When providing a safe and comfortable riding experience, be it for the elderly, for anyone who is recuperating from surgery or for a person who needs to cope with lifelong disabilities, a wheelchair comes as a great support. However, since wheelchairs are available in a variety of materials at a wide range of prices, it is important to understand the pros and cons of different types such as aluminum, steel, carbon fiber, and titanium wheelchairs.
There are low end, manual wheelchairs that are commonly seen at malls, airports, and large stores. However, these models may not be specifically suited to someone who is dependent on long-term wheelchair use.
Steel wheelchairs score on account of their strength and relatively low cost. This is why most rental wheelchairs are made of steel. However, their heaviness limits their portability. Also, steel over time, especially when exposed to salty air, may tend to rust or corrode.
Aluminum wheelchairs are most commonly preferred as they are both cost-effective and lighter than steel wheelchairs. Combination aluminum-carbon fiber wheelchairs are now available and are proven to be corrosion proof.
On the higher end of the price band, are carbon fiber and titanium wheelchairs. Titanium scores on account of its durability, strength, and ability to absorb vibrations from the floor or any other surface. However, owing to its high cost of procurement and manufacture, they are more commonly used in specific target segments such as to play wheelchair soccer, basketball, or racing. Carbon fiber wheelchairs are both light-weight and durable as well. Nowadays, manufacturers are also coming up with a combination of carbon fiber and titanium wheelchairs as well.
In the present times, an extensive degree of customization is possible with wheelchairs being made with an additional head, neck, and back support. Depending on the extent of specific features and the kind of material used to provide durability, portability, and ease of use, the cost also varies across a broad range.