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Need a Bariatric Wheelchair for Adults? What to Consider

Wheelchairs are wonderful tools that can help you or your loved ones enjoy the ease of mobility. When trying to find mobility options for heavier patients, bariatric wheelchairs are the best options to explore. However, there are many different factors to consider before purchasing one.

Keep reading to find what you should consider when shopping for a bariatric wheelchair. 

Important Bariatric Wheelchair Features

Weight Capacity

Every wheelchair’s weight capacity is different. Heavy-duty wheelchairs, for example, can carry up to 600 pounds. Bariatric wheelchairs, on the other hand, can carry up to 850 pounds. Because every maker and model is different, make sure you buy a heavy-duty or bariatric wheelchair that fits your needs.

The two chairs that have large weight capacities are the Sentra HD700 and 9000 Topaz, which both have a weight capacity of 700 pounds. Since most heavy-duty wheelchairs only hold about 450 pounds, these two are great options for bariatric patients.

Chair Width 

Chair width is an important factor to consider when purchasing a wheelchair. A chair that is too small in width can make your patient feel uncomfortable when they are sitting. On the other hand, a chair that is too wide may just cost you more money than you needed to spend. Heavy-duty frames usually come 20”, 22”, or 24” in width. On the other hand, bariatric wheelchairs can be up to 30” or 34” in width. 

Again, the Sentra HD700 and 9000 Topaz rank #1 in chair width. They both have the option of 30", which is about 10" more than normal heavy duty wheelchairs.


Some bariatric wheelchairs are folding and transport models. These models make it easier for patients to travel. Usually, the wheelchair can fold down to fit in a vehicle, footrests are removable, and armrests have the option of being taken off. A more portable bariatric wheelchair option is good for patients who leave their homes frequently. Additionally, make sure the wheels on the chair fit the terrain you plan to travel on. For example, some wheelchairs are durable enough to move over gravel and dirt, while others are used for more in-home use. 

While most manual wheelchairs are portable, the Bariatric Steel Transport maintains a high rating for its transportation capabilities. While maintaining its durability, the chair can fold down for travel and has removable armrests.

Adjustable Parts

Many wheelchairs come with adjustable parts. For instance, in some chairs, seat height, armrest height, and footrests are adjustable. It’s important, then, to determine what adjustable features are a must-have for your patient needs. Additionally, many wheelchairs are customizable, so when purchasing your chair, make sure you are familiar with the options that particular wheelchair has. Every manufacturer and wheelchair model will provide different features and options.

While most wheelchairs have many adjustable features, the Karman-8520 Heavy Duty stands out as one of the best in regards to adjustable features. For example, the footrests can swing away as well as be lowered or elevated; the armrests are adjustable; and adjustable toggle-wheel locks, among other features.

Electric Versus Manual

The last thing to consider when purchasing a bariatric wheelchair is if you want an electric or manual one. Electric wheelchairs move on their own and don’t need anyone to push it, while manual chairs require the patient or caregiver to move the chair. While electric wheelchairs might seem more convenient, they are significantly more expensive. While a manual bariatric chair will cost hundreds of dollars, an electric one can cost thousands. It’s thus important to identify which chair will be best for your patient and his or her particular circumstances.

In the end, whether you choose one of the manual chairs listed in this article, or you choose to buy a more expensive electrical wheelchair, you have many options to explore.

Buy Your Bariatric Wheelchair Today!

With so many options to consider when purchasing your bariatric wheelchair, it can be difficult finding which chair is best for you. As one of the leading providers in medical supplies, Amica’s expert staff can help you find the perfect wheelchair to fit your needs. Contact them today for information on purchasing an affordable bariatric wheelchair.

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