Tight spaces and narrow corridors are a reality in the world of wheelchair users, yet they do not necessarily have to be an obstacle. With the right wheelchair you can maneuver around tight corners and down narrow corridors. Here is a list of the best narrow wheelchairs for tight doorways and spaces.
But which of the many wheelchairs would you choose? And which features should it have to make things easier. Here are a couple of pointers to consider.
What Is The Width Of A Normal Wheelchair?
An average wheelchair can have a width of up to 32 inches, with most being in the 21 to 30-inch range. In some cases, the seat cushion itself will measure up to 30 inches in width, meaning that the entire width of the wheelchair can be more than 32 inches. It is common to have the wheelchair up to 10 inches wider than the cushion. With electric wheelchairs the width can extend up to 40 inches or more depending on the weight of the user.
Do Wheelchairs Fit Through Standard Doorways?
These days, the standard width of a doorway is about 32 inches, with many doorways going up to a width of 36 inches. However, there are a decent number of doors that fall on the lower end in width, from 23 to 28 inches, and some even smaller. Older buildings tend to have narrower doorways which can be a real problem for wheelchair users.
How Wide Should A Doorway Be For A Wheelchair?
If you look at the answers of the above two questions, then you will realize that the problem we face is that the wheelchair width and the average doorway are a bit too close for comfort.
According to the ADA accessibility standards, the minimum distance that is acceptable from the face of the door to the other end of the door frame is 32 inches, which coincides with the width of a standard doorway. However, it is important how you take the measurement.
The measurement cannot just be the width of the gap in the wall as if there was no door. The illustration below, taken from the ADA website, explains it clearly.
4.13.5 Clear Width. Doorways shall have a minimum clear opening of 32 in (815 mm) with the door open 90 degrees, measured between the face of the door and the opposite stop.
Remember that this information pertains to the average wheelchair size. Narrower wheelchairs will have better results.
The Best Wheelchair Features To Keep In Mind
Many of the features you will encounter when navigating narrow spaces also come in handy when storing your wheelchair. The smaller, maneuverable, and lighter it is, the easier it is to store.
Removable And Lightweight
A model that is transportable and narrow is better since transport wheelchairs are naturally smaller and thus able to maneuver through small spaces.
Adjustable arms are always a great idea since they will allow you to squeeze through smaller spaces if the need arises by lowering or removing them. Some wheelchairs have swing away armrests or leg rests, which also contribute to space saving.
Size Of The Cushion
The size of the cushion is also an important factor when choosing a wheelchair. Remember, the size of the cushion is not the same as the width of the wheelchair.
If you would like to fit through a standard 32-inch door, then your cushion size should not be more than 22 inches. In fact, should you want to go through a narrower doorway of 28-inches, you should look at cushion sizes of between 16 and 18 inches.
Normally, the wheelchair width tends to be 8 inches wider than the cushion size. However, not all wheelchairs have this ratio, and some tend to have a smaller difference.
The Best Narrow Electric Wheelchairs
1. FreeRider Luggie Chair Foldable Power Chair
The Freerider Luggie is a folding, lightweight power wheelchair with a width of 23 inches and a turning radius of 30 inches. It has height and width adjustable armrests, and the seat is 17 inches wide. Without the battery and armrests, it has an overall weight of 70 pounds.
It has a maximum speed of 4.5 mph, ground clearance of 3.5 inches, a driving range of up to 22 miles and a weight capacity of 320 pounds. It has 3-inch by 8-inch PU solid tire drive wheels and 1.5-inch by 7-inch PU solid tire casters.
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With a fully charged battery, this mobility aid can take you up to 8 miles. And when you're done using it, folding it up is simple with just a few steps. Once it's folded, you can pick it up by the footrest and wheel it behind you like a piece of luggage.
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- A turning radius of 30 inches
- Airline approved
- Charges in just 90 minutes
- A driving range of up to 8 miles
- Has an overall weight of just 70 pounds
- Folds together like a carry on suitcase
- Auto-folds with a push of a button
- No storage space on model
- Limited use in rough terrain like grass and gravel
- Struggles to climb steep curbs
2. Pride Jazzy Carbon Narrow Wheelchair
The Pride Jazzy Carbon Power Wheelchair offers an ideal solution for travel-minded individuals, boasting an ultra-light, carbon fiber frame that folds compactly for easy transport.
It supports up to 300 lbs and provides a comfortable ride with front suspension and solid 8.5-inch drive wheels. The wheelchair features a regenerative braking system, enhancing its efficiency with a 9.3-mile range per charge at a top speed of 3.7 mph.
Its design includes a padded seat with storage, an under-seat bag, and a removable joystick with a USB charger.
The Jazzy Carbon's airline-compliant lithium battery adds to its travel readiness, making it a top choice for active users.
- Extremely lightweight and portable
- Airline-compliant battery for travel ease
- Comfortable seating with convenient storage
- Regenerative braking system for battery efficiency
- Limited to a top speed of 3.7 mph
- Requires regular charging for extensive use
- Limited ground clearance
3. Feather Mobility Narrow Wheelchair
The Featherweight Power Wheelchair sets a new standard in mobility with its title as the world's lightest electric power chair, weighing just 33 pounds. Uniquely designed for effortless portability, it folds quickly into a compact size, making it ideal for travel and storage.
Unlike other power chairs that require disassembly, the Featherweight collapses into one piece, simplifying transport. This power chair offers a comfortable ride with 1-inch thick seat and back cushions and flip-up armrests for easy access and close table encounters.
Safety features include optional anti-tippers and a seat belt. The lightweight lithium-ion battery, airline-approved for travel, delivers a 13-mile range per charge. Its 4 mph top speed and ability to climb an 8° incline provide reliable performance.
- Extremely lightweight at 33 lbs
- Airline-approved, easy-to-carry battery
- Comfortable seating with thick padding
- Quick and easy folding design
- Flat-free tires for a smooth, hassle-free ride
- Limited to a top speed of 4 mph
- Maximum weight capacity of 243 lbs
- Limited terrain adaptability due to small size
- Minimal storage space when folded
4. Shoprider Jimmie Narrow Wheelchair
The Shoprider Jimmie Power Wheelchair is a blend of innovative technology and portability, ideal for an active, on-the-go lifestyle. Featuring the latest in wireless take-apart technology, it disassembles effortlessly into three parts for convenient transport.
This lightweight chair, totaling 106.1 lbs including batteries, boasts high-efficiency in-line motors and an ultra-tight 26" turning radius, enhancing maneuverability and performance.
The Jimmie's design emphasizes user comfort and adjustability, with a padded, full-function armrest and a removable footrest, both height, length, and angle adjustable. Its rear-wheel-drive system ensures stable navigation. With a user weight capacity of 250 lbs, it travels up to 10 miles per charge at a maximum speed of 3.75 mph.
The chair's slim frame and efficient climbing angle make it a practical choice for daily use.
- Lightweight design, easy to disassemble
- Compact and maneuverable with a 26" turning radius
- Adjustable seat height and armrests for comfort
- Efficient battery range of 10 miles
- Rear-wheel drive for stable movement
- Limited speed of 3.75 mph
- Maximum weight capacity of 250 lbs may not suit all users
- Limited ground clearance of 2 inches
We hope you liked our review of these narrow power wheelchairs to help you easily slip through tight doorways and spaces. Please feel free to let us know if you have any questions or if you would like to see more of these types of articles to our site.
We also have a special offer you can benefit from by taking 6% of your order. Simply enter coupon code EW6 at checkout and it will apply the discount. This offer won't be around long, so act soon! See product pages for details and if you have any questions feel free to give us a call at 800-682-9444 and one of our agents will be happy to assist you. We are open every day from 8AM - 8PM est!
If you are more interested and looking for other related articles, our staff compiled a great list of the 7 Maintenance Tips To Keep Your Electric Wheelchair Running Smoothly and have had some great feedback on that article as well.
Feel free to write me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments. At Electric Wheelchairs USA, we truly love helping our customers make the best choice for their needs whether it is a power chair, mobility scooter, or lift chair.