To the untrained eye, transport chairs and wheelchairs look extremely similar. But in reality, they have different functions and uses – and one is likely better for your needs than the other. Check out the key differences to consider when it comes to a transport chair vs. wheelchair.
What is a Transport Chair?
A transport chair is a lightweight mobility aid that functions similar to a wheelchair. However, instead of being pushed by the user, it is pushed by a caregiver or other individual. Transport chairs are often used for short distances (like in hospitals) and by occasional/temporary wheelchair users.
Unlike wheelchairs, transport chairs usually don’t have two large, main wheels. Instead they have four or more small wheels, none of which have hand rims for self-propulsion. Transport chairs are typically lightweight and have a narrower frame. And, because they’re often used for short journeys, they aren’t as robust in features or comfort as a manual wheelchair.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Transport Chairs
Advantages of transport chairs:
- Extremely lightweight
- Narrower to fit through smaller doorways and spaces
- Easy to lift into vehicles
- Simple to drive and maneuver
- Effortless for the wheelchair user
- More cost-effective than most manual and electric wheelchairs
Disadvantages of transport chairs:
- Often less comfortable than their more robust counterparts
- Not an independent mobility aid (they require a caretaker or assistant)
- Not good for long distances or rugged terrain
- Not a safe option for users needing head and neck support
Transport chairs aren’t right for everyone or every situation, but they can be a huge help to many!
Use Cases for Transport Chairs
Typically, a transport chair is a short-term solution. Here are some of the many great use cases for transport chairs:
- Intake, assessment, and discharge at hospitals and senior care facilities
- Ambulatory users who rely on a wheelchair for occasional use
- Vacations and one-day outings
- Doctors appointments and other essential trips for those who use a rollator or other walking device around their home
- Short-term use after surgery, illness, or a flare-up
If you require a longer-term solution, a manual or electric wheelchair might be a better option for you.