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Last Updated on September 1, 2017

residential wheelchair rampCareful thought must be put into choosing the right residential wheelchair ramp, because there are many variables to consider. Seeking the assistance of an experienced dealer, like Williams Lifts, can help you make the decision that’s best for your needs.

In this article we will go over the variables you need to take into consideration before purchasing a residential wheelchair ramp, as well as describe the different types of house wheelchair ramps that are available to you. From there, you’ll be on your way to choosing the ramp that’s best for you.

Residential Wheelchair Ramp Length

Ramp length is one of the first things you should take into consideration – not only for your own needs, but to stay within compliance of building codes for wheelchair ramp slope. Keep in mind that building codes do not apply to residential wheelchair ramps, but they do apply to all other types.

Building codes state there should be at least one foot of length for every inch of rise, which is a fairly easy calculation to make. For example, a 10 inch rise should have a 10 foot ramp, and so on.

Although there are no building code requirements for portable ramps, most manufacturers recommend one foot of ramp for every 2 inches of rise. That means a 5 foot ramp with a 10 inch rise should be sufficient for most users.

In all instances, whether the ramp is portable or not, the longer it is the easier it will be to use. Shorter ramps can be a challenge because they will invariably have a steeper slope than longer ramps.

Residential Wheelchair Ramp Weight Capacity

Another variable that is important to a user’s safety is the ramp’s weight capacity. Needless to say, exceeding weight capacity could lead to the ramp giving out and causing an accident.

You must consider all things that add weight to your person while using your wheelchair, and of course the weight of the wheelchair itself.

There is generally not much to worry about when it comes to manual wheelchairs because they usually weigh no more than 50 lbs. Power wheelchairs are the primary concern here.

When it comes to power wheelchairs, the weight of the machine, its weight once batteries are added, and also the weight of the machine once additional features like power tilt or recline are added.

A power wheelchair that’s advertised as weighing 300lbs could weigh as much as 600lbs by the time it’s delivered.

Lastly, you must also consider the weight of any additional items that may be added to your person. This may include heavy clothing, bags, purses, water bottles, etc.

Weight capacity of different ramp types will vary by manufacturer, so make sure you inquire about the maximum capacity before deciding on a wheelchair ramp.

Residential Wheelchair Ramp Types

Residential wheelchair ramp types include:

  • Threshold ramps
  • Portable ramps
  • Tri-fold ramps
  • Modular ramps
  • Pathway ramps

Rather than repeating the differences between them here, we encourage you to visit our full write-up about wheelchair ramp types.


Ramp length, weight capacity, and ramp type are the main variables to consider before purchasing a wheelchair ramp. If you need further assistance please contact us or leave a comment below.

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