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Home / ILS Blog / How to Buy a Wheelchair

At ILS we ensure that all of our products are of a high quality so that no matter what your budget, you can be sure of finding a wheelchair that is right for you or your friend or family member. We realise that buying a wheelchair is a big decision, and can be a daunting task for the buyer and the user alike. It can be difficult to know where to start, and choices can become overwhelming. This is where we come in.

This how to buy a wheelchair guide has been created to help you know what to look for when making a purchasing or hiring decision. So grab a pen and paper and get ready to jot down a few notes – by the time you finish reading this you should have a clearer idea of which wheelchair will best suit your requirements, without blowing the budget.


Firstly, it helps to actually set yourself a budget. If you haven’t already done this, take some time to talk it over with anyone involved in the purchasing decision and see if you can settle on a price limit. It is also a good idea to talk over any features that you think are an absolute necessity, and keep in mind the cost of wheelchairs with these features when working on your budget. This will help you to narrow down your initial choices and then later you can explore other features if necessary.


When browsing our website, select the “Shop online” option, then “Wheelchairs”. From here, on the right hand side of the page, above the pictures, you will see a drop-down box which enables you to arrange our available wheelchairs by price. This is a useful tool to help you search within your budget.


The next thing you can do is to make a list of priorities of features. The following notes should help you get a clearer idea of what sort of things you might need.

The most important decision you will make when choosing a wheelchair is whether to buy a transit wheelchair or a self-propelled wheelchair. When making this decision, keep in mind the lifestyle of the wheelchair user and ask.

  • Do they live independently, or is there usually somebody else around?
  • Do they often go out alone?
  • Do they have the strength to self-propel a wheelchair?
  • How often will the chair be used?
  • Will they need both a transit and a self propelled wheelchair?


Answering these questions should give you an idea of whether a transit or self-propelled wheelchair is right for the user. For someone who is regularly alone, it might be best to consider a self-propelled chair, provided they have the strength to use it. For a user who only uses the ‘chair when going out with family or friends, for example, a transit chair is a suitable option. For full-time wheelchair users, it might be necessary to buy one of each. But don’t forget, at ILS we offer a wheelchair hire service for those one-off occasions, which could save you from having to buy both types of ‘chair.

Woman's Hands on Wheelchair

Knowing how and where the wheelchair will be used most is essential to your buying decision. For a part-time wheelchair user, or for occasional trips to visit friends, family or go to the shops, for example, a compact wheelchair might make a better option. A transit, easy-storage ‘chair such as the Days Healthcare Swift Wheelchair is a great value occasional use ‘chair. Compact chairs like this are ideal for taking on trips or leaving at relatives’ homes. If the wheelchair will be used in these situations, it is a good idea to consider the storage space available. Each of the wheelchair listings on our site offer specifics of weight and dimensions, as well as outlining whether the ‘chair is collapsible, to ensure that you can properly store your ILS purchase.

The weight and dimensions of the ‘chair will also be important if it will be regularly loaded/unloaded into a vehicle. While it may be necessary to find a compact, easily stored ‘chair, remember that the user’s comfort is equally important. It pays to know just how wide and deep the seat of the ‘chair needs to be in order to achieve comfort for the user as well as storability in a car or small space, if applicable. Prioritising manoeuvrability against comfort will be something you need to discuss with the user if buying for someone else. Keep in mind any tight spaces in the user’s place of residence – i.e. any awkward corners or narrow hallways that might need to be accessible.

Next, think about the adjustability of the components. For a full-time wheelchair user, this will be an essential feature for postural support and versatility of use. Think about whether the user will require a headrest and make note of the backrest height when browsing wheelchair options. We always recommend talking to a qualified occupational therapist at this point in your research.


Once you have thought about all of these priorities, look at the wheelchairs again paying attention to the specifications that match your priorities: by now you should know whether you require a transit or self propelled ‘chair, you should have considered what weight, seat size and overall dimensions are suitable for the user and considered the storage space for the wheelchair.


If you have a question about choosing the right home care equipment our friendly customer service team is here to help. With a quick phone call on 1300 008 267 you’ll receive free and friendly information.

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