Wheelchair come in sporty styles and stylish colours, and can be made of lightweight composite materials which greatly reduce their weight. The challenge today is to select the wheelchair which most directly meets an individual’s needs.
Manual wheelchairs sold today generally can be placed in one or more of the following categories.
The most popular type of wheelchairs for everyday use for a person with good upper body mobility is the lightweight manual wheelchair. Lightweight chairs provide maximum independence of movement with the minimum effort. Many active wheelchair users also prefer the sportier look of the lightweights compared with the more standard looking everyday chair. It should be noted, however, that heavy or obese person may be unable to use these types of chairs because the lighter weight of the frame results in a reduced user capacity as compared to standard everyday chairs.
Some wheelchair users still prefer or require a standard wheelchair, which is characterized by a cross-brace frame, built-in or removable arm rests, swing-away footrests, a mid to high level back, and push handles to allow non-occupants to propel the chair.
Children and young adults need chairs that can accommodate their changing needs as they grow. In addition, it is important that wheelchairs for children or teens be adaptable to classroom environments and be “friendly looking” to help the user fit more readily into social situations. Manufacturers today are becoming increasingly sensitive to these market demands and are attempting to address them with innovative chair designs and a variety of “kid-oriented” colours and designs.