There is no standard wheelchair which fits everyone. While cost price is important, getting cheap or used equipment may not be more cost effective. From my 10+ years of consulting experience in Malaysia, I’ve seen similar mistakes occur every day in wheelchair purchase. Which is why I am going to share with you the three most important questions you need to ask yourself before even looking into the price of a wheelchair.
Who is the caregiver? Can they carry heavy things?
The cheapest wheelchair weighs 20-25 kg. If you have a young man to carry it around, then it should be okay. However, most of the caregivers in Malaysia are female who are in their 50’s. They are likely to be exposed to long-term back injuries when carrying heavy equipment and taking care of their family members.
A lightweight wheelchair, weighing just 11-15 kg, will help prevent caregivers from injury. Of course, the lighter the wheelchair, the more expensive it is. But if your caregiver is over 40 years old, it is strongly recommended that you choose a lightweight wheelchair. Research reports show people over 40 years old should not carry things that are heavier than 10 kg.
General aluminium lightweight wheelchairs are priced from RM500 to RM2,000. The key to the price difference is the brand and functions.
How big is your car trunk?
The most common mistake when buying a wheelchair, is that the wheelchair cannot fit into one’s car. Wheelchairs with a foldable backrest, can have the height be reduced by about 25 cm, which is convenient for storage. A compact wheelchair size is important for storage as well as being able to fit into the trunk of your car or if you are traveling by bus, train, or plane.
Large rear wheels sizes 24” or 22” are more suitable for outdoor use and self-propelling. Smaller rear wheels sizes 16” or 14” tend to be more manoeuvrable in restricted areas like the restroom and small space dining halls. The different rear wheel sizes can be reduce the total width by about 3 to 5 cm. Different rear and front wheels size can reduce the total weight of the wheelchair by about 800 grams.
When buying a wheelchair, what is the difference of quality vs price?
No one likes to buy a bad quality product. Unfortunately, when it comes to medical devices, you get what you pay for. Here are some tips to help you see the differences between quality and price.
The high-quality wheelchair like Karma and Soma brand, tends to last a minimum of 4 years. If these chairs cost RM1,000 per unit, that means on average, you are paying RM0.68 per day within its life-span. The other cheaper wheelchairs cost around RM 600, but can only last for 1 year, which means it is RM1.60 per day.
So, actually it is MORE EXPENSIVE to buy a cheap wheelchair?
If you are not using a wheelchair for more than a year, we recommend that you rent a wheelchair, not buy. But still, rent a lightweight high quality one, as it is safer for the user. The lighter a wheelchair, the less force the arms are required to propel, stopping and rolling, particularly up hill. It is also lighter to lift into a car. A higher quality wheelchair also tends to roll straighter and have less rolling resistance.
In conclusion, before asking for the wheelchair price, we must remind ourselves to understand the 3 main mistakes to avoid before purchasing a wheelchair:
- Lighter wheelchairs are easy for travel.
- Compact wheelchairs are ideal for car trunk storage.
- High quality and durable wheelchairs last longer.
- Good quality and durable sturdy wheelchair frames should last at least 3 to 5 years with minimal services.
The staff at Karma Mobility Malaysia are always ready to assist you and help you choose the right wheelchair based on your requirements. You can contact the person in charge in the following way:
Address: Suite W1106, 11 Floor West Wing, Wisma Consplant 1.
No. 2 Jalan SS16/4, Subang Jaya, 47500 Selangor.
Office Contact: +603 5612 1921
WhatsApp: 6010 233 1921