Globally, the cost of wheelchairs differs greatly.
Not only is the down to different economic patterns across the world, and indeed even across countries themselves, but also due to the huge range of wheelchair types which are available for users.
The primary purpose of this article is to discuss the most common types of wheelchair available across the world, and how their cost differs depending on where you are from.
Styles of Wheelchair
Throughout the world, there are numerous different types, styles and designs or wheelchair. In this article, we have outlined five, which span a range of purposes and are fit for all types of wheelchair users.
- Manual Wheelchairs
Perhaps the most common type of wheelchair is the manual wheelchair. As the name suggests, this is a wheelchair whereby the user can manoeuvre themselves, or can be pushed by someone else if need be.
In the manual wheelchair bracket, there are two subcategories: standard and lightweight.
Starting with the standard wheelchair, you can expect to pay around $100 to $500 for one. However, this figure can change if you live in a particularly expensive area.
The lightweight models function the same as a standard manual wheelchair, but they are (obviously) lighter in weight. This means that they are usually made from titanium, which increases their cost. The average price for a lightweight manual wheelchair is anywhere from $500 to $2,000.
- Electric Wheelchairs
Another common type of wheelchair is the electric wheelchair.
In order to function properly, they have a lot more technology incorporated into them than their manual counterparts.
Of course, this increases their price, and electric wheelchairs are more expensive than manual wheelchairs, often coming in at a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $15,000.
This is a large price range, and there are a number of factors which can increase the cost of an electric wheelchair.
For instance, if a larger model is needed to carry someone with a larger frame or a heavier weight than average, then this adds to the cost, as the chair itself has to be made bigger.
In addition to this, a more powerful motor will be needed, which also adds to the overall cost of an electric wheelchair.
Batteries of electric wheelchairs are generally very good and designed to last a long time, however, if the battery does need replacing, this can also incur a significant cost, too.
- Mobility Scooters
Although they are similar to electric wheelchairs, mobility scooters do have some key differences.
One of these differences is that they are primarily designed for outdoor use – while another element is that they are designed so that the user can get on and off it when they like, as they are often frequented by older people who may use it for going into town shopping, or to get on the bus with if they struggle with mobility issues.
Their price range is anywhere from $500 to upwards of $5,000. Like the electric wheelchair, there are a range of factors which can both increase and decrease the cost of a mobility scooter.
A major one is the size – larger models cost more to manufacture, so as a result, they also cost more to buy.
- Children’s Wheelchairs
Children’s wheelchairs, or pediatric wheelchairs, are those which are designed for children to use. Sometimes they are designed for children who have severe disabilities, while others are a temporary fix, if a child has broken their leg, for example.
The ones discussed in this article are referring to the former type of design.
They are priced at around $500 to $5,000, so similar to mobility scooters. While some children need their wheelchairs full time, others, such as those who suffer from conditions like cerebral palsy, need them the majority of the time, but can still spend some time outside of the wheelchair.
Another factor which can increase the cost of pediatric wheelchairs is the designs on them. Often children will like certain cartoon characters, or paintings on their wheelchairs which can be custom-made by artists, so this can also add to the overall cost.
- Sport Wheelchairs
There are many sports today in which wheelchair users can freely participate in, and thanks to the Paralympics, there are also various athletic events which wheelchair users can also take part in when previously this would not have been possible.
Various sports such as wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair tennis have all increased in popularity in the last few years.
This also means that designs for these specific types of wheelchairs have also developed and become more refined.
Because the wheelchairs are sports-specific (the same wheelchair cannot be used for wheelchair basketball as wheelchair rugby for example), each design is often unique, as well as unique to the user’s needs (particularly those designed for professional athletes).
The price can often be $10,000 or more for a professional model, and they are susceptible to sustaining damage during sport, which can also add to its overall cost.
Depending on where you live can also affect the overall cost of wheelchairs.
Typically, areas which are much more highly urbanized than others will have higher costs – think of how much more expensive a wheelchair in New York or Los Angeles will be than a small town in Oklahoma or Kansas.
However, delivery costs can also play a part. If you are unable to collect your wheelchair in person, or you have ordered it online, you will have to pay a delivery fee.
The further you live from a delivery center, the more expensive the delivery fee will cost you. And although this is simply a one-off payment, it is still worth bearing in mind that this can affect the overall cost of a wheelchair.
There are many factors which contribute to the overall cost of a wheelchair. However, it is important to remember that there is no such thing as an average wheelchair.
The wheelchairs discussed in this article are specifically designed for individuals with completely different needs, from athletes who participate in wheelchair sports, to those who struggle with mobility issues but can still walk without the aid of a wheelchair, to pediatric wheelchairs, designed for disabled and non-disabled children alike.
The type of wheelchair that you want contributes to the cost, but so does the location of where you buy it – typically areas which are much more urbanized and have a higher cost of living rate will be more expensive to purchase wheelchairs from.
Whatever your reason for buying a new wheelchair, make sure that it is comfortable and designed to suit your individual needs.