Which wheelchair carrier is best?
For those who require a wheelchair, transporting their equipment to and from different locations can be a challenge. Even folding wheelchairs are often too large and cumbersome to fit entirely inside a vehicle. To ensure that your wheelchair can safely accompany you wherever you go, you will require a dedicated wheelchair carrier.
The Husky Towing 88133 Mobility Wheelchair/Scooter Carrier is lightweight, thanks to its aluminum construction. It folds up against the rear of your vehicle while not in use and features a built-in, foldable ramp. Its simple design and robust build make it the best choice for those who want to take their wheelchair on the road.
What to know before you buy a wheelchair carrier
Your wheelchair type
The type of wheelchair needed will determine what type of carrier needs to be used. Standard, foldable wheelchairs can be transported using basic carriers that are lightweight and reminiscent of bicycle racks. However, scooters or electric wheelchairs require a platform to be parked on and secured to, as well as a ramp that can be used to move them into place.
Not all vehicles are ideal for wheelchair transport. Most wheelchair carriers attach via a vehicle’s trailer hitch. This means that a towing package of some sort will need to be installed in order to use them. Carriers designed for manual or otherwise lightweight chairs are sometimes available in configurations that allow them to be secured to a vehicle’s trunk.
The installation process varies in difficulty and complexity, depending on your vehicle and wheelchair carrier type. Carriers made for manual wheelchairs tend to be lightweight and simple to install, while heavy-duty ramps and carriers that lift and lower using a motor require expert installation to ensure safety, proper operation and electrical connectivity. The majority of wheelchair carriers will require at least two people for safe installation.
What to look for in a quality wheelchair carrier
Be sure that the carrier you select is rated for the weight of your wheelchair. Scooters and electric chairs can weigh more than 200 pounds due to their heavy motors. Whenever possible, choose a carrier that is rated for a maximum weight that generously exceeds your wheelchair to help you future proof your purchase in case you change wheelchair types.
Some carriers require the wheelchair to be manually lifted and placed on the rack. Others, however, feature a foldable ramp that can make loading and unloading heavy equipment much easier. Select a carrier with a ramp that can be easily lowered and secured into position with minimal fuss.
Wheelchair carriers that employ an electric motor to automatically raise your wheelchair or lower it to the ground are ideal for those who own especially heavy mobility equipment or enjoy the independence that an automatic device can bring. Powered units are more expensive than the alternatives and require more extensive installation, as they draw their power from your vehicle’s battery.
Some wheelchair carriers include bungee cables or other accessories that prevent you from having to make additional purchases. While most of the accessories included with a carrier aren’t terribly expensive, it can be convenient to get everything you might need in a single transaction.
Some wheelchair carriers can fold up while not in use. This allows them to fit snugly against the back of your vehicle, making parking and driving easier during times when the chair is not being hauled.
Wheelchair carriers will be made out of steel or aluminum. Aluminum is lighter, but not as strong or durable as steel. Steel carriers are more robust, but they are heavier and, unless powder-coated, are likely to rust over time as moisture and road salt make contact with the material.
A large carrier attached to the back of a vehicle can limit your access to the car’s trunk or storage. However, some wheelchair carrier models accommodate for this by featuring a joint that allows the carrier to swing away from the back of your vehicle. This means you can still use your car’s trunk or truck’s bed with your wheelchair carrier still safely installed.
How much you can expect to spend on a wheelchair carrier
Most wheelchair carriers cost between $200-$500. Models that feature electrical operation cost between $1,000-$2,000.
Wheelchair carrier FAQ
Can I use a bike rack for my wheelchair?
A. Bike rack manufacturers do not recommend using their products for wheelchair transport. While their low cost compared to dedicated wheelchair carriers makes them a tempting option, they are designed specifically for bikes and cannot safely accommodate a wheelchair.
Will a wheelchair carrier damage my vehicle?
A. No. Most wheelchair carriers attach to a vehicle’s hitch and don’t make direct contact with other parts of the car, meaning there is no risk of scratching or rubbing against paint or chrome.
Should I cover my wheelchair while it’s in a wheelchair carrier?
A. This is up to your personal discretion. Many people use special covers that keep rain, bugs or road dust and dirt off of their wheelchairs while they are being carried. Short trips in decent weather usually won’t necessitate covering your chair.
What are the best wheelchair carriers to buy?
Top wheelchair carrier
What you need to know: Lightweight and made from heavy-duty aluminum, this wheelchair carrier can accommodate even the heaviest equipment.
What you’ll love: This carrier is rated for up to 500 pounds of weight, meaning it can work for almost any piece of mobility equipment. It folds up against the back of your vehicle while not in use and features a built-in ramp.
What you should consider: This carrier requires at least two people to install and can block the backup sensors on some vehicles.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top wheelchair carrier for the money
What you need to know: This affordable carrier can hold up to 500 pounds and is made of heavy duty steel.
What you’ll love: With an included ramp and 11 tie down points, this wheelchair carrier makes it easy to secure your equipment. It’s grate design provides ample attachment options for bungee cables or straps.
What you should consider: Steel can rust over time. Does not fold up against vehicle.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This motorized wheelchair carrier will automatically raise or lower your equipment as needed.
What you’ll love: When not in use, this carrier folds flat against your vehicle. It features a joint that allows you to easily access the back of your car while it is still installed. Can lift chairs up to 350 pounds.
What you should consider: This wheelchair carrier may require better rear suspension installation on some smaller vehicles.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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