Approximately 3.6 million people in the United States use wheelchairs according to the Census Bureau. That’s over 1 percent of the population. Two million Americans past age 65 use wheelchairs regularly.

Among the conditions that lead to wheelchair use are

  • spinal cord injuries;
  • frailty Design and Engineering;
  • amputated legs;
  • cerebral palsy;
  • multiple sclerosis; and
  • muscular dystrophy.

Other disorders that may affect movement - arthritis and osteoporosis, for example - can also result in wheelchair dependency.

Chairdex is a website about wheelchairs. We describe the types of chairs, the history of wheelchairs, and common accessories. There are many exciting developments in wheelchair design going on now. Wheelchair athletes have formed a thriving community and we also present resources for people who use wheelchairs. Further, we discuss the effect of the Americans with Disabilities Act on design of facilities to accommodate wheelchairs.


People who use wheelchairs face challenges not only in finding a suitable chair, but also in navigating their chairs through the built environment. Many buildings are not accessible, making it difficult or impossible to get into and around in if you are in a wheelchair. Even buildings that are advertised as accessible may not actually be so for a wheelchair user. And traveling outdoors is hard during inclement weather: ice, snow, and slush make wheelchair use exhausting and can leave the user wet and cold. Driving is feasible for some, but it poses challenges.wheelchair

Increased awareness about disabilities along with architectural and technological changes can lessen obstacles and make it easier for wheelchair users to go about their daily lives.

Sizes of Chairs

The following data is true to the best of our knowledge. Contact the manufacturer or a dealer to confirm.


Wheelchair Category Chair height Weight Capacity Seat width Seat depth
Steel Transport Chair by Invacare 19" 250 lbs. 17", 19" 16"
Excel Freedom Transport Chair 18.8" 300 lbs. 19"
Invacare 12" Rear Wheel Transport 19.25" 250 lbs. 19"
Lightweight Aluminum Transport 19.25" 250 lbs. 19"
Steel Transport Chair by Drive 19" 300 lbs. 17", 19" 16"
Fly-Lite Transport Chair 18" 250 lbs. 19"
Expedition 12" Rear Wheel Transport Chair   300 lbs. 19"
Plaid Transport Wheelchair 18" 300 lbs. 17", 19" 16"
Removable Armrest Transport Wheelchair 19" 300 lbs. 17", 19" 16"
Karman Removable Arm Transport Chair 20.5" 250 lbs. 19" or 17" 16"
Karman S-115 Ergonomic Transport Chair   250 lbs. 16" , 18", 20" 17"
Excel Deluxe Aluminum Transport Chair 18.8" 300 lbs. 19" 16"
Excel Ultralight (19 lbs.) Aluminum Transport Chair 18.8" 300 lbs.
19" 16"
Karman Ultra Light Reclining Transport Chair 19.5" 250 lbs.
18" or 16" 18"
Excel Translator Transport Chair / Rollator 19" 250 lbs.
19" 16"


Wheelchair Category Chair height Weight Capacity Seat width Seat depth
Karman MVP Reclining Transport Wheelchair
  250 lbs. 20"
Two-in-One Rollator and Transport Chair
  250 lbs.

Karman 12" Rear Wheel Transport Chair
19" 250 lbs. 19"
Deluxe Fly-Weight Transport Chair
19" 250 lbs. 17",19"
Excel 3000 Convertible Manual Wheelchair
20" 300 lbs. 18" 16"
Foldable Lightweight Travel Chair
  250 lbs. 18"
Bariatric Transport Chair
19.5" 300 lbs. 22"
Stowaway Lightweight Folding Transport Chair
  300 lbs. 17" 16"
Super Light Folding Transport Chair with Carry Bag
19" 300 lbs. 18" 16"
Travel Companion™ Lightweight Wheelchair
250 lbs. 15.5" 16"
Airgo Navigator Rollator/Transport Wheelchair
  250 lbs.   17"
Foldable Lightweight Travel Transporter 18.8" 300 lbs. 16" 16"
Karman 19 lb. Ultra Light Transport Chair 19" 250 lbs.
19" or 17" 16"
Lightweight Transport Wheelchair 19" 250 lbs.
Duet Transport Chair and Rollator in one 21" 300 lbs.
12" 12"



The Census Bureau says 12.6 percent of Americans have a diability of some sort. Among people past age 65, this is 35.0 percent. There is a good chance you will have to use a wheelchair at some point in your life, e.g. if you get a spinal cord injury or similar injury.

Your insurance plan may pay for a new wheelchair, but if not you can find used wheelchairs on the internet, or through organizations like Goodwill Industries. Goodwill is sometimes able to offer wheelchairs at low or no cost to people who need them. They are able to do this as people upgrade their wheelchairs and give away their older ones, or as people recover from temporary disabilities and donate their wheelchairs.

Development of a Wheelchair Maintenance Training Programme and Questionnaire for Clinicians and Wheelchair Users

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