Self-propel wheelchairs are powered by the user themselves. Sometimes referred to as manual chairs, they make it possible to get out and about and enjoy life. They can also help you retain or even regain your independence.
Freedom of movement
Even if you don’t intend to push yourself all the time, a self-propel chair allows you freedom of movement. Having access to the wheels means you can change the direction you are facing without relying on another person. This is particularly useful in social settings. Self-propel chairs come with hand rims or ‘pushrims’ on the wheels, so you don’t need considerable upper body strength to push yourself – you just need to have some strength and good mobility.
Most self-propel wheelchairs come with handles on the back of the chair. While users of this type of chair will generally push themselves, the handles mean it is possible for another person to push the chair if required.
Best for outdoor use
If you plan on using your wheelchair outdoors, a self-propel chair is a better choice than a transit chair. The large wheels on a self-propel chair are more suited to rough surfaces. They help prevent the bumps and vibrations from the road travelling up and through your body. This improves your comfort and offers a much smoother ride.
Although the larger wheels on a self-propel wheelchair add to the weight of the frame, many models can be folded. This makes it easier to take your chair with you when travelling. Our XS wheelchair has been designed with a folding back, reducing its size and making it easy to take with you wherever you need to go.
Read more: How to choose the right wheelchair for you