Which walkers are best?
Walkers are mobility aids that provide support while walking or standing and reduce the chances of slips and falls. Walkers are a safe and cost-effective way for those who need extra mobility support to get around on their own.
If you are looking for a walker that will spend a lot of time outdoors, the Hugo Mobility Rollator Portable Walker is a good choice.
What to know before you buy a walker
Before you choose a walker, familiarize yourself with the different types.
A standard walker is a lightweight, three-sided frame that is slightly wider than the human body. It has two handles, four legs and no wheels.
- It is a stable structure that can support the full weight of an adult.
- It is made of lightweight materials, typically aluminum.
- It is the least expensive of all the types of walkers.
- Standard walkers are the top choice for those who need a walker only occasionally or to help them spend a few weeks recovering from an injury.
- Users must lift them every few steps they take,
- They are not a good choice for those with limited upper body strength or for people who have arm or hand injuries.
- Because users are momentarily unsupported while lifting, standard walkers are not a good choice for people who need help with balance.
Two-wheeled walkers replace the feet on the front legs with wheels. People use two-wheeled walkers by rolling the frame ahead of them on the front wheels.
- The physical act of lifting is replaced by the physical act of pushing.
- The user extends much less effort and can walk farther distances without tiring.
- Two-wheeled walkers are a good choice for those who may have difficulty maintaining their balance.
- For safety’s sake, the front wheels do not swivel and are always pointed directly forward. Every time the user turns, the wheels are dragged a bit sideward, causing the wheels to wear out more quickly.
Four-wheeled walkers have wheels at all four corners.
- This is the most maneuverable type of walker.
- Four-wheeled walkers have locking brakes, so users can put their full weight on the walker.
- Four-wheeled walkers are heavier and bulkier.
Rollators are open frame structures with three or four large wheels, handlebars and a built-in seat. The front wheel or wheels turn for greater maneuverability and the back wheels are fixed-position.
- Handle brakes work just like the ones on a bicycle.
- Rollators are good choices for people who live in smaller spaces.
- Rollators are good choices for active people who spend time outdoors, those who need a little help with their balance and those who need to take a little weight off their legs from time to time.
- Rollators are not intended to bear the weight of the user.
- Rollators are the heaviest type of walker. Weight is not a problem when using it but can be a struggle if you frequently load and unload your rollator from a car.
- Because they are expensive, they are not a good choice for those who only need them occasionally or those going through a course of prescribed therapy and recovery from an injury.
To learn even more about walkers, take a look at the full walker buying guide from Best Reviews.
What to look for in a quality walker
Regardless of the style of walker you choose, it needs to be fitted to the user’s height and not the other way around. Look for walkers that adjust easily and have durable, secure locking mechanisms.
The more often the user gets in and out of a car, the more portability becomes an issue. This means collapsing the walker to put in the back seat or the trunk of a car.
When your walker has a seat, you have a place to sit wherever you go. On all walkers with fold-down seats, look for hinges to be durable, sturdy and easy to put up and down. Open frame baskets are popular choices, as are travel bags, briefcases, phone and beverage holders and hooks for hanging things like shopping bags and umbrellas.
How much you can expect to spend on a walker
Standard walkers cost between $40-$50. Two-wheeled walkers cost from $40-$50, four-wheel walkers cost from $50-$100 and rollators cost from $100-$200.
What is the right height to set my walker at?
A. The perfect height for your walker will allow you to stand as straight and tall as possible. Before purchasing a walker, make sure that it is either adjustable or the perfect height for your needs.
Is a rollator stable enough for me to use as leverage while standing up?
A. Yes, if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which typically say you must use the hand brakes to lock the wheels and keep your walker from rolling.
What’s the best walker to buy?
What you need to know: This rollator’s 8 inch wheels make it a good choice for outdoor use.
What you’ll love: This walker has a storage bag under the seat and a backrest for more comfortable sitting. The handlebars are adjustable for proper posture and the grips are ergonomic.
What you should consider: The opening mechanism can be tricky.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top walker for the money
What you need to know: The handlebars on this rollator can be adjusted for height and angle.
What you’ll love: The 8 inch wheels are made of synthetic rubber and you get your choice of a basket or pouch for storing things under the seat. This walker assembles without tools.
What you should consider: The small piece that keeps this walker folded can easily be lost.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: A lightweight walker that has easy push button mechanisms.
What you’ll love: This aluminum walker weighs less than 8 pounds. The glide caps on the rear feet allow this walker to slide easily over smooth surfaces. The buttons are easy to use and can be operated by the user’s fingers, palms or side of the hand.
What you should consider: The wheels are small, hard and do not swivel.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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