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Wheelchair FAQs

Overall Wheelchair Width

Question:  What is “Overall Wheelchair Width”?

For most folding, standard weight and lightweight wheelchairs the overall width of the chair (outside wheel to outside wheel) is determined by adding 8" to the seat width.  Transport chairs generally add up to 3" to seat width, depending on wheelchair model.

Wheelchair Weight

Question: What is the difference between a standard weight and a lightweight wheelchair?

The difference can be as much as 10 - 20 lbs. Weight is definitely a consideration if the wheelchair is going to be transported in a car trunk, backseat, or propelled by an individual. Some steel framed chairs approach 50 lbs. and can be too difficult to propel, carry, or lift. Lightweight wheelchairs range in weight from 28 lbs. to 36 lbs. and are easier to lift into a car trunk.

Seat to Floor Height

Question: Why is Seat to Floor Height Important?

Seat-to-floor height is important if the user is going to propel the wheelchair with their feet. Seat-to-floor height can be adjusted down approximately 2" by purchasing a “dual axle” wheelchair. On these adjustable height” chairs with “dual axles” the front forks have several holes to allow moving the front wheels up or down a few inches. The combination of these adjustments allow for about 2 inches of adjustment in seat-to-floor height.

Seat to Floor Height - Standard VS Hemi

Question: Why is the difference between Standard Seat to Floor Height and Hemi?

Standard seat-to-floor height for a wheelchair is 19.5". Hemi is 17.5 to 19.5-inches and varies some what with different models. Anything lower to the ground is a “super“ Hemi. In some cases to achieve a lower seat-to-floor height the rear wheels are changed from the standard 24-inch to either a 22 or 20-inch. The front casters are also changed from a standard 8-inch to a 6 or 5-inch. Remember: if you are adding a cushion to a wheelchair allow that differential (you’ll be adding approx. 2" to seat height.) 

  HEMI Height Quick Reference Guide  
  User Height Seat Height  
  4'11” and under 14” to 16”  
  5' to 5'4” 17” to 18”  
  5' and up 19” to 21”  


Question: What wheelchair accessories are available? And used for what purpose?

Anti-tips are appropriate when a user is very active and there is a risk of falling. Seat belts may be used to prevent the user from sliding down or out of a chair. Brake extensions are recommended for ease of use for those users with arthritis or similar conditions. Positioning devices such as cushions, laterals, lap trays, back supports, and many other similar devices can appropriately position a patient in a chair.