Wheelchairs: Four Things to Consider Before You Buy

N.B. This article is written for general guidance and should not replace medical advice.

Wheelchairs come in a variety of styles, colours, sizes and with different features and add-ons. With so much choice in the market, it can be daunting to start looking for the right one for you. This a basic guide to help get you started but if you have read any of my blogs before, you will know what I am going to say next, the best way to ensure you get the best wheelchair for you is to visit a reputable dealer such as Mobility Stirling, try some out and get some advice from a knowledgeable sales person.

  1. Who is going to be propelling the wheelchair?

Wheelchairs are either equipped with large wheels at the rear, usually 24”, that can be manipulated by the wheelchair user (Self-Propelled) or smaller wheels that are designed to be pushed by someone else (transit) and a sub-set of transit wheelchairs are transport chairs which have more castor sized rear wheels.

  1. Where will it be used and how often?

The type of wheelchair invested in may be affected by how often the chair will be used and in what situations. For example, if the wheelchair is predominantly for indoor use, then considerations such as width may be more of an issue than robustness of wheels. If the wheelchair is to get out for occasional visits to the local shopping centre, then weight for taking it in and out of the car may be the main consideration. While a more robust wheelchair may be appropriate for regular use on rougher terrain.

  1. Size does matter

Getting the right size is about the width, the depth, the height of the footrests but like length of armrests or height between seat and height of armrest can make a difference too. This is where coming into the showroom to try out chairs really makes a difference. Small differences in size and shape can change how the wheelchair feels for the user. Right size also means setting up it to the right size on footrests to ensure a nice right angle at the knees.

  1. What features do I need?

When considering your wheelchair, it may be useful to consider your current needs but also your needs further down the line. This very much depends on you and your prognosis but definitely is something to think about. A basic wheelchair may be all you need. Even here though you should consider things like weight, ease of folding, etc if you will be taking out and about in the car. However there are loads of features that might be useful for you. Getting it right is so much easier if you can try different options. Even quite small differences can make a big difference, for example:

Armrests – for some long armrests are the best option but you can also have deskchair arms that make it easier to get the wheelchair under desks and tables but may offer less support for getting on and off the wheelchair. Wheelchairs can also have arms that swing out of the way for easier transfer or arms that come off completely.


Once you have the right wheelchair, it’s time to think of what extras might make it even better. Mobility Stirling stock a whole range of accessories and helpful additions, for example:

Wheelchair cushions:

Improve comfort and reduce the chance of pressure sores by using a cushion. Wheelchair cushions come in a range of sizes, heights and materials. They also have different pressure relief attributes, from something that simply improves warmth and comfort to high pressure relief for those who may be prone to pressure sores.

Specialist clothing

Wet and /or cold weather gear specially designed for use with wheelchairs including wheelchair cozies, ponchos and handmuffs. If you are using a self-propelled wheelchair, then a pair of wheelchair gloves are a must – specially designed for use with wheelchairs.

Bags and storage solutions

There are bags that fit on the back of the wheelchair, under seat bags and side bags. Different options to keep your things exactly where you need them.

Trays and holders

There are a range of trays, flip down trays, drinks holders and mini tray bags.

N.B. This article is written for general guidance and should not replace medical advice.