When searching for the right mobility aid, the choice is made difficult by the wide variety of products on the market. With so many different options, it can be hard to get exactly what you need. However, with the knowledge of what features will assist you, the choice can be made easy. At Breeze Mobility, we believe that helping your find the right rollator or walker is the most important part of our job. In this walker and rollator buying guide, you will find all the information necessary for you to choose the perfect product for you.
The first crucial factor to understand is the difference between a walker and a rollator. The biggest difference between a walker and a rollator is that a walker is a handled frame with legs. While a rollator has three or four wheels with a handlebar feature and hand-operated brakes. In general, rollators offer more agility because of their wheels are are better for people who are able to walk, but fatigue easily or need assistance with balance. If a person cannot bear weight on one or both legs but does not require a wheelchair, a walker is usually the best choice. Walkers are generally smaller than rollators making them more convenient for travel and storage. If you are planning on using your walker primarily indoors, a standard walker may be the best choice. However, if you are going to be using it outside a rollator may be a better choice because of the wheels.
Once you have decided if a standard walker or rollator is better for your situation, here are some important factors to consider while choosing a product.
Selecting a Grip
Most walkers and rollators come with a plastic hand grip for increased comfort and stability. However, if your hands tend to get sweaty or require more padding, a foam grip or soft cover grip may be a better choice for you. For patients with arthritis, joint pain, or nerve problems in the finger, a larger grip may be better to create a better grip on the walker.
Three-wheeled vs. Four-wheeled Rollators
If you have decided that a rollator is best for your mobility needs, you now should decide if a three- or four-wheeled rollator is right for you. Both models have advantages and disadvantages so the decision comes down to what is most important to you. Three-wheeled rollators are lightweight and can easily fold making them good for travel. However, they have a narrower build and tighter turn radius. While four-wheeled rollators are heavier and larger making them difficult to fit into small places, they offer more stability than the three-wheeled model. Four-wheeled rollators also come with a rest seat so patients can take a break if they become fatigued. This model usually has a higher weight and height capability.
Most walkers are either made with aluminum or steel. Steel is a stronger, heavier material and is designed to support greater body weights. Because of the heavier material, steel walkers can be difficult to travel with. Aluminum frames are much lights and are designed for those weighing under 200 lbs.
It is crucial to choose a rollator with the proper measurements for your body type. Choosing a walker that is too large or small for you can cause physical pain and discomfort during use. The overall width of a walker is really important. It is important to consider the width of doorways in your home or places you frequent. Many homes have narrow bathrooms with a door of only 22” wide. If this is the case for you, consider choosing a narrower frame. To determine the correct height of a rollator, you should be able to comfortably stand with a 30 degree bend of your elbow while gripping the handles. Generally, junior walkers work best for users who are between 4’8’’ and 5’2’’. Standard walkers are good for patients that are 5’3’’ to 5’11’. For those over 5’11’’, tall rollators and walkers are the best option.