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If you’ve suffered an injury or have a disability, you may need a mobility aid that allows a carer to push you around. Transport wheelchairs can fill this gap, allowing you to mobilize with assistance and minimal discomfort. However, how do you know which wheelchair to choose?
The overall best transport wheelchair is the NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair. It is a safe and versatile option, with companion handbrakes and larger wheels that can handle outdoor terrains. It is also lightweight, portable, and easy to maneuver in most situations.
In this complete guide, we examine the best transport wheelchair for every need. By breaking down each mobility aid’s details, we help you decide which model best fits your needs. So let’s get started!
What Is a Transport Wheelchair?
A transport wheelchair is a wheelchair that you sit in while a carer or another person pushes you around from behind. It differs from a manual wheelchair because you cannot propel or steer the mobility aid while you are seated in the chair.
Transport wheelchairs have smaller back wheels that you cannot reach from the seat. They also have handles and sometimes brakes attached to the rear so that your carer can steer and control the device.
They are generally lighter and more compact than other kinds of wheelchairs. They are also less versatile because the smaller wheels cannot navigate outdoor, bumpy surfaces as easily. However, they are also generally more affordable.
Transport Wheelchair Reviews
Best Transport Wheelchair (Overall):NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair
- It has companion brakes, a seatbelt, and locking wheels for ultimate safety.
- The larger wheels can navigate bumpy terrains.
- It has flip-up desk arms so you can sit normally at a table.
- It is lightweight and folds down for transport or storage.
- The chair has adjustable and removable footrests with heel loops.
- The chair arrives mostly assembled and has assembly instructions.
- It is one of the less affordable transport wheelchairs.
- The seat’s angle may cause back pain after long periods.
The NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair is the overall best transport wheelchair on the market. Although it is one of the pricier options, it has a sophisticated and safe design that suits long-term use.
It has various safety features. The best is the companion brakes, which allow your carer to slow and stop the wheelchair from behind. You can also fully lock the wheels, for safer transfers. While traveling, you can secure yourself with the seatbelt across your hips.
The transport wheelchair has flip-back arms that allow you to sit normally at the dining table or office desk. It is also incredibly lightweight and foldable, so you can alternatively store it while using a regular chair.
The main downside of this transport wheelchair is the price. It may also be uncomfortable for long journeys because of the seat’s angle. However, this is standard for most transport chairs. They work well for short trips but usually do not have the comfort level for hours of travel.
We recommend this transport wheelchair for: someone looking for a safe, versatile, and well-designed transport wheelchair.
Runner-Up Transport Wheelchair:Drive Medical Fly Lite Ultra Lightweight Transport Wheelchair
- It is excellent value for money.
- The wheelchair has a higher than average weight capacity.
- It is lightweight and folds down.
- It has adjustable, fold-away footrests.
- The wheelchair has a seatbelt for extra security.
- It has a storage pouch behind the seat.
- It does not have companion brakes.
- It is not the most comfortable option.
- It is not best suited to uneven terrains.
The Drive Medical Fly Lite is the runner-up for the best transport wheelchair. It is one of the most affordable options, meaning it could be viable if you want to stick to a budget. It also has many other features that are practical and user-friendly.
It is very lightweight, weighing just 16.5lb (7.5kg) and folding down into a compact shape. Despite this, it has a higher weight capacity of 300lb (136.1kg). While it is not quite a bariatric wheelchair, it could be an excellent option if you need something more heavy-duty than the standard choices.
Other than the usual wheelchair features, it also includes a safety seat belt, removable armrests that allow you to sit normally at a desk, and swing-away footrests. These add-ons will enable you to be comfortable in many situations, according to your unique needs.
However, because the transport wheelchair is so lightweight and affordable, it lacks some key features. It does not have companion brakes and it has small wheels, making it more hazardous to use on bumpy surfaces and rough terrains.
We recommend this transport wheelchair for: anyone looking for an affordable and lightweight transport wheelchair.
Best Lightweight Transport Wheelchair:Medline Ultralight Transport Wheelchair
- It is one of the most lightweight and portable options available.
- It has a higher weight capacity than standard wheelchairs.
- The low armrests let you sit normally at a desk or table.
- It has a low to mid-range price.
- The wheelchair has rear-facing storage pockets and a cup holder next to the seat.
- It is available in a range of different colors.
- It lacks companion brakes.
- The small wheels do not do well on rough terrains.
The Medline Ultralight is the best lightweight transport wheelchair. At less than 15lb (6.8kg), it is one of the lightest options on the market. You can also fold it down for storage purposes and secure the footrests with clips. If you’re looking for portability, it could be the right choice for you.
It can support up to 300lb (136.1kg) and has an intelligent armrest design. Because the armrests sit lower than other models, you can sit normally at a table or desk without leaving the wheelchair.
The transport wheelchair is fairly priced and available in a wide range of colors. It also has handy additions like a rear-facing storage pouch and a cup holder.
Therefore, both you and your carer can travel without being weighed down.
However, the small wheels cannot maneuver easily on outdoor surfaces.
Therefore, it is better suited for smooth terrains like concrete, floorboards, or tiles. It also does not have companion brakes, so your carer will need to take more care when pushing you down slopes.
We recommend this transport wheelchair for: someone who wants a portable and user-friendly transport wheelchair.
Best Budget Transport Wheelchair:Drive Medical TR39E-SV Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair
- It is one of the most affordable options.
- It has excellent maneuverability inside.
- It is relatively lightweight and portable.
- The wheelchair has comfortable armrests and footrests.
- The chair upholstery is hygienic and easy to clean.
- There are no companion brakes.
- It is not suitable for long trips outdoors.
- The armrests are fixed in place and may be too narrow for some people.
The Drive Medical TR393-SV is the best budget transport wheelchair. Despite being one of the cheapest options on the market, it shares many of the same features as other transport chairs. In particular, its slim frame and smooth wheels allow it to maneuver inside and on flat surfaces.
It is reasonably lightweight and portable. You can fold down the chair by pushing the sides together, which collapses the backrest. If you travel a lot, this feature can make it easier to fit the chair inside your car or other transportation.
It has a decent level of comfort with padded armrests, movable footrests, and hygienic upholstery. However, the armrests are fixed in place. Because the chair is narrow, it could be painful for broader people to sit down.
Like other transport wheelchairs, it is unsuitable for bumpy terrains and long trips outside. The small wheels can turn easily but may struggle on surfaces like grass or dirt. However, if you mostly plan to use it inside, it shouldn’t give you too many issues.
We recommend this transport wheelchair for: anyone who wants value for money and maneuverability in a transport wheelchair.
Best Bariatric Transport Wheelchair:Drive Medical Bariatric Heavy Duty Transport Wheelchair
- It has a high maximum weight capacity.
- It has an extra-wide seat for comfort and stability.
- The upholstery is heavy-duty and resistant.
- It has comfortable padded armrests and adjustable footrests.
- It has a carry pouch behind the seat.
- There are no companion brakes.
- You may struggle to get through narrow doorways and passageways.
- The wheelchair is heavier than other models.
The Drive Medical Bariatric is the best heavy-duty transport wheelchair. It can support up to 450lb (204.1kg) and also has a wide, 22-inch (55.9cm) seat. If you don’t feel comfortable or safe in a standard chair, this could be viable.
It also has heavy-duty nylon upholstery that is resistant to damage and easy to clean. Although the seat is not padded, it has some padding in the armrests and the chair allows you to adjust the footrests. Overall, it keeps you secure inside the seat.
There is a storage pouch behind the seat so your carer can carry their valuables. Overall, it is a sturdy and reliable transport wheelchair. While not the cheapest option on the market, it has a comfortable mid-range price that is accessible for many.
However, because it is bariatric, it is heavier and harder to maneuver through small spaces than standard options. It also doesn’t have companion brakes, so your carer will need decent strength if the surfaces aren’t completely flat.
We recommend this transport wheelchair for: someone looking for a heavy-duty transport wheelchair.
Buyer’s Guide: What to Look for in a Transport Wheelchair?
What Are the Benefits of Transport Wheelchairs?
These are the pros of transport wheelchairs:
- They are lightweight and easy to maneuver.
- They allow the user to move without walking.
- They are usually cheaper than manual or electric wheelchairs.
- They are portable and straightforward to store.
- They are easier to push for a carer than manual wheelchairs.
However, there are also some drawbacks to transport wheelchairs:
- They are not as comfortable or adjustable as manual wheelchairs.
- They are unsuitable for long trips.
- They do not work well outside or on rough terrains.
- You cannot use them while seated.
Tips for Finding the Best Transport Wheelchair for Your Needs
There are a few factors to consider when choosing a transport wheelchair:
- Weight: Your carer will need to push your weight and the chair’s weight. Therefore, choosing a lightweight model can take some strain off their back and shoulders.
- Maximum load: Transport wheelchairs can only hold a maximum weight. Check that your preferred model can support your fully clothed body, plus any other items you might want to carry.
- Braking system: Transport chairs with companion brakes are the safest options. They allow your carer to stop the chair from rolling without having to use physical force. Overall, they reduce body strain and decrease the chance of accidents.
- Wheel size: Larger wheels will allow the transport wheelchair to roll across rougher surfaces without destabilizing or shaking you around.
- The seat: You should choose a transport wheelchair that has seat padding and the correct dimensions for your body. Otherwise, it may be uncomfortable or even painful after an hour or so.
- Folding design: Many transport chairs fold through the middle. This design feature makes them easier to store and fit in transportation.
Top 10 Things to Know When Buying a Transport Wheelchair
In conclusion, the NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair is the overall best transport wheelchair. It is one of the safest options, with companion hand brakes, locking wheels, and footrests to stabilize your legs. It also works well both inside and outside.
When selecting a transport wheelchair, think about the person that will have to push it. You should opt for the safest and most maneuverable choice that you can find. A comfortable chair will also spare your body any discomfort.
Overall, transport wheelchairs can be beneficial if you cannot walk easily. They allow a carer to push you around so that you can get out of the house, socialize, and run errands. By choosing a comfortable and user-friendly transport chair, you can improve the experience for yourself and your carer.