You've decided that a wheelchair, power wheelchair or mobility scooter will help you remain aging in place — but getting your mobility device into your home may be a challenge if you have steps leading into your home. Luckily, the easy installation of a wheelchair ramp will help! But with all the options available, how do you choose the right wheelchair ramp?
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Wheelchair Ramp
- Where do you need to install a wheelchair ramp?
- Threshold — If you have a doorway or landing that is just slightly raised, a threshold ramp may be the right choice for you. Hoveround offers a simple to install wheelchair ramp for your thresholdthat is anti-slip and provides high traction
- Set of Steps — If there are a few steps leading into your home, Hoveround offers a single-fold wheelchair ramp that folds in half to carry like a suitcase, as well as a tri-fold wheelchair ramp that separates and folds in half and is constructed from durable welded, aircraft-grade aluminum.
- Raised Landing — For a raised landing, the best solution will always be a solid 36-inch wide ramp safely and comfortably get in and out of your home. Depending on your situation, you may even want your ramp to have handrails, and our PVI OnTrac wheelchair ramp offers handrails as a safety option.
- Vehicle — If you need to easily transport your power wheelchair, you can use our ">tri-fold wheelchair ramp, which is available with an optional top lip extension (TLE) that increases the lip from 3 inches to 9 inches. With the TLE, the ramp will be able to rest on the floor of your vehicle for safe and convenient transportation.
Make sure the area that the wheelchair ramp will be resting on or attached to is solid, level and even in order to ensure the ramp will be stable and can use it safely. Inspect the area and make sure it can handle the regular use of a wheelchair ramp, and always check out the ramp before each use to make sure it is still on stable ground.
When choosing a wheelchair ramp, it is imperative to find one that will safely support the weight that will be on it, including the weight of the mobility device, the user, the caregiver (if needed for assistance), and any additional necessary items. Many power wheelchair ramps can accommodate 300 to 600 pounds, but most Hoveround wheelchair ramps can safely support up to 800 pounds.
The width of your wheelchair ramp depends on the size of your wheelchair and the additional room you'll need to maneuver on the ramp — along with your own personal comfort. Generally, a minimum width of 36 inches will suffice, but you may decide that a wheelchair ramp width of 42 inches is more comfortable for you.
The slope of the ramp is how steep it will rise, and it's imperative for safety reasons that you make sure the slope is appropriate for the incline limits of your mobility device. The ADA recommends the following guidelines for wheelchair ramp slopes:
- If you will ride up and down the wheelchair ramp while seated in your wheelchair, you'll need about 1 foot of ramp for every inch of rise.
- If you will walk alongside or behind your mobility device, and power it up unoccupied, you will need about 1 foot of ramp for every 3 inches of rise. Example: With three steps and a total rise of 18 inches, you'll need an 18-foot wheelchair ramp — but if you can use the ramp while walking your wheelchair up it, you may be able to use a 6-foot wheelchair ramp.
Hoveround offers free consultations to help you determine which wheelchair ramps will best suit your needs, so give our Mobility Specialists a call today at (800) 542-7236 and regain your independence!