Questions we often get from potential customers involve how much wheelchairs cost, and the answer depends on what type of wheelchairs they’re looking to purchase. When people think of wheelchairs, the first image that comes to mind is two big wheels attached to a seat. While that might be more or less accurate, there are now a wide variety of wheelchairs you can get on the market. Each chair can be very different from the next and may include features that increase its price point.
So, how much does a wheelchair cost? This buyer’s guide will answer that question and provide details about each type of wheelchair you can purchase.
Types of Wheelchairs
The cost of a wheelchair can depend on the materials used and how it’s constructed. Below you’ll see the different types of wheelchair materials available:
Transport chairs are lightweight and commonly used for casual users with mobility issues. They’re most common in medical appointments and shopping malls. Due to their smaller wheels, users must be pushed, as it’s too difficult for an average user to propel themselves.
Because these chairs are lighter, they can hold up to 225-250 lbs. The advantages of transport chairs are that they’re easy to carry up and down stairs, and they fit easily into the trunk of a car. They also come at a relatively low price, starting at under $200. The seat design isn’t always the most comfortable, as they’re not as efficient for permanent or long-term use, but they’re an optimal choice for casual users.
A manual wheelchair can be self-propelled or companion-propelled if the user requires additional support. Manual wheelchairs are ideal for users with good upper body function and stamina. They’re lightweight, easy to transport, and don’t require as much maintenance as scooters or powered wheelchairs.
A standard manual wheelchair can weigh around 16 kg / 35 pounds and support users weighing roughly 136 kg / 300 pounds. A basic manual wheelchair can cost anywhere from $500-$900 if you’re looking for a temporary chair. However, if you require a manual wheelchair for everyday use, you could be looking at a $1000-$2000 price range. The prices will depend on several factors, such as the materials, model, and features.
You can talk to an Occupational Therapist to determine which type of manual wheelchair and features fit your specific needs.
The tilt wheelchair features the power to tilt up to 30 or 60 degrees, depending on the model. This wheelchair has a seat frame that can tilt back while keeping the user in the same seated position. The tilt feature helps maintain the hip and knee angles of the user to ensure comfort, stability, and posture control.
These chairs are meant for individuals who spend more time seated and require extra support. Tilt chairs have a weight capacity of up to 600 lbs and come with a slightly higher price tag. Most tilting wheelchairs can be bought for $2000 or more, depending on the model and extra features.
Rigid Frame Wheelchairs
A rigid-frame wheelchair has one continuous frame, compared to most other chairs. These chairs are incredibly light due to their design and materials used. Active users will benefit from using a rigid wheelchair, thanks to their significant durability. While some models allow adjustability, others are fixed. Ultimately, these chairs provide comfort and promote easy mobility.
Rigid-frame wheelchairs are anywhere from $2000-$4000 or more, depending on the model and whether it’s a customizable chair. They can hold up to 300lbs and have proven reliable for users wanting to maintain an active lifestyle.
Electric wheelchairs, also known as powered wheelchairs, are motorized chairs that are much more expensive than manual models. A standard electric wheelchair costs around $2000 at the lowest, while highly customized electric wheelchairs can cost anywhere between $8,000 and $25,000.
Individuals incapable of operating a manual wheelchair can use a powered wheelchair with ease. Users can operate the motor and propel forward by using a joystick located on the armrest.
The maintenance of electric wheelchairs can be overwhelming as there are numerous electric components that the chair relies on. Powered wheelchairs are great if you’re willing to handle the maintenance and pay a higher price for comfort, speed, and braking capabilities.
Pricing Depends on Wheelchair Features
As you’ve seen throughout this guide, different types of wheelchairs can come with a variety of additional features, such as:
- Reclining seat
- Elevating armrests/footrests
- Customizable cushion seating
- Additional neck support