When you or a loved one loses mobility as they get older, whether it’s due to an injury, illness, or simply age, you suddenly have many choices to make. Among those choices may be which is the best transport wheelchairs to consider buying to make accessibility easier when you travel. If you have a temporary condition, you may decide to rent a wheelchair instead of buying one, but if your mobility issues are permanent, consider buying one of these best transport wheelchairs to get the most out of your purchase.
What is a Transport Wheelchair?
Before diving into the best transport wheelchairs, it’s important to know what exactly a transport wheelchair is so that you purchase the right item. A transport wheelchair is a lightweight wheelchair with four small wheels designed for people who can still stand and walk, but tire easily. They are not meant to be self-propelled by the person sitting in the chair. They are also not motorized like mobility scooters. Instead, they are designed to be pushed from behind by a second person. This is the reason transport wheelchairs do not have large back wheels like standard wheelchairs do.
The best transport wheelchairs are smaller than standard wheelchairs and fold up easily for storage in a car trunk or hatchback. They are ideal for people who want to keep up with their family members and friends on outings, but can’t do that by walking.
These chairs are meant to be used for short amounts of time, so they do not have the same support that a standard wheelchair has, which is meant to be used for long stretches at a time. If you frequently go on outings with friends and family members and will always have someone to push your chair, a transport wheelchair may be the right option for you.
Consideration Factors for Choosing the Right Transport Wheelchair
When choosing the right wheelchair for you among the best transport wheelchairs listed below, you’ll want to consider the following features.
- Seat design – Some transport wheelchairs have very little seat padding to keep the chair as light as possible, but others have a little padding for extra comfort. Most transport wheelchair seats are a “sling” design in which the seat stretches between the sides of the chair. This allows the seat to fold up for storage. Some chairs are deeper and wider than others, so take this into consideration before you choose.
- Footrests – The footrests on any transport wheelchair should be adjustable so that you can get the best fit for your body size. While some chairs have solid, one-piece footrests, these aren’t even considered for the top transport wheelchairs on the list. Wheelchairs with separate adjustable footrests are the norm today and to ensure the most comfort, these footrests offer the most customization.
- Armrests – These can also vary based on the main focus design for the transport wheelchair. For instance, if the main focus design is foldability, the armrests may not be padded or may be replaced by short handles instead. If comfort for your arms is a concern, choose a transport wheelchair with padded armrests.
- Weight – You probably want a transport wheelchair so you can take it with you when you travel. For this reason, you want one that is as lightweight as possible, especially if you have to lift it into your vehicle yourself. Look for models that weigh 30 pounds or less, but you’ll probably be able to find several chairs that weigh less than 20 pounds.
- Weight Capacity – This may not be a concern for everyone, but if you’re overweight, be sure to check the weight capacity of the chair you’re considering. Most will handle up to 300 pounds without issues, but some do have a lower capacity. If you weigh more than the chair can handle, the chair could be damaged and your safety jeopardized.
- Accessories – Since transport wheelchairs are meant for short-term use, they don’t typically come with many accessories. But, you can usually add bags, trays, cup holders, pouches, and more to the one you buy to personalize your chair. There are some transport wheelchairs that provide limited storage, which is always a bonus.
The List: Best Transport Wheelchairs
- ProBasics Ultralight Transport Wheelchair
This transport wheelchair makes the top of the list of best transport wheelchairs because it is light, comfortable, and durable. It weighs just 20 pounds, so it can easily be lifted into a vehicle or carried into a house or store if necessary. The chair folds down flat, making it simple to store in a trunk or hatchback. For comfort, there are standard padded armrests, adjustable footrests, and a sling-style seat that flexes with movement.
The weight capacity for this chair is 300 pounds, making it ideal for people of all sizes, and it is made out of sturdy, but lightweight aluminum with solid rubber wheels that will withstand everyday wear and tear. It’s currently priced at $179.00 on Amazon, which is a reasonable price for a basic transport wheelchair that has everything you need.
- Medline Ultralight Transport Mobility Wheelchair
At only 14.8 pounds, this transport wheelchair is an excellent option for people who have to load their chair into their vehicle themselves. A gallon of paint weighs about 15 pounds, so if you can lift a can of paint, you can lift this wheelchair. The arms are a bit shorter than other transport wheelchairs, but they are still padded. The shorter arms allow you to sit closer to a table, so it is very convenient for going out to eat at a restaurant.
The chair is designed for people up to 300 pounds, so its aluminum frame is sturdy even if it is the lightest chair on the list. Of the lightest wheelchairs on this list, only this one has the ability to handle this weight. This model also has slightly larger 8-inch rear wheels, which makes it easier to reverse the chair or change courses. The Medline Ultralight also comes with accessories, including a clip-on cup holder, hand grips, and a seatbelt. You can get this chair on Amazon for $189.99.
- Lumex HybridLX Rollator & Transport Chair
The Lumex HybridLX is unique among the best transport wheelchairs because it combines the functionality of a transport wheelchair and a rollator (a rolling walker). It weighs 22 pounds, which is a little heavier than others on this list, but it is still lightweight enough to lift into a vehicle’s trunk or hatchback. Additionally, the seat depth is several inches shorter than non-hybrid transport chairs at 11 inches compared to an average of about 15 inches.
The backrest and seat are soft and comfortable, and there are no armrests. This is because the chair portion of this hybrid model is not meant for long-term use. This device is really designed for people who want to walk to their destination, but will need to sit down for a spell once they are there. Unique features of the Lumex HybridLX are hand brakes (on the rollator portion) and a storage pouch. It folds up easily for flat transport. This chair sells for $239.00 on Amazon.
- NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair
If you’re looking for a high-end transport wheelchair that can traverse almost any terrain, the NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair is an excellent option. It is significantly heavier than most other best transport wheelchairs, at 27 pounds, but this is because it is more rugged than the other options. It is made from aluminum and can seat up to 300 pounds, which is similar to other models, but its wheels are heavy-duty and designed to navigate more challenging terrain. In fact, its rear wheels are slightly larger than its front wheels for easier maneuverability.
A quick-release fold-down feature and folding footrests make this chair simple to collapse and store. The arms are not full-length, which is nice for outings that involve a table so that you can get closer to the surface. The armrests also flip up, making it easier to get up from behind a desk or table. Since this chair is designed to be used on more rugged paths, it also comes equipped with locking brakes on the rear wheels, anti-tippers, and a flexible seatbelt. This transport wheelchair is pricier than other models and sells for $399.95 on Amazon.
- Drive Medical TR37E-SV Transport Wheelchair
The Drive Medical TR37E-SV Transport Wheelchair is not a fancy model, but it definitely gets the job done and at a reasonable price, too. The armrests are cushioned and full length, and the footrests swing away to allow you to stand more easily. Its seat and backrest are made of nylon, which is durable and easy to clean. The one drawback to this wheelchair is that it has a weight capacity of just 250 pounds. This is 50 pounds less than the other models on the best transport wheelchairs list. Take this into account if you’re on the larger side.
It’s also not the most lightweight wheelchair, coming in at 26 pounds. But, it does fold flat for easy storage and transport. The front wheels of the Drive medical TR37E-SV swivel so you can maneuver better through narrow spaces. Designed for both independent and assisted operation, this transport wheelchair is currently available on Amazon for $149.99.
- Drive Medical Transport Chair CV
With removable or flip-back armrests, the Drive Medical Transport Chair CV is easy to get in and out of, which is a valuable feature for people who need assistance standing up. The swing-away footrests are adjustable and don’t require any tools, something that is unique among the best transport wheelchairs. At 17.5 pounds, this is one of the lightest transport chairs on the market. It doesn’t have many bells and whistles, but it’s easy to lift and store and it does what you need it to do.
It has an above-average seat depth of 16 inches, but only has a weight capacity of 250 pounds. The push-and-pull lever on the back of the chair allows for simple folding, a feature that can be handy if you have a hand condition like arthritis. Another feature of this chair is that it comes in a color other than black. It’s a pleasing combination of dark and light blue fabric mounted on a shiny blue powder-coated frame. It currently sells for $199.99 on Amazon.
- Drive Medical Fly Ultra Lightweight Transport Chair
Drive Medical has two other entries on this best transport wheelchairs list. This one is a stylish black, red, and white plaid transport chair that weighs just 17 pounds. If you’re looking for a more fashionable transport wheelchair, this could be your best bet. It stands out from Drive Medical’s other entries on this list because it has some accessories the CV and TR37E-SV don’t have. For instance, the Fly Ultra Lightweight Transport Chair has a pocket for storage on the back of the chair and a seatbelt for added security.
This transport wheelchair has a weight capacity of 300 pounds, so for a half a pound more in wheelchair weight than the CV and nearly 10 pounds lighter than the TR37E-SV, it will accommodate an additional 50 pounds in seating capacity. Its seat depth is about three-quarters of an inch shorter than the CV, at 15.25 inches, but this still meets the average seat depth of most transport wheelchairs so comfort shouldn’t be a problem. The added weight capacity and accessories makes this a slightly more expensive transport chair and can be purchased on Amazon for $285.95.
- Everest & Jennings Deluxe Transport Wheelchair
The Everest & Jennings Deluxe Transport Wheelchair weighs 21.4 pounds, which falls in the middle of the best transport wheelchairs suggested here. This model comes with upgraded wheels to provide a smoother ride. The rear wheels are 12 inches and the front are eight-inch castors that swivel to make navigation easier. The brakes can be accessed by either the person sitting in the chair or the person pushing it, which makes it a safer model than others that don’t have this capability.
People who weigh up to 300 pounds can comfortably sit in this transport chair, and the 19-inch seat also accommodates larger people than others on this list. Swing-away footrests allow for easy folding and storage, and can also be adjusted without tools. This chair comes with carry straps that are attached to both sides to make lifting and folding more convenient. Right now, you can buy this transport wheelchair on Amazon for $211.43.
- Elite Care Lightweight Aluminum Folding Transport Wheelchair
Looking for extra padding on the seat? This option is for you. Not only does it come with an extra-wide 20-inch seat, but it also has a thickly padded seat for extra comfort. The flip-up armrests are not padded, but the molded plastic is still comfortable, even for longer excursions. The back cushion is also thicker than you’ll see on many other transport wheelchairs and the calf support strap and heel straps help provide extra leg support when you’re seated.
Surprisingly, this chair only has a weight capacity of 252 pounds, so despite its wider seat, it is not designed to accommodate heavier people. It is also the heaviest chair on this best transport wheelchairs list at 30 pounds. The added padding is not that heavy, but it does add to the overall weight of the chair. Additionally, the extra comfort of this chair increases its cost, as it is currently $399.99 on Amazon.
- Yuwell Ultra Lightweight Transport Wheelchair
The second-lightest transport wheelchair on this list, the Yuwell Ultra Lightweight Transport Wheelchair weighs just 15 pounds. This is an ideal chair for smaller people, with a weight capacity of just 165 pounds. But, if you’re on the smaller side, you can’t beat this chair for ease of transport. It does not have many of the safety features of some of the other chairs that are recommended, so the person using it should be in control of their body while seated. This is also the only chair on the list that has a single footrest for both feet, so it’s not adjustable.
The entire chair can fit in an included carry bag, which also allows you to carry your chair onto an airplane. A checkerboard pattern used for the fabric makes this one of the more stylish transport wheelchair options. As you can imagine, the seat is smaller than on most transport wheelchairs, having a width of 12.5 inches and a depth of 13.5 inches. You will pay a little more for this chair’s lightweight convenience and it is currently $229.00 on Amazon.
There’s a Transport Wheelchair for Everyone
This best transport wheelchairs list intentionally provides the best chairs at all price points and for all body types. There are many other transport wheelchairs on the market, but you can count on the chairs here to be high-quality, comfortable, and durable. Now you don’t have to worry about keeping up with your family just because you tire easily. Purchase the transport wheelchair that’s right for you and they’ll be trying to keep up with you!