Best Reclining Manual Wheelchairs (High Back & Tilt-in-Space)

There are different types of manual wheelchairs on the market with each providing a more specialized solution to a problem than other types.  When talking about reclining manual wheelchairs these models can help keep you or someone you love more comfortable while in s seated position.  When you sit in the same position for a prolonged period of time pain and other issues like pressure sores can happen.

The best reclining manual wheelchairs help to let the person sitting in the chair stretch out and relieve discomfort and pain.   Those who suffer from Cerebral palsy, ALS, muscle issues, arthritis and the like may find these types of chairs more useful. 

This in-depth guide will go over the reclining manual wheelchairs, their function, and what to look for before purchasing.  Let’s get started. 

What is a high back manual wheelchair?

 A reclining high back manual wheelchair is designed to allow the backrest to tilt back and or recline.  This is beneficial for many people who need to spend a long time in a chair.  The ability to tilt or recline the seatback will allow the person to stretch out and prevent sores and overall discomfort.  

It also provides a way for someone to rest or sleep when the high back seat reclines making it more comfortable to rest.  Those with upper body strength issues will find a reclining wheelchair can really help with comfort and support. 

Difference between a reclining or tilt-in-space wheelchair

You may be wondering what is the difference between a reclining wheelchair and a tilt-in-space wheelchair.  There are pros and cons to each and we will explain the differences of each so you can make the best choice.

Reclining Wheelchair

A reclining wheelchair does exactly what the name suggests.  It allows the backrest of the wheelchair to recline back to a certain degree.  Typically you will find this range from the upright position of 90 degrees all the way back to a horizontal position of 180 degrees.  All of this happens while the seat stays fixed in its regular position. 

These wheelchairs will typically have much higher backs that naturally provide stability and helps with laying flatter that can help in a multitude of things.  

What are some positives with a reclining wheelchair?

  • For those that need better pressure relief, a reclining wheelchair allows or this because you can go between an upright and reclined position.  When fully reclined your body will naturally distribute weight more evenly helping to reduce pain and pressure easier. 
  • Helps to reduce pressure sores.
  • Reduce fatigue.
  • Helps to reduce pain.

Tilt-in-space wheelchairs

Unlike a reclining wheelchair, a tilt-in-space wheelchair allows for the seat, backrest, and leg rest to be tilted backward as a whole unit.  When you use a Tilt-in-Space chair it allows for the person to tilt while their knees, hips, and legs remain at 90 degrees.

How far can you tilt back?

Typically tilts will vary by model but some can tilt back up to 60 degrees in some brands.  For those users that need to spend a great deal of time within a wheelchair, a tilt-in-space wheelchair may be the proper choice to stay as comfortable as possible.

They also provide great pressure relief on the body when sitting happens for a long period of time.

What is the difference between a reclining wheelchair and a Standard manual wheelchair?

Function and looks are different when you take a look at a reclining wheelchair a standard manual wheelchair.  While both function overall the same a reclining wheelchair typically has a larger backrest and the ability to tilt from a 90-degree seat angle to 180 degrees or less depending on models.

A standard wheelchair uses a backrest that typically stays in place and is shorter in terms of height.  Standard wheelchairs also tend to be lighter and easier to fold and travel with simply because of the dynamics of the built. 

Best Reclining Manual Wheelchairs Comparison Chart

Key SpecificationsProBasics Recling Manual WHeelchairSilver Sport Full reclining WheelchairInvacare Tracer Sx5 Recliner WheelchairKarman Ergonomic MVP Reclining WheelchairKarman Reclining Back Wheelchair
Weight capacity:300 – 400 lbs.300 – 350 lbs.250 – 300 lbs250 lbs.250 – 300 lbs.
Product weight:51 – 60 lbs.59 – 61 lbs.51 lbs.36 lbs.50 lbs. 52 lbs.
Reclines From:90 to 160 degrees90 to 180 degrees90 to 180 degrees90 to 160 degrees90 to 180 degrees
Seat width:16″ – 22″16″ – 20″14″ – 22″16″ – 20″16″ – 20″
Seat depth:17″16″16″ – 18″16″ – 18″16″
Seat-to-floor height:20″20.5″17.5″ – 19.5″20″20″
Back height:19.5″ – 34″21″ – 31″23″ – 34″19″29″
Front-wheel size:8″8″8″8″8″

1. (Best Overall) ProBasics Reclining Manual Wheelchair

Our number one choice for the best reclining manual wheelchair is the proBasics Reclining Manual wheelchair.  This chair is lightweight has a very good weight capacity and can recline from 90 to 160 degrees.  Caregivers will also find pushing this wheelchair easy and it has hand brakes helping to control and stop the wheelchair when needed. 

We love the 13-inch headrest with pads, full-length arms that are also removable.   This particular model uses a setback frame that when in the reclined positions helps from tipping. 

This also has padded elevating regrets that come standard with this wheelchair.

ProBasics Reclining Manual Wheelchair

Key Specifications

  • Weight capacity: 300 to 400 lbs.
  • Product weight: 51 -60 lbs.
  • Seat width: 16″ -22″
  • Seat depth: 17″
  • Seat-to-floor height: 20″
  • Back height: 21″, 31″
  • Front wheel szie: 8″

Score: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Composite mag wheels with seal precisions bearings
  • Rear anti-tippers
  • Headrest extension
  • Excellent weight capacity
  • Padded elevating largest

Cons

  • Not many negatives

2. Silver Sport Full Reclining Wheelchair

This particular model of reclining wheelchairs uses a state-of-the-art hydraulic reclining mechanism.  This allows for adjustments up to 180 degrees.  

Using composite mag wheels makes a lightweight chair that is easy to manually properly or for someone to push.    This wheelchair has a nice weight capacity and is overall lightweight and maintenance-free for the most part. 

This wheelchair comes standard with a real anti-tipper, arms have support extension for recline position that make it really comfortable, and a carbon steel frame.

We like how this chair has a headrest that is used to help support the neck and head for anyone that has impaired trunk stability.  This fame can also fold making t traveling easier as well. 

With three different choices in seats, it comes with widths that include 16″, 18, or 20″ 

ProBasics Reclining Manual Wheelchair

Key Specifications

  • Weight capacity: 300 to 350 lbs.
  • Product weight: 59 -61 lbs.
  • Seat width: 16″ -20″
  • Seat depth: 16″
  • Seat-to-floor height: 20.5″
  • Back height: 19.5″, 34″
  • Front wheel szie: 8″

Score: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Durable and lightweight nylon upholstery
  • Standard swing-away elevating legrests
  • Crack-proof plastic footplates

Cons

  • May not work well over certain terrains

3. Invacare Tracer SX5 Recliner Wheelchair

An excellent choice for a recliner wheelchair the Invacare Tracer SX5 offers some great things in a durable lightweight manual wheelchair.  The Tracer offers a recline range from 90 to 180 degrees.  

We love that the dual-embossed upholstery that is also bacteria, IC damage, cold-cracking, and mildew resistance.

The wheels are Urethane wheels on no-flex tires with dual-sealed precision hearings.  Because of this, you get an excellent and almost no maintenance option in a wheelchair.

For an option, you can get padded calf rests that would add extra comfort.  IT has rear anti-tippers and is build on a carbon steel frame.

Invacare Tracer SX5 Recliner Wheelchair

Key Specifications

  • Weight capacity: 250 to 300 lbs.
  • Product weight: 51 lbs.
  • Seat width: 14″ -22″
  • Seat depth: 16″ -18″
  • Seat-to-floor height: 17.5″ -19.5″
  • Back height: 23″, 34″
  • Front wheel szie: 8″

Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Urethane rear tires
  • No-flex wheels
  • Good weight capacity

Cons

  • Not for bariatric users

4. Karman Ergonomic MVP Reclining Wheelchair

This reclining wheelchair uses a patented ergonomic / anti-sliding V-seat.  This helps to prevent not only sores and relives overall pressure on the person using the chair but also helps to prevent sliding.

This chair has a reclining backrest range from 93 to 160 degrees that help to provide much more comfort.  It is also important that the armrest can also be adjusted to match the recliner chair.  When this can be done it makes resting your arms much more comfortable.

This chair can also be used to travel with as it folds compactly to take with you in a vehicle. 

Hand brakes make caregivers an easy way to stop the wheelchair while pushing.

Karman Ergonomi MVP Reclining Wheelchair

Key Specifications

  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs.
  • Product weight: 36 lbs.
  • Seat width: 16″ -20″
  • Seat depth: 16″ -18″
  • Seat-to-floor height: 20″
  • Back height: 19″
  • Front wheel szie: 8″

Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Good reclining range
  • Extending handbrakes
  • Anti-microbial upholstery
  • Folds compactly

Cons

  • Some review states putting foot rests on his difficult.

5. Karman Reclining Back Wheelchair

This is an excellent reclining back wheelchair at a fantastic price.  Featuring a very economical and high-quality reclining back chair this wheelchair even has elevating leg rests along with an anti tipper included.  

You will also get included options like a full 180 degrees reclining range, detachable and padded armrests that make this a hard-to-pass-up contender in the reclining wheelchair market.

This model wheelchair will also give you three-seat” size options.  From 16″, 18″ and 20″

Karman Reclining Back Wheelchair

Key Specifications

  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs.
  • Product weight: 36 lbs.
  • Seat width: 16″ -20″
  • Seat depth: 16″ -18″
  • Seat-to-floor height: 20″
  • Back height: 29″
  • Front wheel szie: 8″

Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Excellent price to option ratio
  • Mag wheels with rubber tires
  • Seatbelt included
  • flame-retardant and embossed upholstery

Cons

  • Not many negatives

Best Reclining wheelchair buying guide

Choosing the best reclining wheelchairs may be a little overwhelming.  We have put together some of the most important aspects of what to look for when choosing a reclining wheelchair.

Choosing the right reclining manual wheelchair

As we have stated before those who suffer from mobility issues that would require more time in a wheelchair may want to choose a reclining wheelchair.  For those who use a wheelchair for shorter periods of time you may feel more comfortable with your standard upright wheelchair.

So with that said if you or a loved one does not use a wheelchair for long periods of time and do not suffer from specific mobility issues that would require you to tilt back then a regular back wheelchair would be okay for you.  However, for those that need the ability to recline or tilt-in-space then these wheelchairs will be for you. 

Below are some important aspects to look at when making a purchase.

How far does the reclining seat tilt?

Knowing how far back a reclining seat tilts is important.  We provide all the measurements of how far our best reclining manual wheelchairs tilt above.  You can expect to have a range of upright (90 degrees) to as far back as 180 degrees.  

How high is the seat?

Reclining manual wheelchairs have a higher backrest.  This is done so that when you recline in the seat you can have maximum comfort and proper weight distribution to help relieve pressure. 

It is also important for those who spend a lot of time in wheelchairs to be able to rest and sleep when need be.  Being in a realized position of 180 degrees back or close to that will allow for sleeping more easily. 

Anti-tipping is important to a reclining wheelchair

Because your reclining wheelchair is designed to tilt-back it can make falling backward a greater risk.  Because of this a lot of the best reclining manual wheelchairs use and come with an anti-tipping mechanism that is attached to thread tires.

This device is helpful in preventing falls when in the laid-back position by adding extra stability.

Weight capacity of the reclining wheelchair

Just like any other type of wheelchair, there are weight limits that each model will have.   For the ones we have suggested you can find weight limits that are from 250 pounds up to 400 pounds.  If you feel like you would need a manual wheelchair that can support more weight they make bariatric or heavy-duty wheelchairs that can support higher weights.  

Armrests that can be removed

Armrests that can be removed and more importantly be adjusted while using a reclining wheelchair are important. 

The ability to remove armrests can let you get closer to a table that you otherwise might not be able to do because your armrest block that ability.  Removing them would allow you to. 

While in a reclined position it can make the armrests uncomfortable if you can not adjust them.  These are things you should be looking at before the purchase. 

Adjustability

You should be aware that no chair will fit you absolutely perfectly when you first get it.  This is why armrests, leg rests, etc. are so important in terms of adjustability. 

These types of adjustments can make a world of difference and really feel like a chair is customized to you once they are moved into the places that feel the best for you and your size.

Try to eliminate a wheelchair that has no adjusting features. 

Final Verdict

Our top choice for the best reclining manual wheelchair is the ProBasics Reclining Manual Wheelchair.  With its excellent weight capacity but yet still light this reclining manual wheelchair can be traveled with or used locally.   It can recline from 90 degrees to 160 degrees for extra comfort. 

5/5 (1 Review)
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.