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For people, whose lives are defined by limited mobility or no mobility, the advent of the ergonomic wheelchair has been a good step, in making their lives more comfortable, and ultimately boosting their self-esteem.
Since its invention, the wheelchair has matured in leaps and bounds in terms of material, design, comfort, controlling technology, and various types to suit multiple needs, thereby becoming an imperative part of the medical equipment.
Ergonomics which is engineering is geared at reducing pressure sores, creating comfortable weight distribution, and hopefully ensuring the user does not dread sitting on the chair.
That is why this article has been carefully prepared, to give you a wholesome, as well as a detailed information base, to strengthen your chosen scheme.
Various factors like material, make, dimensions, price, warranty, and accessories, govern ergonomic wheelchair choices.
We have itemized the 10 best ergonomic wheelchair choices available, for 2021, as we understand, that, a wrong choice could convert this boon into a bane, for the person who will finally adorn this chair.
Table of Contents
The S -115 manual wheelchair stands true to its name, by being ultra-lightweight and also coupled with features for comfort.
As vouched by many of its users, it is a great choice for those looking for easy handling, mingled with value and durability
Infused with the patented design for the seating frame that reduces pressure ulcers, it also has a padded foldable backrest.
A wider and tubular armrest, a special texture for the hand rim, and a detachable footrest create a perfect ergo backdrop
A quick-release can be added, to remove the difficulty of transporting this wheelchair in a vehicle.
Though S-115 does ease the pressure on the hands of the companion who does the pushing, it sometimes creates hurdles when a bumpy terrain has to be traversed and would require a seatbelt, as an extra precaution.
The antimicrobial, detachable upholstery adds to the comfortable ambiance, by eliminating odor and combating deterioration of fabric.
Like many Karman Ergo wheelchairs, strength comes from a mix of ingenious material, and the geometrics of an efficient design.
Pros & Benefits:
- A handy manual wheelchair, for those who want to go light
- Ergo features to enhance the sitting posture
- Top-notch material to ensure durability
- Seat width that provides more space
- Removable and washable upholstery
- Lifetime warranty of material and workmanship (6 months on parts)
This ultra-light wheelchair, based on Aircraft grade material, is not a wheelchair but a mobility solution, giving meaning to its name; ‘Ergo flight’.
It’s packed with ergo features like patented S frame seat, removable footrest, antibacterial upholstery, quick-release axles, and two variations of seat size (16” x 17” or 17” x 18”).
The ergonomics of the chair reduces the stress on the body, during prolonged usage.
A highlight is the companion brakes, on the handlebars, which gives control to the attendant, especially when navigating an incline.
People in the height range between 5’8” and 5’10” have found this perfect, concerning footrest height and armrest (though the armrest is not detachable).
The ergonomic hand rim, manufactured with a special texture, eases hand pressure.
Its relatively smaller wheel size, midway foldable backrest, simple on and off footrests, and super lightweight, has made its portability a breeze.
Ergo flight comes with flat-free wheels, and knowing that the tires won’t go flat is a relief.
It is an easy fit for vehicles.
Pros & Benefits:
- Companion handbrake providing the required additional control
- Highly recommended by users for its maneuverability
- Its padded seat does not call for an extra cushion
- In summary a lightweight portable ergonomic deal worth its price
Armed with a fixed footrest and fixed armrest, complemented with a calf strap, S-Ergo 105 creates a solid feel, for those who find movable parts strenuous.
Though cushions have to be removed before it can be collapsed, its transportability is very good and has been affirmed, by those who travel a lot.
True to its name, ergonomics has played a key role in its manufacture, resulting in the patented S-Shaped seating system, that prevents slippage and arm/footrests, which is soft on the body.
The upholstery has been engineered with antimicrobial technology, which is stain resistant.
Ergonomic hand rims are in place but feel slightly hard during grip, and experience could vary per person.
The larger tires have a tread, making them great on pavements, and in case there is more frequent usage on polished floors, they can be replaced with slick tires without tread.
The positions of the fixed arm and footrest, render high suitability for a tall person (around 6 ft. and 6 ft. plus).
Pros & Benefits:
- Reliable, Durable, lightweight, and good for options
- It’s delivered pre-assembled, and only chair padding needs to be fixed with velgroves
- Creates a comfort zone for tall people
- In short, provides solid support for active users
- It comes with a limited lifetime warranty
The ergonomic lineaments like its S-Shaped seat system, hand rims, and adjustable armrests, have been contrived, not only to provide comfort and flexibility to the body but also to reduce pressure ulcers.
S-305 supports adjustable seat height, which ranges between 18”, 19”, and 20”, and two variants of seat width are 16”, and 18”.
Such variations, put it a notch above customized wheelchairs.
The armrest with its adjustable height and a one-touch release lever system, to quickly flip it back, provides the required convenience when the user is seated, or when they need to arise.
Its other standard features like a quick-release rear wheel, footrests that can be removable and swing back and forth, detachable antimicrobial back, and seat, make it a worthy choice.
Though anti-tippers are optional, and there is no bar or strap across the back, its portability places it in the forefront.
Pros & Benefits:
- Flip back armrests making it easier to seat people and help them to get up
- Weighs only 29 lbs. without rear wheels and makes it an easy fit into vehicles
- Variations available in seat height and seat width
- Brakes are accessible by the passenger
- In crux, S-305 is worth its dollars
Their intention to ensure wheelchair user comfort has been translated, into the design of the back frame.
When wrong postures can induce back pain for people with normal mobility, it is imperative that extra care must be taken, for those who are confined to the wheelchair.
That is exactly what Strongback has done, by creating a back frame where the spine, head, and chest are comfortably aligned.
The wheelchair has been interlaced with a thoughtful design, which is showcased by the anti-tippers, clothing guard panels, and titled seat, which prevents slippage or slouching ( though a slightly tilted seat could pose a difficulty for some senior people, who have difficulty in getting up).
Wheelchairs are not just equipment but a means of freedom to so many, and ensuring the transportability of the wheelchair itself, is one way of paying respect to this freedom.
After folding, it becomes compact and can be stored even under desks.
This version from Strongback is in the ultra-weight category (19-26 lbs.), and maneuvering on different counters doesn’t pose a problem.
Its durability can sustain a maximum capacity of 300 lbs, and the variations in size, and presence or absence of attendant brakes, widen the available choices.
Pros & Benefits:
- Can be self-propelled or handled by the attendant
- Cushions can be dispensed with
- No additional assembly required except for fixing the leg rests
Ergonomic engineering has weaved itself into the upholstered backrest, to reduce back stress, with a padded full-length soft armrest, and foldable leg support with padding for the calf.
The height is adjustable and the removable/flip footrests, coupled with heel and calf straps, increase the situational adaptability.
This wheelchair could also be a choice for whom, transportability, is of paramount importance.
Quick folding time, half folding backrest along with foldable handles, quick release tires, along with its lightweight, make it truly compact for storage, and portable in vehicles.
The frame though being lightweight has not compromised on durability, as it is a very robust steel frame.
Handles equipped with slowing brakes, anti-reverse wheels, and locking brakes on the wheels, erase the worry about the wheelchair slipping out of control.
Pros & Benefits:
- Compact design for increased mobility inside your home
- Parts are detachable and adjustable, increasing the customization options and transportability
- Anti-Reverse wheels, help to navigate an elevated ground
- The back, arms, and lower legs are supported using padding
All the parts have been designed around the principle, that a person sitting in a wheelchair should not experience an inconvenience but feel relaxed.
Ergonomically drafted seat, padded leg rests that can be elevated, cushioned detachable armrests that can be flipped back, have set the standards and become the norm.
The flat-free tires, are made of solid rubber and are mounted on composite wheels.
They make steering on hard and normal surfaces, an easy task.
This might not be the case on grass or sand, and should be noted in case such use is being foreseen.
Though the leg rests go till 45 degrees, it can be flipped back to allow the person using the chair, to keep legs down as in a sitting position.
Perfect fit for people around the height range of 5’10”/11”, and could be a snug fit for those above 6 ft., though it also depends on the body frame and structure.
Maintenance against chipping and cracking is next to null, because of the powder-coated steel frame.
Hauling it in a vehicle involves a simple step of bringing the side together.
Also, the wheelchair being lightweight gives users a sense of high mobility, which is so valuable to them.
Pros & Benefits:
- Push to lock wheels keeps safety in check
- At the stated budget, it’s a great buy with its all-round features
- Ergonomics have been incorporated
- Low maintenance
It covers three main aspects, mobility of the chair, transportability of the chair, and the ease with which the user can move in and out of the chair (either by themselves or with help).
This belongs to the lightweight category and not an ultra-lightweight (27 lbs.) and ensures that its maximum capacity is 300 lbs.
The stand out feature is NOVA’s patented hand brakes, which allow the attendant to slow and stop the wheels.
Traversing over different types of flooring, or terrain, plays a vital role in a transport wheelchair and that aspect is complemented, by the 12” durable rear wheels.
It does mean a lot to the users if they get near the table or desk, without the armrests coming in the way, and this is achieved by detachable armrests that can also be flipped back.
Loading in and out of vehicles also is comfortable, as it can be easily folded, along with a quick-release foldable back and leg rests, that not only swings but can also be removed.
The person who needs to be transported in the chair cannot operate it independently, as the intent of the chair also does not call for the same.
Pros & Benefits:
- Hand brake for the companion
- Bumpy rides are not too uncomfortable
- Occupies less storage space
- To cut it short, it’s a great buy for transport purposes
Healthcare 802N from Karman tries to meet this intent, and this release comes packed with quality features.
Engineered with Aluminum keeps it lightweight, resulting in only 31 lbs.
The leg rests that swing away, armrest that can be flipped back, and quickly foldable frames, have been doctored to ensure ease of transport.
The push to the brake system, though not available at the handle, is available at the side, giving control to the user, and the hand brake in this wheelchair would be welcome by many.
The removable seat upholstery can be easily cleaned, and adding to the comfort is the fact that, it is antibacterial.
In case you want the wheelchair to run a few years, this is a good recommendation.
It is also the perfect fit for people of smaller stature, who are not that strong.
The seat and back come with different variants of size and cushion types, giving you a choice based on need.
In this version, ant tippers, carry pouches, foot strap, and foldable headrests are optional accessories.
Pros & Benefits:
- Quality and value for the budget range
- All aspects of transportability have been incorporated
- Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
- The aluminum frame has made it lightweight, which is very important for many users
Invacare tracer has been a choice for people, who even have to sit in the wheelchair for 18 Hours!
Engineered using a carbon steel frame, it’s a versatile, durable, and lightweight option.
SX5 also has a recliner version, and with a footrest that can be elevated, it becomes a blessing of comfort to the elderly.
The backrest and seat do not sag, as stretching has been prevented using a heavy-duty inner liner, and it’s features like these along with the material, which enhances its durability.
Another attractive aspect is the adjustable floor to seat height, and for those whose legs might not touch the ground, this proves to be very catchy.
The comfort zone has been created, using fully padded wide armrests that can be flipped back, detachable padded leg rests, and double embossed upholstery.
To sit at the table or desk, all that needs to be done is, to flip back the armrest.
The tires that have been manufactured using Urethane, are solid and long-lasting.
Pros & Benefits:
- A good preference for the elderly, when your budget is capped
- Floor to seat height is modifiable
- Recliner version is available
- ‘Ride till table’ options
Some Tips On Wheelchairs
Before purchasing an ergonomic wheelchair, it would help to list down the needs and also discuss them, with the person who would be using the chair (in case you are buying it for someone else).
Their age, stature, weight, height, mobility, and fitness level, whether it is to be short term or long term usage, all play a critical role.
In case the person is not able to provide such information, rope in a specialist( or a person of sound knowledge in this area), to give a view on the requirement.
Sometimes the presence, or absence of a simple feature, can make a huge difference for some users.
Discussing with someone who has already done this exercise ( in person or through online forums), or getting details from rehabilitation centers, would give you a more clear perspective on what would be the deciding factor.
Work within your budget and try to achieve maximum quality, and durability, within that budget.
A wrong buy, based solely on purse constraints, could result in increased costs later.
The support provided by the company, and the warranty provided, will ensure that you are not running from pillar to post in case of some breakdown.
The independent nature of the user also plays a key role.
For those who can afford self-propelling wheelchairs and prefer not to be too dependent on anyone, this particular feature will be a deciding factor.
Wheelchairs are not ‘nice to have trendy gadget’, which can be easily replaced, and it also cannot be seen as one of the ‘latest tech gadgets’
It’s an equipment which changes life for so many across this little planet, by giving them a sense of freedom, which they were earlier deprived of.
So not only do they have to be carefully crafted but, they shouldn’t create jeopardy for someone, and in this context, many companies are releasing many versions, based on various research factors
Budget caps, mandatory features, nice to have options, transportability factors and attendant comfort vary from person to person, and it is the user’s right to have access to this information, to make the correct choice.
This article strives to do exactly that and has put forth a list of ergonomic wheelchairs, keeping in mind the main people, the users of the chair, and their companion.
We hope you found this article useful, thus, we urge you to leave a comment about your thoughts or your suggestions on this article.