How to Make an Informed Purchase When Buying a Wheelchair

An aging population has created a strong market for mobility devices such as wheelchairs. As a result, individuals have more options than ever before when buying a wheelchair.

Some of the most common types of wheelchairs include:

    • Standard wheelchairs: Simple and straightforward, standard wheelchairs feature large back wheels for indoor/outdoor use, a folding design for easy transport and low overall maintenance requirements. Standard wheelchairs are either pushed by the user or a companion, making them unsuitable for individuals with severe mobility issues.


    • Powered wheelchairs: As the name implies, powered wheelchairs feature an electric motor that takes the work out of moving from place to place. Various types of powered wheelchair are available to support individuals with a wide range of conditions and mobility issues. Compared to standard models, they offer an additional degree of freedom and independence, particularly in hilly areas or rough terrain.


    • Travel wheelchairs: Travel wheelchairs are lightweight and foldable for easy transport and storage when not in use. They feature smaller wheels that fit easily in the truck of a standard size car. While great for occasional use or as a secondary chair, they are not as durable as standard models and may not be comfortable enough when sitting for extended periods of time.


    • Heavy duty wheelchairs: Heavy duty chairs feature wide seats and reinforced frames. Built tough, they are strong enough to provide support for overweight, obese and bariatric patients.


  • Pediatric wheelchairs: Designed for young patients, pediatric wheelchairs feature a smaller size that’s more comfortable and easier to use.

Key Considerations

Even within the above categories there exist plenty of wheelchair options at a variety of price points. Finding the right product for your needs requires a careful consideration of a number of factors when buying a wheelchair, including:

    • How, when and where you want to use it. Are you generally mobile, but want a wheelchair for comfort, convenience and freedom? Or do you suffer from more severe, chronic conditions that require extended periods of wheelchair use? Will you be mostly moving around your residence or out where uneven pavement or rough terrain may be an issue?


    • How you’re paying for it, and how much you’re willing to spend. Is this a long-term investment you plan on using for an extended period of time, or will you only require it during a period of recovery from an illness or injury? Are you eligible for Medicare, or is your condition covered by private insurance?


  • What accessories and features will make your life easier? Do you require the use of an oxygen tank or other medical equipment? Do you do your own grocery shopping and require a basket or cart to carry items in?

These are just a few of the things you’ll need to ask yourself when buying a wheelchair. Working with a supplier that can help you answer these questions honestly is the best thing you can do to make an informed purchase.

Towson Medical Equipment can help. We offer sales and rentals of one of the largest inventories of wheelchairs in the Baltimore/D.C. metro area. Shop online for added convenience or contact a representative directly for assistance.

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