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What Are The Sizes Of Wheelchairs ?

Whether you own a customized or fixed wheelchair, the size of your wheelchair says a lot about your comfort and independence, so getting the right size for you is very important, especially since most of the major measurements are usually set once ordered. Wheelchairs come in many different sizes and widths. 

The main purpose of determining the overall size of a wheelchair is to know the one that fits. So when considering the size of wheelchairs look at your individual areas of difficulty and personal activities, as well as your body measurements. The right fit should meet the above features to give a good posture while leaving a little room for flexibility and safe use.

The correct width stabilizes your sitting position and make your experience on a wheelchair a pleasant one. Also, knowing the different sizes of wheelchairs will help you choose the one best for you and this will enable you to go through tight corners such as doorways and hallways. In addition, your choice of clothing will either make the wheelchair feel smaller or bigger. 

Overall widths and sizes differ across the different types of wheelchairs. For example, a standard wheelchair has an overall width of 26”, a sports wheelchair ranges from 24” to 27”, while the size of a transport wheelchair is 23” or more. Access your home before buying a wheelchair. This can be done by spotting out the narrowest and smallest elevators, passageways, doorways, or whatever you can visualize or think of that you need for your daily routine. 

Around a home, it is usually a narrow hallway or bathroom door that limit access. Wheelchair users who are heavier in weight will need larger wheelchairs, and this will be a problem if they have narrow doorways. Let’s look at the major wheelchairs and their different sizes.

Manual Wheelchairs

The size of a manual wheelchair is 26” (though you can find other smaller sizes). A manual wheelchair is a kind of mobility device that allows its users to move themselves even without needing assistance from a battery, nurse, friend or companion. This wheelchair is among the widest wheelchairs available today.                                You can choose to move yourself or allow someone to push you from behind. A manual wheelchair comes with additional components that might make it look wider. However, these additional components are being added for support and comfort. 

To know the right manual wheelchair, one should first make proper research and consider which model, category, height and size that is best for his/her condition and lifestyle. 

However, if you love moving a lot and you have a nurse or you are presently a nurse, you may prefer using a wheelchair with small rear wheels as they are smaller in size and can help you go through tight corners. 

Transport wheelchairs

Transport chairs (sometimes called travel chairs) come in different sizes and the best size entirely depends on what the user wants. The most commonly used size is 23 inches, but you can always find smaller sizes in 17 inches and 19 inches. Always try out two or more different sizes to see the one that is the most comfortable. 

Also, the seat height matters a lot. For the purpose of certainty, one can measure the height of a transport chair from its bottom to the upholstery. Apart from this, helping to balance the total weight across the human body, the height of the seat also determines if the chair can easily fit under a table. Most transport chairs are made with a seat height that ranges from 16 inches – 19 inches, with most of them being 16 inches tall.

Unlike the manual wheelchairs that are designed for the user to move him or herself, a transport chair is built for a caregiver or companion to push from behind. Transport wheelchairs rest on four little wheels, and unlike most wheelchairs that come in large wheels, these wheelchairs are smaller in size. Transport chairs can be found in hospitals and are unique in their own way as they are great for traveling. Because they are smaller than most wheelchairs, they can be put into the trunk of a regular vehicle.

Transport chairs come in handy for people who are unable to utilize a motorized wheelchair due to physical or mental disabilities. In a case such as this, a nurse will be required to move the patient. In hospitals, transport wheelchairs are used to move patients from one appointment to another within the same facility. Such patients may be recovering from a severe medical problem or regular wheelchair users, or they might not be strong enough to walk by themselves. 

A transport wheelchair also comes in handy when embarking on a journey as it folds easily for storage and are much lighter than other regular wheelchairs. The transport chair is a great choice for those who get out often to the park, mall, and other public places but cannot stand or walk for a long period of time. Of course, a companion will be needed to push the user around, but it will go a long way to improve the social and emotional state of the user.

Sports Wheelchairs

You will find the sports wheelchairs to range from 24″ to 27″. Disabled and other participating sportsmen use special sports wheelchairs for sports that need agility and speed, such as tennis, racing, rugby and basketball. Because these chairs are used for sport activities, they are built in different sizes to meet the needs of the user.  

Each wheelchair sports happen to use different types of wheelchair sizes, and they take different shapes, heights, widths and lengths. Due to the purpose of these chairs, they can not be folded to reduce in size. But they are, however, made of lightweight and composite materials. Sport wheelchairs are not really for daily use and are often owned as a ‘second’ chair specially for sporting use, although some wheelchair users prefer using this option for their daily move. 

Because of the size of this mobility device, disabled sport participants keep a little distance from one another during a sports game. This distance between participants is kept to avoid collision that may result in injuries. Generally, the wheelchair sports game you indulge in will have its specific type of wheelchair to support it. Such wheelchairs will have been specially built for the sports they are used for. 

Electric Wheelchairs

An average electric wheelchair measures about 32 inches wide, with others ranging from 22 to 30 inches wide. Notwithstanding, sometimes only the seat cushion could measure about 30 inches, which certainly means the whole wheelchair will be more than 32 inches!

An electric wheelchair (sometimes called a motorized wheelchair or power chair) is a mobility device that is moved by means of an electric power rather than the traditional manual power. A motorized chair is a great option for those who find it hard to propel a standard wheelchair or those who wish to go a far distance on a wheelchair. These chairs are not only used by individuals with mobility issues, but also by those with fatigue-based and cardiovascular conditions.

A power wheelchair needs battery and a joystick to function, and this adds to the overall weight and size of the wheelchair. When you are searching for an electric wheelchair to buy, you should always know the size, features, and price point you need to help make life easier. The standard electric wheelchair usually come with a heavy frame, making it hard to carry around. 

To know more about the sizes of wheelchairs, let’s go ahead to consider the following dimensions:

Seat Depth

The seat depth is just as significant as the width for biomechanics and comfort. A wheelchair with a short seat will overload the buttocks and increase pressure care risks. It even goes ahead to create more pressure around the castors, and it affects maneuverability.  Nevertheless, a seat that is too deep will put pressure behind your knees, causing forward slipping, slumped posture or extended legs, affecting propulsion and pressure care. Go for wheelchair sizes that come with a good seat depth. Aim for a wheelchair with a lot of room that allows your weight to be distributed through your buttocks and thighs, while leaving some space behind your knees to avoid restrictions.

Chair Height

The height of a standard wheelchair is as tall as a regular office chair. Selecting the right seat height will allow some of the user’s body weight to be taken by his or her feet, ensuring that the legs are well supported. Although, bare in mind that the height of a wheelchair doesn’t make it wider than others. 


The wheelchair market today is friendly and big. This has made it a bit easier to find the suitable wheelchair type, model, or size that you have been looking for. Do not forget that it is good to listen to your physician’s advice, but it is even better to pay attention to your body language.

Always remember that wheelchairs that are smaller in size can help you go through doorways, but they also come with limitations.

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