Best Manual Wheelchairs (2021 In-Depth Review For Buyers)

Are you considering purchasing a new manual wheelchair or looking for your first manual wheelchair but need to find more information about what the best manual wheelchairs are?  If so, this guide is for you. Not all wheelchairs are created equal and if you have looked at manual wheelchairs you probably got overwhelmed at all your choices. 

Don’t worry this guide will provide all the necessary information to help you narrow down your choice and make the most informed purchase for your next wheelchair.  This guide will not only point you in the right direction but we hope you can also learn a few things about wheelchairs, what accessories you might need,  and more to make the best possible choice for you and your situation.

So what are the top manual wheelchairs?  Let’s find out.

Table of Contents

The Best Rated Manual Wheelchairs

Top Choice for Best Manual Wheelchair

If you are looking for a super lightweight manual wheelchair that is made with great components to allow for years of use then this is the chair you should be looking at.  It only weighs 13.5 pounds and is the lightest wheelchair you probably will find.  

This is because it uses brand new materials that are lighter and stronger than ever before.  Almost anyone can lift this wheelchair into a trunk or car.  

This wheelchair also folds into a smaller compact package that almost every caregiver will appreciate.    Unfolding the chair only takes a minute and your off.

The wheels lock has an integrated braking system that is similar to that of a bicycle and comes in three colors.  This is one of the top lightweight wheelchairs in our opinion. 

Best manual wheelchair
Our rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

PROS

CONS

This is a top choice for the standard weight wheelchair market.  This model has a dual axle seat height, vinyl seat, and removal leg rests.  It is a great option for both personal and commercial use.  

It comes with standard 8″ solid rubber casters and composite handrims that look good and work great.  The padded armrest will ensure a comfortable time when you are resting your arms.   This wheelchair also has a five-year warranty on the cross-braces and frame.  It is a great all-around choice for an entry-level wheelchair.

It has a weight capacity of 250 pounds and a product weight of 36 lbs.  

Our rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

PROS

CONS

2. Medline Lightweight Manual Wheelchair

An excellent choice and another best manual wheelchair is the Medline Lightweight manual wheelchair.   Made with a steel frame and nylon upholstery this wheelchair is not only durable but also lightweight making it enjoyable to move in.

It has a weight capacity of 250 pounds and has Urethane tires that are mounted on composite wheels.  This requires low maintenance and durability with this manual wheelchair.  

We also love that it has push-to-lock brakes.  Not to mention it has full arms and swing away removable footrest.  Oh did we mention this wheelchair also has a folding back that allows for easier storage?  Yes, it has that feature. 

Features you should know:

  • Overall length: 43.5 inches
  • Width: 24 inches
  • Height: 36 inches
  • product weight: 37.6 pounds
  • Weight capacity: 250 pounds
  • Closed Width: 11 inches
  • Seat width: 18 inches
  • Seat Depth: 15.15 inches
  • Seat to floor height: 19.5 inches
  • Seat to armrest height: 8 inches
Top Manual Wheelchairs
Our rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

PROS

Cons

2. Drive Medical Sport 1 Manual Wheelchair

Made not only to last and for comfort this manual wheelchair looks good.  It’s the powdered coated frame that is lightweight and easy to take care of.  It has an easy to grip push ring and push to lock wheel locks.  

It can support up to 250 pounds and has a folding back that makes it easy to store and transport when you need to.

Dimensions you should know:

  • Product Length: 43.5 inches.
  • Product Width: 24 inches.
  • Product Height: 36 inches.
  • Product Weight: 37.6 lbs.
  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Closed Width: 11 inches.
  • Seat Width: 18 inches.
  • Seat Depth: 15.75 inches.
  • Seat to Floor Height: 19.5 inches.
  • Back of Chair Height: 16 inches.
  • Seat to Armrest Height: 8 inches.
  • Armrest Length: 10 inches.
  • Armrest to Floor Height: 27.5 inches.
Best Manual Wheelchairs
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

PROS

Cons

3. Giantex Folding Medical Manual Wheelchair

This is another great manual wheelchair that offers lightweight and comfortable wheelchairs you can get.  This is an affordable lightweight manual wheelchair that should be on your list. 

Made from high-quality PVC mats and a durable steel frame this wheelchair will keep going for years.  It also has a carry pocket on the back to keep things like a phone, keys, and more with you.  

We like the swing-away footrests with heel loop footplates.  The full-length soft armrests will keep you comfortable and feel soft. 

Things you should know:

  • Material: Steel, PVC, ABS
  • Overall size: 42″x26″x34″
  • Folding size: 42″x16″x34″
  • Seat size: 19.5″x16.5″
  • Backrest size:  19.5″x18″
  • Size Of Backrest: 19.5″X18″(WXH)
  • Armrest: 13.38” X2” (LxW)
  • Diameter Of Front Wheel: 8″
  • Diameter Of Back Wheel: 24″
  • Floor to seat:17”
  • Armrest to floor:29.5”
  • Weight Capacity: 250 Lb
  • Product Weight: 39.6lbs
Top Manual chair
Our rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

PROS

Cons

4. Karman Healthcare Ergonomic Ultra Lightweight Manual Wheelchair

This sleek, light and comfortable manual wheelchair is only 25 pounds and has used the Karman globally patented s-shape seating frame.  It has a removable footrest, excellent concave arm pads, a fordable backrest, and removable upholstery that is anti-bacterial.   It also has extending brake tips that are all standard with this wheelchair. 

We love that the mesh seating system is also washable and removable.  This wheelchair is a step up from a lot of other manual chairs on the market. 

What you should know about this wheelchair: 

  • Seat width: 18″
  • Seat Depth: 17″
  • Overall width: 23″
  • Overall height: 36″
  • Weight capacity for this wheelchair: 250 lbs
  • Folded width: 12″
Top Manual Wheelchairs
Our rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

PROS

Cons

5. Medline Mobility Ultralight Transport Wheelchair

Even though this is not a manual chair in the sense of the user can propel it still a good wheelchair in the ultra-light division.  You would need someone to actually push you in this chair. This ultralight manual wheelchair makes our list as one of the best manual e ultralight chairs. 

It has a rating weight capacity of 300 pounds and the chair itself only weighs 15 lbs making it a great transport or rehab wheelchair. 

We love the folding design because it makes it really easy to transport once it is folded.  It is made from high-grade aluminum for years of use. 

Specs you should know:

  • Weight of this chair: 14.8 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Size of seat:  19″ Width x 16″ depth
  • Back wheel size: 8 inches
Best Manual Wheelchairs lightweight
Our rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

PROS

Cons

Best Manual Wheelchairs Buying Guide

Buying guide

Looking for a manual wheelchair but you are not sure what to look for when purchasing?  This guide will shed some light on what you should keep in mind when getting ready to purchase a manual wheelchair.  Let’s take a look at some of the features you should be aware of when searching for the best manual wheelchairs.

Who is best suited for a manual wheelchair?

Anyone who has issues or trouble physically walking would be someone that could use a wheelchair to help with mobility issues.  These wheelchairs can help give that person their freedom back and increase mobility.  

As you know manual means that they are not propelled by a power source or any other methods.  They are powered by upper body strength by the person sitting in the wheelchair or by someone who psychically pushes them from the handles of the chair.

New chairs are now lighter, stronger, and more compact than their older models so more people are able to use them easier. 

How heavy is the wheelchair?

When using a manual wheelchair the heavier the more difficult it will be over the long haul to keep pushing yourself.  It will also be harder to pick up and store the wheelchair in a car. 

If you are a smaller person or someone who will have difficulties moving a heavy wheelchair on your own you may want to opt for a lighter model.  Ultra lighter manual wheelchairs weigh anywhere from 15 lbs to 25 lbs.

Comfort

Sitting in a wheelchair for prolonged periods of time you are going to want to make sure you as comfortable as possible.  Look for seats and armrests that are padded.  However, you can purchase accessories for your wheelchair to make it more comfortable.  Jay Gel cushions or contorted foam cushions on the seat can make for a really comfortable chair. 

Folding chairs

Most of us who use a wheelchair especially the manual types will need to bring it in a vehicle from time to time.  With that said models that fold more than others may be of more interest to you.  If you do not have a large truck or car that can accommodate a larger wheelchair without it folding may not be an option for you.  Most of the models above either fold or the back folds for easier transport. 

Know your measurements before you commit to a wheelchair

One of the most common complaints about sitting in a wheelchair is the person does not properly fit into the wheelchair.  

Wheelchair seat width:

Know the seat width, depth, and height.  The most common seat width is 18 inches.  You should allow for at least two inches especially when you were winter clothes.  This will give you the room required to still fit into the wheelchair.

Wheelchair seat depth:

Check to make sure you have enough room for the seat depth.  You should be able to fit at least 3 fingers horizontally from the person’s back of his or her knees to the front edge of the seat.  If you can you should have enough room.

Wheelchair seat height:

This measurement can be done by going from the person’s heel to the middle of the knee pit.   From this point, you would ideally like to have at least two inches so you can make sure the footrest is the proper amount from the floor.

Use gloves when propelling yourself in the best manual wheelchair

Keeping your hands in good working order is key to helping you propel your wheelchair easily.  If your hands get cut up or bruised from not wearing gloves it could really impact your ability to move on a manual wheelchair.

Using great gloves can not only help your hands stay healthy but it will also make moving your wheelchair easier. 

Basic manual wheelchair parts

Wheelchair parts

The above parts are what is on a typical manual wheelchair.  Depending on the model and make you could see different parts or upgraded features you may not see on some models.

  1. Push handle
  2. Armrest
  3. Push ring
  4. rear wheel
  5. Brake
  6. Frame
  1. Castor
  2. Footplate
  3. Calf strap
  4. Seat
  5. Cushion
  6. Backrest

Frequently asked questions

What is a bariatric wheelchair?  A bariatric wheelchair is designed and structured to support more weight than a typical wheelchair.  As you search for wheelchairs you will notice that most wheelchairs can handle weights around 250 -275 pounds.  Bariatric chairs can handle weights much higher and some can handle weights in excess of 600 pounds or more. 

Can I get a wheelchair free?  Yes.  There are a few different government programs along with charities that can help a person get a free wheelchair.  These types of organizations dedicate their time to helping people get free chairs and other mobility devices that can help people get mobile again. 

So, what are the best manual wheelchairs?

Choosing the best possible manual wheelchair for your needs is important.  Not all wheelchairs will be right for you.  Picking the best one will come down to what your need is and if you properly fit into it. 

Our top choice for the best manual wheelchair is…

Medline Lightweight Manual Wheelchair

This wheelchair provides good comfort, it’s lightweight enough that it can be transported easily, it folds, and is sturdy for its size.  This is a great choice and a great price for a manual wheelchair. 

5/5 (2 Reviews)
About ASmith

Adam Smith is the main researcher and contributor at Mobility Medical Supply. Adam has many years of research in public data, and software security. With Mobility issues within Adam's family, he decided to dedicate in-depth guides on mobility products to anyone looking to improve movement and gain independence.