Which wheelchair wheels are best for you depends on how and where you are using your wheelchair? Whether you are using the wheelchair for indoor or outdoor? Which type of wheels suits best also depend upon the engaging activities and terrains.
How smooth your ride will be and the maneuver speed and control depend on wheelchair casters, tires, and wheels. Selecting the right option for these components proves to be a little challenging. It is usually advised to consult a therapist or health care expert to help you decide to satisfy your need, affordability needs, and maintenance.
Tips on Choosing the Right Wheelchair Wheels
While configuring the wheelchairs, it is a must to consider the type of wheel you’ll need. The decision depends on a combination of various factors. So, selecting the right wheels is challenging and crucial.
User preference is essential. Maybe the user has a pain condition, so a lot of vibration might increase the pain, or in other cases, the user may like speed as it gives them a sense of independence. This article will give you the correct information for choosing wisely:
Components of Wheelchair Wheels and Factors to be Considered
Before diving into the factors taken into consideration for the proper selection of wheels, you must know the types of wheels and the available components for a wheelchair.
Wheelchair Drive wheels, these pairs of wheels are installed at the back of the wheelchair. A manual wheelchair comes with two pairs of wheels. Steering or caster wheels, these wheel pairs are present in front of the wheelchair.
Power wheelchairs may have three-wheel pairs: two drive wheels and one caster wheel.
Components of Wheelchair Wheel
Wheelchair rear wheels are consist of a spoke (or mags), tires, hub, and rim (and hand rim in case of the manual wheelchair). Hub is the center of a wheel. The mags (or spokes) are used to connect the rim of the wheelchair to its hub. Tires are mounted using a rim on the wheelchair, whereas hand rims push the wheelchair. Mag wheels contain less than ten spokes and are built from synthetic material. In contrast, spoke wheels are just like bicycle wheels in looks and are made from metal. These wheels have thirty-plus spokes.
Factors to Be Considered
Some factors are vital to consider before investing your money, and they are;
- Wheels’ weight.
- The floor condition in which wheels will be used.
For moist surfaces, mag wheels are the best option. However, mag wheels are more decadent than spoke wheels and almost maintenance-free. However, extreme temperatures will significantly affect the mag wheels and spoke wheels work best despite their maintenance and lightweight requirements. Terrains are also a significant factor for the wheels to consider.
For indoor use, a lightweight wheel with a lot of traction is a good option. On the other hand, if the wheelchair will be used more on terrains, then spokes will be a better option. Therefore, while choosing wheelchair wheels, consider your need and prefer the most suitable option that will suit your purpose.
Impact of Wheels on the Functionality
The weight of the wheels also has an impact on the wheelchair’s functionality. To select the right wheel for your wheelchair, you must consider the weight of the wheel. The recommended wheel’s weight is around 9-10 lbs. This weight is also suitable for outdoor use.
If you plan to use the wheelchair indoors, the wheel weight will be less than 8 lbs but should not fall below 7 lbs. The wheels to be used indoor should require less maintenance compared to the wheels used on terrains. It would be best to remember that wheelchair wheels should not restrict your movement while sitting or walking inside the wheelchair.
Wheelchair and Wheels Sizes
The wheelchair wheels have various standard wheelchair size options.
Adult Manual Wheelchair Wheels. The standard manual wheelchair supports a drive wheel size of 24 inches, approx—61 cm.
Power Wheelchair Wheels. The standard power wheelchair incorporates a wheelchair drive wheel size of 18 inches, approx. 45.7cm
Caster Wheels. The caster wheel sizes range start from 3 inches, approx. 7.6cm
The size of the wheels plays a vital part in the comfortability and effort required to maneuver the wheelchair. Therefore, try to select the wheels that ensure maximum comfortability to sit in the chair and minimize the maneuverability of wheelchairs.
There are three types of tires available for wheelchair wheels.
Pneumatic Tires. These tires are air-filled and immediately go flat in case of being punctured. These tires provide a soft ride, i.e., they are soft, even undamaged.
Solid Tires. These tires are not likely to wear out and need almost no maintenance for the wheelchair lift. However, they give you bumpy rides.
Flat-free Tire. These tires are pneumatic but with a semi-solid material filling. They are filled with urethane, rubber, or foam. These tires give you a softer ride than solid tires with no flat tire problem.
The choice of tires depends on the desired terrain (smooth or knobble) usage. The more complex the tire, the easier it will be to maneuver the wheelchair and vice-versa. Always remember that type of tire change the dynamic of how the wheelchair move over certain surfaces.
How Can You Repair Wheelchair Wheels?
You can repair the wheel by replacing the deflated tube or tire with a new one. You can do this with your own hands to save money, or you may need to go to a mechanic for help. The cost of fixing or repairing depends on the wheel’s type, the tire’s part number, and the brand of the wheel.
Other than this minor puncture issue, wheelchair wheels are maintenance-free and long-lasting for a smooth ride. It is good to ensure that you get either a punctured or damaged wheel checked by a mechanic so that you will get your money’s worth.
The type of wheelchair wheels varies according to the different needs of users. All the above-defined factors make a difference in the right choice of wheelchair wheels. For a non-professional person, it is pretty challenging to notice the differences brought by different wheels. However, it is not the same case for the active user or professional.
Are wheelchair wheels interchangeable?
Ans: No, the wheelchair wheels are not interchangeable. You cannot change the caster wheels with the drive wheels and so on. All of them have their function to perform.
What are the parts of a wheelchair?
Ans: A wheelchair consists mainly of the axles, the tires, the wheels, the armrests. The leg rests and the casters.
Do wheelchair wheels get punctured?
Ans: Yes, wheelchair wheels get punctured. Sometimes, the wheels are used outside the house where there are chances that they will be damaged or punctured.