Best Medical Wheelchairs 2020 – Consumer Reports

Review Being Updated: 22/12/15

Medical wheelchair is a necessary need for old people as well as those who are paralyzed. Nonetheless, it is not quite easy to choose the right one since many types of them are available on the market. There are plenty of products you might choose. But, what that matters is you have the requirements of a wheelchair you would need. If you do, that is easy, you could get into some of our reviews for the consideration. If not, you still check out our buying tips and important features necessary we have listed and briefly described below. It will give you good information to decide and find your right wheelchair for yourself or your family member.

When someone needs a wheelchair, they need it. There is no replacement, and it is really vital to choose the suitable, durable, and comfortable one for the person. Transport wheelchairs, standard wheelchair, and electric wheelchair are made differently. However, for this, we have searched, reviewed and found these three best medical wheelchairs to recommend you – Drive Medical Cruiser III, Drive Medical SSP20RBDDA, and Drive Medical Lightweight. They are all manual ones but with high quality, comfort and many interesting features that are extremely useful for users.

Drive Medical Cruiser III

1When you are looking for a manual medical wheelchair, you know you are going to get it super light. Like this Drive Medical Cruisher III, it is made superiorly light at only around 36 lbs with attractive silver finish while its carbon steel frame is extremely durable and attractive. And for cleaning, you will not need to worry. You can do it easily with this wheelchair. Also, while the seat rail is made extendable, the upholster is not different, and it can be adjusted between 16 and 18 inches.

Importantly, from the testing, this wheelchair could move quite smooth in different kinds of surfaces. Even better, the seat back design of this wheelchair is ok for the inserts and other accessories. The flip back arms are detachable, and the footrest could be swung away.  Additionally for comfort reason, armrests have been padded. For the front caster instead for this wheelchair, it is 8 inch and easily adjustable in three positions. Moreover, the seat transition can also be made comfortably by the dual axle. Lastly, for durability and reliability, it is the front and rear wheel bearing that do the work well. Wheel lock is as well included for a secure get-up while this Drive Medical Cruiser III needs least maintenance.  In short, this wheelchair is of a good popularity, and consequently, it gets rated 4 stars out of 5.

What Isn’t great about this Item:

Some users have reported that the footrests of this wheelchair are made from plastic and is a bit flimsy which is easily broken. Another difficulty some has encountered is when pushing up the ramp. Also with the same footrest, users thought that if it is not raise-able to fit everyone’s legs.

Drive Medical SSP20RBDDA

Another one of our top picks for your consideration is the Drive Medical SSP20RBDDA. As a light weight manual medical wheelchair, this is an outstanding option. For one feature, this wheelchair is equipped with the Hydraulic 2reclining mechanism, and that is for the smooth adjustment of the wheelchair to 180 degree. As this is designed for good reclining, its arms come with extend support. For the upholster, it is made from soft material which makes the seat very comfortable and light to site on. As well, for the frame, it is carbon steel with silver finish. It looks great and very easy to clean. Furthermore, the wheels are greatly made with least maintenance required.

Even more special than the rest, this Drive Medical Wheelchair is not added with only the armrests but also the headrests extension, making it so unique and comfortable for the users. Additionally, padded leg rests as well as the metal footrests are also built in. That is for a convenient sit of the users. Still to notice, this wheelchair has been designed with the inclusion of smart push-to-lock wheel brake, and it ensures your standing up or getting away safely. Indeed, this Drive Medical SSP20RBDDA is really reliable for the performance and durability. However, still, some users have encountered certain issues, and you can also see them next.

What isn’t great about this item:

Few users have experienced with the issue with reclining control which makes the reclining function of the wheelchair work improperly. Some others have expressed their suggestions on the footrests. They are extendable, but some thought it is not long enough, and they would need more. The last thing is when there is a need to lift the patience upright, and what it says is it needs good strength from the caregivers.

Drive Medical Lightweight

Last of our best pick is the Drive Medical Lightweight. This is also a smart choose to look at carefully. Actually, this Drive Medical Wheelchair is already the best selling wheelchair in Amazon. This should reflect wheel how much satisfaction customers are having on the item. But, still you may want to check out its very well-done features. For 3one, this wheelchair is produced with good attraction and durability with the nylon upholster for comfort. The upholster itself is found easy cleaned when you need to. Another good feature is the fact that this wheelchair comes with the upholster handles which allows folding very convenient when needing to transporting it on your car.

In addition, it has a padded armrests which you can also find comfort in. For the front and rear casters, they are 8 inches, and the wheel lock is quite close and easily accessible. Moreover, for the overall dimension of this Drive Medical Lightweight is 33″ x 10.75″ x 39″.  For its smart design, a cup holder could also be conveniently attached to the wheelchair if there is  need. However, it is sold separately and not included in the purchase package.

By and large, this Drive Medical Wheelchair is somehow a really nice consideration. Many users have expressed hug satisfaction with its quality. And, as a matter of fact, this item gets rated quite high and is now the best selling one. It simply means the wheelchair is reliable for most, and it should do to you too while the affordable price makes it even more of the best deal when needing a manual medical wheelchair.

What isn’t so great about this item:

Though this Drive Medical Wheelchair seems to be best, it is not perfect. There are still certain issues to raise for your understanding. One serious problem a customer faced after using this wheelchair is the fall apart of the front wheel in the first week of use. However, this should be a production error only, not about the wheelchair as a whole. Also to notice, some users reported that the casters are 32 inch, and they are a bit too wide for them.

Features You Need in a Medical Wheelchairs

1. Comfort: Comfort is an extremely important feature you should not overlook when finding a good wheelchair. Either the person is going to stay on the wheelchair temporarily or for a long period of time, there is a need for the comfort. Certain features of the best wheelchair such as added cushions, footrest, and soft armrest with right positioning are dedicated for that. Even more, good-design wheelchair would not leave pressure on the patience, making them having bad and soaring posture. If the type you are looking for needs a pusher, you would also check if the design is well right for the carer. That is also a note to not forget.

2. Lasting Use: Durable and high quality frame does a lot too to the wheelchair, and good durability in a wheelchair means a lot. Actually, the durability means even more for those who might need a wheelchair in their active movements or the sports such as basketball. If for the sport, normally, high quality titanium frame is used since it is strong and light that is good for the mobility and quick move.

3. Maneuverability: We have seen in reality that there are wheelchair users who do things as  those who can walk do such as going shopping, working around at home, playing sports or even the exercise. It depends mainly on their lifestyle. Thus, the more active a wheelchair user is, the more maneuverability he or she may need. However, it is always a better idea to find the one with a wide maneuverability for him or her so that there is bigger room for them to achieve their need in their everyday life on the wheelchair.

4. Foldable and Not Foldable: For certain people, they need to transport their wheelchair often. That is the case where foldability is important because you may need to fold it back in and put into your car any time. If that is your need, find a foldable and portable wheelchair. That is going to be a lot easier for the daily use.

5. Light Weight: Light weight is another feature you might need to check. Of course, for the mobility option, lighter weight is always better as long as the wheelchair is stable and sturdy to hold the users. When for the transporting, that is also easier to carry it around. However, if a wheelchair you need is bigger in size, it is usually made with stronger and bigger frame, and that makes it heavier, accordingly.

6. Quick Release Wheel: quick release wheel is a special feature. Some need this, and some not. However, that would be good if you know it exists. If you do need it, look for the feature specifically in the wheelchair you are interested in.

7. Brake Accessibility: break accessibility is another issue some users have encountered while brake is an important element users would. If it is not accessible for you specifically, that is a big problem. Thus, that worth checking properly for your own good.

Buying Guides for the Best Medical Wheelchairs:

1. Type You Need: Again, there are many types of wheelchairs available on the market to suit different needs of the patience. When you are looking for a wheelchair, it is important you know this information. You thus could find a more proper one that suits your requirement better. If talking about the use, the wheelchair could be a self-propelled, push wheelchair, and electric wheelchair. If for the manual wheelchair only, let’s us present you the common four types below.

  • Ultra Lightweight Wheelchairs: Like the name says, this is a type which is built with least weight possible. It can be as least as 14 pounds. That type t is for best movement and transporting. And, to achieve such low weight, the frame of the Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair is often made from Aluminum or Titanium. This type is available for both the rigid and foldable structure.
  • Tilt-in-Space Wheelchairs: commonly produced for those who could not site upright without the support, that is the Tilt-in-space type wheelchair. This type is often made heavier than the standard wheelchair and made in a rigid frame.
  • Pediatric Wheelchairs: Pediatric wheelchair instead is made mainly for children to move freely at school or during their sport activity. Specifically for this kind of wheelchair, it is often built with different postures available for children such as standing, lying and sitting. If you are to choose this pediatric kind for a kid, it worth spending more time checking the features carefully. A good one designs to suit the kids’ physical development very well.
  • Heavy-Duty Wheelchairs: A heavy-duty wheelchair is the one for those with weight of 400 lbs or more. That is why this type of wheelchair often is bigger and stronger to provide maximum support for the users. Adjustable back height is another thing to care for if to choose this heavy duty type of wheelchair. It could promote shoulder mobility better and bring more comfort, accordingly.

2. Type of Need: To know which type that would fit the need the most, there are several questions to consider: Do you need it for indoor or outdoor use? Do you need to transport it often? Will the user propel themselves, or there is  need for the pusher? Is there a need for any special feature? and What kind of ground will users use it on? By these, it will give you ideas what may fit the need of the users better.

3.  Size and Holding Capacity:​ Size has a lot of things to do with the comfort of a wheelchair and better posture of users on it. So, it is quite necessary that you know the suitable size before purchasing. Holding capacity is the same. Each wheelchair is made with maximum holding capacity. Like that of the heavy-duty wheelchairs, it is made for those who are 400 lbs or more.

4. Your Budget: Obviously, manual wheelchair is much less expensive than the electric wheelchair. However, it is still a good idea to know how much you want to spend on the wheelchair you would need. That would save your time, looking for only the possible options to you. As for the price, around 100 dollars is enough to get you a good manual medical wheelchair. If you need some more accessories, you will have to spend a little more than that.

5. Design: If appearance does not matter to you, that is easy. You would need only to find the ones with best features you need. However, if it does, you can scan through many to see if which one fits your interest better.

6. Cushion Built-in: For comfort reason, with soft and proper positioning cushions, it could bring a lot more comfort to users. That is as well a point to check out well in a manual medical wheelchair.

Also Our Top Pick:


1. One in our list is the Drive Medical Travelite Transport Wheelchair. Made of aluminum build structure, this high quality wheelchair is greatly known for its strong yet very lightweight quality. Such attributes make it so convenient to transport around. Moreover, this wheelchair also comes with a very nice compact carry bag that can be very useful for traveling purposes.


2. Another decent wheelchair model worth mentioning in this list is the Medline MDS808210AB Aluminum Transport Chair with 12’’ Wheels. It is specially designed with very large rear wheels that produce smooth performance that can be used in any type of surfaces – be it normal indoor floors or uneven outdoor surfaces. Placed on top of the wheelchair, at the handling arms, there is a very high quality set of handbrakes that give great protection and control of the wheelchair navigation.


3. Standing also as our pick is the Blue Streak Wheelchair from Drive Medical. This amazing wheelchair comes with a really well built flip back detachable desk arms that always come in very handy for every patient. Moreover, it is also equipped with a swing-away foot rest that gives additional comfort to the patients when sitting on the wheelchair. The nylon upholstery of this wheelchair body also offers that lightweightness and durability that everyone is looking for.


4. Next is the Invacare LightWeight Tracer EX2 Wheelchair 20’’ with Elevating Legrest-Blue. This high-end wheelchair from Invacare has been rated as one of the most premium quality wheelchairs in the market right now. Not only it is designed with top-quality aluminum body design, but also featured with sleek and stylish design that makes it so premium. Coming at 39 pounds in weight, this wheelchair should also be one of the options to go for if you are looking for a lightweight and great quality wheelchair.


5. Another popular wheelchair model worth mentioning in this list is the Medline Deluxe 12 Inch Wheels Transport Lightweight Wheelchair. Weighted at just 23.5 lbs, this wheelchair model from Medline is not only a very well built product but also a very lightweight one that offers a pretty convenient overall using experience. It is designed with a 12 inches wheels that offer a very stable and smooth riding capability.


6. The Drive Medical Super Light from Drive Medical is another decent model to seek for. It is made of aluminum material for the frames and a high-quality nylon upholstery. This wheelchair also features a padded and flip-back armrests as well as a fold-down footrest that can be very helpful for the patient. Moreover, this wheelchair is foldable and thus can be folded like a conventional folding chair, and placed in a very nice carry bag that comes along with this wheelchair.

47. Another high end product from Drive Medical also makes its place in this top ten list is the Fly Lite Ultra Lightweight Transport Wheelchair. The overall size of this wheelchair is very roomy and thus can accommodate almost every size of patients. The design of this wheelchair is also very good looking and greatly durable, which is always a good attribute to have for such a high-end product.


8. Ranked top of this list is the Drive Medical Silver Sport 1 Wheelchair. The body frames of this wheelchair is made of top-notch silver vein steel with a black powder coated design. The upholstery of this wheelchair features a really nice nylon material that offers great durability and superb lightweightness. The wheels are mounted with urethane tires that bring about smooth and highly protective moving performance.


9. The also very good wheelchair on the market right now is this 352 Lightweight Transport Chair with Detachable Desk Arms from NOVA Medical Products. The overall build quality of this wheelchair is pretty decent, considering both the body frames and upholstery of this wheelchair. What so stands out of this top-quality wheelchair is the fact that it is equipped with a Feather Touch locking hand brakes which are the patented flagship feature of NOVA medical products.


10. The last best wheelchair out there is this Drive Medical Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair. The body frame is made of greatly designed silver vein finish that offers both lightweightness and great durability. It also has a foldable backrest as well as functional upholstery handles that can be used to fold the chair; all of which features are essential elements to make it very user-friendly as it can be stored and transported very conveniently on the go.

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