How Much Does a Wheelchair Cost on Average?
A wheelchair is a medical device with four wheels (four tires of varying sizes) used to increase mobility, independence, and quality of life for a senior, injured person, or an individual with a disease impeding their ability to walk.
The prices for wheelchairs vary depending on the type, condition (whether new or used), features, durability, materials, and where you bought them. On average, wheelchairs cost $100 to $6,000.
Cost Breakdown of Wheelchairs
As previously mentioned, the wheelchair cost depends upon different factors. Even the most minor details matter when you make your choice.
To help you get a glimpse into how much you’ll need to shell out depending on the type of wheelchair you intend to buy, here are the prices for manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, and bariatric wheelchairs.
A manual wheelchair can be used independently or dependently (someone pushes it for you). Regardless, it works manually, which means it is not reliant upon electricity or batteries to propel or maneuver it.
On average, the best manual wheelchairs cost $100 to $1500. The exact price of a manual chair depends on its type, such as:
- Bathroom wheelchair (with seat opening)
- Dynamic tilt wheelchair
- Folding wheelchair
- Rigid wheelchair
- Standard wheelchair
- Sports wheelchair
- Transport wheelchair (ultra lightweight wheelchairs)
FUN FACT: A standard wheelchair differs from a transport chair; check out how they vary in this article.
A powered wheelchair, or a motorized wheelchair, is an assistive technology that manages mobility issues for those who can’t maneuver a manual chair (i.e., elderly, injured) by providing electric battery-operated equipment.
The best electric wheelchairs cost around $2000 to $6000, depending on what type you’re getting. These include:
- Full-size power wheelchairs
- Portable power wheelchairs (folding wheelchairs)
A bariatric wheelchair is designed specifically to offer a larger seat width and accommodate heavier wheelchair users, providing enhanced comfort and mobility.
On average, bariatric wheelchairs cost around $200 to $2000. Again, the final price for a bariatric wheelchair will depend upon the specific type you will buy, which can be one of the following:
- Bariatric Steel Transport Wheelchair
- Heavy-duty Power Wheelchairs
- Lightweight Aluminium Bariatric Wheelchair
Additional Costs To Consider
When buying a manual wheelchair, an electric wheelchair, or a bariatric wheelchair, you are not just paying for the equipment itself but also for services like insurance, maintenance, accessories, payment plans, delivery, and installation.
To know what we mean by the mentioned factors, check out the sub-sections below!
Insurance coverage from an insurance company or government programs (e.g., Medicare) will help you insure your wheelchair from unexpected damages or unexpected but inevitable problems.
These usually come at a price of about $5 to $50. Nonetheless, the price is a great offer that can provide ease of financial damages should your manual or electric wheelchairs get stolen or damaged through unforeseen events.
You should always choose an accredited insurance provider with a speedy approval process that swiftly provides for your financial and medical needs.
PRO TIP: If you want to learn more about whether Medicare covers wheelchairs, read this article.
To keep your manual or powered wheelchairs in tip-top shape, maintenance is part and parcel of the buying process. It comes with an average cost of $70 to $500, depending on these factors:
- Services Needed
- The extent of damage or repair
Comfort, mobility, and independence are a few of the perks that manual and power wheelchairs provide. Yet, sometimes, the stock accessories are not enough to achieve the desired outcome, so we add new accessories such as:
- Bags, Batteries, Chargers
- Covers and cushions for wheelchairs
- Ramps, Safety and fall prevention equipment, Trays
Also, if you are an active wheelchair user, you can treat it as an extension of your body, meaning the urge to accessories or decorate a wheelchair comes naturally.
With this setup, another additional cost is knocking at your door, ranging from $10 to $200.
In an installment, you must pay the principal price and the interest rate per annum the seller stipulates, which can be at most 12% (legal interest rate).
With this, always weigh the pros and cons of your chosen payment plan, especially on how much additional costs it entails.
Delivery and Installation
After you have bought the right wheelchair that matches your preferences and needs, you will either pick it up from the store or have it delivered right to your doorstep, which means payments of $25 to $100.
It can get even higher when your delivery includes professional installation, particularly for electric wheelchairs, as you also need to pay for the services rendered.
Factors That Influence the Cost of a Wheelchair
Apart from the additional costs we mentioned in the preceding section, through our practical knowledge and tests, we have discovered other factors that influence the wheelchair cost.
Here are the factors that affect wheelchair costs and what they mean in the overall computation of the wheelchair price.
Type of Wheelchair
Different types of wheelchairs call for different wheelchair prices because of additional features and extensive functionality. Here are the types and their characteristics that determine the price:
A manual type of wheelchair is the most affordable out of all the types of wheelchairs because they are made with cost-effective materials with a straightforward goal: to help seniors and physically incapacitated individuals regain mobility.
Unlike an electric motor, it has few added features for active users. However, it caters to the essentials of daily life, depending on its specific model, such as:
- A basic manual wheelchair serving as functional medical equipment
- Manual ultra-lightweight wheelchairs as compact companions for travels and vacations (e.g., a portable wheelchair)
- Manual reclining wheelchair for added comfort
These basic wheelchairs are either self-propelled thanks to the bars beside the wheels or companion-propelled when pushed by a caregiver or a family member, especially during outdoor use.
Also, it’s important to note that even if manual wheelchairs are relatively inexpensive compared to an electric wheelchair, their price can still vary depending on the extra features a specific model and brand offers, such as:
- Hand brakes (manual brake)
- Cushions and belts on the leg rests
- Full-length armrests
- Seat depth
- Cup holders
An electric wheelchair, also called a powered wheelchair, is the complete opposite of a manual mobility wheelchair.
A power wheelchair is operated by an electric motor and rechargeable battery and propelled using the different power wheelchair buttons.
It can be classified under either of these power wheelchair model types:
- Full-size power wheelchairs
- Portable power wheelchairs
A full-size power wheelchair is considered to be of higher weight capacity, wider wheelchair seat width, and larger arm and leg rests. It also contains a larger battery, which means longer battery life.
This power wheelchair is priced between $2000 and $6000 but can still go up to as much as $15,000.
Another electric wheelchair type that indeed does a great job of accompanying users from one point to another are portable power wheelchairs. These power chairs are also called transport wheelchairs because of their nature:
- Fold easily
- Compact enough to fit in car trunks
On average, a portable power wheelchair is still within the $2000 to $6000 powered wheelchair price range.
With the standard manual chair and power chair checked off, another wheelchair known for its larger wheelchair size is a bariatric wheelchair. A bariatric chair can be identified by the following characteristics:
- Seat width of up to 33 inches
- Approximately 20 inches seat height
- Caters to a weight capacity of approximately 450 kg. to 700 kg.
There are two types of this kind: a manual and a power chair. On the one hand, the manual bariatric chair is alternatively called a bariatric steel transport or lightweight aluminum wheelchair. It costs $200 to $1000.
On the other hand, heavy-duty power wheelchairs cost $2000 to $6000, and even higher depending on the advanced features of your power wheelchair and whether it’s for indoor or outdoor use.
New vs. Used
The age or newness of manual, bariatric, and electric wheelchairs are also considered as it influences how affordable or expensive the mobility chair can be.
A new wheelchair’s price is higher than a used wheelchair, even if the latter is in good condition, regardless of its heavy-duty and high quality. The used wheelchair price is dependent on the following:
- Length of prior use
- Scratches and damages
The general rule is that the more features a wheelchair has, the more expensive a wheelchair purchase will be. Some of the added features that can surely escalate a price are the following:
- Active height feature
- Carry straps
- More batteries
- More than four wheels
- Non-skid natural rubber for foot rests
- Nylon upholstery
- Show-and-go clips
- Swing away footrests for reduced pressure sores
The durability of a wheelchair is also an indicator of how affordable or expensive it is. If it is made of stainless steel, high-quality aluminum, titanium, or carbon, you are assured of a reliable, if pricy, wheelchair.
To find the most appropriate wheelchair to help you through tight spaces, crowded places, activities, or long trips, you must always consider your lifestyle.
Your lifestyle will indicate what wheelchair is helpful to you, not only in the short period but also in the long run. In this case, you shouldn’t settle for a basic manual wheelchair if your purpose of having one is to compete in any sports.
After all, a reliable wheelchair must be as tough as you are and long-lasting.
PRO TIP: If you are a paraplegic, get to know the best wheelchair that will suit you from the best wheelchairs for paraplegics article!
Materials Used to Construct the Wheelchair
The durability of a basic manual wheelchair or a power wheelchair is directly influenced by the types of materials used to assemble the chair.
With this, the more expensive materials for most power wheelchairs are high-quality aluminum, carbon, and titanium, which costs an average of $4000. The good thing about a power wheelchair with this material is the following perks:
- Corrosion resistance
- Resistant to bends and cracks
- Scratch resistance
- The lightweight frame (lightweight wheelchairs)
On the other end of the bargain is a relatively cheaper stainless steel, known to be more heavy-duty than the titanium’s lightweight frame. However, it is still cost-efficient and low maintenance.
At the end of the day, the choice between a manual or power wheelchair, as well as what material they’re made of, will still depend upon the intended use.
Where Did You Purchase the Wheelchair
Based on our expertise and research, where you purchase the wheelchair will also affect how it is priced. You can expect lower prices if you buy from a place with nearby competitors.On the contrary, if you buy at a place where it is the only store in your area offering wheelchairs, you can undoubtedly expect the price to be higher.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
While growing more knowledgeable when it comes to wheelchair price, you’ll indeed have more questions that need answering. Don’t worry because, in this section, we got your FAQs covered!
What Is the Price of a Wheelchair?
The average price of a wheelchair ranges from $600 to $6,000.
Are There Any Programs That Provide Financial Aid for Purchasing a Wheelchair?
Yes, there are programs that provide financial aid for purchasing a wheelchair. These are offered by the following groups:
- Muscular Dystrophy Association
- National Organization For Vehicle Accessibility
- Special Kids Fund
- National Spinal Cord Injury Association
Does insurance cover the cost of a wheelchair?
Yes, insurance can cover at least 50% of the cost of a wheelchair, mainly when it has incurred damages beyond the accepted stipulation of a warranty. An example would be the government’s Medicare.
Is there a difference in price between manual and electric wheelchairs?
Yes, there is a difference in price between manual and electric wheelchairs because of their characteristics and features.
On the one hand, a manual mobility chair is usually priced at $100 to $1500, while an electric chair costs $2000 to $6000.
Are There More Affordable Options for Buying a Wheelchair?
Yes, manual wheelchairs are more affordable than heavy-duty powered wheelchairs. Also, a manual mobility chair can still perform all the essential mobility tasks.
Are There Any Additional Expenses Associated With a Wheelchair?
Yes, there are additional expenses associated with a wheelchair, and these are the following:
- Maintenance and repair
- Payment plans
- Delivery and installation
In this article, we’ve answered the question: how much does a wheelchair cost? To summarize, the following are the price range of wheelchairs, depending on the type:
- Manual chair: $100 to $1500
- Power chair: $2000 to $6000
- Bariatric chair: $200 to $2000
Now that you know how much it costs, the following step is to assess your budget, ask your physical therapist or occupational therapist for advice, and get the best wheelchair on the market!