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How Much Does a Wheelchair Weigh?

Savvy consumers of wheelchairs often ask: How much does a wheelchair weigh?

While this may seem like an insignificant query, knowing the actual weight is critical for those planning to travel with someone in a wheelchair. Having a lightweight chair will also reduce the exertion required by the user to maneuver the wheel.

However, the exact answer to this question typically depends on the type of wheelchair you choose. Every vehicle is configured differently; therefore, the average wheelchair weight can vary. But yes, there are predetermined weight ranges for the different wheelchairs available.

In this guide, let’s explore the topic further to help you find the right wheelchair model.

What Is an Average Wheelchair Weight?

The standard manual wheelchair can weigh over 35 lbs, while the powered versions weigh above 50 lbs. The difference in weight depends on the material used to create the wheelchair and the add-ons that make them more user-friendly.

However, do note that manufacturers are not liable by the government funding codes to include the weight of a footrest. In this case, they may get away with publishing numbers lower than the actual weight.

The Common Types of Wheelchairs and Their Weight

Wheelchairs are available in a wide variety, and every user chooses one based on their clinical and lifestyle needs. But when it comes to weight, they are generally classified into these categories:

  • Manual Wheelchair - 35 lbs. - 45 lbs.

This is the most basic type of wheelchair for adults. They can be either self-propelled or pushed from behind by a caretaker. Their average weight is between 35 lbs. - 45 lbs - depending on the material of its frame.

They are designed with durability in mind and are ideal for commercial areas such as airports and hospitals. They are also the most cost-effective option available in wheelchairs. However, they are not recommended for long-distance travel as the user can quickly become tired from turning the wheel. Caretakers can also struggle with the weight if they are required to lift the wheelchair in and out of a car frequently.

  • Electric Wheelchair - 50 lbs. - 250 lbs.

Electric wheelchairs are battery-powered and propelled by a set of controllers. They give the users more freedom to explore the world without any discomfort.

But when it comes to weight, they are heavier and bulkier compared to the standard wheelchair for seniors. This is because electric wheelchairs require several components such as the battery, motor, and braking system to function optimally. Some high-end wheelchairs also include rearview mirrors, storage baskets, and enhanced ergonomic seats for comfortable travel during long distances. While these elements are essential for improving the user's independence, they also contribute significantly to weight.

If you plan to often travel with an electric wheelchair, look for ones that are lightweight and easy to transport with an average weight between 50 lbs and 150 lbs. You should also consider the weight of the wheelchair’s heaviest part. This is usually the battery which weighs between 10 lbs and 18 lbs. Knowledge of this will make it convenient for the caretaker to disassemble for travel and maintenance purposes.

  • Travel Wheelchair - 15 lbs. - 30 lbs.

A travel wheelchair is the lightest option available for users. As the name implies, they are ideal for use during travels to malls, parks, and restaurants.

Unlike manual wheelchairs, travel or transport wheelchairs are designed with four small wheels that provide no opportunity for the user to self-propel. They can only be maneuvered if a caretaker pushes from behind. But thanks to the weight, there is no extra strain on their part when traveling.

  • Heavy-Duty Wheelchair - 40 lbs. - 60 lbs.

The heavy-duty wheelchairs or Bariatric wheelchairs are a division of manual style chairs. They are made from robust materials and are suggested to use by individuals who weigh over 300 pounds. They also feature wider seats than standard models for the user’s comfort.

Since they are heavy, it is vital to use a wheelchair ramp if you need to lift one in a car. A foldable variety is also available for travel. They are expensive and not as portable as the regular folding wheelchairs. But they do provide better accessibility for plus size users.

  • Foldable Wheelchair - 15 lbs. - 35 lbs.

The foldable wheelchairs are lightweight and specifically designed for traveling. As they weigh very less, they are efficient to move around and lift in cars. They also fit easily into the trunk and backseats of most cars.

If you are planning to buy a foldable wheelchair, do consider the following features:

  • The Wheel Size: The large wheels can automatically tell whether the wheelchair is suitable for independent use. You should also note if the wheels will cause any obstacle when the chair is folded.
  • How it Folds: Since each foldable wheelchair has a different folding mechanism, it is essential to look at how a chair folds, so there is no hassle during use. Also, avoid chairs that fold like a beach chair as they can be ‘unsafe’ for the users.
  • Safety: The folding mechanism of the wheelchair should be classified as ‘FDA approved’ with 501k registration. Do check the documentation to ensure your loved one’s safety. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some more common queries about the weight of wheelchairs for adults to help you make the right purchase decision.

How Can I Check the Weight of My Wheelchair?

Check the product’s specification to learn the weight of your selected wheelchair. Besides the product’s weight, the manufacturers will also list the capacity of each chair to indicate the maximum weight it can carry.

Are Wheelchair Weights Accurate?

Note that manufacturers are not liable by the government funding codes to include the weight of a footrest. In this case, they may get away with publishing numbers lower than the actual weight.

Why Is Wheelchair Weight Important?

The weight of a wheelchair is an important factor for the caretakers who are frequently required to lift the chair in and out of vehicles.

Will My Wheelchair Fit in My Car?

Standard wheelchairs are 36-inches tall and 25-inches wide. These can easily fit into an average car and SUV. However, powered vehicles and heavy-duty wheelchairs that are not foldable may require wheelchair-friendly vehicles.


As you can see, there is no definite answer to the query ‘how much does a wheelchair weigh?’ The correct answer depends on the user’s travel needs and propelling capacity.

It is also important to consider the caregiver’s strength if they are required to load the wheelchair into a car. You can end up hurting yourself if a chair is heavier than your normal lifting capacity.

In this guide, we have explained the different types of wheelchairs and their weight. Make sure to research each style thoroughly, look at different brands, and take into account your unique preferences before making a purchase. Good luck!

Alex Vander Poel
Alex Vander Poel
Marc’s Mobility was created by my Father Marc in 1995 when I was 7 years old. I have grown up in and around this industry and from an early age would clean, drive and repair these units with Marc. I graduated high school in 2006 and headed to Gainesville, FL to get a Business degree at the University of Florida. Once graduated, I moved back to Lakeland FL to help my father grow the business to what it is today.

I have been full-time in this industry for almost 12 years as of 2022. When I graduated college the company was a small 3 member operation. At the beginning, it was my primary role to inspect, repair, and prepare units for shipping all across the US. As we have grown to over a 10 man operation, I now oversee all aspects of the business but understand each and every role here at Marc’s Mobility. I believe what makes us successful is we do our best to treat everyone we interact with as if they were family.