How to figure out total width of a wheelchair

Universal/accessible design of the home from an occupational therapy and a construction perspective. This blog is part of a quest for cool, convenient, functional design that makes life safer, easier, and as maintenance-free as possible. It's about the lifestyle.
Overall widths and other dimensions vary across several categories of Wheelchairs. Almost all wheelchair buyers should be concerned with some of the basic dimensions such as overall width. You should begin by scouting out the lay-of-the-land. Do this by identifying the smallest and narrowest doorways, passage ways, elevators, or whatever you can think of or visualize that will be part of your day. Around the home it's usually a bathroom door or narrow hallway that limits access. Heavier users with wider chairs may see obstacles at every turn.
In general, use the formulas below to determine the overall width of a wheelchair:
  • Transport Wheelchair: Seat Width + 3"
  • Standard Folding Wheelchair: Seat Width + 8"
  • Reclining Wheelchairs: Seat Width + 8"
  • Bariatric Wheelchairs: Seat Width + 8"
Using the formula above, a standard wheelchair with a standard size seat of 18" wide would be (18" seat width + 8" = 26" overall width).

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