Tips & Advice Center: Rollators
- What is a Rollator?
- How to Choose a Rollator
- How to Measure for a Rollator
- Why Get a Rollator/Transport Chair?
- 4 Wheel Rollators vs 3 Wheel Rollators
- What is the Best Rollator?
- Best Rollator for Indoor Use
- Who Needs a Rollator?
- Rollator/Transport Chair Benefits
- Any Further Questions?
What is a Rollator?
Simply put, a rollator is a walker with a wheel at the bottom of each leg. There are 3 wheel rollators and 4 wheel rollators, and most have some kind of a pouch or basket to carry your things. Rollators are perfect for long trips or for those who don't want to be slowed down by their mobility equipment. Rollators are easier to use than walkers because they are simply pushed like a cart rather than having to be lifted. Rollators are perfect for use outdoors where the surfaces may be uneven. They can also be used indoors, and some are even narrow enough to navigate through tricky halls and doorways.
How to Choose a Rollator
When choosing a rollator, it is important to consider many factors. While price and style are significant, there are other refinements which are also important.
- 3 wheels or 4 – It is important to consider both 3- and 4-wheel rollator options. Three wheel rollators are lighter and feature a tighter turning radius while four wheel models have seats and are more stable.
- Seat – Is it important you have a seat? If so, that eliminates the option of a three wheel rollator. Seat height may also be something to consider. Some rollators have an adjustable seat height while other do not. Also think about the shape and material of the seat. Padded and contoured seats are far more comfortable than hard plastic.
- Width – The width of a rollator is important if you live in a house with standard size bathroom or closet doors as most rollators will not fit through. A three wheel rollator can be partially collapsed to fit through tight spaces. Most four wheel rollators are larger than 22", the standard width of a bathroom door.
- Weight – Look both for the weight capacity and the overall product weight. Be sure you are comfortably under the weight capacity of any mobility product to ensure it will support you correctly. The overall product weight is important if you must lift it into a car trunk or up stairs.
These, along with price and aesthetic choice, should help you choose the rollator that best fits your needs.
How to Measure for a Rollator
When considering a rollator, there are several measurements to take.
The first is the handle height. To measure for the handle height, start by standing up straight with your shoes on. Have a friend or family member measure from the crease in your wrist to the ground. This measurement should be the approximate height of the handle bars.
Next, measure the height of a chair you like and from which you can rise easily. If you have difficult with a chair that is too high or too low, keep that in mind when selecting a rollator.
Finally, measure the width of the smallest place you will need to fit through. Most often, that is a doorway or hallway. You need to be sure you can get in and out with your rollator.
Once you have these measurements, you will be ready to choose a rollator that will fit your individual needs.
Why Get a Rollator/Transport Chair?
While a rollator/transport chair may be more expensive than a traditional rollator, the freedom and flexibility it affords often justifies the additional cost. A rollator/transport chair is an easily transformable rollator that can quickly and easily be changed into a convenient lightweight wheelchair. This is especially helpful on long trips or for travel, when a rollator user may otherwise be tired and need time to rest. Here are some benefits of a rollator/transport chair:
- Rollator/transport chairs are lighter than traditional wheelchairs, making them easier to take with you on trips, be they to the store or across the world.
- All-in-one products are great for transitioning from an injury. Perfect for knee and hip replacements, this chair can transition with you. Start with a transport chair and gradually work up to the rollator without needing a replacement!
- Rollator/transport chairs are great for travel. They often fold up smaller than traditional rollators or wheelchairs, and some even fit in easily-carried storage bags. They can work as a wheelchair in a busy airport or be used as a walking aid on a stroll around the countryside.
Often, having a rollator/transport chair allows you to go further and farther because you have the added benefit of a wheelchair, when and if you need it!
4 Wheel Rollators vs 3 Wheel Rollators
When choosing a rollator, many people want to know what the difference is between a 3 wheel rollator and a 4 wheel rollator. While they both have their advantages and disadvantages, here are the main differences:
|3 Wheel Rollators||4 Wheel Rollators|
|Tight turning radius||More stability|
|Folds easily||Higher weight capacities|
|Lightweight||Wider height ranges|
As you can see, there are many considerations when choosing a rollator. The decision you make ultimately depends on what is most important to you.
What is the Best Rollator?
Many people ask for our "best" rollator. While there is not one in particular, here are the features that are most preferred by our customers:
- Large Wheels - Anything 8" or over is considered large. Large wheels allow the user to easily push the rollator over uneven ground.
- Padded Seat – Many people want a large padded seat for resting. Sling seats are also popular for their comfort. Plastic seats are hard, uncomfortable, and should be avoided.
- Collapsible Pouch – While some prefer the basket, most people like having a collapsible walker pouch on their rollator. While baskets must be removed to fold the walker, a pouch can be left in place.
- Large Adjustable Range – While you won't change the height of your rollator once you set it correctly, it is important to look at the range. You want the ability to adjust it an inch or two higher and lower than you think you need it, just in case.
- Easy to Fold – Most people need to take their rollator in a vehicle, so it is important it can easily fold for transport. Also, some people like to be able to fold it in a restaurant so they can keep it near them without blocking the walkway.
With those criteria in mind, our most popular rollators are Invacare rollators, especially the Invacare FR300 Rollator. It combines all the most popular features into one package.
Best Rollator for Indoor Use
When deciding on a rollator, one common concern is whether the item will work inside a home. Small hallways and narrow bathroom doors can be a real worry for those searching through wheeled walkers. When looking for a good indoor rollator, there are several factors to consider.
First, the overall width is of the utmost importance. Make sure you measure your doorway to ensure your rollator will fit. Indoor rollators should be narrow, lightweight, and equipped to carry your belongings with you. You may want a tray or additional storage.
With these considerations in mind, the best indoor rollator is the popular Let's Go Rollator by Drive. This lightweight rollator is small without sacrificing strength. It is less than 22 inches wide and it features an easy-to-access carry bag and tray. It can even be easily operated with one hand. The sleek, modern appearance makes it attractive as well as practical. The Let's Go Rollator is a great choice when a large outdoor rollator just won't do!
Who Needs a Rollator?
People get a rollator for all kinds of reasons, but the most common is that they are looking for a mobility aid that will give them more support than a cane, and they don't want to be slowed down by a walker. Especially for active people who are out and about, a walker can be a huge burden. People should consider a rollator when they:
- Want to remain active. This may include walks outdoors, traveling, etc.
- Need more assistance than a cane can provide
- Need to sit often
- Can't lift a walker
- Need something more durable than a walker
- Want to move quickly
Rollator/Transport Chair Benefits
All-in-one rollator/transport chairs are the perfect hybrid mobility tool. These are popular because they combine the convenience of a rollator with the comfort and flexibility of a transport wheelchair. This allows the user to walk when they can, and it provides a comfortable and safe alternative when users become tired or the terrain unsafe. Standard rollators may have seats, but they are not designed to be pushed while someone is seated. Some benefits of a rollator/transport chair include:
- Convenience – only one item to pack!
- Peace of mind while planning outings.
- Extra space - many combination products fold up extra small, or even fit into bags that can be checked at the airport.
- Larger wheels - Easier to push.
- Cost effectiveness - One purchase covers all needs.