For the Active User
have moved on a long way from the old days of chunky grey metal, with nuts and
bolts everywhere. People want to look good, and their wheelchair is no
exception - particularly if you are out and about in it all day. At Wheelchairs on the Run we put allot of
effort into making their Our MK range looking good, and customize with a range
of contrasting colours
The first thing to consider
when picking an active user wheelchair is your level of experience. If you are
new to self-propelling, it can take a while - often around a year or more your
driving skills will develop with time, so an adjustable chair will let you
change the profile from a stability-focused position to a much more active and
efficient "tippy" setup as your skills improve.
More experienced wheelchair
users usually know their ideal setup so need less adjustments - often just some
minimal fine-tuning is needed, allowing the chair to be lighter. For those with
years of experience, a bespoke welded frame is the ultimate choice - while
allowing no margin for corrections, it is the lightest option, allowing you to
propel further and faster.
One of the most crucial
factors when picking a wheelchair is its weight. After all, the heavier the
wheelchair, the more you will have to push around with you. Much of this is
discussed in the below three sections (transport, folding or rigid, frame
material) as that tie into the weight of the chair. Many products list two
different weights - the "transport weight", which reflects how
the wheelchair will most commonly be lifted (cushion and wheels removed), and
the "overall weight" which reflects what you will be propelling
around. Bear in mind that advertised weights tend to be based off exceedingly
small seat sizes, and the lightest options available on the chair (some of
which will be cost options). If you need a larger frame, or armrests and so on,
the weight will be increased.
Traditionally, folding wheelchairs are perceived as
more transportable, and they are therefore a popular choice for careers or
family members to fold up and put in a car. They also have the advantage of
taking up limited space in your house when not in use.
However, rigid wheelchairs can potentially be
extremely transportable - more so even than folding ones. Most higher end ones
can have folding backrests that lock down, and with the quick release wheels
popped off this makes them incredibly compact - this allows the wheelchair user
to lift them easily over their body and onto a passenger or rear seat (they
will also fit into the back of most cars). Significantly lighter than folding
wheelchairs, they often allow the wheelchair user to independently drive and
transport their own wheelchair without needing assistance.
As discussed above, transporting is a key factor
when deciding between a folding or rigid wheelchair. However, this decision has
a big impact on performance too. Rigid wheelchairs offer much improved
efficiency by being much lighter, with equivalent folding chairs usually being
at least a couple of kilos heavier. Roughly 75% of active user wheelchairs are
rigid ones, and we generally recommend opting for one unless there is a requirement
for it to be folded.