There are two major wheeled walking aids: the rollator and the tri-walker. They aim to perform the same function – helping you walk – but they take slightly different approaches. But what are the differences? And what are the benefits of each product?
The four-wheeled layout of a rollator has the advantage of providing excellent stability. This makes it especially useful when moving across pavements with divots and bumps as the stability will greatly reduce the chance of the rollator toppling. This feature can be seen with the Evo Suspension Rollator. The four wheels being set on short legs keeps the centre of mass down low and more stable. Additionally, the suspension on this model further helps it handle uneven pavement.
Broad Choice of Design
Another advantage of rollators is that there is a huge variety of designs for different needs. The Evo Suspension is a fairly traditional take on the rollator – except for the suspension – but something like the Knee Walker is a very different interpretation. The Knee Walker is an alternative to crutches for those who don’t have sufficient upper body strength to use them. If you have an injury the Knee Walker lets you scoot yourself along with just one foot while supporting your weight.
The three-wheeled configuration of a tri-walker makes it very easy to manoeuvre around even the tightest of turns, this is a big advantage in busy shops and around the house. Of course, to make sure the tri-walker is stable when turning the rear wheels are set far apart. The CareCo Sanandres Tri-Walker is a great illustration of this agility. The front wheel swivels to make turning immediate and the light weight is just 7kg further adds to the responsiveness of the walking aid.
Although both rollators and tri-walkers can be folded flat the general design of a tri-walker really benefits its portability. Having one less wheel saves weight and also keeps the whole unit more compact. This makes storing it away much easier, especially if you’re lifting it into a car boot. Even tri-walkers with a small seat like the LiteWay are able to collapse almost completely flat, so you won’t need to compromise on additional features to retain the portability of a tri-walker.
Which is Best for You?
There are models of rollator and tri-walker that share features like a carry bag and small seat, but deciding which is best for you comes down to your individual needs and daily expectations.
If you spend more time indoors and only tend to visit nearby public spaces a tri-walker is best as it can get around more easily in smaller spaces, but it can still be transported to go further afield. However, if you tend to walk a bit further or your local area has uneven ground, then a rollator can offer greater stability and there are more models suited for increased distance.
Whichever walking aid you choose you’ll be able to regain some vital independence.
She has given lectures at Essex University and specialises in NHS Therapy Services.
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