Self-propelled wheelchairs have come a long way since the first rear-wheel push chair was designed in 1869. Wheelchairs of old were heavy, uncomfortable and hard to control, but technological developments mean that today we have super-lightweight wheelchairs that are easy to propel and comfortable too.
Modern lightweight wheelchairs are made largely from aluminium, although carbon fibre and titanium is also used in some models. Seats are often canvas style rather than being thick padded seats, and most are designed also for easy transport. Some are foldable and have wheels that easily detach.
So let's take a look at the best models on offer this year. All of these models are under 15kg.
CareCo Ergo Pro Self Propelled Wheelchair
At just 12.4kg , the CareCo Ergo Pro Self Propelled Wheelchair is one of the lightest SP wheelchairs on the market. It is equipped with the S-Ergo seat that is designed to reduce pressure on the body and also provides excellent support.
It is easy to fold, only the detachable footrests need to be removed beforehand. It is not the cheapest of chairs, but the highest quality always comes at a price. It also has attendant brakes.
CareCo X8 High Active
The X8 High Active is just 13.2kg, making it one of the lighter models. It comes in a sporty orange with a padded seat.
It has adjustable arms and quick release wheels, and the heaviest part when wheels are removed is just 8.6kg, making it easy to lift into a car boot.
The wheels have individual brakes to allow you to park safely too. The padded seat can be removed for easy cleaning, which is important if you are planning a lot of activity.
The X8 High Active is pictured here with our Occupational Therapist Natasha Bruce-Jones.
I-GO Airrex LT Self Propelled
The I-GO Airrex LT Self Propelled wheelchair is a fantastic chair for the price. It's 13.6kg and comes in a range of sizes, and is finished with an aluminium frame and grey fabric seat and back rest.
Although it is not significantly lighter than some other models, it certainly looks like a very lightweight wheelchair with its sleek lines and minimalist style.
The armrests can be quickly lowered to allow you to easily slide under desks, so this is a perfect chair for students or anybody doing a desk job, and is great when dining out too. It has quick release wheels and the backrest folds down, making travel and storage a breeze.
CareCo Aluminium AirGlide Wheelchair
The 13.8kg CareCo Aluminium AirGlide Wheelchair is a solid lightweight wheelchair at an affordable price. It is easy to fold away, with a half-folding back.
The wheelchair has 24” self-propelled wheels with solid tyres, so punctures are not going to be a problem. It is perfect for indoor use and venturing outside, as well as holidays and travel.
The armrests are well padded and the seat is easy-clean nylon.
All these chairs offer great value for money, and all have been tested and meet the highest standards for comfort and safety. The key differences to look out for are folding arms, ease of folding the chair, quick release wheels and style of seat.