At some point in their lives, many people will need home mobility devices. Whether they are recovering from surgery, experiencing problems with their back or legs, or have some other medical condition that makes it difficult to walk long distances, the right equipment can make life significantly easier.
However, finding the best product can be a challenge because of the sheer number of different mobility aids available, about 45,515 in volume as of 2020. In addition to other types, there are also many manufacturers and models to choose from. That’s why it’s essential to think about what you need before shopping for a device.
This article will cover how to find the best home mobility products for your specific situation. It will also discuss some of the different types, show you where to buy them, and explain essential tips to keep in mind when you’re shopping.
What are Home Mobility Products?
Home mobility products are devices that can help people with limited mobility get around their homes. This includes opening doors, making it up the stairs, and getting into bed.
There are many different types of home mobility devices on the market today – each designed for a specific situation. For example, you could benefit from a stairlift if you have problems getting upstairs or a cane or crutches if you have trouble walking. Other devices are specifically for people with limited strength in their arms or hands, while some are for older people.
Children are no exception to needing home mobility products either. For many years, only a few options for children with disabilities positively impacted their ability to walk. While there still aren’t very many choices, the equipment available today is much more advanced than it used to be and offers great advantages in terms of safety and mobility.
Before you go shopping, it’s crucial to determine what type of product you need. That will make it easier to find a device that meets your specific needs and preferences.
Types of Home Mobility Aid Products
Many types of home mobility aids exist; however, it all depends on their situation and needs. Here are some of the most common products:
Canes are used to help people who have limited arm strength and stability. They support body weight and help people maintain their balance. Because they are lightweight and straightforward to use, canes offer many seniors a great deal of convenience and independence.
Canes are available in various designs and types. Some common types include:
- White canes: People with visual impairment use white canes to help them get around and avoid obstacles. The cane is usually thinner and longer than other types. Blind persons use the cane to determine the size of steps, door openings, and other obstacles.
- Bariatric canes: These extra wide canes keep a person’s weight off their feet while also reducing pressure on the back and hips. Bariatric canes are ideal for people with mobility issues caused by obesity or other medical conditions.
- Quad canes: These canes are often used by people who have difficulty balancing while using a walker. Quad canes have four legs and offer added stability while walking. The sturdy grip provides additional safety and stability, preventing users from slipping.
- Folding canes: These canes fold so they are easy to store and transport. When not in use, the cane can be folded up and kept in a bag or purse. This is very convenient if you have small children or travel often.
When choosing the best walking canes for your needs, you’ll need to consider:
- Handle shape and size
- Grip material and size
- Weight of cane
- Material and size of the base
- Cane length/height
Canes also come in various colors and patterns designed for aesthetic appeal and fashion choices.
Crutches are useful for people who have difficulty walking because of an injury or illness. They provide temporary leg support and reduce the stress on the lower body. Using crutches requires upper body balance and strength.
There are two basic types of crutches:
- Underarm crutches: These crutches are designed to fit under the armpits and offer partial upper body support. They are easy to adjust, lightweight, and designed for easy use. While they provide convenient mobility, they are pretty uncomfortable to use. For this reason, they are best used for short periods.
- Forearm crutches: These crutches have a cuff at the top to rest the forearm and a cuff at the bottom for resting your hands. Forearm crutches require greater upper body balance and more coordination to use. They are best used for people who need crutches long-term or often.
Factors you need to consider when buying crutches include:
- Material of design: Crutches are generally made of lightweight, strong materials like aluminum. The best crutches for seniors are lightweight and have a comfortable grip. They should also have rubber tips to prevent floor damage.
- Size: Crutches come in a variety of sizes. You’ll need to determine the best size for your height and weight. The best crutches are the ones that fit you comfortably and securely without causing unnecessary strain.
Walkers offer a multi-purpose mobility aid for seniors and people who need assistance getting around. About 1.5 million people in the USA use walkers, and 77% of these people are older persons above 65 years old.
Walkers provide additional body support and reduce the pressure on the hips, legs, and feet. They are beneficial for people who often feel unsteady while standing or walking. As the above data suggest, most people using walkers are seniors. However, you can also use a walker if you have an illness or injury that affects your balance and general mobility.
Walkers feature four legs with adjustable heights and rubber tips for added stability. Walkers may not be ideal for those with limited upper body strength, but wheeled walkers are there to solve this problem.
There are different types of walkers available to suit individual needs, including:
- Wheeled walkers: Wheeled walkers provide added stability and maneuverability, making going up and ramps and curbs easier. Most wheeled walkers allow the user to adjust height and lock wheels in place for added safety.
- Standard walkers: Standard walkers are lightweight, easy to use, and considered the perfect balance between stability and mobility. They stay firm on the ground, allowing you to lean forward slightly for better speed and mobility. Standard walkers are best suited for older people with balance issues or limited lower body strength.
- Hemi walkers: Hemi walkers offer more support to one side of the body. The best Hemi walkers are perfect for people who can only use one side of their body. Hemi walkers are more like a cane but with four legs to provide more stability.
Factors to consider when buying a walker include:
- Material of build: Walkers are made from lightweight metals such as aluminum, plastics, and other materials to provide strength and stability. You should look for a walker that is durable, easy to maneuver, and lightweight to suit your needs.
- Height and width: The best walker should adjust to your height and offer a broad base for added stability. Ideally, the best walker should have a three-point height adjustment that allows you to make changes on the go.
- Dual and single button walkers: Some walkers have double buttons that close the walker one side at a time, while others feature single buttons to close both sides simultaneously. It is best to go with walkers with single-button mechanisms for ease of use and added safety.
- Walker accessories: Wheeled walkers often come with added accessories such as glide caps, baskets, and platform attachments. While these items may not be necessary for your needs, it is good to check for walkers with the most valuable accessories.
Wheelchairs offer the ultimate support for people with mobility issues. They help maintain independence and give users the freedom to move around without assistance. Wheelchairs come in different designs and styles to suit the needs of individual people.
Types of wheelchairs available for home use include:
- Standard wheelchairs: Standard wheelchairs are everyday wheelchairs with a seat cushion, backrest, leg rests, armrests, and wheels. They can be lightweight or heavy-duty, depending on user requirements. Most standard wheelchairs can be folded for easy storage and transportation.
- Bariatric wheelchairs: Bariatric wheelchairs are ideal for heavyweight users and provide larger seat dimensions and added support. They feature wide seats and reinforced frames for users weighing up to 600 lbs. Bariatric wheelchairs are also more robust than standard wheelchairs and provide better stability.
- Reclining wheelchairs: Users with limited mobility issues may also consider reclining wheelchairs. These wheelchairs allow the user to recline and sit up straight for added comfort and convenience. Reclining wheelchairs are generally suitable for people with limited mobility issues such as lower back pain and arthritis.
- Motorized wheelchairs: Motorized wheelchairs are bigger and bulkier than standard wheelchairs. The best-motorized wheelchair, such as the Elenker electric wheelchair, offer added convenience, allowing users to move around with ease. Motorized wheelchairs are perfect for people who cannot move around on their own or need assistance to change positions.
Factors to consider when buying a wheelchair include:
- Weight capacity: Wheelchairs come in different weight capacities depending on the manufacturer, style, and size of the chair. You will want to check with your doctor or medical provider for a list of suitable wheelchair brands and styles according to your weight capacity.
- Seat width: The seat width should be sufficient to accommodate the widest part of your hips or thighs for added comfort and safety. If the seat is too narrow, it may pressure-sensitive areas such as your thighs, leading to skin irritation and sores.
- Height-adjustable seats: Height-adjustable seats allow you to adjust the height of your wheelchair for added comfort. Most standard wheelchairs have fixed seat heights, so it is good to check with the manufacturer if you can adjust your wheelchair for height.
- Seat cushioning: The best wheelchair should come with a comfortable, supportive seat cushion that alleviates pressure on your back, hips, or thighs. The seat cushion should provide support regardless of the length of time you spend sitting down.
- Seat belts: Wheelchairs come with built-in seat belts for added safety and security. It is essential to go with wheelchairs that have strong hinges, sturdy armrests, and seat belts. Wheelchair seat belts should also be easy to fasten and unfasten, allowing you to get in and out of the wheelchair with ease.
- Wheels: It is important to go with a wheelchair that has strong and durable rubber wheels for stability and added safety. The best wheelchair wheels are non-pneumatic and puncture-proof.
- Armrest: The best wheelchair should have strong and durable armrests for users with limited upper body strength and mobility issues. Armrests allow you to move around your home or get in and out of your wheelchair quickly while improving safety and stability.
- Reclining back: Wheelchairs come with different reclining options, such as fixed or adjustable backs, removable backs, and foldable backs. In the case of reclining wheelchairs, it is crucial to go with options that you can easily adjust for added convenience and comfort.
5. Mobility Scooters
Mobility scooters are ideal for people who need to move around at home or outside the house during their day-to-day activities. Mobility scooters can be used indoors and outdoors, allowing users to easily get around in grocery stores, outdoor malls, city sidewalks, and other crowded areas.
Mobility scooters come in different styles and models. They vary in size, speed, weight capacity, maneuverability, and usability, among other features.
- Manual mobility scooters: These are lightweight and easy to use. Manual mobility scooters offer a smooth ride, allowing you to move around with ease. These scooters are generally affordable, but they may be bulkier and larger than other types of mobility scooters. Below are some of the types of mobility scooters available:
- Three-wheeled or four-wheeled scooters: Depending on personal preference, you can choose either a three-wheeled or four-wheeled scooter. Four-wheeled scooters tend to offer a smoother ride, whereas three-wheeled scooters are smaller and lighter. Three-wheeled scooters may be less expensive compared to four-wheelers, but they are not as stable over uneven ground.
- Two-wheeled scooters: If you have to traverse city sidewalks or crowded areas, a two-wheeled scooter may be a better choice. These scooters tend to be more budget-friendly and easier to use, but they are not as stable, and they may require more effort on your part.
- Knee scooters: People with a fractured leg, ankle, or foot can opt for a knee scooter. These scooters allow you to move around with ease and safety. A knee scooter is a good choice for people who need support and stability to get around as they recover from an injury.
6. Seat lifts
Seat lifts provide added convenience to people with limited mobility issues. Seat lifts are easy to use, and they allow you to sit down or stand up in the comfort of your own home. You can install seat lifts on chairs, sofas, and other furniture.
When choosing the best seat lift for your needs, it is vital to go with a model that comes with sturdy and durable construction for added support. It is also essential to go with a seat lift that offers smooth operation and additional safety features.
Seat lifts can either be electrically powered or self-operated. An electrically powered seat lift provides the added convenience of remote control operation, while a self-operated model uses hydraulics to lift you or lower you to a sitting position. Self-operated models don’t require a battery as they will activate when you stand up or sit down.
Seat lifts provide support to the lower part of the body. While the lower body support may be beneficial, you’ll still need help once you are off the seat lift. You may need additional mobility aid products such as a walker or cane.
Rollators are mobility walkers that you can use to move around indoors and outside the home. They feature four wheels, swivel casters, and a seat, allowing you to move around with ease. You can use a rollator indoors or outdoors, depending on your individual needs.
Rollators are available in different styles and models. They vary in size, weight capacity, height, brakes, and other features. It’s important to note that rollators are not transporting devices. Placing too much weight on a rollator may cause it to tip over.
Ideally, if you think you would benefit from a rollator, you should discuss your needs with your doctor or physical therapist. However, a standard walker with wheels may also offer the same benefits as a rollator.
When choosing the best rollator for your needs, it is crucial to go with a model that comes with sturdy and durable construction for added support. You should also select a rollator that comes with comfortable handles and additional space for storage.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Home Mobility Products
In-house mobility products provide added convenience to people who need extra support when they move around their homes. Before choosing the best mobility product for your needs, it’s essential to factor in several key variables.
1. Identify your Needs
Knowing your specific needs is the first step towards finding the right home mobility aids. It’s important to identify the main reason why you need a mobility product. For example, if you usually have difficulty getting in and out of your car, then a seat lift would be an appropriate choice for you.
On the other hand, if your primary concern is safely navigating steps without assistance, a stair lift may be more suitable. Of importance, if you have a medical condition that limits your mobility, it is wise to consider a mobility product that offers the added support and assistance you need.
A recommendation from a professional will help you determine the most suitable mobility product for your needs. An occupational therapist, physical therapist, or doctor can guide what type of mobility aids would be best-suited to help with your specific needs.
2. Assess your Home’s Setup
It’s important to assess your home and its setup before choosing the best mobility products. Home décor can impact how you will use a mobility product if installed straight out of the box.
For example, if you need a mobility product to access portions of your house, such as the bathroom, kitchen, or bedroom, with ease and comfort, you should be aware of the available space in your home.
3. Comfortable Handles and Seats
You should choose a mobility product with comfortable handles for an easier grip while seated, standing, or walking. In addition, select a seat that provides lumbar support for enhanced comfort when sitting down. A wide seat may also add to your level of comfort.
4. Additional Features
Today, you can choose from various home mobility products with additional built-in features to offer added convenience and safety for all your everyday needs. Mobility accessories are also available to enhance the overall functionality of your chosen product.
You should select a mobility product that comes with convenient features such as seatbelts, armrests, and transfer seats. An adjustable-height will enable you to safely stand up from a sitting position, allowing you to maintain a healthy back and neck posture. Other accessories such as handgrips or baskets will boost your mobility product’s functionality.
5. Sturdiness and Durability
Sturdy make is essential to help reduce the risk of accidents when using your home mobility product. A strong frame with durable construction will provide additional support. Some models come with brakes that prevent tumbling or tipping over when walking or standing up for added safety.
6. Quality of Construction
You should choose the best quality of materials for your home mobility product, such as aluminum or steel. Lightweight material with rust-resistant properties will provide added convenience for everyday use.
While metal is stronger, it can be more challenging to maneuver. On the other hand, aluminum offers a good balance of strength and weight that allows for easier mobility.
7. Ease of Use
It’s important to choose a mobility product that is easy to assemble and disassemble. The equipment should also be lightweight enough to maneuver around your home. For added convenience, choose a mobility product compatible with most staircases and entryways in your house.
Risers are very important for some individuals who have more difficulty walking up or downstairs. This accessory provides additional steps on the staircase, allowing you to walk up the stairs more efficiently, even in small increments.
8. A Personalized Fit
Some home mobility products are adjustable in height to offer a comfortable fit for all your everyday needs. For instance, you can adjust the handle height to sit at waist level, offering better support when walking or standing up from a seated position.
A personalized fit is essentially about ensuring that your mobility equipment is suited to your body dimensions and weight. For best results, you should visit a healthcare expert such as an occupational therapist who can provide more personalized advice.
9. Your Budget and Financial Considerations
How much can you afford to spend on your home mobility products? While the costs vary from model to model, you should choose a mobility product within your budget. For example, if you cannot afford a stair lift or power wheelchair straight away, then consider choosing manual and lightweight equipment that’s easy to lift and install in your home.
Work out the numbers with your insurance carrier to receive their support before making a purchase. Your insurer may provide more comprehensive or discounted coverage for home mobility equipment to meet your individual needs.
You should consider the costs of any additional accessories that enhance your home mobility product’s functionality. For instance, buying a seatbelt, transfer seat, and riser kit separately will be pricier than purchasing a package deal.
10. Warranty and Guarantees
A quality home mobility product comes with a comprehensive warranty to protect you from damages and malfunctions. Most manufacturers offer a guarantee on their products for at least one year.
Some suppliers also offer additional guarantees, such as an extended warranty. However, suppliers may provide different warranty terms. You should consider the cost of repairs along with the manufacturer’s guarantee period to find the best value for your money.
11. Product Safety
While home mobility products provide convenience and freedom for individuals with mobility issues, it’s important to consider the risks of using such equipment in your home.
Before using a home mobility product, you should ensure that it’s safe and compatible with your home. Look for a safety certification such as the European Safety Standard (EN71-1). For added safety, choose a product that has been tested and approved by an independent third-party organization such as TUV or GS.
You should also check whether you need to have a second person in case of an emergency. Some products require dual operation or supervision to prevent injury and accidents.
Where to Buy the Best Home Mobility Products
Buying a home mobility product can be a daunting experience if you aren’t aware of your options. There are a number of popular stores that offer various mobility products for your home.
1. Medical Supply Stores
Medical supply stores or medical equipment providers sell a variety of home mobility products. They are an excellent one-stop shop for all your home mobility needs.
You can find mobility equipment, bathing aids, hospital beds, lift chairs, shower chairs, and other products that can improve your quality of life. These stores generally offer a wide range of pre-determined products to suit different home configurations.
One advantage of medical supply stores is you get professional recommendations on your home mobility products. The staff is trained to understand the unique needs of individuals with disabilities and advise you on what products to choose.
However, buying from a medical store tends to be expensive as these stores focus on high-cost equipment that, in most cases, aren’t covered by your insurance.
2. Specialty Retailers
Opting for a specialty retailer may be the best solution to buy home mobility products on a budget. These stores focus on selling affordable products within a specific category, such as power wheelchairs.
Specialty retailers generally offer an extensive range of products at affordable prices. But make sure to compare your options carefully before choosing a retailer.
3. Online Retailers
You can also buy home mobility equipment via an online retailer. These websites offer detailed product information, guide you through the buying process, and deliver your order straight to your doorstep.
Most online retailers offer free shipping and flexible return policies. However, you should carefully review the warranty information of any home mobility product you buy online. Not all retailers offer the same level of convenience and service.
It’s also essential to check whether your preferred retailer delivers to your area or offers international delivery options for products purchased online.
Top Tips on Finding the Best Home Mobility Products
You can follow tips and tricks to ensure you buy the best home mobility products for your needs. While finding information about your specific needs can be challenging, several general tips apply in most cases.
1. Do Thorough Research
When you’re looking to buy equipment for your home, you must understand the different products available in the market. Research involves studying and gathering information about the products available, their features, benefits, advantages, and possible uses.
For instance, if you’re looking for a mobility scooter, you must know what different types are available in the market. You should also understand how to move around with each product and whether they require batteries or charging cords to work.
2. Seek Recommendations
If you’re on a tight budget, it’s best to ask for recommendations from friends and family members who have used home mobility equipment before. They can provide detailed information about products they’ve used and warn you against buying shoddy or defective equipment.
Recommendations are vital as most people underestimate the importance of safety and comfort when choosing between different mobility products.
3. Read Product Reviews
Reading product reviews written by other customers is another way to find valuable information about mobility products. Reading customer feedback can help you understand precisely how the equipment works and what level of convenience it offers.
But, make sure you read unbiased product reviews to get an honest opinion about a particular item or product.
4. Talk to a Doctor or a Qualified Mobility Specialist
If you’re unsure or confused about what product would be best suited for your requirements, speak to a qualified medical professional. Physicians and professionals are trained to understand the specific needs of individuals with disabilities and recommend products that are most suited for their condition.
A reputable practitioner should only recommend products that can help minimize the risk of injury or accident.
5. Try Before you Buy
If you’ve narrowed down your choices to two or three products, try before buying. This is the only way to ensure comfort and convenience when using a home mobility product.
For instance, if you’re looking for a power wheelchair, rent one first to understand how it feels. Renting equipment allows you to test its features, ease of use, and comfort before committing to a purchase. If you decide to buy, remember to check warranty policies and delivery conditions.
6. Make Use of Social Media
Over 3.6 million people worldwide are active on social media, with the projection of the figure reaching 4.41 billion in 2025. How about making use of its power? Social media users can connect with other customers and share reviews.
By joining groups and using hashtags, you can talk to other people who have used a product or service before. You’ll get more detailed and honest information about the product from people within your network.
How to Find the Best Home Mobility Products (FAQs)
Answer: Choosing a mobility device involves understanding your specific requirements and needs. To select the best equipment, you must first know what equipment is available in the market. You can narrow down your choices by identifying a budget and considering factors such as ease of use, comfort, safety, durability, and maintenance cost.
Answer: Walkers are the most common mobility devices, with a range of models and brands available in the market. Walkers are four-legged devices with two arms attached on either side for support. These mobility aid devices give you stability and support while walking or standing.
Answer: When choosing a walking aid, make sure the device is sturdy and supports your weight without slipping or wobbling. You should also check the height of the legs to make sure you are comfortable while standing up. Ensure that it has rubber tips on all four legs, as these provide stability during use.
Answer: If you have problems moving around or performing basic tasks, you should consider getting a mobility aid. A mobility device can help you move around at home and prevent injury caused by falls or slips. Consult your doctor or physical therapist to determine whether you require a mobility aid or not.
When trying to find the best home mobility product, it’s essential to understand your requirements and make comparisons. Consider factors such as ease of use, comfort, safety, durability, and maintenance cost. Ensure you get honest reviews and check warranty policies and delivery conditions.
Try before buying, if possible, by renting the product first. It’s also advisable to connect with social media users or groups of other people who have used a particular product or service in the past.
Don’t forget to update your knowledge about mobility aid devices, such as walkers and wheelchairs, by taking time to research on the internet. With more information at hand, you can make more informed choices while purchasing a mobility product.