lightweight wheelchair

To make sure we always provide the latest information, this page was last updated on 1 December 2021.  

Best lightweight folding wheelchairs

It can feel difficult to choose the right lightweight wheelchair for your needs, with so many on offer. In this article we will explain:

  • How a lightweight folding wheelchair can benefit you
  • What types of transport wheelchairs are available
  • How to choose the best transport wheelchair
  • The best foldable lightweight wheelchairs for sale

Wheelchairs were first invented in the 1700s. Since then they have diversified greatly, with so many options now available for people with reduced mobility. In this article, we will explain how you can choose the best foldable wheelchair for you.

What is a lightweight wheelchair?

Wheelchairs were once incredibly heavy, difficult to manoeuvre and clunky. This meant they weren’t easy to store, lift and couldn’t be folded up, transported or used as frequently. Now, most wheelchair models, including folding wheelchairs are lightweight – but some more so than others.

These are specifically designed to be portable and easy to use for all parties. This may be appropriate if your carer or the person looking after you is quite frail themselves.

They’re also handy when out and about, as they can easily be folded up and lifted into and out of vehicles or carried when they are not in use.

Topics and products covered on this page

Our Number 1, and best rated, lightweight folding wheelchair

Lightweight Wheelchair – Patterson Medical Days Escape

Why we rated this the best

  • The lightweight wheelchair arrives completely assembled
  • One of the best rated wheelchairs in the world
  • Very lightweight but sturdy build

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This is rated our best value for money foldable wheelchair

Days Swift Self Propelled Wheelchair

What you need to know

  • A collapsible wheelchair you can easily put away
  • Because it is also a lightweight folding wheelchair it is easy to move around
  • Great for larger people
  • Very lightweight and easy to lift

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The best of the rest

Superworth Folding Lightweight Wheelchair

What you need to know

  • This is one of the best collapsible wheelchairs; it is made from really lightweight steel which is easy to lift whilst still ensuring a strong build.
  • Has a narrow folding width of just 9 inches so can be easily stored in the car boot.
  • Includes useful features such as detachable footrests and comfortable, padded armrests.
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
  • One of the lowest prices on the market and includes free delivery.
  • 18 inch seat width and maximum user weight of 100kgs.
  • Backrest made from a durable nylon material.

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Excel G-Explorer Best Lightweight Wheelchair

What you need to know

  • Seat width options of 16, 18 and 20 inches, so the wheelchair should provide a comfortable experience.
  • Receives fantastic ratings.
  • Stylish colourful design.
  • Includes sturdy, pneumatic tyres appropriate for off-road conditions.
  • The aluminum, collapsible design makes this a fantastic lightweight wheel chair.
  • Includes extra features such as an ergonomic seat angle, adjustable armrests, calf straps and seat skirts to improve comfort.
  • Supports users up to 18 stone.
  • Price includes free delivery.

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Superworth Luxury Folding Wheelchair

What you need to know

  • Padded armrests that are cleverly designed to get the user closer to tables.
  • The nylon backrest and seat can be easily wiped clean.
  • This transit lightweight wheelchair can be used indoors or outdoors, so is great for wheelchair users who like to be involved in outdoor games or travel.
  • Durable, puncture proof wheels.
  • Self propels easily but the handles mean it can also be pushed by another person.
  • Competitive price includes free delivery.
  • 18 inch seat width and maximum user weight of 100kgs.

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Lightweight deluxe transit wheelchair

What you need to know

  • Seat height of 19 inches and seat width of 18 inches mean that it should comfortably fit most users.
  • Weighs just 10kg without the detachable footrests, making this one of the lightest weight wheelchairs.
  • Competitively priced and includes a lightweight travel bag as well as free delivery.
  • Made from materials designed for comfort with padded armrests.
  • Several cross braces provide added stability and strength.
  • This is one of the best travel wheelchairs as it folds up with ease into a small, portable wheelchair.

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Lightweight Electric Wheelchair

What you need to know

  • An ultra-fast folding lightweight wheelchair that easily fits in your car boot with 45cm seat width.
  • Has a long lasting battery life with up to 12 mile range.
  • The tilted backrest and foam PU sponge create an ergonomic design.
  • Designed with materials which can be easily washed.
  • Includes added safety features such as an anti-fall belt and anti-roll back rear wheels.

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Angel Mobility Self Propelled Wheelchair

What you need to know

  • This model offers quick folding into a small wheelchair which is great for storage.
  • Includes legrests and puncture proof wheels meaning it’s suitable for use outdoors.
  • Weighs only 11kg so it is easy to move in and out of your car boot.
  • Excellent value for money including free delivery.
  • Has handle bar attendant brakes as well as parking brakes.
  • 18 inch seat width with maximum user weight of 100kgs

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Angel Mobility Lightweight Folding Wheelchair

What you need to know

  • No large bulky wheels meaning this model is extraordinarily compact and weighs just 9kg.
  • This item is in the lower price range of folding wheelchairs but still includes free delivery. Additionally, unlike several other lightweight wheelchairs, this style requires no assembly and arrives ready to use.
  • This model meets all your basic requirements, with puncture proof tyres and easy to wipe clean vinyl seating.
  • Angel mobility is one of the most reliable providers of folding lightweight wheelchairs, and the company receives excellent feedback on their orders (as can be seen in the product information in the link below).
  • 17 inch seat width with a maximum user weight of 16 stone.

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Panana Portable Folding Wheelchair

What you need to know

  • This model comes in an ultra lightweight design so the majority of people should have no problem lifting this chair in and out of the car.
  • The compact, foldable design means this can be easily stored in the home.
  • Has a number of useful features such as detachable foot-rests and easy to clean upholstery.
  • This product has a maximum user weight of 100 kilograms.

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Days Lightweight Folding Four Wheel Walker

What you need to know

  • Days is a well respected brand and supplier of wheelchairs, and receives excellent customer feedback.
  • This item comes in a range of colours and sizes, meaning you can tailor the chair to a style and size that suits you.
  • The most unique part of this product is the maximum user weight of 165kg, which is significantly above the standard capacity, making this product of particular interest to heavier customers.
  • Comes with a 3 year warranty.
  • The height is adjustable and the hand grips have an ergonomic design, providing maximum comfort.
  • Folds easily and weighs just 7kg.

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Panana Portable Wheelchair

What you need to know

  • Panana is one of the cheaper brands for fold up wheelchairs, and still provides comfortable, practical and lightweight items.
  • This model can be used both inside and outside.
  • It is ideal for journeys to and from a car, bed or toilet.
  • Has a maximum user weight of 100kg.

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KAD Lightweight Folding Travel Wheelchair

What you need to know

  • This design includes a seat belt to insure the safety of residents.
  • Quick folding and lightweight so it is easy to transport.
  • Uses high quality metal and has a unique, attractive pattern covering the upholstery.
  • Durable design made from, waterproof and corrosion resistant materials.

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Drive Foldable Travel Chair

What you need to know

  • 19 inch seat width and maximum user weight of 115kg.
  • Durable, puncture proof wheels to ensure the chair is suitable for outdoor use.
  • Nylon upholstery is easy to wipe clean.
  • Aluminium frame weighs just 8.6kg so that the chair is easy to lift off of the ground and into car boots, cupboards etc.

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Pink Compact Wheelchair in a Bag

What you need to know

  • Comes in an attractive pink design.
  • Can be folded to ⅓ of the size of a typical folded wheelchair, and then stored in a bag. This design is ideal for those who like to travel, for holidays or just days out.
  • Solid, puncture resistant tyres.
  • Includes other useful features such as padded armrests and removable footrests.
  • Low price point includes free delivery and carry bag.

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YuCar Lightweight Electric Wheelchair

What you need to know

  • Quick folding without disassembling, this is one of the most compact lightweight wheelchairs on this list and should fit into most car boots. Also includes a handle for ease of lifting.
  • Includes a shock absorber for maximum comfort on rough terrain.
  • The sharp turning radius makes changing direction easier and quicker.
  • Has other useful features such as under-seat storage and easy-clean upholstery.
  • The easy to use joystick can be simply removed and placed on the left or right, depending on the user’s preference.

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Drive Medical Self Propel Wheelchair

What you need to know

  • 17 inch seat width and maximum user weight of 115kg.
  • Stylish, dual tone upholstery.
  • Includes quick release, adjustable footrests and fabric side panels designed to improve comfort.
  • Fold-up, compact design is easy to stow away and transport.
  • Self propel design gives the user the option of increased independence.

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Lightweight folding wheelchair – deluxe aluminium

What you need to know

  • Very sturdy and great value for money
  • Looks great
  • Back mesh allows you to breathe

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Folding Wheelchair – Days Escape Lite Aluminium

What you need to know

  • This folding wheelchair is very light but has a sturdy build
  • Really easy to fold up and comes with a bag
  • Easily fits in to a car boot

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The Patterson Medical Days Escape Lite Wheelchair

What you need to know

  • These folding wheelchairs are a good fit for taller people as it is not a small wheelchair
  • One of the most popular wheelchairs on the market
  • Really good value for money

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The Best Foldable Wheelchair With Handbrakes

What you need to know

  • This foldable wheelchair is really easy to move and turn around
  • Sturdy build
  • Really good value for money

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Who are transport wheelchairs best suited to?

Wheelchairs offer support for people with a range of disabilities, mobility issues and illnesses. They can be a short-term stopgap, or a long-term solution. This means they are suitable for a range of different individuals with varying needs, including:

–       Elderly people requiring mobility support when out and about

–       Individuals with disabilities or mobility issues who are unable to walk, or cannot walk long distances

–       Individuals recovering from illness needing short-term or long-term rehabilitation

You may be reading this article because you have been advised by a healthcare professional that you may need a wheelchair. Perhaps family and friends have suggested it.

Even if you feel you don’t need a wheelchair, it may be incredibly beneficial to you. Often people who don’t want to use a wheelchair find it significantly enhances their quality of life in surprising ways.

What are the benefits of a lightweight fold up wheelchair?

Portable wheelchairs offer a variety of benefits for people with reduced mobility – some obvious, some less well known. Predominantly a fold up wheelchair would offer independence, freedom, flexibility and opportunity. They can also prevent further injury and alleviate pain.

Although there is a stigma for some surrounding wheelchair use, they offer multiple benefits for users. Most of all they can dramatically improve independence, which in turn has a positive impact on mental and physical wellbeing.

They can aid or speed up recovery from illness or a physical accident or operation. As wheelchairs come in lots of different shapes, sizes and specifications there is a model to suit every requirement.

How to choose the best portable wheelchair

When deciding which portable wheelchair is best for your needs it’s important to take several aspects into consideration. This will help you to make a sound decision that pays dividends both now and in the future.

1) Wheelchair price and budget

Wheelchair price will naturally influence your decision, too. It’s important to balance budget with quality – achieving the best possible value for money rather than acquiring the cheapest or most expensive model.

Wheelchair price can vary greatly – especially between high street and online retailers. Online retailers tend to be cheaper – but its best to try out the models you’ve shortlisted in person before you purchase.

2) Your needs – now

Once you’ve determined how much you have to spend, you’ll need to consider your immediate needs.

  • How will a wheelchair benefit you right now?
  • Will it help you to do shopping on your own?
  • Cut down on care costs?
  • Enjoy a better quality of life?
  • Socialise more?
  • How will it enhance your life?
  • Then practically-speaking ask yourself what it will need to do and feature to help you to fulfil your needs.

If you need a speedy way to get to the shops, a motorised scooter or power wheelchair may be best. If comfort is important to you an ergonomic or customised wheelchair featuring foam lifting cushions and suspension could be perfect for you.

If you need help with this speak to family and friends, or consult with your general practitioner, healthcare professional, specialist or social worker.

3) Your needs – in the future

Once your immediate needs are covered it’s time to think about your future prognosis. If your condition is likely to worsen, will this wheelchair stand the test of time?

You don’t want to have to go through the costly and stressful process of replacing or changing your wheelchair at a later date, so it’s a good idea to be sure that your choice will provide adequate support for years to come.

4) Lifestyle – Wheelchair categories cater both to the needs of the individual, and their lifestyle. It might be useful to make a list of the things you like to do, and the activities a wheelchair would help you to enjoy. If you lead a very active lifestyle, you’ll need a different type of wheelchair compared with someone who spends most of their time indoors.

5) Preferences – Your personal preferences are important and should be taken into account during the decision-making process. For example, you may prefer to maintain full independence with a self-propelled wheelchair. Maybe a mobility scooter or electric wheelchair is best for you.

Perhaps you’d prefer a hybrid frame wheelchair for now. Match up your needs with your preferences to try and strike a balance between them for the best of both worlds.

What is a wheelchair price?

The price of a wheelchair can vary greatly, from about £50 to over a thousand pounds for the more sophisticated and lightweight models.

We find that the best value wheelchairs are found in Amazon.  Please click here to see a range of the latest lightweight wheelchairs that are available.  

Other types of wheelchair that are available

There are now many types of wheelchairs available many of which are self-propelled wheelchairs. This is great news for the significant percentage of our population who live with limited mobility or disability. But it can also make the decision process confusing and difficult.

It’s a good idea to understand the types of wheelchair available, as this enables you to make an informed decision.

Once you’ve gathered a clear picture of your needs and preferences, a list of wheelchair types is a good place to start. You can then use the characteristics to match the right model with your criteria.

There are now many categories and models to choose from – here we’ve selected eight of the most common types of wheelchair for you to consider.

1) Power wheelchair

Power wheelchairs are a special kind of electric wheelchair also known as ‘power chairs’ or ‘motorised wheelchairs.’ They require no manual propulsion and can be used both indoors and outdoors.

This means they’re incredibly versatile and are useful for individuals with complex care needs, advanced disabilities and very low mobility.

2) Transit and foldable wheelchair wheelchair

Transit wheelchairs, also known as transport chairs, are small, portable, light wheelchairs with small wheels. These are best suited to short trips and days out – and are commonly used by the elderly and in hospitals and healthcare establishments. They are often ultra lightweight folding wheelchairs and portable.

3) Recliner wheelchair

Recliner wheelchairs or ‘tilt wheelchairs’ offer maximum comfort for people with severe disability or dramatically reduced mobility. Some recline partially, others fully. Headrests, art rests and foot plates are often detachable. Often ergonomic seating and comfort padding to protect against bed sores.

4) Hybrid wheelchair

Hybrid wheelchairs are a fantastic option for anyone new to wheelchairs, transitioning between a walking frame or cane and seated mobility aid. They can be used in multiple ways and are incredibly versatile – often they can be folded and feature storage baskets and adaptations.

5) Bariatric wheelchair

Obesity is becoming an increasingly difficult issue in the Western world – and for those with mobility problems or health issues, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy weight. For individuals classed as medically obese specialist wheelchairs are required, to ensure maximum comfort, support and safety. These wheelchairs incorporate heavy-duty steel and specialist padding.

6) Ergonomic wheelchair

Ergonomic’ means ‘efficiency and comfort’. Ergonomic wheelchairs are specifically designed to ensure maximum support, with moulded backrests and head rests, lightweight aluminium frames and memory foam or air flow comfort padding. This allows weight to be distributed evenly.

7) Active/sports chairs

Some types of wheelchairs are specially adapted for sports and activities. These are generally only used during these activities and are not designed for everyday use.

Most wheelchair models can also be customised. If you have specific needs it is important to speak with retailers and manufacturers if you can’t find what you are looking for. They should be able to help you find a solution that perfectly fits your needs.

8) Folding wheelchair

As the name suggests these are practical light wheelchairs that can easily be folded for storage.

A helpful video for you

Want to learn more? Well here is a useful video that provides you with more useful information when looking to make a purchase.

Meet the author

Hayley Kenyon

Hayley Kenyon

Hayley is responsible for writing content on the site as well as managing the social media channels. She has a degree in Art and Humanities. Hayley has been reviewing and writing on products for a number of years and uses her experience to recommend the best products.

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Read our guide to buying a Power Wheel Chair

Top tips on buying a transit wheelchair

A guide to buying a self-propelled wheelchair