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Best Travel Wheelchair 2021 (Review & Buyer Guide)

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When shopping for the best travel wheelchairs, you might become overwhelmed by all the available models. 

Fortunately, we’re here to help you choose the perfect foldable wheelchair for travel!

Just keep on reading!

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Check this comparison table for a quick guide. Read the review for further details.

Preview
Top Benefit
Perfect for trips out of the town
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Preview
Medline Comfort Driven Wheelchair with Removable Desk Arms and Elevating Leg Rests, 18” Seat
Top Benefit
Comfortable
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Editor's Choice
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Top Benefit
Premium-quality and lightweight
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Preview
Top Benefit
Relieves pressure
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Preview
Top Benefit
Removable footrest and anti-bacterial upholstery
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Going on a trip can be difficult and stressful when you’re in a wheelchair or have a disability. There’s a lot of arrangements to make before the trip, including how to transport your heavy-duty wheelchair. 

That’s why you might consider a travel wheelchair, which is lighter than regular ones and is designed to be easy to carry.  

In general, two types of travel wheelchairs exist – manual wheelchairs and electric ones. While power wheelchairs have their advantage, we’re focusing on manual wheelchairs (for now). 

But before we go to our top 5 picks, let’s talk about what features the best travel wheelchair has. It will help you narrow down the search. 

Features of the Best Travel Wheelchairs: A Quick Buying Guide 

Getting a wheelchair is a big decision because you’re going to use it daily, and you rely on it to get from point A to point B. You want a wheelchair that fits your specific needs. 

Fortunately, wheelchairs have changed quite a lot in recent years, thanks to technology and innovation. You can get as many wheelchair accessories as you want to make your life easy and comfortable.

But the best travel wheelchairs have a few key features that make them useful for people that want to travel. Let’s see them. 

1. Lightweight/Portability

Standard wheelchairs can be heavy, making it difficult for you to get around the house, let alone travel to another city/country.

That’s why the best travel wheelchairs are light and easy to move/transport to other destinations. You will be able to go Sunday shopping with your family, visit a friend, and do many more exciting activities.

Lightweight wheelchairs for travel also give more freedom to caregivers because they’re light enough to lift without straining. 

2. Compact

Besides weight, the best travel wheelchairs are easy to fold up and don’t take much space in the vehicle or around the house. 

When you’re traveling, you might have a limited baggage space, and trying to stuff a heavy wheelchair into a tiny area can be a nightmarish experience. 

Moreover, foldable travel wheelchairs allow you to store them easily somewhere in the house for when you need to use them. 

3. Easy to Use

When you’re traveling, the last thing you want is to figure out how to set up your travel wheelchair or how to collapse it.

Look for a chair that is easy to fold/unfold and doesn’t take you ages to do it. 

4. Sturdiness

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Travel wheelchairs should be sturdy. Otherwise, you might find that you have to replace the wheelchair or purchase replacement parts after a single trip.

Look for lightweight transport wheelchairs made of quality material that won’t chip, crack, or bend. Steel is better than aluminum, but it tends to be more expensive and heavy.  

5. Easy To Maneuver

Since regular wheelchairs are heavy, they’re more difficult to maneuver because they require more strength. That’s what makes them unfit for traveling.

Instead, look for a lightweight transport wheelchair that you or your caregiver can push around with ease so that it won’t reduce your mobility. 

Top 5 Best Travel Wheelchairs with Reviews

Now that you know what features the best travel wheelchairs have, we can look at our top five picks that we’ve carefully selected from hundreds of available models. 

1. Nova Lightweight Transport Chair with Fixed Arms

Nova Medical’s transport chair is perfect for wheelchair users that want something comfortable to maneuver and transport. 

It features a lightweight aluminum frame so that you can lift this chair in and out of any vehicle without straining muscles. The quick-release fold-down back makes it compact and easy to fold. 

While light, the chair is sturdy, durable, and has removable Anti-trippers and secondary wheel locks for safety. The adjustable seat belt adds another layer of security during travel. 

The chair also boasts Nova’s unique Feather Touch hand brakes and 8-inch rear wheels for maximum speed control.

These key features allow companions and caregivers to safely park the wheelchair on uneven surfaces, making it perfect for travel. 

Wheelchair users love the flip-up and removable padded desk arms. Thanks to them, it’s easier than ever to make the transfer from the chair to a vehicle, sit at the dining table, or ride up to desks. 

Furthermore, the Nova lightweight travel wheelchair has swing-away footrests with heel loops for comfort and security. You can adjust the footrests with ease or remove them if you don’t need them. 

The wheelchair also has a weight capacity of 300 pounds, so you don’t have to worry about breaking or bending it.

Moreover, you get a small storage pouch to keep your mobile phone/keys close to you when you’re traveling. 

However, some wheelchair users note that the seat is not as comfortable as expected and that they need a seat cushion. Some also state that armrests are too short.

Benefits:

  • Weight capacity up to 300 pounds
  • Light aluminum frame 
  • Adjustable seatbelt and footrests
  • Cushioned armrests
  • Removable flip-up armrests
  • Removable footrests
  • Safety features

Cons:

  • Short seat depth
  • Armrests are too short for some users.

2. The Comfort Driven Wheelchair by Mediline

Comfort Pick

Comfort Driven Wheelchair

If you’re going to spend long hours sitting in your travel wheelchair, comfort is of the most importance. That’s why you can’t go wrong with Medline’s Comfort Driven wheelchair. 

For starters, Medline’s transport wheelchair has a soft, nylon upholstery to ensures maximum comfort when you’re traveling. The material is breathable so that you don’t have to worry about getting sweaty. 

Moreover, Medline’s wheelchair has removable armrests. You can sit at the dinner table with no problems and enjoy your meal. 

It also has a self-propelling feature and locking brakes, while the flat-free tires and mag wheels ensure that you have a smooth ride, no matter what bumps are ahead.

While Medline’s driven comfort wheelchair weighs 38 pounds, it folds quickly, making it easy to transport or store. You will also appreciate the elevating leg rest and the adjustable seat height.

The premium welds also guarantee that the chair is durable and sturdy and won’t fall apart after several trips. 

Medline’s product has a 300-pound weight capacity, and the seat is available in several sizes – 16, 18, or 20-inch wide. 

However, some customers note that the wheelchair doesn’t fit in all vehicles and is harder to maneuver than expected. But it’s great for narrow doorways and tight spaces. 

Benefits:

  • Great outdoor performance
  • Ultra-durable
  • Foldable backs for easy storage
  • Breathable materials
  • Elevated leg rests
  • Adjustable seat height
  • Withstands up to 300 pounds

Cons:

  • It doesn’t fit into all car/door types.
  • Not the lightest option 

Medline Comfort Driven Wheelchair with Removable Desk Arms and Elevating Leg Rests, 18” Seat
338 Reviews
Medline Comfort Driven Wheelchair with Removable Desk Arms and Elevating Leg Rests, 18” Seat
  • Removable desk-length arms make it easy to sit comfortably at a table | Elevating leg rests relieve pressure and enhance comfort
  • Long-lasting, attractive hammertone finish | Nylon upholstery is soft and breathable. No Bariatric
  • Premium welds for extended use. Self Propelling feature is available
  • Flat-free tires and mag wheels deliver a smooth ride | 2” seat-height adjustments (hemi-height) enable foot-powered movement
  • 300-lb. weight capacity | 38-lbs. product weight, without leg rests | Seat dimensions are 18 x 16 inches

3. The Blue Streak Wheelchair with Flip Back Desk Arms by Drive Medical

Best Price Pick

Drive Medical is a company with a well-earned reputation among people with disabilities, so it’s no surprise that they have one of the best travel wheelchairs on the market.

Their Blue Streak chair has a unique design to provide you with maximum versatility, portability, and comfort. 

This travel wheelchair features swing-away leg rests and detachable armrests, which makes it perfect for travel. It’s also easy to maneuver, folds quickly, and doesn’t weigh a ton. 

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The 18-inch wide seat is designed for maximum convenience, comfort, and cushioning to make long trips in this wheelchair as pleasurable as possible.

The rubber tires with their push-and-lock feature ensure that you won’t trip over any bumps and that you can park your wheelchair safely. The calf straps can also come in handy for extra protection. 

Moreover, Drive Medical’s lightweight transport wheelchair needs little maintenance due to padded nylon upholstery. The blue frame also has a steel finish to prevent chipping and cracking.  

However, some users complain that the wheels squeak too much and that they didn’t get the removable footrests.

Still, Drive Medical’s product remains one of the best lightweight folding wheelchairs.

Benefits:

  • Easy to clean
  • Removable armrest
  • Great for bumpy terrain
  • Swing-away leg rest
  • Sturdy steel frame

Cons:

  • Better for temporary than to everyday use
  • Squeaky wheels

4. Karman S-125 Ergonomic Wheelchair 

Best Overall Pick

If you’re looking for a lightweight transport wheelchair, you can’t go wrong with Karman and their ergonomic chair that promises ultimate mobility. 

Since the chair weighs only 14.5 pounds (without the rear wheels), you can transport it anywhere you wish without breaking a sweat. 

The wheelchair also fits easily in travel bags, trunks, or the back seat of a car. The removable footrests and wheels also ensure maximum portability. 

Moreover, Karman’s wheelchair has an ergonomic design that addresses caregivers and users’ needs and provides maximum comfort.

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The S-shape seating frame follows the body’s natural curves, reduces the risks of pressure ulcers, and promotes a better posture. You can spend hours sitting, and you won’t feel sore. 

On the other hand, the companion brakes allow wheelchair users and caregivers to stop the wheelchair safely without bending down. You can go up or down slopes/ramps without fearing a fall.

Moreover, the brakes make it easy to maneuver the wheelchair in tight spaces or slow down safely when you need it. The large wheels also ensure a smooth ride and safety on inclines. 

Karman wheelchair has a weight capacity of 220 pounds, which is slightly lower than the usual limit. But the seat is available in two sizes – 16″ x 17 and 18″ x 17″ – and you’ve got a storage pocket in the back. 

Benefits:

  • Removable wheels/footrests
  • Hand brakes
  • Foldable, compact, and versatile
  • Ultralight transport wheelchair
  • Detachable footrests

Cons:

  • No seatbelt 
  • Not the cheapest option

5. The Aluminum Transport Wheelchair by ProBasics

Caregiver’s Pick

Last but not least in our list of the best travel wheelchair is ProBasics’ Aluminium chair that impresses with several key features. 

Thanks to the back release hinges and nylon straps, you can fold this lightweight transport wheelchair in seconds. It folds flat to 10.25 inches wide, which makes it perfect for traveling and storage. 

Furthermore, since the wheelchair weighs only 22 pounds, it’s not hard to lift or carry when you have to or fit it in a travel bag when boarding an airplane. 

We also like that this lightweight model features an adjustable seatbelt, push-to-lock brakes (user-activated), and lockable hand brakes (companion-activated) to ensure user safety.

It’s never been easier for caregivers to engage the rear brake and lock the wheelchair in place when they have to transfer patients from the wheelchair to vehicles.

The ProBasicic’s chair also boasts a paddle seat so that you can use the wheelchair for extended periods without getting sores. The breathable nylon upholstery is easy to clean and prevents overheating.

But that’s not all. You get padded full-length armrests, tool-free swing-away footrests, and heel loops for added comfort and convenience. 

Moreover, the 12-inch wheels deliver great performances on rough surfaces and ensure that you don’t feel bumps and obstacles.

Caregivers also like the flared handles with an ergonomic grip that makes it easy to push the wheelchair without fingers slipping. 

A weight capacity of 300 pounds also ensures that the chair can handle a lot of pressure without breaking.

Overall, this lightweight chair is an excellent choice for both wheelchair users, seniors, and caregivers.  

However, customers note that the seat dimensions are smaller than 19 inches and that the small wheels make it harder to push than expected.

Benefits:

  • Adjustable seatbelt
  • Compact folding mechanism
  • Padded seat
  • Swing-away foot 
  • Flared handles
  • Full length padded armrests
  • Caregiver comfort

Cons:

  • The seat is not very wide.
  • Small wheels

Related: Best Wheelchair Covers for Travel

Conclusion

We hope we made it easy for you to discover the best travel wheelchair for your specific needs with our article and reviews. 

If you’re still on the fence about getting a travel wheelchair, you should consider their versatility and durability. A lightweight chair can serve multiple purposes, which makes it an excellent investment. 

More importantly, travel wheelchairs make life easier for you and your caregiver, give you back the opportunity to travel, and increase your independence. 

Our Choice

There’s no doubt that these five lightweight transport wheelchairs are the best available on the market. Each one of them can increase your mobility and make traveling possible again. 

But if you ask us to name one that stands among the rest, our choice is clear. We believe that Karman Ergonomic Wheelchair delivers the best mix of key features, versatile design, and performance.

Since it’s the lightest wheelchair on the list, you can take it anywhere. It’s an ideal choice for shopping, short family visits, or long trips because it provides a comfortable ride. 

Moreover, the wheelchair folds flat in seconds and fits with no problems inside trunks, planes, or closets. It won’t take extra space in your home when you don’t need it.

However, if it’s not within your budget, ProBasics’s aluminum chair offers plenty of features for an affordable price. 

What do you think about these top 5 best travel wheelchairs? Have you ever used one, and what’s your experience with them? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

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