Best Lightweight Manual Wheelchairs - [Updated for 2021]


A wheelchair is a wheeled mobility device that is propelled manually by turning the wheels with your hands or via various automated systems. This mobility device is used by people who experience difficulty in walking that may result from illness (physical or psychological), injury, or disability.

In this review article, we will take you through the 6 best lightweight chairs available on the market. The detailed buying guide at the end of the article will help you choose a wheelchair that suits your requirements.Wheelchairs are one of the most commonly used mobility assistive devices. They are available in all shapes, sizes, colors, designs, and features to suit the varied needs of the users. Though there are many types of wheelchairs available on the market, it is recommended to opt for a lightweight wheelchair as it is convenient and portable.

Benefits Of Lightweight WheelChairs

Lightweight wheelchairs offer enhanced mobility and freedom. They are easy to propel and maneuver when compared to the standard wheelchairs. Here are a few advantages of a lightweight wheelchair:

  • Easy To Maneuver: Lightweight wheelchairs come with large wheels. This means you don’t have to put too much effort to maneuver the wheelchair. You can move around swiftly without putting much strain on your hands.
  • Easy To Store: Lightweight wheelchairs are collapsible and easy to store. This feature helps you save on your valuable home space. You can fold and tuck away the wheelchair underneath your bed or in the tiniest corner of your home until the next use.
  • Easy To Carry: Lightweight wheelchairs weigh only around 14 lbs. Thus, they are very easy and light to carry.
  • Distributes Weight Evenly: Though lightweight wheelchairs weigh less, it doesn’t mean that they can’t support the weight. If you weigh 250 pounds or less, a lightweight wheelchair is a good option to consider. These wheelchairs have a sturdy frame and distribute the user’s weight evenly.
  • Can Be Used Both Indoor And Outdoor: A lightweight wheelchair can be used both indoor and outdoor. Hence, you need not shift from one wheelchair to another for going out.
  • Gives You Independence: Unlike the standard bulky wheelchair models that require the assistance of another person or strain your hands, lightweight wheelchairs empower the user to do the work on their own as they are easy to operate.

Here are the 6 best lightweight wheelchairs you can consider buying.

6 Best Lightweight Wheelchairs

1. Drive Medical Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair

 The Drive Medical Lightweight Wheelchair has a durable steel frame and provides reliable stability whether it is used independently or with assistance. The weight-bearing capacity of this wheelchair is 250 pounds, which makes it a good option for many people. It offers superior maneuverability in narrow indoor spaces.

This wheelchair comes with cushioned armrests and swing-away footrests that ensure comfort. The chair and backrest fold flat, which makes it easy to transport. Its comfortable seat makes sitting for long hours a comfortable experience, and the nylon upholstery is easy to clean.


  • Easy to carry
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Offers superior maneuverability
  • Sleek design


  • The folding mechanism is not great.

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2. Medline Lightweight Transport Wheelchair

The Medline Lightweight Transport Wheelchair comes with large 12-inch rear wheels for enhanced performance on uneven outdoor terrain. The loop-style manually operated hand brakes are perfect during transfer. The weight-bearing capacity of this wheelchair is 300 lbs.

This is a foldable lightweight wheelchair that makes it easy to store and carry during travel. The back of this chair folds down to make it more compact. It features full-length permanent armrests, a detachable footrest, a seat belt for safety, and nylon upholstery.


  • Breathable nylon upholstery
  • Large oversized rear wheels
  • Loop-lock handbrakes
  • Comfortable wide seat


  • The brakes are quite hard.

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3. Drive Medical Blue Streak Wheelchair

Drive Medical’s Blue Streak Wheelchair features cutting-edge design. The premium swing-away legs and detachable desk arms flip backward for advanced versatility and easy transportation of the product. This product is ergonomically crafted for comfort to make independent mobility easy and enjoyable.

The tires are made of solid rubber and are mounted on composite wheels. This guarantees a consistently smooth ride for the user. The push-lock design lends extra safety to this wheelchair. The sleek blue powdered frame is finished with durable steel to prevent cracks and chipping. The nylon upholstery of the chair is easy to clean and low maintenance.


  • 18-inch padded nylon seat
  • Detachable desk arms
  • Push-lock design
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean


  • Not safe for uneven terrain.

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4. NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair

The NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair is designed to provide easy, lightweight patient transport. This wheelchair is easy to maneuver and fold. The secondary wheel locks and detachable anti-tippers add to the safety of this product. The patented locking hand brakes and the 12-inch rugged rear wheels allow to control the speed and park the brakes.

The wheelchair features an adjustable seat belt and a small storage pouch to keep your keys and cell phone. The padded desk arms are removable and flip-up and make transferring the user from a car, bed, or chair much easier. The footrests can be removed and locked back into place easily. They are easy to adjust and come with heel loops, so the user can rest their feet.


  • Flip-up desk arms
  • Hand brakes
  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Quick-release fold-down break
  • Adjustable seat belt
  • Swing-away footrest


  • Weak construction

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5. Sentire Med Forza FCX Deluxe

The Forza FCX can be easily folded, without needing to disassemble. This wheelchair includes  spacious under-the-seat storage, removable seat cushion and backrest, and a flip-up footrest for added comfort. The ergonomic design provides maximum comfort.

This powered wheelchair can be driven in grass, gravel, or snow – the shock absorbers ensure a smooth ride on all terrains. The heavy-duty front casters and forks are made to handle the impact of any surface as well as high weight capacity. This wheelchair is powered with a 250-watt motor. The smart aluminum craft alloy frame matches the footrest and lends this wheelchair a stylish look. It comes with a joystick that is set for right-handed operation.


  • Easy storage
  • Travels light
  • Ergonomic design
  • Two powerful motors
  • Solid tires
  • Dual lithium batteries


  • Not suitable for indoors.

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6. Karman Healthcare S-105 Ergonomic Ultra Lightweight Manual Wheelchair

The Karman S-Ergo 105 Lightweight Wheelchair comes with the unique S-Ergo (intelligent S-shaped ergonomic seating). This wheelchair features a tube in the center footplate that provides better leg support. The foldable backrest and seat make it easy to carry this wheelchair while traveling.

The antibacterial upholstery controls and eliminates odor and unsightly stains. The ergonomic handrim enhances comfort and mobility so that you are able to propel the chair with minimal effort. The wide arm pad offers comfortable support to the elbow and reduces the risk of developing ulcers and scoliosis.


  • Ergonomic armrest pad
  • Antibacterial upholstery
  • Ergonomic handrim


  • Flimsy footrest

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Please make sure that you choose a wheelchair that offers safety and ease of movement. A sturdy wheelchair that supports your weight and features safety mechanisms is a great choice.

You will find a wide variety of wheelchairs available on the market with respect to size, color, features, and design. We have compiled a list of the different types of wheelchairs in the next section.

Types Of Wheelchairs

  • Manual Wheelchairs: This is the traditional design for wheelchairs and is propelled by the upper body strength of the user as they move the chair forward or backward.
  • Power Wheelchairs: A few people do not possess the strength to propel the wheelchair manually. A powered wheelchair is an ideal choice for them as it runs on battery and is controlled by simple switches and a joystick installed in the armrests of the wheelchair.
  • Attendant Propelled Wheelchairs: This wheelchair is propelled by an attendant using a handle. The wheels are small and rimless. These wheelchairs are mostly used as transfer chairs in hospitals or airports to help move a mobility-impaired person.
  • Ridge Frame Wheelchair: A ridge frame wheelchair weighs somewhere around 13 pounds and is constructed as a one-piece frame that cannot be folded. Though this is not foldable, it is more compact and lightweight than other foldable options.
  • Lightweight Ergonomic Wheelchairs: Lightweight wheelchairs are ideal for those who spend more time in a wheelchair. Their ergonomic design lends more comfort while sitting for long periods. The lightweight construction allows for improved range of motion and greater independence.
  • All-Terrain Wheelchairs: An all-terrain wheelchair is a perfect choice for people who travel in different terrain types. This wheelchair gives you the confidence to traverse multiple terrains without worrying about the risk of getting stuck or losing control.
  • Sports Wheelchairs: Sports wheelchairs are used in different athletic settings and to play various sports at any level. These wheelchairs are stronger, faster, and more maneuverable.
  • High-Back Reclining Wheelchairs: If you are looking for upper body support and don’t want to shift to a different piece of furniture for support, a high-back reclining wheelchair can help you. You can recline back in the wheelchair and get that upper body support that your body craves for after sitting for long hours.
  • Pediatric Wheelchairs: Pediatric wheelchairs are designed to accommodate children who need mobility assistance. These wheelchairs are available in fun colors and patterns.
  • Bariatric Wheelchairs:Bariatric wheelchairs are designed to accommodate heavier and larger users. These wheelchairs are designed while keeping the needs of bariatric users in mind. The weight-bearing capacity of these chairs is more. The wider seats and armrests accommodate the needs of the users.

Here’s a buying guide with a list of a few factors you need to consider to choose an appropriate lightweight wheelchair:

Buying Guide – How To Choose An Appropriate Lightweight Wheelchair

  • Weight-bearing Capacity

When buying a wheelchair, make sure you select one according to your body weight. This is very important for the safety of the user. For people with large and heavier bodies, a bariatric wheelchair is a good choice. On the other hand, small or pediatric users should use wheelchairs designed according to their needs.

  • Foldable

A lightweight chair allows for great mobility and independence of the user. One more factor that adds to the brownie points for lightweight wheelchairs is the foldability. Go for foldable options as they are portable and easy to store and carry while traveling.

  • Operation

This is one of the most important considerations that you need to bear in mind while purchasing a wheelchair. Do you want a manual wheelchair or a motorized one? This has more references than just being about the user’s preference. Sometimes, the users do not possess sufficient arm strength to propel the wheelchair, and for such people, a powered wheelchair is an ideal choice.

  • Usage

Before buying a wheelchair, think whether you are going to use it as your primary or supplementary form of mobility assistance. If you require a wheelchair for supplementary support, you can opt for a lightweight, portable, and economical chair. If you need a wheelchair post-surgery for recovery, you may like to consider a stand-up wheelchair. These wheelchairs, apart from providing the basic functions of a wheelchair, also provide standing support for easy ups and downs. For someone totally dependent on wheelchairs for mobility, choosing one with an ergonomic design will be ideal for adequate support and comfort.

  • Design

Different designs of wheelchairs, depending on the varied support and positioning needs of the users, are available. Make sure you choose one that fits your requirements. If you are someone looking for upper body support, go for a high-back reclining wheelchair. Those who like to traverse multiple terrains should opt for all-terrain wheelchairs.

  • Purpose

The purpose for which you are buying the wheelchair is also an important consideration. If you want a wheelchair to get in and out of the pool or go to the beach, choose one that has been specifically designed for these purposes. Similarly, transport wheelchairs and aisle wheelchairs are purpose-driven. They are designed for specific settings and functions and help to move patients over short distances in more commercial settings.

Unlike big and bulky wheelchairs, lightweight wheelchairs are a great choice for simple and quick transportation. They offer ease of movement and make the user more independent. We hope that our list of best lightweight wheelchairs will help you find the right product – one that fits your needs and requirements.


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