A transport wheelchair can be a great option for users with limited mobility and for those who struggle to walk long distances. They feature smaller wheels and are designed to be propelled by an attendant or caregiver, which makes these types of wheelchairs the perfect solution for shorter excursions.
Transport wheelchairs are usually a more affordable option than a standard wheelchair. This explains why they are such a popular option. They are also lightweight and collapsible which makes them extremely portable. They are perfectly suited for use on days out, shopping trips, and vacations, making excursions more enjoyable and carefree.
In this guide, we will explore the important aspects that you should consider when purchasing a compact transport wheelchair. To save you time and effort, we will also look at some of the best models that are currently available to suit most types of needs, that can help to make life simpler for those living with mobility impairments.
Best Transport Wheelchairs Comparison Chart
Here’s a handy reference list of our reviewed transport wheelchairs. Further below is a more comprehensive comparison and review guide.
|ProBasics Steel Transport Wheelchair||Karman S-115 Ergonomic Transport Chair||Rollz Motion2 Rollator & Transport Chair in One||Drive Expedition Lightweight Transport Chair||Drive BTR20-B Heavy-Duty Transport Wheelchair|
|Weight Capacity||300 lbs||250 lbs||275 lbs||300 lbs||450 lbs|
|Seat Dimensions||19" (W) x 16" (D)||16" – 20" (W) x 17" (D)||16.5" (W) x 15" (D)||19" (W) x 16" (D)||20", 22" (W) x 18" (D)|
|Product Dimensions||21.25" (W) x 26.75", 38.75" (L)||22" – 25" (W) x 36" (L)||25.5" (W) x 24.8" (L)||22" (W) x 38" (L)||24.5", 26.5" (W) x 26" (L)|
|Folded Width||9"||12"||11.5"||10.75"||9", 11.5"|
|Seat-to-Floor Height||19"||19"||19.5", 21.5"||19"||19.5"|
|Footrest Options||Swingaway||Swingaway, elevating||Swingaway||Swingaway||Swingaway|
|Wheel Size||8" (front), 8" (rear)||7" (front), 14" (rear)||8" (front), 12" (rear)||8" (front), 12" (rear)||8" (front), 12" (rear)|
|Product Weight||25 lbs||22 lbs||23.7 lbs, 31.8 lbs||19 lbs||45 lbs, 49 lbs|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
What is a Transport Wheelchair?
Transport wheelchairs are designed to be used for less heavy-duty outings, for example, a trip to the shops, a doctor’s appointment, or other short excursions. You will notice that, unlike a standard wheelchair, the transport chair features four smaller wheels, which are designed to give greater control to the person pushing the wheelchair. This type of wheelchair is always pushed by someone other than the user, and can often be a good choice for people who require a caregiver to assist them on outings.
One of the most notable features of the transport wheelchair is the lightweight design. This makes it much easier to transport, and of course, the overall weight of the chair will be determined by the person using it.
How to Choose the Right Transport Wheelchair?
The price of a manual transport wheelchair comes in around $350 on average, whilst this is certainly an affordable amount, it is still a considerable enough sum that you want to be sure you are buying the right equipment for your needs.
To avoid any costly mistakes, consider the following factors before purchasing a transport wheelchair:
Transport wheelchairs are fitted with smaller tires, which provide better maneuverability in confined spaces due to the chair’s smaller turning radius.
While these types of wheelchairs are particularly suited for indoor use as well as for shorter journeys, if you need to use your wheelchair regularly outdoors too, you should aim to select a model that has larger steering tires. Larger tires will allow the wheelchair to tackle outdoor terrain safely, and it will also help to cushion any shocks or jolts when traveling over bumpy surfaces.
You will also want to consider the type of tires that the wheelchair is fitted with too. While pneumatic tires offer the passenger a softer ride, flat-free tires are designed to never go flat. This can save you the hassle of unexpected wheelchair maintenance.
Transport wheelchairs generally have maximum weight capacities of between 250 – 350 lbs. For heavier users, however, heavy-duty transport wheelchairs are available that have weight capacities of up to 450 lbs.
Always ensure that the wheelchair can withstand the user’s weight. Exceeding the advertised weight limit could put the patient’s safety at risk and it will also invalidate the wheelchair’s warranty.
As transport wheelchairs are designed to be propelled by someone other than the wheelchair occupant, it is important that you consider the wheelchair’s weight. The heavier the transport chair, the greater the effort it will require to propel it by the attendant. A lighter wheelchair will also make it more portable, allowing you to carry it into and out of the trunk of your vehicle, without too much effort.
The weight of a transport wheelchair can vary, with this ranging anywhere from 19 lbs up to 45 lbs for more heavy-duty models.
If you are looking for a wheelchair that is easier to maneuver as well as carry, consider choosing one that has an aluminum frame over a steel frame, as these will generally be lighter.
Armrests and Leg Rests
Choosing the right type of armrests and leg rests will not only assist with comfort, but they can also make transfers easier and safer. Armrests come in a range of styles, including full-length, desk-length, and adjustable ones.
Full-length armrests provide additional arm support, allowing the user to rest their arms comfortably for longer. These types of armrests also provide the user with extra leverage when sitting and standing, which can help to reduce the risk of falls. Desk-length armrests on the other hand are shorter, and allow the wheelchair to be positioned closer to a desk or table.
Armrests can either be fixed or height adjustable. Height adjustable armrests are preferable as they can be adjusted for the most comfortable fit. Padded armrests provide enhanced comfort and they can help to reduce the risk of sore forearms and pressure sores. Flip-back and detachable armrests allow for easier lateral transfers into and out of the chair.
You should also consider the type of foot supports that the wheelchair is fitted with. Footrests allow the patient to rest their feet safely off the ground while they are being propelled in their wheelchair. Adjustable footrests are recommended, as they can be adjusted to suit the user’s particular preferences, helping to maximize comfort and safety.
Transport wheelchairs usually feature swing-away or removable footrests that can be swung out of the patient’s way, or removed to allow for safer transfers into and out of the wheelchair. Some transport wheelchairs also provide elevating leg rests that allow the user to rest their legs in an elevated position.
Due to their lightweight nature and foldable design, transport wheelchairs are on the whole extremely portable. Most will fold down compactly to no more than 12-inches wide, so they can easily be stored in the trunk of most-sized vehicles. This makes them ideal for shopping trips, days out and vacations.
Transport wheelchairs will usually feature a half-folding backrest as well as swing away or removable footrests, that allow the chair to be folded quickly and effortlessly. While most will feature a simple folding mechanism, it always pays to check to see how easy it is to fold and unfold the wheelchair, especially if you will regularly need to transport it with you.
Basic canvas seats are normally used on transport wheelchairs instead of padded seats, to make them as lightweight as possible. These seats are usually constructed from either vinyl or nylon upholstery. Vinyl is waterproof and it can also easily be wiped clean, which makes it a suitable option for incontinent sufferers. While nylon upholstery is a breathable material. It can help to reduce excessive sweating, allowing the wheelchair occupant to remain comfortable and cooler for longer.
Whilst transport wheelchairs are not intended for heavy-duty use, there are, undoubtedly going to be times when you are in the wheelchair for more than a couple of hours. If this is the case, it can be helpful to add a wheelchair cushion which will provide the patient with increased comfort and pressure relief.
You will want to also ensure that the seat is suitably sized for the user to provide optimum pressure distribution. A seat that is too wide, may cause stability issues, increasing the risk of the user sliding out of their wheelchair. While a seat that is too narrow, will prove uncomfortable and it could increase the risk of developing pressure sores. Depending on the transport chair, seat widths can range anywhere from 16″ up to 22″, while seat depths can range from 16″ to 18″.
To ensure the safety and stability of the wheelchair user, consider opting for a transport wheelchair that is fitted with a seat belt. A seat belt will help to stop the user from slipping forwards or falling out of their wheelchair, which will help to minimize the risk of possible injuries.
These seat aids are particularly recommended for those who suffer from poor postural stability, and are at an increased risk of slipping or falling out of a wheelchair.
Seat belts are fitted as standard on some transport wheelchairs, while for others, these safety aids may need to be purchased separately.
Best Manual Transport Wheelchairs
1. ProBasics Steel Transport Wheelchair
Best Budget Transport Wheelchair
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
- Seat dimensions: 19" (W) x 16" (D)
- Seat-to-floor height: 19"
- Folded width: 9"
- Product dimensions: 21.25" (W) x 26.75", 38.75" (L)
- Wheel size: 8" (front), 8" (rear)
- Product weight: 25 lbs
The ProBasics transport wheelchair is a great option for those looking for a chair that won’t break the bank.
Despite its affordable price, the transport wheelchair is extremely well made and it is perfect for everyday use. It features a sturdy carbon steel frame that can withstand weights up to 300 pounds. The wheelchair is also lightweight, weighing just 25 lbs so it can easily be lifted into and out of a vehicle without too much effort.
Folding the wheelchair virtually requires no effort at all, and it can be completed in a matter of seconds. Once fully folded, the wheelchair measures just 9-inches wide so it can be stored in the tightest of spaces, and it also makes it the ideal travel companion.
The narrow 21.25″ wide frame allows it to easily fit through narrow doorways and passageways, so it can be conveniently used in confined spaces without any issues. The 8-inch wheels also allow the transport wheelchair to comfortably handle uneven outdoor terrain.
The transport chair is fitted with a comfortable 19-inch wide nylon seat. The upholstery is breathable which helps to keep the patient cooler for longer and this also helps to reduce the risk of pressure sores. The padded full-length fixed armrests provide good arm support, and the swing-away tool-free removable footrests assist with transfers, making them easier and safer for the patient. A seat-belt is fitted as standard to the wheelchair to maximize safety.
2. Karman S-115 Ergonomic Transport Chair
Best Transport Wheelchair for Comfort
- Weight capacity: 250 lbs
- Seat dimensions: 16" – 20" (W) x 17" (D)
- Seat-to-floor height: 19"
- Folded width: 12"
- Product dimensions: 22" – 25" (W) x 36" (L)
- Wheel size: 7" (front), 14" (rear)
- Product weight: 22 lbs
For those who are looking for a comfortable transport chair that is better suited for heavy-duty use, may want to consider the Karman S-115 wheelchair.
The S-115 transport chair has been ergonomically designed to provide more effective pressure relief and comfort. The chair is particularly suited for patients who suffer from skin integrity issues who are maybe at an increased risk of developing pressure sores.
The S-shaped frame is contoured to mimic the body’s shape. This provides better weight distribution and this helps to lower the risk of pressure sores. The wheelchair’s shape promotes a more natural seated posture which assists with stability, and this prevents the patient from sliding forwards in their seat, ensuring their safety. The chair is fitted with extra-wide fixed concave armrests for improved arm comfort and support.
It features a heavy-duty but lightweight frame that weighs just 22 lbs, and it can safely carry patients weighing up to 250 lbs. The double cross-brace design ensures the chair’s durability and this enhances the wheelchair’s lifespan too.
The chair is fitted with larger 14-inch rear tires which are not commonly found on standard transport chairs. This not only makes the wheelchair easier to maneuver, but it also means it provides better stability over uneven terrain.
The wheelchair is available in a choice of three different seat sizes including a 16″, 18″, or 20″ wide seat. The 1/4″ high seat cushion is comfortable and provides good pressure relief. The cushion is removable, and it is also machine-washable. Beneath the cushion is a breathable mesh seat that helps to prevent heat build-up. The chair’s upholstery is treated with an anti-bacterial finish that inhibits the growth of mold, fungus, and prevents odors, as well as the spread of germs.
Featuring a foldable backrest, the wheelchair collapses down to just 12-inches wide so it can easily be transported and stored. Detachable height-adjustable swing-away footrests are fitted to the wheelchair, although these can be upgraded to elevating swing-away leg rests if preferred.
3. Rollz Motion2 Rollator & Transport Chair in One
Best Versatile Transport Chair
- Weight capacity: 275 lbs
- Seat dimensions: 16.5" (W) x 15" (D)
- Seat-to-floor height: 19.5", 21.5"
- Folded width: 11.5"
- Product dimensions: 25.5" (W) x 24.8" (L)
- Wheel size: 8" (front), 12" (rear)
- Product weight: 23.7 lbs, 31.8 lbs
The Rollz Motion2 is a cleverly designed mobility aid that is both a rollator and transport chair in one device. This multi-use mobility aid not only saves you the cost of having to buy two separate devices, but it also provides you with greater freedom and independence to carry out your day-to-day activities with ease.
One of the major benefits of this innovative mobility device is the ease in which it can transform into either a comfortable transport chair or rollator. In under 30 seconds with just some minor adjustments it can be converted to a wheelchair or rollator, allowing you to sit or stand as needed. It is also extremely portable. It folds down to a compact 11.5-inches wide, so it can fit in any sized vehicle with ease.
The Rollz Motion2 is easy to maneuver as a wheelchair or rollator on any type of surface. Due to its larger 12-inch rear tires, it can tackle outdoor terrain comfortably. The flat-free foam-filled tires help to absorb any vibrations when going over uneven and bumpy surfaces, providing a more comfortable ride. The ergonomically designed handgrips are adjustable in height so they can positioned at a suitable height for both the patient and caregiver.
While many transport chairs are fitted with a standard canvas seat, the Rollz Motion2 features a padded 16.5-inch wide seat that provides exceptional comfort and pressure relief. This is perfect for when you need to use the wheelchair on longer trips. The chair comes with removable footrests that can be fitted when used as a transport chair.
The wheelchair comes with a choice of different seat heights, including a 19.5-inch or a 21.5-inch option, and the frame is available in 4 different colors, allowing you to personalize it.
4. Drive Expedition Lightweight Transport Chair
Best Lightweight Transport Wheelchair
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
- Seat dimensions: 19" (W) x 16" (D)
- Seat-to-floor height: 19"
- Folded width: 10.75"
- Product dimensions: 22" (W) x 38" (L)
- Wheel size: 8" (front), 12" (rear)
- Product weight: 19 lbs
Weighing just 19 lbs the Expedition transport chair from Drive Medical is perfect for those seeking a lightweight wheelchair that is easily portable, and which can be lifted into and out of a vehicle without requiring too much effort.
The Drive Expedition has a 300 lbs weight capacity, which is certainly impressive, considering it is the lightest transport wheelchair we have reviewed. This is mainly down to the aluminum frame and lightweight nylon seat that is used on this chair.
The wheelchair features 12″ rear tires which makes it easier to propel, and this importantly helps to reduce the workload for the caregiver. The larger tires also ensure that it provides a more comfortable ride on a range of different terrains, as well as allowing it to more easily handle thresholds and curbs. The black composite tires are flat-free, so you won’t need to worry about any punctures when using your wheelchair outdoors.
Folding the Drive Expedition is a breeze and virtually requires no effort. The wheelchair measures just 10.75-wide when folded flat, allowing you to easily transport it in your vehicle.
The chair features padded armrests as well as removable swing-away footrests that help to maximize comfort, and it is also fitted with a seat belt and hand brake for additional safety.
5. Drive BTR20-B Heavy-Duty Transport Wheelchair
Best Heavy-Duty Wheelchair
- Weight capacity: 450 lbs
- Seat dimensions: 20", 22" (W) x 18" (D)
- Seat-to-floor height: 19.5"
- Folded width: 9", 11.5"
- Product dimensions: 24.5", 26.5" (W) x 26" (L)
- Wheel size: 8" (front), 12" (rear)
- Product weight: 45 lbs, 49 lbs
The Drive BTR20-B heavy-duty transport wheelchair is the perfect solution for plus-sized individuals. Due to its reinforced steel frame and dual cross braces, this wheelchair can safely support bariatric users up to 450 lbs.
The seat is constructed from heavy-duty reinforced nylon, which is both breathable and comfortable. The wheelchair comes in a choice of larger seat sizes including a 20-inch or 22-inch option. The desk-length armrests are padded and provide good forearm support and comfort. The armrests can be removed to assist with lateral transfers. A rear storage pouch allows you to securely store your personal belongings so they are always within easy reach when you’re out and about in your wheelchair.
While the transport chair is slightly heavier and weighs 45 lbs or 49 lbs (depends on the seat size you choose), it is still easy to maneuver. The 12-inch rear tires allow for indoor and outdoor use and due to the tires being flat-free, you won’t have to worry about punctures or having to regularly inflate them.
The foot rests are height adjustable to suit users of differing heights, and they can also be removed if needed, and can easily be reattached.
This sturdy wheelchair is certainly built to last, and for extra peace of mind, the transport wheelchair comes with a limited lifetime warranty.