How To Choose A Rollator. Is A 3 Wheeler Right For Me?

When faced with the question of how to choose a rollator from the 4-wheeler models, the options can be challenging because of the number. Fortunately, the number and variety of 3-wheel rollators on the market are fewer than the 4-wheelers, while the things that need to be considered in terms of features and safety slightly differ. This article aims to provide you with this information in a concise manner.

What is a 3-Wheel Rollator?

Three-wheeled rollators are walker frames supported by three wheels instead of the usual four. There are two wheels at the back and one in front. This unique design is what lends itself to an enhanced ability for maneuver and navigation in comparison to the four-wheeled rollators. There are lightweight and heavy-duty options.

Why Choose a 3-Wheel Rollator?

The ability to maneuver and navigate around corners, narrow hallways and doorways and tight living spaces is the major advantage cited for using a 3-wheeled rollator.

They are a popular choice for many seniors and the elderly but are generally not recommended for users with severe balance issues or those using bariatric walkers because of their weight.

Unique Features of 3-Wheel Rollators

How To Choose a Rollator – Wheels

Three-wheeled rollators are always fitted with 3 large wheels. Depending on the brand, each wheel may measure about 7.5” – 8″ in diameter allowing ease of movement over rough terrain.

The wheel on the front leg of the frame has full 360-degree turn and swivel functionality while the two wheels at the back are equipped with a braking system controlled from the two handles.

The braking mechanism operates like the hand brakes on a bicycle and can be used to control the speed of the rollator. Furthermore, they can be locked when not in motion or when the user is standing up from a chair or bed to prevent slips and accidents.

There are two tire options – durable solid tires, or air-filled tires for an improved ride over bumpy terrain.

Folding Frames

The folding frames are generally lightweight because of the expectation that the rollator will frequently be transported to various locations for use. This is the reasoning behind the folding frame mechanism because the rollator will have to be loaded into and off-loaded from vehicles they must be loaded into vehicles they all have some type of folding mechanism.

Seats

Three-wheel rollators do not have seats for resting when the user gets tired.

How to Choose a Rollator – Fitted Accessories

Baskets and Walker Bags (carry pouch) are common factory-fitted accessories of the 3-wheel rollator. These allow the user to carry personal items along with them whenever they go out. They, therefore, have both hands free to navigate the rollator. These baskets and bags are always removable and may have to be removed to fold the walker.

Other Accessories For Purchase

Cane Holders – Many seniors and the elderly can use a cane for short distances but find that they require a rollator for longer distances. Getting into some extremely small places such as certain bathrooms, change rooms and narrow aisles can be difficult and challenging with a three-wheel rollator.

It is for such occasions that having a cane to use is invaluable. Hence, cane holders are sold as accessories.

Cup Holders – These provide a means to carry a drink on the rollator without spilling it.

How to Choose A Rollator – Important Things to Consider

Need to frequently take rests while walking? This is an all-important question. Only 4-wheel rollators are fitted with seats that can be folded up while moving around.

If you need to take short rests, then a 4-wheel rollator will be more suitable as they provide enhanced support and come equipped with seats.

3-wheel rollators are good for enhanced maneuver and navigability in tight and narrow spaces but they do not have the luxury of foldable seats.

Once you have determined that you need a 3-wheel rollator, there are a few other important considerations related to user weight and height of the handles that need to be made.

Weight of the User

The maximum recommended weight capacity of 3 wheel rollators is 300 lbs. Even then weights between 250 lbs and 299 ibs should purchase the heavy-duty models. These models are a bit expensive, but they are comfortable and safe and well worth the investment for a user who desires the maneuverability and easy navigation of a 3-wheel rollator. However, note that 3-wheel rollators do not have seats – if this is a requirement.

How to Choose a Rollator – Height of the Handles

Standard rollators are adjusted by moving the wheels up and down, while most three-wheeled rollators are adjusted by adjusting the handles up and down.

Do not set the handles too high. This is extremely important as such a setting is not comfortable or safe, as it can cause neck strains because it requires more strength to support the body. An adjustment that is too high causes the elbows to either be too stretched out and raising the shoulders or bend at an angle that is not comfortable. Watch the video below for tips on how to adjust the height of your rollator handle bars,

General recommendations for handle height are as follows:

  • Handle height of 25 -30 inches for a height below 5 feet
  • Handle height of 30 -35 inches for a height between 5 – 6 feet
  • Handle height of 35 inches and above for a height above 6 feet

It is recommended that you get assistance while adjusting for the handle height to ensure that you get proper support and comfort while moving around. A good rule of thumb is to take measurements when the user is in a standing position. Measure the distance from the wrist of the user to the floor and then use this measurement to adjust the handle height.

Final Words on How to Choose a Rollator

Answering the question – How to choose a Rollator is one that requires different considerations for a 3-wheel rollator compared to a 4-wheeler.  Understanding the differences and applying them to your personal requirements will go a long way to ensure that you are comefortable and safe, whichever model you choos to purchase. As a rule of thumb, remember that the cheaper models are more lightweight than some of the more expensive models. Check out the prices of the examples provided in this article. A future article will undertake a detailed comparion of several popular models.  

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References

Measure for Rollator Walker https://www.phc-online.com/Measure_for_Rollator_s/8791.htm

 

2 thoughts on “How To Choose A Rollator. Is A 3 Wheeler Right For Me?”

  1. Hi Ceci,

    My grandfather is stubborn and definitely could use one of these around the house but it’s hard to convince him of anything haha! However, I do think this would be a good fit for him so I’ll try to bring it up casually in conversation. He doesn’t get out much so I think the three wheels would be fine just to use at home. He has Polio so he does need to sit down often but again, he’s a stubborn homebody. Do you think the three wheels would be fine for someone who has Polio but doesn’t get out much? Otherwise he uses a cane but it puts a lot of strain on his back. I wish he would let us help him!

    Reply

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