Used Wheelchairs: Things To Consider While Buying

Are you in need of a wheelchair but thinking about a less expensive choice? You only need to consider using wheelchairs. Used wheelchairs can be a cost-effective option for people who need aid with mobility. These used products provide various options and can accommodate different demands and preferences. There are many possibilities on the used market, whether you need an electric or manual wheelchair. Used wheelchairs offer an affordable way to obtain dependable and helpful mobility aids, whereas new wheelchairs may have a heavy price tag. In this article, you’ll review several pieces of information, including important factors to remember when looking at used wheelchairs.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Used Wheelchair

There are several crucial elements to take into account when buying a used wheelchair to make sure you get a good deal. The following are essential things to bear in mind:

  • Physical State: Check the wheelchair carefully for any indications of rust, wear, or damage. Inspect the frame, wheels, brakes, and seating components to ensure they operate well.
  • Mechanical Components: Check the wheelchair’s wheels, brakes, footrests, and any movable parts for functionality. Make sure they run efficiently and safely.
  • Battery Life (if Applicable): If you’re considering buying an electric wheelchair, find out how long the battery will last. Inquire about the frequency of charge and any prior battery replacements.
  • User’s Measurements: Consider the wheelchair’s dimensions and weight limit to ensure the user’s measurements are considered. Verify the proportions of the backrest, armrests, and seat’s breadth, depth, and height.
  • Adjustability: Assess the wheelchair’s ability to be adjusted for the best support and comfort, including seat height, leg rest length, and armrest height.
  • Indoor or Outdoor Use: Determine whether the wheelchair is primarily designed for indoor or outdoor use by asking whether it is meant for either. Consider outdoor terrain suspension, wheel type (solid or pneumatic), and maneuverability.
  • Lifestyle and Activities: Determine whether the wheelchair is appropriate for your lifestyle and activities, such as sports, travel, or navigating rocky terrain. Some secondhand wheelchairs might be built for particular tasks or include extra features to support these activities.
  • Spare Parts Availability: Find out if spare parts are available for the wheelchair model, especially if it’s older or discontinued. Verify whether they are conveniently accessible and whether specialized technicians are needed for repairs.
  • Manufacturer Support: Look into the manufacturer’s track record for customer service and post-purchase assistance. Seek out testimonials or suggestions from other wheelchair users.
  • Compare Prices: To be sure you’re getting a good bargain, check the average costs of comparable used wheelchairs. Age, condition, brand, and any associated accessories are essential considerations.
  • Cost of Upgrades or Modification: When assessing the overall affordability of the used wheelchair, take into account the associated costs if you anticipate the need for changes or upgrades.

Check the Condition of a Used Wheelchair

Ensuring a used wheelchair fits your needs and is in good operating order requires evaluating its condition. Here are some ideas to help you navigate the procedure:

1. Visual Inspection

  • Structure and Frame: Look for cracks, bends, or deterioration on the wheelchair frame. Make sure it is solid and has no significant structural flaws.
  • Tires and wheels: Check the wheels and tires for signs of wear, damage, or uneven tread. You need to verify that the tires are correctly inflated and have enough grip.

2. Functional Examination

  • Brakes: Make sure the brakes are engaged and released smoothly by testing them. Make sure the wheelchair is firmly held in place when they are activated.
  • Wheel Locks: Make sure the wheel locks are operational and capable of stabilizing the wheelchair when necessary.
  • Seating Components: Examine the condition of the seat cushion, backrest, and armrests when looking at the seating components. Check for noticeable wear, rips, or missing padding.
  • Leg Rests and Footrests: Verify that the leg rests and footrests are lockable and adjustable. Make sure they are functionally sound.

3. Adjustability and Mobility

  • Wheel Movement: Push the wheelchair around to assess its maneuverability. Verify that the wheels turn freely and without too much resistance or wobbling.
  • Seat Adjustments: If necessary, try changing the seat’s depth, height, and angle to ensure the mechanics are secure and function properly.

4. Battery (for Electric Wheelchairs)

If the wheelchair is electric, find out how old, how good of shape, and how often it has been charged. Inquire about the wheelchair’s normal range per charge and the battery’s remaining capacity.

5. Test Drive

If at all possible, try out the wheelchair. Make sure it is cozy, flexible, and simple to control by observing how it feels to move.

Finding Reliable Sellers of Used Wheelchairs

It’s imperative to undertake extensive research before looking for reputable used wheelchair suppliers to make a safe and informed purchase. Go through the following points that’ll aid you with your search:

1. Online Marketplaces

  • Reputable Platforms: Online Markets Investigate trustworthy websites that sell old wheelchairs, such as eBay and Amazon, or niche directories like SpinLife or 1800Wheelchair.
  • User evaluations and ratings: To determine the dependability of the seller and the caliber of their offerings, read reviews and ratings from prior customers.

2. Local Medical Supply Stores

  • Visit Local Stores: Look into local mobility equipment or medical supply shops. They might be able to recommend reputable local vendors or have secondhand wheelchairs for sale.
  • Personal Inspection: When purchasing a wheelchair from a nearby retailer, you can see it in person to ensure it is in good shape and fulfills your needs.

3. Online Forums and Classifieds

  • Classified Ads Websites: Examine classified ad websites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or regional community forums to see if anyone is selling secondhand wheelchairs there.
  • Forums and Support Groups: Take part in online discussion boards or groups for people with disabilities or mobility issues. Members may provide suggestions for reputable sellers or offer advice.

4. Certified Refurbished Wheelchair Providers

Find vendors specializing in restoring used wheelchairs by searching for certified refurbished suppliers. They frequently employ a rigorous refurbishment procedure to guarantee the wheelchairs are in good shape and adhere to safety regulations.

5. Recommendations and Referrals

Obtain referrals to trustworthy used wheelchair vendors from medical personnel, therapists, or support groups. They might know of trustworthy sellers in your neighborhood or have personal connections with them.

Price Range and Budgeting for a Used Wheelchair

A crucial step in the purchasing process is setting a budget and pricing range for a used wheelchair. Considerations for pricing and budgeting are listed below:

Investigation and comparison

Make careful inquiries to learn the typical price range for used wheelchairs that match your needs. To understand the market worth, compare prices from other sellers or marketplaces.

Condition and Features

Consider the wheelchair’s age, condition, and features when estimating cost. A wheelchair with extra features and good maintenance may cost more than one that needs repairs or is only a basic model.

Accessories & Add-ons

Consider any extras, such as bags, cup holders, or cushions, that may come with the wheelchair. These factors may affect total value and support a higher price.


Determine how much you can afford to spend on a used wheelchair. Take into account any additional costs, such as shipping or other adjustments that could be necessary to fulfill your particular demands.

Affordability and Financing

If the price of the chosen wheelchair is out of your price range, look into financing alternatives, installment plans, or ask for help from healthcare programs or insurance companies that might pay a portion of the price.

Future Considerations

Be mindful of the long-term expenses of upkeep, repairs, and replacement parts. When planning your budget, consider these costs to ensure you can adequately maintain the wheelchair over time.

Ensuring Proper Fit and Comfort

For the user’s general health and mobility, it is crucial to ensure good fit and comfort in a used wheelchair. To achieve a perfect fit and maximum comfort, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Size and Measurements: Measure the user’s height, seat breadth, and seat depth with precision. For a secure and comfortable fit, ensure the wheelchair’s dimensions match the user’s size.
  • Customization and Adjustability: Look for wheelchairs that can be customized and adjusted for seat height, leg rest length, armrest height, and backrest angle. Thanks to these adaptable components, customization can accommodate each user’s unique requirements and preferences.
  • Seat Cushioning and Support: Examine the comfort and support of the seat by looking at the cushion. Consider the support, pressure redistribution, and padding levels it provides. If necessary, consider replacing the cushion with one that is more comfortable.
  • Postural Support and Backrest: Verify the backrest’s support and adjustment capabilities. A curved, adjustable backrest can improve comfort and help you sit with good posture.
  • Armrests and Footrests: Make sure the armrests and footrests are at a comfortable height so that the user’s arms may naturally rest there. Examine the armrest padding’s condition and, if relevant, its adjustability. Ensure the footrests or legs may be adjusted and support the user’s feet and legs correctly.

Accessories and Add-ons for Used Wheelchairs 

A used wheelchair’s functionality, convenience, and comfort can all be significantly improved by accessories and add-ons. Here are some typical extras and accessories to think about:

Wheelchair Cushions

Pick cushions made especially for wheelchair use to give more support, comfort, and pressure alleviation. Foam pillows, gel, air, and combination cushions are available.

Wheelchair Pouches and Bags

Attachable bags and pouches for wheelchairs offer practical storage for personal items like wallets, keys, phones, or water bottles. They can be fastened to the wheelchair’s armrests or backrests.

Cup Holders

When using cup holders, people may quickly get their drinks while on the go, and spillage is prevented.

Wheelchair Ramps and Thresholds

Buildings, cars, or sites with uneven terrain can be easily accessed using portable ramps or threshold ramps. They make transitions more manageable and more accessible.

Wheelchair covers

When not used, covers shield the wheelchair from moisture, grime, and dust. They assist with preserving the wheelchair’s beauty and extending its life.

Mobility Aid Attachments

For convenient transportation of additional mobility aids or medical equipment, wheelchairs can be equipped with attachments like cane holders, walker holders, or oxygen tank holders.

Wheelchair Security Accessories

Lap belts, chest straps, and anti-tip devices are examples of safety gear. The user’s security and stability while using the wheelchair are provided by these modifications.

Reflectors and Lights

Reflectors and lights improve visibility and safety, particularly at night or in poor light. They let people know that the wheelchair user is there.

Maintenance and Care for Used Wheelchairs

For a used wheelchair to last a long time, work well, and be safe, proper upkeep and care are necessary. The following are some crucial factors to remember:

Continual Cleaning

To keep the wheelchair free of filth, dust, and debris, regularly clean it. Use mild soap and water to clean the frame, seating surfaces, and armrests. Avoid using abrasive cleansers that could harm the surfaces of the wheelchair.

Tires and Wheel Maintenance 

Look for any obstacles or debris on the wheels and tires. To keep the motion fluid, remove any obstructions. Ensure the tires are inflated correctly per the manufacturer’s recommendations.


Oil the wheelchair’s moving components regularly, including the wheel axles and caster bearings, to reduce friction and guarantee smooth operation. Utilize the manufacturer’s recommended lubricant.

Battery Maintenance (for Electric Wheelchairs)

If you use an electric wheelchair, maintain your batteries according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep the battery from running entirely flat by charging it frequently. Keep the battery terminals corrosion-free by cleaning them.

Inspection for Wear and Tear

Check the wheelchair for worn indicators, missing screws, or broken parts. To stop additional damage and to keep the wheelchair’s stability and efficiency, take immediate action on any problems.

Cushion Care and Upholstery

Regularly clean and examine the upholstery and seat cushions. Any rips, worn-out cushioning, or damage should be repaired right away. To preserve user comfort and support, consider replacing cushions or upholstery as necessary.

There are several types of donation programs running that give needy people a free used electric wheelchair.


A used wheelchair can provide trustworthy mobility assistance at a reasonable price. You may locate a used wheelchair that matches your demands and offers a safe and enjoyable experience by carefully evaluating the condition, looking into reputable sellers, ensuring it is properly fitted and comfy, and maintaining regular care. To improve usefulness and convenience, remember to take accessories and add-ons into account. A secondhand wheelchair may be a significant and empowering asset in enhancing mobility and freedom with the appropriate attitude and attention to detail. 

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