Wheelchairs allow mobility in cases where many other types of mobility aids would be unsuitable. Being low to the ground, supported on four wheels and operated from a seated position, wheelchairs provide the maximum possible amount of safety and comfort.
Standard wheelchairs incorporate large rear wheels with hand-grips, allowing the user freedom of movement. This is the much preferred option for those who rely on the device for everyday use, live active lifestyles or value autonomy and independence. Standard wheelchairs can move either by the control of the user, or by a second person pushing the chair. As such, they can provide a great deal of freedom to users with little or no use of their legs.
Transport wheelchairs have four small wheels, meaning they can only be pushed by a second person. Typically, transport chairs are used to move patients around hospitals, however they are also useful for day-trips and outings where a standard wheelchair might present challenges. As the bulky rear wheels have been removed, transport wheelchairs are much lighter and more easily storable, so they are much better choices for travel. However, while in a transport wheelchair, the user is completely dependent on a second person for mobility.
Buying a wheelchair can be a significant investment, and purchasers expect the device to last them a long time, so it is important to make an informed decision when choosing your wheelchair. When the user relies exclusively on the wheelchair for mobility or expects to remain in it for extended periods, it may be important to prioritise the comfort provided by the chosen model. If the purpose of the chair is only for short outings, ease of storage and transport can be prioritised. Typically, if you will be using the device for an extended period of time, or you particularly value your ability to operate independently, you might prefer a standard wheelchair; if you will only need your device for short stretches of time, or if you have difficulty operating a standard wheelchair, you will likely prefer a transport wheelchair.