What is the best manual wheelchair?

Since becoming disabled, and especially since starting this blog, many friends think I am the best person to ask about disability aids, and I think I am quite good on the subject. The problem I have is when they say “What is the best manual wheelchair, electric wheelchair, walking frame or walking stick to get my mum?”

So What is the Best Manual Wheelchair?

It is a very good question, but not one I can answer. Why not? Because I can tell you what the best wheelchair, walking frame or walking stick is for me, and I can help your mum find the best one for her, but no-one can really decide what the best wheelchairs, walking frame or walking stick is for someone else, only guide them. If they cannot manage to work through the decision with help, only someone who knows them very well can choose. This also causes problems with families as if they have a carer who works closely with them, as they are the person to help choose. A son or daughter who sees them once a week will know less than a carer who sees them every day. A younger son or daughter who is also a carer will know their parent better than the eldest, who visits weekly. Children often take it as an insult that I don’t think they know their parent good enough, or someone knows them better.

My Example

A good example of this is in the UK Social Services Wheelchair Services gives out wheelchairs. I used this service for a self-propelled wheelchair a couple of years ago. I thought “a free wheelchair, that is great”. I had bought my own before and I buy my own now. “Why?” You might ask when I can get them for free. Because, when the ideal wheelchair for me would have been something like a ‘Z Tec Deluxe Folding Self-Propelled Aluminium Wheelchair’, just a basic, self-propelled, fold-able wheelchair. The person who was dealing with me decided I needed a different one and I thought she knew better so I accepted a non-folding Quickie wheelchair that she recommended. This one is no good for me at all as it gives me back and shoulder pain if I sit in it for too long, and I sit in it all day, at my desk.

It’s not a bad Wheelchair, Just a bad Decision

I know for some people it is ideal. It is the lightest wheelchair I have had and is easy to propel myself around the house. It also lets me sit up properly rather than slouch, which I prefer. Unfortunately, I need it to be OK for others to push me too as I have not got a lot of strength in my arms and also tire very quickly.  It is very difficult to dismantle and my husband cannot push it as he cannot see where the front wheels are, causing me to go down potholes and hit ridges. It is also very top-heavy, meaning anything he hits tips the wheelchair, and me, forward. It frightens my brother due to it being top-heavy, and even though I wear a seat belt to stop me being thrown out, he walks backwards down kerbs, ramps and any other downward slope. He says he is afraid the wheelchair will tip over with me in it. My parents cannot dismantle it and prefer a folding one. Only my daughter prefers it, due mainly to the weight, but also because she says I look comfier in it because I sit better in it.

New wheelchair

Now I have had to buy another wheelchair as well. As you might have guessed I bought the Z Tec Deluxe folding self-propelled aluminium wheelchair and it is so much better – for me and my carers. My daughter is fine with it as she understands everyone needs to be able to use it, which with the Z Tec wheelchair they can.

My Conclusion

I cannot understand how anyone can decide what I want, and need, in a wheelchair. I wonder if the lady from Wheel Chair Services will let me pick her next car for her because I am sure I know exactly what she wants! If you want what I chose, head over to eBay to buy yours.

Powered wheelchair reviews

I am in the process of buying a new powered wheelchair and it is very exciting. I have hired many powered chairs when I have gone away, so I feel I know quite a bit about them and I know what I want. I have had a powered chair before, but it was second-hand, but this time I am buying new so I can get exactly what I want and need.

While I am looking I will be posting powered wheelchair reviews here for your information.

Before I started looking I made a wishlist of the requirements I wanted and suggest you do the same. Here is mine:

  • Foldable – for storage and transport
  • Lightweight – for my carer to lift it in and out of the boot
  • Long range – for spending a full day out if required
  • Good manoeuvrability – for getting around the house and also for shopping
  • Simple to use – I’m very easy to confuse!
  • Anti-tilt – I need to make sure it is not going to tip when I go up small kerbs.

This might be similar to your wish list, or completely different, but you need to know what you are looking for before you get drawn into buying something that sounds good but isn’t suitable for you.

It didn’t take me long to find something I liked.

Foldawheel PW-1000XL (Lightweight Power Wheelchair) made by Wheelchair88 Ltd at £1999/$2704 at Amazon.

Foldawheel PW-1000XL is a very advanced lightweight powered wheelchair that weighs only 26kg; 57lbs. It is heavy duty but lightweight powered wheelchair suitable for users up to 150kg; 330lb; 23.5 stones. It opens and folds in just 1 second. It can run 13km; 8 miles on one battery, but amazingly it can carry up three batteries for almost 39km; 24 miles continuous usage. Even I cannot do that much shopping! The maximum speed is only 5 miles per hour, but that is fine for me as I would only use it on the pavement and the maximum speed in the UK is 4 miles per hour. It is made of high-grade full aluminium alloy which is why it weighs so little (26kg with one battery). It has a powerful 250-Watt, quiet, brushless motors with large 10” rear tyres. It comes fitted with anti-tilt support for free and it has a maximum slope capability of 13 degrees when using anti-tilt support.

Stands upright by itself when folded for easy transportation and storage, and it is very compact when it is folded. The seat is 19” between armrests with an 18” cushion and the sides are open at the front part for even more space. The armrests are raiseable and the footrest is foldable for easier access on and off the chair. The seat cushion and backrest are removable for washing.

These batteries are allowed on planes, so you can take this powered chair away with you. Wheelchair88 informed me these batteries were acceptable on flights as long as they less than 100 watts and Wheelchair88 batteries are 96 watts. What a bonus!

Also, when you buy a Foldawheel PW-1000XL you get an exclusive think and tough travel bag, a worldwide workable charger and global support services to make worldwide travel even easier.

There are also extras you can add, such as the extra batteries, adjustable headrest, USB power adapter, bottle holder and led light. It has a height adjustable backrest push handle if you ever need it.

This chair gives me everything I am looking for and more. Before you buy, if you want to ask any questions their online chat is very good