You need a rollator walker and you’re after some information how to find the best frame, handle and wheel combination to keep safely active and getting on with life. You are in a good place to find that solution with our 9 top tips for best walker rollator for you.
All walker rollators have a frame, handles and wheels in a variety of styles, combinations and options to suit your mobility and support needs.
Before we present the 9 top tips for best walker rollator, it’s important to understand that some walker rollators offer more support but less mobility while others focus on mobility and flexibility, allowing more diversity for use.
So your decision will be based on how active you are and where you wish to use the walker rollator.
With that in mind look read on through the following 9 top tips for best rollator walker to inform yourself of how to choose a walker knowing what to look for and know the options to consider before buying a mobility device.
How is a walker different from a rollator walker?
A walker is simply a metal frame (typically aluminum or steel) with a handle and legs, and sometimes have 2 small wheels at the front.
A rollator is a walker with three or four wheels, a handle, and often with hand-operated brakes. On account of the wheels, rollators are more agile than walkers, making them suitable for people who can walk well but have impaired balance and stability.
Rollators with seats are great for active walkers as they offer the user an option to sit when tired when out and about. Also they often feature other other useful options including a storage area to put those items one would normally carry.
On the other hand, for people who cannot bear weight on one or both lower extremities (for example, following hip surgery or injury); a walker may be more appropriate. To help assess the question, have a look through our article, Do I need a walking stick, cane or walker, which has some questions to ask yourself which may might help with your decision.
Sometimes it may be necessary for a person to use a combination of both, a rollator outdoors and a walker or cane within the home and a therapist can assist with these decisions.
9 Top Tips For Best Rollator Walker
1. Place of Use: Indoors vs. Outdoors
Rollators have wheels and this makes them particularly useful for long trips and for use outdoors on uneven terrain where a walker is a slower device, more for support and not a mobile. Indoors, a rollator walker may be too wide to fit through doorways or navigate narrow halls.
So our first important tip in the 9 top tips for best walker rollator is to decide where the walker will be mainly used and for what sort of activities.
2. Rollator Type (3 or 4 Wheels): Mobility vs. Stability
This section is about what you need most from your mobility aid, is it predominately support or mobility and where you want to use it.
3 Wheel Rollator Walker
Three-wheeled rollators, which are shaped like a tricycle, offer better mobility on account of being lighter, narrower, and having a tighter turning radius. These models usually fold easily for transport and are easy to maneuver.
4 wheeled Rollator Walker
Four-wheeled rollators offer superior stability and may come equipped with a seat. These models feature higher weight capacities for bariatric users. If you weigh more than is considered normal or your major concern is a lack of stability when you walk, go for a four-wheeled model.
However, if you feel your balance is good and you simply need a safety net when you’re out and about, or if you will use the rollator indoors, a three-wheeled model may be perfect for you.
3. Frame Size Considerations: Width vs. Weight Support
Your body body build and constitution will also determine your choice of rollator. Lightweight aluminum frames may not offer enough stability or have the weight capacity to support people weighing more than 250 lbs, for whom a heavy-duty steel rollator with four wheels may be more appropriate.
In addition to the recommended user weight capacity, the rollator’s own weight is important if you will need to routinely transport it in a car or carry it up a flight of stairs.
The rollator walker frame size will also be a consideration in relation to where this device is to used. If indoors, some four-wheeled rollators tend to be wider than 22 inches, the width of a standard bathroom door, great for outdoors but their use indoors in small spaces may be limited.
4. Wheel Size Options: Large vs. Small
Wheels come in a varity of styles and sizes. Wheels with a diameter of 8 inches or more are considered large, and these allow the rollator to be pushed easily over uneven surfaces and more sturdy for this type of activity.
Smaller wheels are more suitable if you plan to predominantly use the rollator indoors as they are much easier to maneuver in tight spaces. If your are frail you will want something light and easy to move about your home.
5. Frame Structure and Size: Adjustable vs. Fixed
Every walker and rollator comes with a manufacturer recommended height range. For optimum comfort, it’s a good idea to purchase a device for which you fall somewhere in the middle of the suggested range. A rollator with an adjustable height will allow you to fine tune your mobility device based on your footwear and the surface you’re walking on.
6. Seat Type: Adjustable vs. Fixed and Padded vs. Plain
Our next tip in the list of 9 top tips for best walker rollator is considering the type of seat in four-wheeled rollators. An adjustable seat height can mean the difference between comfort and discomfort, as can the contour and material of the seat. Padded seats that are ergonomically shaped offer far superior comfort than plain hard plastic seats.
7. Handles and Brake Types: Cable Loop vs. Push Down
When you are choosing a mobility device, ensure that the height of the handlebar is approximately the same as the distance from the crease of your wrist to the ground. The handle should offer a firm grip for safety and be comfortable in your hand.
Rollators have wheels and will feature handle brakes, the most common of which are the cable loop and push down types.
Cable Loop Brake System
The cable loop system is similar to bicycles, and the brakes are engaged by the user squeezing the levers against the handles.
Push Down Brake System
Push down spring-loaded brakes engage when the user bears down on the frame and release when pressure is taken off, so these may be unsuitable for petite or frail users who do not have the strength to engage the push down breaks.
Rollators with seats always have a brake lock to prevent the device from rolling away while the user is seated.
8. Frame Storage and Transportation: Weight vs. Ease of Folding?
If you are wondering how to choose a walker rollator, the next tip is to evaluate the weight and ease of folding.
- A foldable rollator can fit through narrow doorways and be flattened for transport.
- A lightweight rollator with an easy fold mechanism will make your device suitable for transport by train, plane, and automobile.
- Non-folding versions are more suitable for people who rarely travel and will use the device within the confines of their home.
9. Appearance of Device: Cost vs. Features
Rollators are more complex devices with wheels, brakes, seats, and accessories, and are, therefore, usually more expensive than walkers. Heavy duty rollators can cost considerably more than their lighter counterparts.
It’s important to carefully evaluate your individual needs and choose a walker rollator with features you will use. There’s no point paying extra for a rollator which folds completely flat when you’re only ever going to use it around the house, and a $50 non-folding rollator may serve your purpose. On the other hand, investing $500 hybrid rollator/transport chair may be more cost effective if your needs dictate the occasional use of a wheelchair.
Choose the Best Rollator Walker That Will Take You Where You Need To Go
Deciding what you want the rollator walker for, mobility or support, and then where you wish to use it whether indoors or outdoors will be the first couple of decisions to make. From there it will be about looking at the various options that can individualise the mobility devise to you, ensuring an unrivalled user comfort and experience.
We hope these 9 top tips for best walker rollator will help you make an informed decision, enable you to choose the best rollator walker that will take you where you need to go in your life safely and with ease.