Rigid And Folding Manual Wheelchairs - The Advantages Of The Two Models

| Saturday, May 7, 2011
By June Patel

When considering wheelchairs, it is not only the individual occupying it that needs to be considered, but also the one who needs to push it. In the event that the immobilized person needs to be pushed around in a wheelchair, both sides of the situation should be considered. There are two main forms of manual wheelchairs; rigid frame and folding. Here is a comparison of both.

Rigid Frame Wheelchair

A rigid frame wheelchair consists of welded parts with a folding back and removable wheels. This allows for easier transportation, storage and can weigh as little 10 pounds, which is good for carrying and pushing. These, in turn, take a lot of strain from the person pushing the wheelchair.

Furthermore, the lack of moving parts also reduces the maintenance costs and extends the lifespan of the wheelchair. It comes in two main materials: aluminium and titanium, though carbon fiber is an option from certain manufacturers. This wheelchair should be considered for those in the '5 years of age or above' category.

The Benefits Of A Folding Frame Wheelchair

Using a X-Frame, it folds away sideways in order to provide maximum efficiency of storage space. However, this comes with many disadvantages. It weighs more due to the moving parts, requires more maintenance and isn't designed for maximum comfort, but maximum efficiency in space.

Also due to the weight being distributed differently, the folding frame is also more difficult to turn. This isn't conducive to reducing strain on the individual pushing the wheelchair and may cause strain. Folding chairs should be considered if perhaps it will be used on and off by patients and required to be put into storage frequently, without taking up much space.


For performance and comfort, the rigid frame wins outright. For usage that fits the category of short-term and the possibility of frequent storage, the folding wheelchair wins. When choosing, both the occupier and pushing individual should be considered if it's long-term.

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