Best Lightweight Wheelchairs of 2021 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

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1. Karman 2. Nova 3. Medline


Even after so many advancements in medical equipments, the wheelchair is still the most widely recognised amongst them. Wheelchairs are popular and trusted because they are safe, effective for all ages, and are a piece of mainstay equipment in long-term patient care.

Anything becomes popular and handy when it is lightweight and portable, and hence the best lightweight wheelchairs are designed to combine the mobility of a manual wheelchair with the portability requisite for travel and to make it’s storage easy.


Why Use A Lightweight Wheelchair?

Deciding to use a wheelchair can be a very emotional decirsion, and most people are reluctant to even think about it, but if lack of mobility is putting a stop to your basic day-to-day activities, then you must consider using a wheelchair.

If you’re thinking of using a wheelchair due to your poor physical condition or a doctor has recommended that you use one, then you shouldn’t delay purchasing one. However, if you’re not recommended one, then it is up to you. Nonetheless, having a wheelchair doesn’t mean that you have to use it every day. Many people choose to keep their wheelchairs as a backup for emergency use or for longer outings and continue to walk whenever they are comfortable to do so.

Think carefully about how often, and where you would need a wheelchair. A well-fitting chair with an attached cushion, combined with proper user helps reduce common problems like pressure sores, the progression of malformations, and other subordinate conditions associated with poor postures. Also, there are special wheelchairs for people with specific disabilities.

Studies have shown that wheelchair users seem to be more confident and have more self-esteem when they have a wheelchair, which is often viewed as a body extension that fits them and which they can handle normally without putting too much effort. Hence, lightweight wheelchairs are best for regular use or travel purposes.

Best Lightweight Wheelchairs: Factors to Look for

Selecting the right wheelchair in itself, is a difficult task because people who use a wheelchair vary in age, gender, body structure, diagnosis, and the day-to-day activities that they do.So, selecting the right wheelchair for yourself needs good strategy, understanding of your needs and research. Here are some points that you should keep in mind if you’re looking for the best lightweight wheelchair.

1. Style

These wheelchairs are lighter in weight, and have folding aluminum frames. They are available in various sizes and have many options to choose from. These types of wheelchairs are intended for frequent use and are used by a single user. The user can select his/her wheelchair’s size, type of wheels, seat height and back height, seat width, arm styles, footrest, etc.

2. Material

This is another feature which distinguishes wheelchairs of different types. A lightweight wheelchair is typically made from aluminium or steel, and sometimes from a combination of both metals as per the requirements.

3. Weight

Weights are a crucial factor for wheelchairs since it speaks about how much energy is required to operate it .A standard manual wheelchair weighs approximately about 15-50 pounds. However, if you need a wheelchair with excellent mobility, which you can operate easily. Lightweight wheelchairs and transport wheelchairs weighing about 22 pounds are ideal for you.

4. Weight Capacity

Usually, the weight capacity of a standard lightweight wheelchair is 158.575 kgs, but you can choose as per your own needs.

5. Seat Design

Comfort is of paramount importance. Before selecting a wheelchair, look at its design and the shape of its backrest. Check the material of construction too, if it is flexible and has padding. A wheelchair backrest without padding can be very uncomfortable, and it would be unpleasant to sit on them for long hours.

6. Seat Width and Seat Depth

Seat depth should be between 16-18 inches, and seat width must be upto 23 inches, for a standard lightweight wheelchair. Models designed to accomodate children can be as short as 12 inches.

7. Armrest and Footrest

These options are available in almost all lightweight wheelchairs. These wheelchairs have detachable as well as permanent armrests. Footrests are broken down, you can choose otherwise, into a variety of combinations such as elevated, permanent and swing-away footrests. You can select as per your own needs.

8. Wheel Size

Wheel size makes a significant difference in a wheelchair’s operation. Large wheels are easy to deal with, as the user can operate a wheelchair with large wheels efficiently. Whereas, smaller wheels make it harder to work manually for the user and can make for a bumpy ride, if the path is not even. Wheels above 7 inches are considered to be large wheels.

9. Warranty

No product comes without a warranty these days. Therefore, you need to assure that even your wheelchair has a warranty lasting at least 6-8 months. The warranty of your product ensures it’s safety.

10. Budget

We buy everything while keeping our budget in mind. Hence, you must fix a budget for your wheelchair too because it is not something that you go out to buy every other month. Decide on a budget and choose the one which suits you.

What Is A Transport Wheelchair?

Nobody chooses to be bound by a wheelchair or to some other person’s help to do their day-to-day activities, but no one’s perfect. However, for those whose movements are restricted due to some physical disability, transport wheelchairs are a blessing.

Transport wheelchairs are lightweight, and are basically mobile wheelchairs that have features of a manual wheelchair with the portability of a rollator.

These kinds of wheelchairs have small wheels, which makes it difficult for users to operate manually on their own and thus; are meant to be pushed by a caregiver.

These kinds of wheelchairs are ideal for people who love to keep up with family members and friends on a day out and are designed to fold easily. Hence, transport wheelchairs are more compact and portable.

These are intended to be used for a short period. Moreover, there are a lot of options to choose from, so choose wisely.

Difference Between A Standard Manual Wheelchair And Lightweight Transport Wheelchairs :

People often group standard manual wheelchairs and transport wheelchairs together, as they both show the key features of a manual wheelchair.

However, there are many key differences between the two kinds, which people are not familiar with. Both kinds display similar designs and are designed to make lives easier for people who require assistance with their mobility.

One of the main differences between the two is the size of the rear wheels. Standard manual wheelchairs usually have larger rear wheels that offer more independent mobility and make it easier for the user to operate it by themselves, without anybody else’s assistance.

Whereas, transport wheelchairs are designed with smaller rear wheels as compared to other standard lightweight wheelchairs, and are meant to be pushed by somebody else.

However, one advantage that comes with transport wheelchairs is that they are compact, which makes them effortlessly portable.
Another difference between them is their weight difference. Standard wheelchairs typically range from 32 to 38 pounds.

Whereas, transport wheelchairs are 10 pounds or more, lighter as compared to conventional wheelchairs. Hence, this weight difference allows for the easy mobility of transport chairs when they are not in use.

Both of these wheelchairs are designed for the convenience of the user as well as the caregivers. Hence, knowing the difference between the two can make it easier for you to purchase a wheelchair as per your own specific needs.

Top 11 Best Lightweight Wheelchairs 2021

1. Karman Ergonomic Wheelchair Ergo Flight with Quick Release Axles in 18” Seat

Karman Best Lightweight WheelchairsThe Ergo Flight model has a 3-stage push handle brakes to lock the chair in place with any grip safely.

Features :

The model comes with an easy-to-fold design. It comes with a removable anti-bacterial ¼” high seat cushion. This lightweight wheelchair is made with T-6 aircraft-grade aluminium for a total weight of 19 lbs, designed for the ultimate mobility experience at a really competitive price.

This wheelchair is easy to handle because of its Ergonomic seat and folding backrest and seat, with optional quick-release axles as well as companion brakes.

What Makes It Different?

If the buyer is looking for the liberty of a lightweight, budget-friendly chair, then the Ergo Flight is a great option. This chair is loaded with features such as an anti-bacterial cushion, removable footrest, and ergonomic S-Style shaped frame.

The seat is excellent for people with pressure sores and also provides comfort while preventing slippage. This chair includes a pocket behind the backrest for storage and small carry pouches on each of the armrests also for keeping personal items like wallets, mobile phones, etc.

The chair comes with two seat width options, 16” and 18”, and a Pearlescent Silver finish.
The Ergo Flight wheelchair comes with a lifetime limited warranty which warrants the mainframe of the chair against metal defects and workmanship for the lifetime of the product, from purchase date.

Warranty is not transferable. The replacements of parts or the material due to regular wear and tear is not a part of the warranty and are the owner’s responsibility.


2. Nova Lightweight Transport Chair with Locking Hand Brakes, 12” Rear Wheels, Removable and Flip-Up Arms, Anti-Tippers Included

Nova Lightweight Transport Chair with Locking Hand Brakes, 12 Rear Wheels, Removable and Flip-Up Arms, Anti-Tippers IncludedFeatures :

This NOVA Ortho-Med transport chair provides easy and comfortable transport to the patient. The chair comes with flip-back, removable arms and removable footrests with non-skid foot-plates with heel loops.

This lightweight transport wheelchair comes with locking hand brakes for all grips. The chair includes removable and flip-up arms for easy transfer. It includes a lightweight aluminium-frame chair. The chair is available in two frame color : blue and red.

What Makes It Different?

This chair is designed to be lightweight and simple to operate, folds easily and is considerably compact, which makes it ideal for transport and travel.

The chair comes with locking hand brakes and 12” rugged wheels and secondary wheel locks for the user to control the speed and apply the brakes, along with removable anti-tippers for added safety. This makes it suitable for all possible terrain.

The removable padded desk arms make it easy for transferring the user from his/her bed, car or chair. The footrests of the chair are easy to remove and easy to adjust. The adjustable seat belt has a plastic clip, which provides added safety.

Hence, the overall structure of this model is ideal for users who are too active to just sit around, and enjoy traveling instead.


3. Medline MDS80821ABE Aluminium Transport Chair with 12” Wheels

Medline MDS80821ABE Aluminium Transport Chair with 12 WheelsFeatures :

Medline Basic Aluminium Transport Chair with 12” wheels, has a powder-coated aluminium frame that is designed to be lightweight and durable, and is available in two frame colors: blue and red.

The seat of the chair is made with comfortable nylon upholstery and a seatbelt. The back folds down for easy transportation and storage.

What Makes It Different?

This wheelchair is equipped with loop-lock hand brakes that make it easy to operate and ideal to lock the rear wheels while transferring. The breathable nylon upholstery makes it comfortable.

It also has a seat belt which ensures the safety of the user while transferring to a car or while going down the chairs. It is compact when folded, hence easy to transport.

The large 12” wheels make it easy for outdoor use, even on uneven surfaces. Therefore, this chair is quite safe and portable for outdoor use.


4. Karman 24 Pounds LT-980 Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair

Karman 24 Pounds LT-980 Ultra Lightweight WheelchairFeatures :

The LT-980 Series is one of the most competitively priced wheelchairs. It is the best ultra-lightweight K4 wheelchair. This wheelchair is well-designed, and is ideally suited for indoor use.

It is ideal for people shorter than 6 feet. Although it is a good indoor wheelchair, it falls short of greatness. Apart from black, the chair is available in two colors, burgundy and silver.

What Makes It Different?

This wheelchair is designed for indoor use. It is well built and is budget-friendly, which is what most people look for in a light or moderate duty wheelchair.

Karman is a company which is known for producing quality products and this one is no exception, but it is not as solidly built as some of the company’s other offerings.

Nonetheless, the quality of the chair is exceptional. This chair offers only limited adjustments as all of its primary features are set. The only adjustability that this chair offers is that you can adjust the height of the footrests.

However, if you’re taller than 6 feet, adjusting the height of the footrests might be a problem. Aside from this, the braking mechanism of the chair is quite convenient for the user since it is located on the left-hand side, and is within easy reach.

The chair includes safety belt, storage pouch and the heel loops to provide additional support.

The limited features of this chair are a tiny bit disappointing because a lot of things could have been incorporated, like a small storage basket under the seat, some extra cushioning, or hand brakes at the back of the chair for the assistant, but these things would’ve made it a bit more expensive.

So being cost-effective is one of the advantages of this chair, which is the best advantage.


5. Drive Medical Cruiser III Lightweight Wheelchair, 18 Inch

Drive Medical Cruiser III Lightweight Wheelchair, 18 InchFeatures :

This lightweight wheelchair comes with various flip-back arm styles and front rigging options. This chair is available in three sizes – 16”, 18”, 20”. This chair has a carbon steel frame and allows for custom back inserts and accessories.

This wheelchair comes in a black color frame and has a silver finish that is easy to maintain. Also, includes push-to-lock brakes for additional safety of the user.

What Makes It Different?

This wheelchair comes with a silver finish that is easy to maintain. The chair is built to be durable and long-lasting because of the precision sealed wheel bearing in the front and rear.

The flip-back full arms and swing-away footrests make the product easily transferable and quite compact on folding. The nylon upholstery makes it easy to clean and the push-to-lock wheel breaks are for additional safety of the user.

The 8” front caster, as well as the large rear wheels are an advantage for a smooth ride on most surfaces.


6. Karman 29 pounds S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair, 18”

Karman 29 pounds S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair, 18Features :

This lightweight wheelchair comes with quick-release wheels and removable anti-bacterial cushions.

It also comes with flip-back armrests and a pouch in the back. The chair is ideal for long-term usage, and also comes with optional seat height adjustment. It’s adjustability and versatility are the main attractions.

What Makes It Different?

The main attraction of this lightweight wheelchair is that almost everything on this chair is adjustable. Owing to the Ergonomic design, this chair is very comfortable and the S-shaped seating provides added stability if the user has to be transported over a sloping terrain.

The padded armrests and optional seat height adjustability make it all the more comfortable. The chair is designed to be user-propelled as the hand rims on the wheels are ergonomically designed.

Another feature that comes with this chair is that you can choose the extras and only pay for the ones that you want. Although this model is not suitable for all terrain, its big wheels make mobility easier. So, this wheelchair is quite a good investment keeping all points in mind.


7. Drive Medical SSP20RBDDA Silver Sport Reclining Wheelchair with Detachable Desk Length Arms and Elevating Leg Rest

Drive Medical SSP20RBDDA Silver Sport Reclining Wheelchair with Detachable Desk Length Arms and Elevating Leg RestFeatures :

The Silver Sport 20 has a new hydraulic reclining mechanism that provides infinite adjustments up to 180 degrees. The chair includes two types of support extensions because of the reclining feature.

The chair comes with nylon upholstery and precision-sealed wheel bearing that ensure reliability. This chair is available in three sizes- 16”,18”, 20”.

What Makes It Different?

The carbon steel frame of this chair comes with a silver vein finish and nylon upholstery which is easy to maintain and durable at the same time. The anti-tippers along with the Mag-style wheels prevents tipping and ensure additional safety.

The chair comes with standard padded armrests, swing-away elevating leg rests, plastic footplates and an 8” front caster for a smooth and comfortable ride over most terrain. The push to lock brakes is an advantage too.

Owing to the reclining feature, the arms have support extensions and the headrest extension has a cushioned head immobilizer, which provides stability and comfort. The overall structure of this wheelchair is quite extraordinary and is suitable for everybody.


8.Medline Excel Extra Wide Wheelchair, 24” Wide Desk Length Removable Arms, Swing Away Footrests

Medline Excel Extra Wide Wheelchair, 24” Wide Desk Length Removable Arms, Swing Away FootrestsFeatures :

This wheelchair has a carbon-steel frame with rust and chip-resistant chrome plating. It comes with a tough, embossed upholstery and rugged die-cast aluminium footplates along with swing-away footrests and desk length removable armrests.

What Makes It Different?

For people who desire an extra-wide, heavy-duty wheelchair, this model is ideal for them. This model comes with a chart pocket on the back and has optional upholstered padded armrests and calf pads.

Made of navy vinyl, it is easy to clean, and each seat has a seat screw inserts which reduce stripping from upholstery changes. The carbon-steel frame is made of rust and is chip-free and hence makes the chair durable.

The chair brings added room and comfort with so many adjustable features and provides mobility for long-term usage. All these amazing features make this chair all the more desirable.


9. Drive Medical Bariatric Heavy Duty Transport Wheelchair with Swing Away Footrest, 20 Inch

Drive Medical Bariatric Heavy Duty Transport Wheelchair with Swing Away Footrest, 20 InchFeatures :

This wheelchair comes with dual, reinforced steel cross braces. The structure includes 12” rear flat-free wheels. Heavy-duty nylon reinforced upholstery is available with a black carry pouch.

The features also include removable and reversible desk-length arms and companion activated wheel locks. The model is available in two sizes: 20” and 22” and also in two colors: blue and red.

What Makes It Different?

This heavy-duty wheelchair comes with extra room and comfort. The nylon reinforced upholstery comes with a back pouch to keep personal belongings and securely transport them along with the user.

The framework of this model provides additional safety and is easy to handle.


10. ProBasics Standard Reclining Wheelchair – Padded Detachable Desk Length Arms, 400 Pound Weight Capacity, Elevating Leg Rest, 22*16 Inch Seat

ProBasics Standard Reclining Wheelchair - Padded Detachable Desk Length Arms, 400 Pound Weight Capacity, Elevating Leg Rest, 22 x 16 Inch SeatFeatures :

This model features a durable, low-maintenance carbon steel frame and a comfortable Nylon upholstery.

The full recliner offers a dynamic range of recline. It includes removable headrest and padded desk-length arms. This model comes in various sizes and a black color frame.

What Makes It Different?

Economical ProBasics Reclining Wheelchairs offer quite a flexible positioning for improved circulation and pressure distribution. The back can easily be re-positioned at any time. The dual finger release triggers enable the caregiver to set the back angle to any position.

The design of this wheelchair doesn’t allow the user to operate the chair by himself. The type of legrests provided in this wheelchair are the most desired ones and the calf-pads are adjustable.

This model comes with a limited lifetime warranty and a one year warranty on all parts. The provided dual axles and slide tube steel frame design makes it strong and durable.

The precision sealed wheel bearings ensure long-lasting performance and reliability. This model is most suitable for those having pressure sores and poor circulation. While the anti-tippers are required for safety,


11. Nova Lightweight Transport Chair With Removable And Flip-up Arms For Easy Transfer

Nova Lightweight Transport Chair With Removable And Flip-up Arms For Easy TransferFeatures :

This model comes loaded with so many features. The unique lightweight design of this model is ideal for users who love to travel. It is compact and quiet portable and comes in two colors- red and blue.

The chair’s got durable rugged wheels and removable padded desk arms along with removable footrests.

What Makes It Different?

Owing to this model’s unique lightweight design, it is foldable and compact, simple to maneuver and ideal for travel. The footrests are quite adjustable and lock into place which makes them easy to use.

The 8” rugged flat-free wheels ensure comfortable rides and it comes with a seat belt which provides additional safety. There is a small pouch at the back to store personal belongings. The armrests are attached at an easy-to-reach position which is suitable for the user.

But the chair is not really suitable for laminate floors and tend to skid. According to some users, the chair is not easy to navigate on carpets and when the wheels get stuck in the wrong direction. All things considered, it is overall a good product.


Best Lightweight Wheelchair: What’s Your Pick?

Purchasing a wheelchair can be a difficult task if you are not aware of your requirements because there are a lot of products out there that offer many different features and specifications designed according to a user’s needs.

So, first you’ve got to know what you really need in a wheelchair. Then according to your requisites select from a shop. This article provided with everything that you need in a wheelchair; comfort, extra room, adjustability of equipment and what not.

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Sandy Bush

Sandy Bush

Sandy Bush is a reputed and highly-skilled nurse at the State City Hospital in New Orleans. She has been in charge of caring for aged patients and her time spent at the hospital made her realise how helpless some elderly individuals feel with nobody to guide them in buying the best products or helping them in other ways. This lead to her creating resource mainly for senors.
Sandy Bush

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