HomeExpert TipsA Guide to Transport Chairs vs. Wheelchairs

A Guide to Transport Chairs vs. Wheelchairs

A woman pushes a man in a wheelchair.

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.

Interested in learning more about the differences between a transport chair vs. wheelchair? Find your nearest Mobility City store, where our trained professionals are always ready to show you available models in person. 

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