Wheelchair’s come in all shapes and sizes to meet every persons needs. Specialised wheelchair’s to hire or buy for special needs can be very difficult to source. Unlike larger economy’s such as Europe and USA, we are very limited for choice in Australia simply because demand drives supply which means that generally mostly common size equipment for disability needs are available.
Purchasing options for wheelchairs are usually better than what may be available for hire. Costs for wheelchairs can start as low as several hundred dollars and go up to more than $10000. Be careful buying very cheap wheelchairs, as they are priced low for a reason, this is usually due to low quality materials and manufacture. It is possible however to buy very good quality wheelchairs inexpensively. Look for Australian manufacturers with products meeting Australian design standards along with appropriate TGA approvals. Keep in mind that most if not all these wheelchairs are fully manufactured in China or only assembled here but still produced offshore. This is not an issue with a local manufacturer because they are responsible for the quality and standard of manufacture of equipment sold locally.
Beware of eBay or Gumtree bargains, as you will have little or no recourse from defects or poor manufacture. Any company that you deal with should assist you through this process to ensure you are aware of the extent of options and warranty support available to you upon purchase of your new wheelchair. Price does not guarantee quality; it is possible to buy a very good wheelchair under or around $1000 to suit most needs. Generally if you are spending more than this you are receiving a tailored wheelchair (made to your specification) or a specialty wheelchair for specialised needs with custom adjustment.
Whichever direction you go, shop around, ask lots of questions and spend your $$ only with those you feel most comfortable. Lightweight aluminium wheelchairs (approx. 12kg) are very popular, however they tend to be a little less robust and may feel to some a little rickety or less stable. This is fine where wheelchair use is intermittent or short term. I would recommend a slightly heavier aluminium wheelchair (approx. 16kg) for wheelchair needs that are ongoing or permanent especially where elevated leg rests or stump supports are to be used. Most modern wheelchairs can be made lighter by removing the wheels, which can easily release as well as other components that can be removed ahead of loading to a vehicle to be reassembled upon unloading the wheelchair.
However there are some factors to consider. Consider availability of wheelchairs sizes, good quality and safe wheelchairs and most importantly hygienically clean wheelchairs offered for hire. When enquiring to hire a wheelchair, you should be asked for your height and weight to assist the hirer to match you to an appropriately safe and comfortable wheelchair. The company you choose should have good quality and modern equipment in a range of sizes to suit your needs. Most importantly the company you select should be able to prove they have stringent hygiene systems to ensure your wheelchair is thoroughly clean and free from contamination from one user to the next. This protects you from staph, influenza, gastro norovirus and a variety of diseases and viruses that can be transferred upon equipment surfaces. (read more about hire equipment hygiene) You may find it difficult to source bariatric and paediatric wheelchairs depending upon where you are located as most providers as mentioned earlier, only carry generalised equipment. Keep looking to ensure you do not have to settle for uncomfortable or unsafe hire equipment.
Buying a Wheelchair
- Price does not always dictate quality
- Buy from locally based manufacturers
- Shop around
Hiring a Wheelchair
- Get the right size and fit
- Make sure it is clean from viral contaminants and regularly serviced
- Read the hire terms and conditions before you hire
Feel free to contact us if you would like any assistance in selecting the right wheelchair to best suit your needs.
Copyright – Mobility Rentals & Sales 2016