5 Different Types of Wheelchairs Explained

Different Types of Wheelchairs
Photo by Audi Nissen

People with difficulties in movement due to an accident need various devices to move, and wheelchairs are essential assistive devices.

Wheelchairs have existed for a long time but were made typically of low quality. However, wheelchairs have recently been modified from manual to electric to provide more comfort and ease to the users.

A wheelchair is a supportive device that enhances movement and increases living standards for individuals with mobility difficulties. Difficulties in movement may result from spinal cord injury or injuries in other parts of the body.

Confinement to a wheelchair could be long-term or short-term, depending on the gravity of the injuries sustained.

There are various wheelchairs, and a doctor can only recommend a type of wheelchair, depending on the level of the injury suffered.

Before looking deeply into the types of Wheelchairs, let’s look at the two groups of wheelchairs.

Two Groups Of Wheelchairs

1. Manual Wheelchairs

Manual wheelchairs are those groups of wheelchairs controlled by the users’ hands. The manual wheelchairs are either being pushed by the users.

A manual wheelchair can also be moved around by someone standing behind. These wheelchairs are made with handles behind the upper part of the backrest for this purpose.

There are two main types of manual wheelchairs, depending on their use:

  • Heavy-duty Chairs: These manual wheelchairs are designed with sufficient durability and strength. They are specifically for users with more weight.
    Lightweight adjustable chairs: These wheelchairs can be folded when put in a vehicle. It is appropriate for the movement of the users from the chair to the car and vice-versa.

The Manual Wheelchairs are appropriate for users who have the strength to move around on their own.

However, the users can get easily weak, particularly when they cover long distances. The users can also develop other health problems when they don’t take time to stand for a while.

2. Powered Wheelchairs

These groups of Wheelchairs function with electric charge or battery. These wheelchairs possess some control switches or buttons that help move the users in any direction they wish.

They are very beneficial, as they reduce stress for the users. The users of these wheelchairs can also go far without being tired since the users just sit and control with buttons.

However, powered wheelchairs come heavier and bigger than manual since they accommodate batteries that power them.

Now let’s take you through the types of wheelchairs for proper enlightening.

Types Of Wheelchairs

1. Pediatric Wheelchairs

Pediatric wheelchairs could be powered or manual and are made for kids. Some of these wheelchairs are modified for kids with specific movement abnormalities to have some level of independence.

The primary aim of the pediatric wheelchair is for children to easily get used to the chair and feel at ease while using it.

Interesting functions are put in pediatric wheelchairs to boost the user’s self-esteem when associating with their mates.

Hence the need for the wheelchair to be fashioned in a way that the users will feel attracted to.

2. Sports Wheelchairs

They are designed in various sizes and shapes and are mostly manual. As the name implies, sports wheelchairs are specifically designed for sporting activities.

The sporting activities that can be performed by users of these wheelchairs include:

  • Rugby
  • Tennis
  • Basketball
  • Racing

With the design of the sports wheelchairs, no one is left out in the game of sports, as even the wheelchair users can partake in their chosen sports.

Also, sports organizers have been considerate enough to organize various sports that will accommodate wheelchair users.

Furthermore, sports wheelchairs are designed to shield the athlete’s legs from injury during sports.

3. Positioning Wheelchairs

Positioning wheelchairs are designed to allow the users to attain different postures. These are powered wheelchairs that help easy movement and various positioning.

Various positioning wheelchairs have different positioning abilities. While some can allow the users to move their bodies in different directions, others can only help move in one position.

Some wheelchairs help lift the users’ feet, while others can allow the users to move their backs and other parts. Many benefits are accrued to the users of the positioning wheelchairs. 

One major benefit is that it helps the users get proper internal circulation, thereby avoiding any form of internal and external injuries.

The positioning wheelchair also gives the users the opportunity of being independent in their movement.

4. Standing Power Wheelchairs

Standing power wheelchairs are some of the most remarkable assistive movement devices that technology has designed.

As the name depicts, these devices allow the users to change positions from sitting to standing stylishly.

This magical device helps the users move with ease and pick objects from a reasonable height. In addition, the standing power wheelchair performs the functions of all other wheelchairs, thereby making it function maximally.

5. All-Terrain Wheelchairs

These amazing devices give the users the privilege of going anywhere. Irrespective of the kind of roads, be it rough or smooth, the All-Terrain wheelchair is built to go.

The All-terrain wheelchair is built with larger wheels to help the users sustain stability while moving.

Functional Parts of the Wheelchair

The wheelchair is designed with various components that make the user comfortable and make mobility easy and faster.

Below are some of the features that a typical wheelchair is made of:

  • Seat: This is the component that accommodates the user’s sitting posture. Extra cushions can be added to the seat to give the user more comfort.
    Backseat: This is the part that accommodates the back of the user. The users rest their backs on the Backseat.
    Frame: This is the structure that all other parts of the wheelchair are fitted.
  • Push Handle: This component is located behind the wheelchair, just above the backrest. This part is designed for external help.
    Caster Wheels: They are placed just right in front of the main wheels to ease movement. The caster wheels are quite smaller than the main wheel, about 8 inches in diameter.
    Footrest: This important component is designed above the caster wheel to accommodate the feet of its users.


All wheelchairs are designed to help ease the movements of individuals with various impairments and provide comfort when necessary. However, remaining in a sitting position for too long might result in both internal and external injuries. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a physician before going for any wheelchair since they know which best suits you.

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