Buying a wheelchair ramp can be a very complicated process. With this article we aim to shine a light on this process as the best wheelchair ramp buying guide. Questions you might ask when wanting to purchase a wheelchair ramp are whether you should purchase a long ramp or a short ramp.
You might also want to know how well these ramps fair in bad weather. Do they get rusty or are they made of the type of material that can withstand rust?
Also, if the material can withstand rust, is it strong enough to carry the weight of the wheelchair? These and many other questions are what you should be wondering about before you purchase.
Therefore, we aim to make the acquiring of a wheelchair ramp, whether it is for a wheelchair or a mobility scooter, simple. We recommend five different ramp options and will look at a specific ramp that we consider to be the best for each category.
The categories we will look at include the following:
-Single fold ramps
-Multi fold ramps
With each category of ramp, there is a specific niche purpose that is serviced, in order to make entering and exiting more reachable, whether it is done from the home or from within an office.
Just keep in mind that In order to comply with in office accessibility, complicated ADA (Americans with Disability Act) rules have to be taken into consideration.
Permanent And Semi-Permanent Ramps
If a ramp is installed as part of a home, it is often classified as either a permanent or a semi-permanent fixture. The difference between the two lies in how difficult it is to remove the fixtures once installed.
Permanent ramps are in most cases anchored into the ground and have concrete anchors. They are built onto the facility permanently.
Very often these ramps are built with wood or metal and they require the expertise of a licensed contractor.
Semi-permanent ramps on the other hand, even though they are also installation as a fixture to the home, are designed to be easily removable and adjustable.
They can be regarded as the compromise between portable and permanent ramps, and offer a blend of both types, with the strength of the permanent ramp, but the flexibility of the semi-permanent ramp.
Which Are The Best Ramp Types?
The needs you have usually determines which ramp is best for you, whether it be for residential use or commercial use.
1. Single Fold Ramps
Single fold ramps are perfect for people who occasionally need to travel with a ramp to help them navigate through obstructions. They can carry weight of as much as 600lbs and come in five different sizes. These ramps are ideally for the outdoors to be used with travel mobility scooters.
PVI’s single fold ramps are excellent for all types of mobility devices. They are solid and durable with an anti-slip high traction surface for added safety. They are easy to carry as they can be carried like a suitcase when folded.
It is made of durable welded material with safety DVD and steel security pins included.
2. Multi-fold Ramps
The second option would be multi-fold ramps, which are longer. With a single fold ramp, a user may fall if there is a small staircase to the entrance of the home. If this is the case, entrance to the home via mobility scooter or power wheelchair will be prohibited.
In this case a multi-fold ramp will be ideal because it will allow the wheelchair user to enter and exit the home without the need to get off the mobility scooter or power wheelchair.
PVI’s multi-fold ramps have a unique design, allowing for easy storing and carrying. It can separate into two pieces and can be folded in half to be carried like a suitcase. It is made of a durable welded fabric and also has an anti-slip high-traction surface.
3. Threshold Ramp
The third option is the threshold ramp. This ramp is best if the wheelchair user needs to ascend a short rise before the home or office area.
This type of ramp is especially made for doorways. It is affixed to the doorway through holes punched in each of the four corners. It has a load a capacity of 300lbs, but despite its high weight capacity it is light in weight.
It is made of durable aluminum and is equipped with ahigh-traction anti-slip surface.
4. Van Ramp
-The fourth option is the van ramp. This ramp is perfect for people who travel with their mobility scooter or powerchair within the van. It makes uploading or downloading very simple.
They can upload from either the back or the side of the ramp. When it is not in use it can be folded and stored without taking up a lot of space.
This ramp, also known as the PVI folding rear door ramp is a three-section ramp, which is operated manually to be mounted to the floor of the van.
It is constructed from aluminum and is assisted by four springs which make the ramp easily operable by one person.
5. Solid Ramp
-The solid ramp is the last option. This type of ramp is a solid option which can support up to 800lbs in weight. This ramp has an anti-slip coat, in order to increase grip for your power wheelchair or mobility scooter.
How To Choose The Right Ramp
-What Is the Correct Ramp Length?
In order to determine the proper length of a ramp, one has to take into consideration the space available at the location. When there is not enough space, we would recommend a low ramp.
If there is excess space, then a long ramp is a better investment. Longer ramps are, in anyway, better for the health of the wheelchair user.
With short ramps, you have a steeper grade, meaning that the incline will be steeper. However, steeper slopes can be mobility hazards, especially when the weather is not favorable.
With longer ramps you have a decrease in the steepness of the slope, which makes for a safer ramp, especially in miserable weather conditions.
-Who Will Be the Ramp’s Main User?
The first thing you have to think of when choosing a ramp is who will use it. Take their size and their weight into consideration, as well as how mobile they are. If the person is quite active and seems to be healthy, then you can opt for a lightweight ramp.
Heavier users or people who are older should be using stronger ramps or add safety features like additional traction pads or handrails.
-Wheelchair or Mobility Scooter?
Next you want to consider what type of mobility device will frequently be used on the ramp and whether it will change over time.
If patients are in recovery and are using a wheelchair, they might progress to a rollator and then to a cane, whereas people who are living with a degenerative disease may use a cane, then a walker, and eventually a powerchair or scooter.
Each one of these devices will require a different type of ramp. Scooters and power chairs with a higher weight capacity require wider ramps.
Should the user suffer from muscle weakness in their legs and feet, they should make sure that the ramp is free of slip or trip hazards, such as having a surface that drains freely or have traction pads added.
-How Long Will The Ramp Be Needed?
It does not really matter whether you are in temporary recovery or whether you’ve been in a wheelchair since birth, the time you need a ramp for is important to consider when selecting a ramp.
If you need one for a long time, you might want to consider a permanent ramp, while a portable or threshold ramp might be preferable for usage of a few months to a year.
-Where Will You Be Using The Ramp?
Do you need a ramp:
- to take with you while traveling
- or do you need one for your car
- or is it for your rental home
- or for your doorway
- or is it for your family home
Each of these questions will bring you nearer to the answer you are looking for.
Whether you need a ramp for easy transitions into your home or a larger outdoor ramp, a wheelchair ramp is an important solution for making a building accessible to wheelchair or mobility scooter users. The location, the type of user as well as the device that will be used on the ramp are important facts to consider.
We also have a special offer you can benefit from by taking 6% off 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 in looking for other ramp related articles for your mobility scooter or your powerchair, our staff compiled a great list of the Top Folding Mobility Scooters of 2021 and have had some great feedback on that article as well. We also have another article on the Top 5 Mobility Scooter Issues And How to Fix Them.
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.