Wheelchairs are an excellent mobility source that assists people dealing with disability or limited mobility. Wheelchairs are available in different sizes and shapes with various features to cater to users’ needs.
Despite its usefulness, it is necessary to find the best-fitted wheelchair. It should be wide enough for the maximum comfort of the users. Otherwise, it will become uncomfortable to sit. Moreover, it must have a size that easily goes through the doorways and can maneuver in tight corners.
So, how wide is a wheelchair? To answer the question, we’ll explore how wide different wheelchairs models are and why it matters.
How Wide are Wheelchairs
However, there is no confirmed width of the wheelchairs. They vary in their dimensions. Some of them are a few inches wider than others. So, you’ve to find the right fit for you.
For your ease, below we discuss the dimensions of popular wheelchair models so you can know which one suits you.
Remember that these are the overall width of the wheelchair from wheel’s one end to the other. You can expect the seat width to be 8” less than the overall wheelchair width; like for a 26” wide wheelchair, you can expect an 18” wide seat.
Standard Wheelchair Width
The standard width of a wheelchair is 25” (61 cm). This is an ideal width that allows easy navigation through the doorways. A wheelchair of this width is suitable for moving through narrow spaces such as grocery stores, aisles, or public transportation.
Although it is the standard width (25 inches) of the wheelchair, few people find it difficult to use. Usually, they’re living in small apartments having less space to maneuver.
Narrow Wheelchair Width
Narrow wheelchairs are an alternative to standard wheelchairs, having an overall width of 18” to 22” ( 45 to 56 cm). They are designed for tight spaces so they can easily maneuver in small areas. They are ideal for those who live in small houses or apartments.
So, it is small and will offer very tight seating space. Typically they work best for casual use.
Bariatric Wheelchair Width
Bariatric wheelchairs are designed for individuals who require a wider seat. They are designed for obese individuals weighing more than normal people. The overall width of these wheelchairs ranges from 26 to 36 inches (66 to 91 cm) to accommodate the user’s body size. There are both types of bariatric wheelchairs; Manual Bariatric Wheelchairs and Power Bariatric Wheelchairs.
These chairs offer roomier seats than standard wheelchairs. Bariatric wheelchairs also feature reinforced frames and larger wheels to support the added weight. Due to their bigger size, they require more turning area, making them difficult to use in small spaces.
Pediatric Wheelchair Width
Pediatric wheelchairs are designed for children with disabilities or limited mobility. The overall width of these wheelchairs ranges from 14 to 18” (35 to 45 cm), depending on the child’s size.
Pediatric wheelchairs typically feature adjustable footrests and headrests to accommodate the child’s growth.
Power Wheelchair Width
Power wheelchairs are motorized mobility devices that allow users to move around without manually propelling the wheelchair. The width of power wheelchairs ranges from 22 to 28” (56 to 71 cm), depending on the model.
However, there have been variations in the size of power bariatric wheelchairs. Few standard-size wheelchair models have lesser width (18”), and others are wider than the above width.
Some power wheelchairs are designed for indoor use only and have narrower widths, while others are designed for outdoor use and have a wider width for added stability.
Remember, there is no definite rule of thumb for measuring the dimensions of a power wheelchair. So, it is advised to read the specification of each model while making a purchase decision.
Transport Wheelchair Width
Transport wheelchairs are designed for transportation purposes, so they are lightweight and portable. They have variations in the frame, like the placement of wheels. They have relatively smaller wheels that fit under the seats of the wheelchair compared to standard wheelchairs.
Transport chair width ranges from 24” to 28”. They are designed for normal size people and also for heavy-weight individuals.
Why Does Wheelchair Width Matter?
The width of a wheelchair is important whether you’re choosing a manual or electric wheelchair because it determines the user’s ability to navigate different spaces. The wheelchair should fit well to the users and doorways.
Here are a few reasons which ensure the importance of wheelchair dimensions.
Comfort: The user’s comfort is the most important thing. If the wheelchair is too narrow, it makes the users feel uncomfortable and will cause pressure on the hips, pain, or even injury to the user. It will become difficult to sit for a few minutes on it.
Safety: With the comfort of users, safety is also very crucial. A small-size wheelchair for a large individual can be dangerous as it will not provide enough stability or support. Similarly, a too-wide wheelchair could prevent bathroom access, another big problem.
What Size of Wheelchair Do I Need?
It is difficult to tell you what size of wheelchair you should select while buying. No wheelchair has dimensions for all users. The best way to find your size wheelchair is to try a different size wheelchair by visiting the wheelchair seller. Otherwise, you must take your body measurement, consult the expert, and tell them about your body size. The expert will assist you in finding the best-fit wheelchair for you.
Despite the body measurement, you should consider body weight and other requirements such as doorways width.
Frequently Asked Questions
How wide is a wheelchair in cm?
The width of a wheelchair can vary depending on the specific model and features but typically ranges from 60 cm to 75 cm. Some wheelchairs may be narrower or wider than this range.
How wide is a regular wheelchair?
A regular or standard wheelchair typically has a width of around 61 cm ( 25 inches) from the outer edge to the outer edge of the rear wheels. However, it is important to note that the exact width may vary depending on the specific make and model of the wheelchair, as well as any additional features or accessories that may be attached.
Wheelchair width is a critical factor to consider when choosing a mobility device. Generally, the standard width of a wheelchair is 25 inches, but there are narrow, bariatric, pediatric, and power wheelchairs available to accommodate different needs.
It’s important to choose a wheelchair that provides the right balance of comfort, mobility, and stability for the user. If you’re unsure about which wheelchair width is right for you, consult with a healthcare professional or mobility specialist to find the best option for your needs.