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Manual Wheelchair and Transport Chair Rental and Buyers Guide

Don't be embarrassed if you don't know the differences between standard wheelchair or transport chairs. Most people don't. I only learned of these terms upon starting BMS. There are essentially 2 modes of transportation that move a person from point A to point B by a another person.

  • Standard or Manual Wheelchair
  • Transport Chair
  • Having rented this type of equipment for some time I have developed criteria to know when to recommend either of the two units.

    Standard or manual wheelchairs are recommended for a person that wants:

  • To get around by themselves
  • Has a caregiver that is able to store the wheelchair effectively for the that person.
  • A transport chair is the recommended choice for person:

  • Who is unable to get around by themselves by propelling a standard wheelchair
  • Has a caregiver that is able to push that person in the transport chair.
  • Standard or Manual Wheelchairs

    Manual or standard wheelchairs are propelled by the person in the wheelchair. These chairs are characterized by having 2 small wheels in the front of the chair and 2 larger size wheel in the rear. These chairs are not not lightweight or manueverable. The individual must have enough upper body strength to push forward the two large rear wheels with handrims along the outside of the wheel. The wheelchairs' direction is determined by positioning the wheels in different configurations. Manual wheelchairs can be customized to be controlled with one arm, by pumping a lever, or by your feet.

    Standard wheelchairs can weigh up to 80 lbs, there are light weight wheelchairs that can weigh as little as 45 lbs. They can be difficult to maneuver and don't store easily in a car unless it is disable friendly. Because of the aforementioned reasons BMS does not usually recommend standard wheelchairs for elderly clients.

    Transport Chairs

    A "transport chair" is technically a manual wheelchair designed to be pushed by someone else other than the person in the transport chair. Usually this person is a caregiver or attendant. These chairs are characterized by having 4 small wheels and are much lighter and maneuverable. The term “transport chair” is for moving a patient through a hospital, a waiting car, or on an airplane, when a customer with a wheelchair needs to be transferred from one place to another.

    Transport chairs can weigh as little as 12 lbs and as much as 45 lbs depending upon the type of material used for the frame and the cloth for the chair. Nowadays some frames weigh under five pounds. They easy to maneuver and store easily in most environments. BMS recommend transfer chairs for elderly clients routinely.

    Wheelchair and Transfer Chair Manufacturers

    Nova Ortho

    Everest Jennings

    Invacare