Wheelchairs are excellent mobility devices that take all the weight off your feet and allow you to roll around. However, many models are heavy, making them hard to steer, transport, and store. If you’ve been looking for a lightweight wheelchair, you’ve come to the right place.
The overall best lightweight wheelchair is the Karman Healthcare Ergo Flight Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair. It has an extremely light frame that also folds for easy transport or storage. The sophisticated chair also has an ergonomic design, footrests, and companion brakes for comfort.
This review guide evaluates the pros and cons of the best lightweight wheelchairs for every need. We take you through each chair’s qualities and give you tips for finding the best model for you.
What Is the Weight Range of Wheelchairs?
Wheelchairs can vary a lot in weight. Manual chairs that you need to power with your own hands are lighter. They may weigh as little as 7.7lb (3.5kg), although a standard option usually weighs around 30.9lb (14kg). At their heaviest, they don’t usually exceed 65lb (29.5kg).
Electric wheelchairs are heavier because they have a motor. They may weigh as little as 50lb (22.7kg) or as much as 300lb (136.1kg). The more accessories that a chair has and the more weight it can support, the heavier it usually is.
What Makes a Wheelchair Lightweight?
The frame design is usually what makes a wheelchair lightweight. Carbon fiber is the preferred material for ultra-lightweight models, but it is costly. Therefore, most companies use aluminum, which is also light and more affordable.
However, most wheelchair weights only consider the frame. The number you see does not reflect accessories like footrests, cushions, storage spaces, brakes, and other items. Therefore, you should minimize accessories if you want an ultra-lightweight chair.
Lightweight Wheelchair Reviews
Best Lightweight Wheelchair (Overall): Karman Healthcare Ergo Flight Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair
The Karman Healthcare Ergo Flight is the overall best lightweight wheelchair on the market. It allows you to use the chair manually or as a transport chair with a family member or carer pushing it.
It has various ergonomically-designed features, including an S-shape seat. This chair imitates the natural curves of your spine and body, alleviating any potential pressure. It also has well-designed hand rims and handles to reduce strain on the wrists.
The chair is very comfortable for both the user and the helper. It includes footrests and ankle loops to stabilize the user’s legs and companion brakes for the person pushing the chair.
This lightweight wheelchair is one of the most portable options available. It weighs a total of 19.8lb (9kg) and folds through the seat. You can store or transport it without taking up too much space or weighing down your car.
The main downside of this lightweight wheelchair is its smaller wheels. Because they are only 20 inches (50.8cm) in radius, they make it harder to maneuver the chair. If you lack upper body strength, it may not be the best option.
We recommend this lightweight wheelchair for: people looking for the highest levels of comfort and portability.
Best Lightweight Wheelchair (Runner-Up): Drive Medical Fly Lite Ultra Lightweight Transport Wheelchair
The Drive Medical Fly Lite is the runner-up for the best lightweight wheelchair. It is a simple and budget-friendly lightweight transport wheelchair that you can take anywhere. It is a portable option with its folding back and a total frame weight of 16.5lb (7.5kg).
It is one of the safest options for the user. It includes a seatbelt that can keep you secure in the seat, and the wheels have good handling over bumpy surfaces. If you need to navigate outdoor terrains, you shouldn’t have too much trouble.
It has adjustable footrests and allows you to lock the wheels while stationary. This design feature allows you to use it as a regular chair, making it ideal for socializing with friends or family.
You should consider that this wheelchair only functions for transport. You cannot operate the wheels from the seat, and you will need someone to push it. Therefore, it isn’t suitable if you are looking for total independence.
It also doesn’t have the best handles, so it can cause strain to the person pushing it.
We recommend this lightweight wheelchair for: someone looking for a secure and lightweight transport wheelchair.
Best Lightweight Transport Wheelchair: Drive Medical Lightweight Expedition Transport Wheelchair
The Drive Medical Expedition is the best lightweight transport wheelchair on the market. Weighing just 19 pounds (8.6kg), one person can easily lift and carry the unit. It also has a lever on the back that collapses the chair, making it even more straightforward to transport or store.
It is a very safe choice. One of its best features is the companion brakes, which allow the person pushing to stop the chair from rolling. They can also lock the wheels in place while you are seated to prevent the wheels from slipping away.
The transport wheelchair has a seat belt across the seat that keeps you secure and prevents you from falling out. It also has reasonable handling on indoor and outdoor surfaces. However, we don’t recommend it for long trips on bumpy terrains.
Although it has comfortable footrests, they lack heel straps. Therefore, you may smash your feet against the wheels unless you have the strength to lock your feet in place. Like other transport wheelchairs, it also does not allow you to operate the device while sitting in it.
We recommend this lightweight wheelchair for: people looking for portability and convenience on a budget.
Best Lightweight Electric Wheelchair: EBEI Electric Wheelchair Super Lightweight
The EBEI Electric Wheelchair is the best lightweight electric wheelchair around. Many electric models are large and bulky, but this speedy unit weighs in at just 36lb (16.3kg), including the battery weight. It also folds down and can stand upright, making it an excellent storable option.
It is versatile and safe. You can operate the joystick with either your left or right hand. It has a sophisticated and secure electromagnetic braking system. The wheelchair has good battery life and can travel continuously for 18 miles (29km) on a single charge.
The wheelchair performs well indoors and outdoors. The fully rotating wheels can navigate in tight spaces. They also have shocks and a resistant construction to withstand driving on dirt, gravel, or grass.
It is a pricey option and may not be affordable for some. It also lacks bracing in the armrests, so they may not last over time if you use them to support your weight when you stand up. However, the overall design is user-friendly and comfortable enough for daily use.
We recommend this lightweight wheelchair for: someone looking for a versatile and user-friendly electric wheelchair.
Best Lightweight Folding Wheelchair: Karman LT-980 Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair
The Karman LT-980 is the best lightweight folding wheelchair. It weighs 24lb (10.9kg) without the footrests and folds through the back and seat. Once folded, you can fit in a car or plane to take with you wherever you go.
It is a very comfortable choice. It includes padded armrests, an adjustable seat, and soft-touch brakes that reduce pressure on the brakes. You can change the footrests’ positioning and use the ergonomic hand grips to propel the wheels without hurting your hands.
The wheelchair navigates well indoors. It has a tight turning circle and rolls smoothly across surfaces like floorboards and tiles. It also has a non-marking material on the wheels to prevent damaging or staining your carpets.
You can use the wheelchair while sitting or be pushed from behind. However, it isn’t the best option for very tall people. While you can change the footrests’ height, you cannot lower them enough to accommodate very long legs.
This mid-range wheelchair is not the cheapest option. However, you are paying for a higher level of comfort and portability.
We recommend this lightweight wheelchair for: people looking for a comfortable and maneuverable indoor wheelchair.
Best Cheap Lightweight Wheelchair: Drive Medical TR39E SV Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair
The Drive Medical TR39E SV is the best cheap lightweight wheelchair. It is one of the most affordable options and is also very light at 26lb (11.8kg). If you lack the strength to lift and maneuver standard wheelchairs, it could be a good choice.
It folds down flat and also includes upholstery handles. Therefore, you can lift and store it in a cupboard, car trunk, or even a plane. If you move around a lot, this portable design could be a lifesaver.
The wheelchair has some comfortable features, including folding footrests and armrests with ample cushioning. If you spend long periods in the chair, you must choose a seat to fit your body. However, this model does not have many adjustable parts.
As with other transport chairs, you cannot propel the wheels from the seat. The design needs a carer or loved one to push you from behind. Therefore, it isn’t suitable for people who need more independence and to travel by themselves.
Overall, this lightweight wheelchair lacks some of the luxury features and adjustable parts of other models. However, it is exceptionally affordable, functional, and can certainly get you from point A to B.
We recommend this lightweight wheelchair for: someone looking for a budget-friendly and portable transport chair.
Best Lightweight Portable Wheelchair: Medline Ultralight Transport Wheelchair
The Medline Ultralight is the best lightweight portable wheelchair. It is one of the lightest options on the market, weighing 14.8lb (6.7kg). Despite this, it can support a maximum weight of 300lb (136.1kg), higher than the average.
If you need to store and transport your wheelchair, it can be a convenient choice. The back fabric folds in to flatten the frame. It also has locking clips that fix the footrests in place and get them out of the way.
One of the main advantages of this chair is its low armrests. Many other models have high rests that prevent you from sitting close to a table. With this wheelchair, you can fit it under the table and sit to eat dinner with your friends and family.
The transport chair design is better suited to people who need to be pushed around and cannot move independently. It is also better suited to indoor surfaces because of the smaller wheels. On dirt or grass, the bumpy movement may be painful.
We recommend this lightweight wheelchair for: people looking for portability and storage options from a lightweight frame.
Buyer’s Guide: What to Look for in a Lightweight Wheelchair?
What Are the Benefits of Lightweight Wheelchairs?
Choosing a lightweight wheelchair has various benefits. These benefits are physical and practical if you use your chair and travel a lot.
Firstly, a lightweight chair is more straightforward to maneuver than a heavier model. If you use a manual wheelchair, you won’t need to push around and steer as much weight with your arms. Lightweight wheelchairs also often have larger wheels, allowing them to turn corners in smaller spaces.
Lightweight wheelchairs are also more portable. They are easier to lift into a car trunk or other transport, allowing one person to lift it without assistance. They are also more straightforward to store, particularly if you choose a folding model.
Overall, a lightweight wheelchair is less cumbersome and allows you to perform many of the same tasks as other aids. If you are below the maximum weight limit for the chair, then it should suit your needs.
Tips for Finding the Best Lightweight Wheelchair for Your Needs
These are a few of the factors you should pay attention to when choosing a lightweight wheelchair:
Lightweight Wheelchair Buying Guide by UK Care Guide
In conclusion, the Karman Healthcare Ergo Flight Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair is the overall best lightweight wheelchair. Although it has a very light frame, it also has an excellent ergonomic design for ultimate comfort.
The runner-up is the Drive Medical Fly Lite Ultra Lightweight Transport Wheelchair. It is light, durable, adjustable, and very safe for the passenger during transport.
Lightweight wheelchairs can be beneficial if you are looking for portability and storage options. They are also easier to maneuver if you use a manual wheelchair because you will have less weight to move with your arms.
Overall, lightweight wheelchairs can do many of the same tasks as other kinds without weighing you down. By paying attention to each model’s features and evaluating your needs, you can find the perfect choice for you.