact, space-saving options for indoor use, reclining options for added health and safety, and transport chairs for seniors who cannot propel themselves in a manual wheelchair. Each wheelchair comes with Drive Medical’s reputation for providing quality medical equipment at a reasonable price. We hope you enjoyed this buyer’s guide, and you find a Drive Medical wheelchair that’s perfect for your needs!


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