Best Sports Wheelchairs

Best Sports Wheelchairs
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Having a disability should not and does not mean that you cannot lead an active lifestyle. One of the greatest benefits of modern times is that people with limited abilities can join in sports just as easily as able-bodied people. This is largely thanks to the sports wheelchair.

In this article, we will cover the different types of sports wheelchairs that are available. We will also cover the important factors that you should consider when choosing a sports wheelchair. Finally, we will review some of the best models currently on the market that will allow you to remain fit and active.

Contents

Best Sports Wheelchairs Comparison Chart

Here’s a handy reference list of our reviewed sports wheelchairs. Further below is a more comprehensive comparison and review guide.

Quickie All Court Sports Wheelchair Quickie Titanium Match Point Tennis Wheelchair Invacare Top End Pro BB Basketball Wheelchair Quickie GP/ GPV Sports/Every Day Use Wheelchair Invacare Top End Eliminator U Cage OSR Racing Wheelchair
Weight Capacity 250 lbs 250 lbs 250 lbs 250 lbs 250 lbs
Seat Dimensions 12" – 20" (W) x 10" – 20" (D) 12" – 20" (W) x 10" – 20" (D) 12" – 20" (W) x 12" – 18" (D) 15" – 21" (W) x 12" – 22" (D) 7" – 11" (W) x 16" – 20" (D)
Back Height 9" – 20" 9" – 20" 9" – 18" 9" – 20" N/A
Seat-to-Floor Height 16" – 21" 16" – 21" 13" – 21" 15.5" – 23" 15" – 20"
Product Weight 24 lbs 20 lbs 21 lbs 23.5 lbs – 24 lbs 21 lbs
Camber Angle 16°, 20° 16°, 20° 15°, 18°, 20° 7° (can be adjusted from 0 – 12°) 11°, 12°, 13°, 15°
Frame Type Rigid Rigid Rigid Rigid Rigid
Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price

Differences Between Sports Wheelchairs and Standard Wheelchairs

Wheelchairs for Basketball

A standard wheelchair is designed to help the user get from A to B in the most convenient and safest way possible. In contrast, a sports wheelchair is designed for speed, agility, and ease of movement.

These wheelchairs allow the user to make much sharper turns which are imperative in many games if you want to stand out against your opponents. What’s more, a sports wheelchair tends to be made from much lighter materials making them easier for the user to operate at high speeds and when fast decisions need to be made. Typically, these lightweight chairs are made from materials like aluminum or titanium.

You may have a standard wheelchair that can be easily folded and put into the car for transportation. However, a sports wheelchair is much more rigid and typically cannot be folded. They are usually a lot more stable than a regular wheelchair owing to a wider design.

A sports wheelchair also has a much lower backrest than a standard wheelchair, in some cases, it may not have a backrest at all.

Types of Sports Wheelchairs

The sport that you play will determine the type of sports wheelchair that you will need. There are many models out there that are designed to be used in different situations which can include:

Tennis Wheelchairs

Tennis is a sport that requires players to make fast decisions and move quickly around the court. For this reason, the wheelchairs that are used in the sport have angled wheels that make them much more agile and speedy. In addition to this, the wheel design makes the chair much more stable when making quick movements.

You will find that a tennis wheelchair has two larger wheels at the back along with two smaller wheels at the front. This allows the center of gravity to be adjusted as these front castor wheels can be freely adjusted.

Basketball Wheelchairs

It can be easy to confuse a basketball wheelchair with a tennis wheelchair as they are very similar and have many of the same features. This is not because the sports are at all alike but because many of the movements you will make are similar.

Racing Wheelchairs

If you are racing, you will need a wheelchair that is streamlined, fast, and designed for ultimate balance and performance. These wheelchairs boast all of these features along with being extremely lightweight, making them much easier to maneuver.

These lightweight wheelchairs can have various adaptations including a variety of gears and brakes. What’s more, they will typically have a gentle angle to the wheel and some models are specifically designed to accommodate users who need to kneel rather than sit.

A racing wheelchair will always have pneumatic (air-filled) tires as opposed to hard ones that we see on other types of sports wheelchairs. This is largely because racing wheelchairs must meet racing regulations.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Sports Wheelchair

Wheelchairs for Tennis

Before choosing your sports wheelchair, there are many things to consider. These are some of the things that you can expect to look for:

Wheelchair Dimensions

Your body shape and height will determine the best fit when it comes to a sports wheelchair. What works well for a short, slim person may not work as well, if at all, for someone much larger or taller. Therefore, the wheelchair dimensions are the most fundamental shopping point to consider.

Primarily, you will want to look at the height of the seat. If this is too high, you may find that you struggle to get in and out of the chair. Conversely, if it is too low, you may have problems with your feet dragging along the floor. Wheelchair users should also be mindful that choosing the wrong seat height could cause problems with their stability and center of gravity. The seat height should be 1-2 inches more than the distance between your feet and the seat, taking into account any seat cushions.

Furthermore, you should look at how wide and deep the seat is. This will also impact your ability to effectively play your chosen sport. If the width is correct, you will be much more stable in the chair and will help with your posture. On top of this, the width of the seat will affect the overall size of the frame so if you are looking for something streamlined, you will need to get something as snug as possible.

In terms of the seat depth, it is important not to go too short as this can be lacking in support and the pressure can cause sores. In contrast, if your seat depth is too great, this can cause pressure at the knees.

Type of Sports

As we have already discovered, the type of sport you play will have a huge impact on the type of wheelchair you use. It is important to discuss the features with your supplier to make sure that you understand whether the wheelchair will serve you well in your chosen sport.

If there are certain regulations that must be met by the chair in order for you to play, it is vital that you adhere to these.

Push Rims

Living an active lifestyle should make you much more comfortable as your physical fitness improves. However, little things like uncomfortable push rims can make everything a little more miserable. For this reason, it is important that the push rims are comfortable and easy to handle and will not cause chafing or pressure on the hands.

You should also consider the size of the push rims. Again, this will be determined by the sport you are playing. In a sport like basketball that requires heavy use of the back muscles, larger push rims are preferable whereas, for racing wheelchairs, something smaller and more efficient is key.

Adjustability

For the most part, a sports wheelchair will not have a hugely adjustable frame, they typically cannot be folded. However, that doesn’t mean that some adjustments cannot be made, and depending on your needs, you may need different levels of adjustability.

For example, on a tennis wheelchair, the castor wheels at the front can be moved aside and the footrests should be moveable too. Additionally, you should look at how many options there are for adjusting the backrest which can alter your center of gravity as well as whether the frame can be adjusted.

Safety

Safe use of a wheelchair is one of the top priorities. The sport you play will normally determine how you will be strapped into the chair. For example, those who play basketball or tennis tend to have straps at the ankles and the waist.

For rugby players, there may be additional barriers and fenders that offer protection to the lower limbs. Moreover, since this is a contact sport, wheelchairs designed for it need to be much more stable and robust to prevent the chair from falling over and injuring the user.

Some sports wheelchairs have another wheel at the back and this allows the user to lean back without the chair toppling over.

Materials

Sports wheelchairs need to be lightweight and maneuverable and this relies on manufacturers using materials that won’t result in a cumbersome and bulky chair. Typically, you should look for a wheelchair that is made from titanium or aluminum.

While these materials may be more costly, they are very lightweight as well as being exceptionally durable.

Best Sports Wheelchairs

Keeping everything in mind that we have just discussed, we believe that these are some of the very best sports wheelchairs available today:

1. Quickie All Court Sports Wheelchair

Best All-Rounder Sports Wheelchair

Key Specs

  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs
  • Seat dimensions: 12" – 20" (W) x 10" – 20" (D)
  • Back height: 9" – 20"
  • Seat-to-floor height: 16" – 21"
  • Product weight: 24 lbs
  • Camber angle: 16°, 20°

If you are looking for a versatile sports wheelchair that won’t limit you to what you can play, then this is a great choice. It features a lightweight design with the choice of either an aluminum or titanium frame, although the latter will come at an additional fee.

The wheelchair is robust yet incredibly streamlined and boasts angled wheels for greater ease and stability when making sharp turns. But one of the best things about this is that it comes with an adjustable center of gravity and vertical squeeze adjustment which allows you to adapt the wheelchair to various uses without the need to purchase additional parts. What’s more, this clever patented feature doesn’t mean that stability is sacrificed so regardless of how you set the chair, you will always be stable and secure.

You can feel confident that this wheelchair is fit for purpose since it was designed with the help of pro-para-athletes who know exactly what is needed from this type of equipment.

Stand-Out Features:

  • Adjustable seat height
  • Hardy design with large tubing that will stand up to impact
  • Choice of aluminum or titanium (cost for titanium is extra)
  • Customize seat depth, width, castor size, hand rims, and much more

2. Quickie Titanium Match Point Tennis Wheelchair

Best Sports Wheelchair for Tennis

Key Specs

  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs
  • Seat dimensions: 12" – 20" (W) x 10" – 20" (D)
  • Back height: 9" – 20"
  • Seat-to-floor height: 16" – 21"
  • Product weight: 20 lbs
  • Camber angle: 16°, 20°

If you play tennis, you are going to need something fast, agile, and reliable and this sports wheelchair delivers on all fronts. It is superbly easy to move around and beautifully lightweight, offering players an easy and enjoyable experience. Furthermore, it has great stability thanks to a five-wheel design which also offers an essential safety aspect to prevent accidents.

Made with durable titanium, the Match Point tennis wheelchair is designed to withstand everything that the sport throws at it without faltering. This adds to the stability and gives you a wheelchair that will see you through many matches. What’s more, this material adds to the lightweight design of this chair.

There are various adjustments that can be made, most crucially, your center of mass can be altered through both vertical and horizontal adjustments to the center of gravity. All of this requires no complicated process and can be done quickly and easily.

Stand-Out Features:

  • Lightweight titanium design
  • Various adjustments
  • Wide stance for better stability
  • Options for seat width, height, axle type, handrims, and much more
  • Five-wheel design for safety and stability
  • Durable caster wheels

Note that while the wide footprint of this wheelchair does give the user greater stability, this does come at the expense of space-saving as this is a larger wheelchair.

3. Invacare Top End Pro BB Basketball Wheelchair

Best Wheelchair for Basketball

Key Specs

  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs
  • Seat dimensions: 12" – 20" (W) x 12" – 18" (D)
  • Back height: 9" – 18"
  • Seat-to-floor height: 13" – 21"
  • Product weight: 21 lbs
  • Camber angle: 15°, 18°, 20°

With a weight capacity of up to 250 lbs, this is a great option for most adults. It also features a stable and secure base made from welded aluminum that gives you excellent support from the ground up.

When you are playing sports, the last thing you want is a wheelchair that takes hours to adjust, sadly, this is the case with a lot of models meaning that alterations cannot be made at the courtside. Fortunately, this wheelchair has an easy-to-adjust design that will breathe new life into your user experience. Make the adjustments in just 15 minutes.

There are several choices when it comes to ordering but you needn’t worry about the intricate specs because ordering this wheelchair requires nothing more than the supplier knowing your desired seat size and color and they will do the rest.

With high-performance wheels that are specifically designed for sports and made to last, you can get on the basketball court and impress without having to worry about how your wheelchair will perform.

Stand-Out Features:

  • Easy to adjust
  • Durable aluminum frame
  • Great quality sports wheels
  • Strong and supportive base
  • Adjustable footrest
  • Quick release axles

4. Quickie GP/ GPV Sports/Every Day Use Wheelchair

Best Entry-Level Sports Wheelchair

Key Specs

  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs
  • Seat dimensions: 15" – 21" (W) x 12" – 22" (D)
  • Back height: 9" – 20"
  • Seat-to-floor height: 15.5" – 23"
  • Product weight: 23.5 lbs – 24 lbs
  • Camber angle: 7° (can be adjusted from 0 – 12°)

If you’re new to the world of sports wheelchairs, it is likely that you are not going to want something that is overly complicated and difficult to use. This is a great choice for people who are just getting to grips with this type of equipment and despite being extremely affordable, doesn’t lack in key features.

One of the best things about this wheelchair is that not only is it perfectly adept for sporting activities but it can double up as an everyday wheelchair. If versatility is what you need, this could be the answer to your problems.

The frame is a single piece of lightweight metal that is incredibly stable and offers great durability. However, this does mean that unlike other everyday wheelchairs, you won’t be able to fold it, so if storage is an issue, this may not be right for you.

At the front of the wheelchair, you will notice the frame is designed to keep the legs more tightly together which means that the maneuverability of this wheelchair is amazing and easy to control. There are options to adjust the center of gravity and the wheelchair is suitable for users weighing up to 250 lbs.

Stand-Out Features:

  • Lightweight yet durable
  • Suitable for sports and day to day use
  • Designed for maximum maneuverability
  • Great stability
  • 7° camber (can be adjusted from 0° – 12°)
  • Does not fold like other everyday wheelchairs

5. Invacare Top End Eliminator U Cage OSR Racing Wheelchair

Best Racing Wheelchair

Key Specs

  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs
  • Seat dimensions: 7" – 11" (W) x 16" – 20" (D)
  • Back height: N/A
  • Seat-to-floor height: 15" – 20"
  • Product weight: 21 lbs
  • Camber angle: 11°, 12°, 13°, 15°

If you have been into wheelchair racing for quite some time and consider yourself more of an advanced athlete, then the U cage chair might be good for you. It is specifically designed for users who prefer to kneel rather than sit but comes in a choice of cage designs. The I cage design is great for beginners who prefer to be seated when racing. It is great for those with lower function as the open front makes transfers much easier. Finally, the V cage style is good for beginners who need a deeper seat but who are able to easily transfer themselves. It allows for both a sitting and kneeling position.

The wheelchair is lightweight and incredibly streamlined, maximizing its speed and agility. The frame is made from solid aluminum and boasts soft and easy to handle push rims for a delightful ride. The design is perfectly structured to handle turns and corners like a dream and doesn’t compromise on stability.

This racing wheelchair is suitable for users weighing up to 250 lbs with a starting weight of 14 lbs making it versatile as well as super-efficient. The handlebar ends are fully adjustable and removable and the wheelchair features a top-mounted precision track compensator.

For professional athletes and those who really want to step up their game, this is seriously worth considering.

Stand-Out Features:

  • Aerodynamic design
  • A robust yet lightweight frame
  • Comfortable hand rims
  • Choice of cage styles
  • Weight capacity of up to 250 lbs
  • Large high-performance wheels
  • Precision track compensator
  • Powder-coated paint to keep the wheelchair looking aesthetically pleasing
  • Options to upgrade to carbon fiber rear or front wheels
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Jackie

Jackie

Jackie is a passionate advocate for keeping people with all types of mobility problems active. After suffering complications after a knee replacement she knew that she wanted to remain as active as before her numerous operations. Her passion is to advise others on how to be able to lead a fulfilling and independent life no matter what disability they may have.

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