Last Updated on July 6, 2016
There are many types of walkers available to assist those with limited mobility, but which one is best for you? How do you even know what to start looking for?
In this post we’re going to put together a checklist of questions you should ask yourself before choosing a walker, and then we’ll go over the various types of walkers available. From there you can make a decision about which one is right for you.
What Type of Walker Do I Need? A Checklist:
- Can you handle a walker with wheels. Can you fully control the wheels and brakes efficiently?
- Which measurements do you need? Measure your height, weight, and lifting capacity and make sure the type of walker you choose is built to those specifications.
- Does it matter to you if the walker can fold down for easy transport?
- Do you frequently get tired while walking? If so, choosing a walker with a seat and storage basket may be right for you.
- Will you be relying on the walker some of the time, while walking on your own part of the time? Or will you be relying 100% on the walker? There are special combination products available if you only plan on using the walker some of time time.
Now that you have a general idea of where to start, let’s go over the types of walkers available to you. We hope this will give you an even clearer idea of which one is right for you.
Types of Walkers
Here are some of the most common types of walkers, along with their main features and benefits.
A basic walker is generally any walker without wheels. It is the most common type of walker available, and is available in both heavy duty and lightweight forms. The exclusion of wheels allows basic walkers to provide the most stability. Basic walkers are best for use on indoor surfaces. When it comes to basic walkers, lifting capacity is a huge consideration because you will be frequently lifting the unit off the ground while walking with it.
Just as it sounds, a wheeled walker is a walker with wheels. The addition of wheels eliminates the concern for lifting capacity as mentioned in the section above about basic walkers. Wheels help facilitate ease of movement, especially outdoors. Wheeled walkers typically have just two wheels in the front which are fixed to only go forward and backward. The fixed nature of the wheels adds some extra stability while using the walker, compared to walkers with swiveling wheels. Wheeled walkers are best for those who will be routinely outdoors navigating through uneven terrain.
Wheeled walkers have two wheels; rollators have four wheels. These types of walkers have one wheel on each leg to provide the greatest range of motion of any walker available. Unlike wheeled walkers, many rollators come with wheels that swivel, as well as hand brakes for extra safety. Most rollators also come standard with seats and storage baskets, making them an ideal choice for those who are often on the go. For maximum mobility, we recommend rollators with the largest wheels.
Think of a cane as a walker with one leg; it still provides some stability, but certainly not as much as a full fledged walker. Canes are a great alternative for those who don’t quite need the full stability of a walker; but still need some assistance. Canes are best for those who need assistance at certain times, such as getting up from a seated position, or general help with balance while getting around. When it comes to canes you can go down a whole other road of different varieties. The main differences between each are handle type, and whether or not the cane can be folded up.
When trying to choose between different types of walkers, go through the checklist at the beginning of this article and ask yourself the important questions. Then read through the descriptions of each type of walker again and we trust you’ll come to the conclusion of which one is best for you. If you have any other questions please leave a comment below.