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Thread: Best wide wheelchair??

  1. #1

    Best wide wheelchair??

    Hi, I'm a pretty big guy (6'4" 250lbs), but unfortunately I was measured for my first chair after spending nearly 3 months on a feeding tube and having lost over 50 lbs. A year later and I'm back to about my normal size.

    My current chair cushion is 18" wide, and my jeans are constantly making whirring noises as the wheels scrape past, it's very annoying. So I'm looking to upgrade to a new chair, but it seems the maximum normal width is 20".

    Does anyone have any recommendations for chairs that are rated for 250-300lbs and maybe 22" seat width?

    On a related note, how wide can a chair get before it starts to get difficult to maneuver in public?

  2. #2
    Senior Member ~Lin's Avatar
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    Side guards will help reduce the wheels scraping your jeans, though they may slightly decrease usable space so if the seat size is too small for you it may be too tight with side guards. But if its just a little amount of squeeze it can help.

    It also depends on what kind of chair you have and how you mount the side guards. For example I know there was a post here by SCI_OTR showing how to slightly increase usable seat space with side guards on a tilite chair.

    I don't know anything about widths of chairs and the effects.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member wtf's Avatar
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    Do you have side guards on your chair now? If you don't, then you need to get some so your pants don't scape against the wheel. I think it's better to be in a narrower chair for manueverability. I probably should be in a 17 inch but I squeeze my booty in a 16.

  4. #4
    First, some terminology so we can talk.

    All wheelchairs sold in the US are coded for insurance-reimbursement reasons. These codes are called HCPCS (commonly pronounced 'hickpicks'). Manual chairs have the codes K0001-K0007 and K0009 (abbreviated K1-K7 and K9):
    Name:  HCPCS K1-K9.JPG
Views: 271
Size:  36.3 KB

    Second, to my amateur knowledge K1-K5 and K9 chairs have maximum weight capacities of 250# including clothes and carry ons. For example, here is TiLite's disclaimer:
    Attachment 43616

    K6 and K7 chairs are specifically manufactured with higher weight capacities:
    Attachment 43618

    Most posts on CCC are about K5 and K9 chairs. While researching for my first chair, I came across only one Manufacturer of K6-K7 chairs (Wheelchairs of Kansas), but I wasn't looking for them, so there may be many more.

    That's all I can offer specifically about 250#+ chairs. But, in general, when I shopped for my chair, I looked for rigidity (non folding with continuous axle) for pushing efficiency, minimum quantity of frame holes for durability, and (because it was my first chair) adjustability of Rear Seat Height, Center of Gravity, Backrest Height, and Backrest Angle.

    Correction - after a quick internet search for 'bariatric wheelchair,' I found a K4 available with up to a 25" wide seat and rated up to 300# made by Karman Healthcare.
    Last edited by chasmengr; 01-30-2012 at 04:34 AM.
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  5. #5
    A couple inches can make a big difference. I was measured for my first chair in rehab with a TLSO brace on (for you non-SCI people, this is an instrument of torture placed on people with mid-thoracic injuries). Because of the brace they put me in a 18 inch wide chair (and also one with way too high a back, but I digress). A year later I got a 16 inch wide chair that fit and that two inches makes a lot of difference. Like WTF said, get some side guards and wedge your captian's quarters in. I am kinda wishing I had gone down to 15 inches and done that.

  6. #6
    Are you looking for a rigid or folder?? Several companies make a 300lb chair in both categories.

  7. #7
    There are a lot of options, are you in a ligthweight rigid or folding, or the standard chrome rehab chairs????

  8. #8
    Hi. I'm in your same situation... Too heavy for most...

    I'm 6'4", 275lbs+. However, I fit in a 19" seat just fine. Sounds like you might actually sit in an 18" seat. Sides are critical, to keep you safely in the chair and not pinching something in the wheels as well as keeping the wheels from getting clothes filthy.

    I myself, went with a HD version of TopEnd's Terminator chair. I went with the Ti version but they also have an Al (everyday) version for those who's insurance wouldn't cover the more expensive option or just prefer aluminum.

    I've put this chair through hell. over 6-8" hard curb drops all the time (people think I'm nuts), not to mention a few nice spills going down sidewalks way too fast... Not a single problem. Even with my fast @$$.

    Get some hard sides for your current chair and make sure your next one is properly measured for your normal body. A lot of people tend to gain weight when they become immobile. I did, 230-275... And I don't hardly eat anything. My chemical system is massively messed up, but that's another story... Still, your chair has to hold you properly. There are plenty of 250lb+ options out there, some are more limiting then their lighter siblings but odds are you can find what you need/want.

    I use sides alone, they just drop into holders to isolate me from the wheels. But I also have sides with armrests for things like trips to a movie, etc where I won't be moving much and want arm-rests. But I don't use them all that often. Still it's yet more options. But one or the other is always on the chair or my sides/pants/coat hit the wheels.

    If I was just to get a huge chair so I didn't need sides, two other problems arrise. 1) most importantly, the wheels would be too far out making it horribly inefficient and un-ergonomic. Potentially causing more harm then anything else. 2) the chair gets wider and wider. It won't be able to pass through a standard door. Even with 0 camber and a very slim setup, my 19" seat chair gets really close to most standard doors. A 20" would be super tight without even thinner-yet wheels and such, and anything wider then that would simply not fit.

    Others told me this before and I agreed then but now I understand how insanely important this is; "You want the chair to be snug; tight even, side-to-side..."
    Last edited by SirGCal; 01-30-2012 at 05:05 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member wtf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t8burst View Post
    I am kinda wishing I had gone down to 15 inches and done that.
    You could probably do that, aren't you kind of a slim guy? The guy who told me to go smaller worked for a dme and was in a chair himself. If I remember right, he was in a 14 and he could whip around alot faster, not to mention fit thru tighter spaces.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by SirGCal View Post
    Hi. I'm in your same situation... Too heavy for most...

    I'm 6'4", 275lbs+. However, I fit in a 19" seat just fine. Sounds like you might actually sit in an 18" seat. Sides are critical, to keep you safely in the chair and not pinching something in the wheels as well as keeping the wheels from getting clothes filthy.

    I myself, went with a HD version of TopEnd's Terminator chair. I went with the Ti version but they also have an Al (everyday) version for those who's insurance wouldn't cover the more expensive option or just prefer aluminum.

    I've put this chair through hell. over 6-8" hard curb drops all the time (people think I'm nuts), not to mention a few nice spills going down sidewalks way too fast... Not a single problem. Even with my fast @$$.

    Get some hard sides for your current chair and make sure your next one is properly measured for your normal body. A lot of people tend to gain weight when they become immobile. I did, 230-275... And I don't hardly eat anything. My chemical system is massively messed up, but that's another story... Still, your chair has to hold you properly. There are plenty of 250lb+ options out there, some are more limiting then their lighter siblings but odds are you can find what you need/want.

    I use sides alone, they just drop into holders to isolate me from the wheels. But I also have sides with armrests for things like trips to a movie, etc where I won't be moving much and want arm-rests. But I don't use them all that often. Still it's yet more options. But one or the other is always on the chair or my sides/pants/coat hit the wheels.

    If I was just to get a huge chair so I didn't need sides, two other problems arrise. 1) most importantly, the wheels would be too far out making it horribly inefficient and un-ergonomic. Potentially causing more harm then anything else. 2) the chair gets wider and wider. It won't be able to pass through a standard door. Even with 0 camber and a very slim setup, my 19" seat chair gets really close to most standard doors. A 20" would be super tight without even thinner-yet wheels and such, and anything wider then that would simply not fit.

    Others told me this before and I agreed then but now I understand how insanely important this is; "You want the chair to be snug; tight even, side-to-side..."
    Thanks a lot. That terminator chair looks like a good one. I'm going to ask my provider about it. Do you have any trouble getting it into cars?

    I used to have clothing guard / arm rests that slid into a slot on the side, but they had a lot of play so they would end up rubbing on the wheels themselves.
    Eventually it just became easier to transfer without the armrests so i got rid of them. Maybe I need to get those back.

    I have a ki mobility catalyst 5 folding chair right now. I just measured and the cushion width is 18 inches. One thing I just realized is that Ki mobility offers a free "growth kit", but I'm not sure if I should go that route now considering your comment. Getting through standard doorways is already fairly tight. I only have about an inch between my knuckles and the doorway on each side.

    Does anyone know of any durable, permanent clothing guards for this type of chair that bolt on really well?

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