The 10 Best Lightweight Wheelchairs For Elderly People Travelling

The 10 Best Lightweight Wheelchairs For Elderly People Travelling

The 10 Best Lightweight Wheelchairs For Elderly People Travelling

The 10 Best Lightweight Wheelchairs For Elderly People Travelling

If you’re constantly moving around, I cannot recommend highly enough buying a lightweight wheelchair.

Trust me, you’ll thank me later. My patients always do.

They will save you time, energy, and also help your caregivers.

In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know before purchasing a lightweight wheelchair.

I’ll list my personal recommendations of which wheelchair to choose, explain what features to consider, and also answer some very common questions.

Karman 19.8 lbs Ergonomic Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair

Karman 19.8 lbs Ergonomic Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair

  • Lightweight & easy to store.
  • Ergonomic curved seat.
  • Easy-rolling wheels.
  • Companion Handbrakes.

We felt the need to place Karman Ergonomic at the top of our list due to the overwhelmingly positive experiences that customers report.

This wheelchair boasts an aluminum frame making it extremely strong and durable.

It also has an S-shaped seat that feels comfortable without the need for an extra cushion which makes it clear that this wheelchair was built with Ergonomics in mind.

Caregivers with experience will understand how tedious it feels to have to remove the cushion each time a wheelchair has to be transported. Users will appreciate it too since they can use it longer without feeling discomfort.

Most people choose the 18’’ wide option, and we feel it is well suited for adults, while the 16’’ width would be preferable for kids and teenagers.


One thing the Karman wheelchair has that most models on the market don’t is the companion handbrakes which makes this wheelchair especially safe when going up or downhill.

The handbrakes are placed at the handles so the caregiver won’t have to bend down to stop the chair.

The brakes lock the chair in place but as soon as you let go the chair starts rolling again, so be careful with that.


You will especially like this chair if you travel a lot, as it weighs only 19.8 lbs and folds easily. It is super convenient for airports, trains, or even to place in the back of a van.

The backrest can be folded, the footrests can be removed without effort and the 20’’ wheels are great for self-propulsion.

The only thing caregivers feel that could be improved to make this chair perfect is a footpad near the back wheels, so they can push it down to raise up the front wheels when going over a threshold.

What We Like

  • Easy to squeeze handbrakes.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Comfy seat.

What We Don’t Like

  • Handbrakes can’t be locked.

Hi-Fortune Magnesium 21lbs Lightweight Chair

Hi-Fortune Magnesium 21lbs Lightweight Chair

  • Magnesium alloy frame.
  • Companion brakes & Rear brakes.
  • Padded armrests.
  • Back safety rollers.
  • Quick-release wheels.

The Hi-Fortune Magnesium chair is all about convenience & comfort. It weighs only 21 lbs, but comes with a strong magnesium alloy structure that will last a long time.

The backrest folds with the push of a button and the wheels are released with another button. The frame weight without the 22’’ wheels is 13.5 lbs.

Once folded it should take you about a minute to set it back up.


Having large wheels is good for self-propulsion, a feature absolutely important for most users, as they can wheel themselves around.

Talking about gaining independence, we also have to mention the rear brakes rarely seen on any other model.

The size of the seat is 17.5’’ which should be suitable for most users, although some would love to see wider seats from this company.

What We Like

  • Ultra-lightweight frame.
  • Foldable backrest.
  • Rear brakes.

What We Don’t Like

  • Only one size of seat width.

Porto Mobility Ranger Lightweight Folding Electric Wheelchair

Porto Mobility Ranger Lightweight Folding Electric Wheelchair

  • Lightweight & Foldable.
  • Aluminum alloy frame.
  • Electromagnetic brake.
  • Weather-proof cover.

Most electric wheelchairs will limit the user because they require a lift for transport, but not the Ranger.

First of all, it folds easily, and once folded it is 30’’ long and 13.5’’ wide and will fit in a vehicle similar or larger than Honda civic.

The armrests also flip back with the help of a release latch found under the seat.

Weight, Battery & Design

52 lbs of weight might sound like a lot for the novice user, but this is truly a featherweight model compared to other electric wheelchairs.

The Ranger runs on two 250W motors, giving you a total power of 500w. The motor is powered by 2 batteries that will take you up to 16 miles, and if you choose you can extend this number to 4 batteries giving you double the distance.

The seat is 19’’ wide, and both the seat and the backrest come with a comfy and thick cushion that can be removed for cleaning.

The only thing some users complained about is that the user manual is difficult to understand.

What We Like

  • Small footprint when folded.
  • Powerful motor.
  • Option for extra batteries.

What We Don’t Like

  • High Price-range.
  • Owner’s manual difficult to comprehend.

Medline Lightweight & User-Friendly Wheelchair

Medline Lightweight & User-Friendly Wheelchair

  • Easy to fold and transport.
  • Adjustable seat and leg rest.
  • User friendly.

The Medline wheelchair comes with a variety of user-friendly features.

The swing-away leg rests can be elevated which is especially helpful for users that are recovering from surgery. They can also be removed if needed.

The armrests have a dent in the front giving the user the option to work at a desk or dine without having to remove them out of the way. You can also flip them back if needed.

This wheelchair is perfect for daily use and it folds easy. All you have to do is lift the seat up and the wheels come together.

Design & Comfort

Most users choose the 18’’ seat, but you can also opt for 16’’ or 20’’ of width.

The back wheels are made of flat-free rubber and they will allow the user to self-propel with ease. They also perform well on rough terrains.

In regards to comfort, the seat is made of nylon upholstery that is breathable, although you might need an extra cushion if you’re spending a lot of time in this wheelchair.

The only thing we thought was lacking in this chair is some kind of a braking system.

What We Like

  • Easy to fold and transport.
  • Elevated leg rests.
  • Easier access to desks.

What We Don’t Like

  • No brakes.

NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair With Locking Hand Brakes

NOVA Lightweight Transport Chair With Locking Hand Brakes

  • Aluminum frame.
  • Sensitive hand brakes.
  • Desk accessible armrests.
  • Adjustable seat belt.

This is an amazing transport wheelchair. It is lightweight and will be a great companion on your trips.

The flip-back arms are convenient if you need to get in and out of a vehicle and they have the same dent as the Medline, allowing the users to approach a work-desk or a dining table with ease.

Safety & Design

This model also features hand-brakes which is an important feature for safety, especially when pushing the user on inclines.

You also get removable anti-tippers that make the chair even safer. Another safety feature is the seat belt that can be adjusted to 42’’.

The size of the seat is 18.5’’, which is only 0.5’’ wider than the standard adult option so you get some extra comfort.

Plus it has rugged wheels which are good for traction so this model will perform great on all terrains.

What customers are saying

Once folded the NOVA wheelchair can be placed in the back of any kind of vehicle. Its weight is 36 lbs which should not pose a problem for most caregivers.

The only issue users report is the loosening of the screws that hold the footrests, and the ones that tighten the handbrakes.

It is a quick fix, but make sure you check them once the wheelchair arrives. The screws for the handbrakes are placed at the end of the cable, where it meets the handles.

What We Like

  • Easy to fold and carry.
  • Handbrakes.
  • Accessible armrests.

What We Don’t Like

  • Screws need tightening after a while.

What is the weight of a lightweight wheelchair?

A lightweight wheelchair should weigh between 15-40 lbs.

The weight really depends on the material the frame was made from. Steel frames will be heavier than aluminum.

Also some users do not require footrests so this will lower the initial weight of the wheelchair.

Which wheelchairs are easiest to push?

In order to make pushing easy for the caregiver some brands have made ergonomic handles that have some soft material like foam on top of them.

Another feature to consider is the weight of the chair, lightweight chairs are easier to push and transport.

Finally, the wheels play a crucial role; if they’re smaller it will be easier for the caregiver to push the wheelchair.

Are wheelchairs with big wheels easier to push?

No. Wheelchairs with smaller wheels are actually easier to push, and that’s why most transport chairs have smaller back wheels.

They are lighter and can be navigated through tight places with ease. On the other hand, bigger wheels allow for self-propulsion of the user, so it all depends on your needs.

How long should a wheelchair last?

A good quality manual wheelchair should last you at least 2 years, but this is dependent on a few factors; steel frames are heavier and last longer, aluminum frames are lighter and easy to maneuver but they have a shorter life-span.

The frequency of use is another key factor, and also whether you’re using it indoors or outdoors.

Take care of it by storing it in a safe and dry place when not in use.

If the wheelchair is used outdoors you might get some grass and hairs stuck inside the wheels, so a proper cleaning of the wheels will ensure they last longer.

When it comes to electric wheelchairs, they should last longer, their usual expected lifespan is at least 5 years.

To keep the battery longer never let it fall under 20% of charge.

Seat size

Having a proper seat size is crucial to safety and user satisfaction.

A seat too tight will be uncomfortable for the user, while if it’s too large it might cause them to slip out.

A good rule of thumb is 16’’ for children and teenagers, 18’’ for adults, and 20’’ seat size for larger adults.


Some wheelchairs come with a padded seat and backrest as well as padded armrests. They are more comfortable to sit in, especially if you’re using the chair a lot.

Manufacturers like Karman offer an S-shape for the seat making it ergonomic and more comfortable for the user.

If you happen to get a wheelchair without a cushion, make sure you place a pillow on the seat.


We cannot stress how important portability is for the caregiver. This means that the wheelchair should be lightweight so it’s easy to pick up for transport.

Also you might want to choose a wheelchair that is easy to fold especially if you plan on traveling a lot.

Having to spend 30 minutes on folding and unfolding the chair each day can be cumbersome and isn’t practical for travel.


When choosing a wheelchair that is safe, have the following features in mind: Always look for a wheelchair with handbrakes as they are a life-saver for the caregiver when pushing the user up or downhill.

Also having footrests is a must, so the user can elevate their legs while they’re being pushed around.

If the wheelchair is too light, there could be a danger of tipping to the side, so make sure the user is seated upright and doesn’t lean to the sides when unattended.


To ensure a longer lifespan of the wheelchair always make sure you store it in a dry place.

Wheelchairs that fold easily will be much easier to store, and the ones with the foldable backrest are the best because they have the smallest footprint.

Hi-Fortune 21lbs Lightweight Manual Wheelchair

The Hi-Fortune wheelchair will be a good fit for people that travel a lot. It features a quick-release hinge that allows you to fold it fast.

The entire wheelchair weighs only 21 lbs, and folds down to a 29’’ suitcase size. The frame is made of strong magnesium alloy, while the hinges are made of aluminum.

A unique feature of this chair is the front brakes which are the safest option for the user on the market. You also get companion handbrakes as well as a storage bag located in the back.

The armrests are full-length and padded, and the footrests have a convenient swing-away type of device. Hi-fortune has placed a large wheel in the back making it easy for the user to propel. Seat size is 17.5’’.

Drive Medical Bariatric Heavy Duty Transport Wheelchair

The Heavy-duty transport wheelchair was made with heavier users in mind, featuring a roomy seat that is 22’’ wide.

The reinforced steel frame will support up to 450 lbs of weight.

This wheelchair is borderline lightweight, coming at 48 lbs, but in comparison to other bariatric wheelchairs it is truly lightweight. It can be pushed around with ease and it will fit through standard sized doors.

Drive Medical Cruiser III Light Weight Wheelchair

The Drive Medical Cruiser will be a good fit for people on a low budget that need a strong and easily transported wheelchair.

The frame is made of carbon steel and it will hold up to 350 lbs of weight. The armrests can be flipped back or removed if needed.

One thing people really like is that the footrests can be elevated. You can choose between 16’’, 18’’ or 20 ‘’ of seat width, and the seat depth can be adjusted by 2-3’’.

The cruiser weighs 41 lbs and can be folded for transport.

Karman 24 Pound Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair

If you’re looking for great quality in a lightweight wheelchair, Karman has got you covered. This wheelchair weighs only 24 lbs and comes with additional anti-tipper wheels for users that live on a hill.

The backrest can be folded and the footrests swing out of the way. The 18’’ seat is comfortable and height-adjustable.

The rear wheels are 22’’ in diameter and the largest on our list. The brake is uniquely situated in the front near the hand rest.

Elite Care Lightweight Folding Transport Wheelchair

Just like the Karman, Elite Care also offers a 24 lbs wheelchair that will be a breeze to transport.

This one comes with companion handbrakes that are easy to push and pull. We really liked how you can pull on them to slow down or push them to lock the wheelchair completely; a safety feature that all wheelchairs should have.

It is easy to assemble, and the instructions that come with it are clear. The footrests are adjustable and can be removed if needed.

The armrests are closer to the seat than most other models which is better for the user and gives them a sense of security.