guide to wheelchairs

Best Wheelchairs & Where to Get Them in Singapore

What is the best wheelchair for me? How much does a wheelchair cost? Here are the different types of wheelchairs and where you get them at a high quality and low cost.

by Chris Soh

As more millennials join the dreaded 30-year-old club, our parents’ bodies are also not as young as they used to be. Thankfully, while my father is 66 this year, he is still as mobile as ever. However, age hits everyone differently and it’s always good to be better prepared.

One common issue that many people face as they age is a decrease in mobility. Fall prevention becomes especially important. This includes taking measures like wearing suitable footwear, installing assistive devices such as grab bars and being aware of the different types of mobility aids we can integrate into our lives. Apart from walking sticks and canes, a wheelchair may be a useful mobility aid for your loved one.

In this article, we discuss the best wheelchairs available in Singapore by type and where you can get them.

Best wheelchairs you can get in Singapore

Here are the best wheelchairs you can get in Singapore, categorised by functions.

Lightweight wheelchairs for greater portability

The lightweight class is perhaps the most basic category of wheelchairs. These portable wheelchairs tend to be no-frills, fulfilling the task of getting the wheelchair user to where they want to be.

Basic functionalities of these wheelchairs include locking wheels for the safety of both the user and caregiver, as well as ease of foldability.

Some recommended lightweight wheelchairs include:

1. HappyWheels Easy Chair Lightweight Wheelchair 

  • Price: $199
  • Net weight: 10 kg without footrests, 11.5 kg with footrests
  • Weight capacity: 100 kg

2. Falcon Aluminium Wheelchair

  • Price: $219
  • Net weight: 12.7 kg
  • Weight capacity: 100 kg

Electric wheelchairs to enable greater autonomy

Electric wheelchairs have been getting more popular over the past 5 years, as the population of Singapore residents aged above 65 grew from 11.8% in 2015 to 15.8% in 2020. This number is set to grow even faster, and in 3 years, 1 out of 5 Singapore residents may be senior citizens.

As Singapore is relatively affluent, there are caregivers who prefer to invest more in their seniors’ well-being, knowing they will get fatigued more easily. Although motorised wheelchairs are priced at a premium, they save users the energy of wheeling themselves around and even allow them to get about without a caregiver.

Some recommended electric wheelchairs are:

3. Vertex Mobility Signature Electric Wheelchair 

  • Price: $1,050 
  • Net weight: 45kg
  • Top speed: 6 km/h
  • LTA-compliant

4. Falcon JRWD503

  • Price: $1,499
  • Net weight: 44kg
  • LTA-compliant

5. KD Portable Electric Wheelchair

  • Price: $2,600
  • Net weight: 26kg
  • LTA-compliant

Commode wheelchair for showering or toileting 

A practical choice, commode wheelchairs are indoor wheelchairs that help caregivers assist with the user’s bathroom needs. Some commode wheelchairs come with buckets that can be manually emptied, while others are designed to be easily manoeuvred over toilet seats. 

There are also commode wheelchairs that double up as shower wheelchairs with waterproof surfaces that can be easily wiped clean and disinfected.

Some recommended commode wheelchairs are:

6. Bion Commode 307

  • Price: $404.10
  • Features: Removable seat cover and bucket

7. FS695S Stainless Steel Commode

  • Price: $330
  • Features: Removable seat cover and bucket & can be used for showers

Comfortable wheelchairs for users with arthritis and pressure sores

Given that a large percentage of most wheelchair users’ time will be spent seated, it is a reasonable long-term investment to get a wheelchair natively designed to be as comfortable as possible and can also prevent pressure sores. While it is an option to get memory foam wheelchair cushions for any wheelchair, there is a chance it will not fit as well as one designed specially for the chair.

Recommended wheelchair for comfort:

8. Bion Comfy Wheelchair 4G

  • Price: $341.10
  • Weight capacity: 100 kg
  • Features: Tension back with seat cushions

Reclining wheelchairs for greater upper body support

Seniors with back issues may consider wheelchairs with reclining back support. Studies have shown that the optimal position for the back is a 135° recline as it reduces the overall stress placed on the spine.

Some recommended reclining wheelchairs are:

9. APLUS Lightweight Recliner 

  • Price: $720
  • Weight capacity: 136 kg
  • Maximum recline angle: 150°

10. BION Detac Recliner Wheelchair

  • Price: $891
  • Weight capacity: 100 kg
  • Maximum recline angle: Similar to hospital beds

Colourful wheelchairs for the young-at-heart

This category may seem a little out of nowhere, but as Papa Smurf once sang, “you’re only as old as you think you are”. For the young-at-heart who always loved having a style of their own, these may be what you are looking for. 

There are limited colourful wheelchairs on the market, but one brand you may want to check out is the Kawamura range. With bright colours ranging from red and purple to blue and green, the Japanese brand’s wheelchairs are lightweight and have a weight capacity of 100 kg. 

Some models to take note of:

11. Kawamura Wheelchair BM22-45S 

  • Price: $469
  • Colours: Purple, red and blue
  • Features: Half-foldable backrest

12. Kawamura Wheelchair AY18-40 

  • Price: $699
  • Colours: Green and teal
  • Features: Half foldable backrest, memory foam seat

Wheelchairs suitable for heavier users

As wheelchair users vary in size, the next 2 categories aim to find more comfortable sizing fits, both for heavier as well as lighter users who may feel that standard-sized wheelchairs are not the most comfortable.

The following options work well for wheelchair users with heftier frames, as they are built to carry up to 150 kg and are designed to distribute weight more evenly. These wheelchairs also have wider seat widths to ensure greater comfort for longer seated periods.

Some recommended wheelchairs are:

13. BION iLight Heavy Duty 

  • Price: $531
  • Seat width: 20” seat width (standard size is 18”)
  • Features: Double crossbar frame to support heavier users
  • Weight capacity: 120 kg
  • Warranty: 1-year off-site warranty on manufacturing defects

14. Drive Medical PW-800AX Electric Power Wheelchair 

  • Price: $3,300- 4,250 (depending on customisation)
  • Features: Electric wheelchair
  • Seat width: Adjustable from 14”-22”
  • Weight capacity: 150 kg
  • Warranty: 1-year local warranty

Wheelchairs suitable for smaller users

Catering to either younger wheelchair users or users with smaller frames, this category focuses on the seat width so users do not sink too much into the seats. Thankfully, there are manufacturers who make wheelchairs with smaller seats than the standard 18”, such as the Drive Medical PW-800AX Electric Power Wheelchair, with a customisable smallest seat width of 14”.

Recommended wheelchairs for smaller frames:

15. Rainbow Care KJW-620 Travel

  • Price: $250
  • Seat width: 15” seat width (standard size is 18”)
  • Features: Lightweight aluminium frame

16. Drive Medical PW-800AX Electric Power Wheelchair

  • Price: $3,300- 4,250 (depending on customisation)
  • Seat width: Adjustable from 14”-22”
  • Features: Electric wheelchair

Travel wheelchairs that can be brought onto planes

The best wheelchairs for travel can be quite subjective, as preferences could range between lightweight to portable electric wheelchairs. The recommendations for this section include the Ultra-Lite “A” Electric Wheelchair c/w Dual Control that’s allowed to be brought aboard most airlines, as well as the ultra-portable Cofoe Foldable Wheelchair. 

Both are convenient options for users who intend to explore the world – when the time is right.

Recommended travel wheelchairs:

17. Cofoe Foldable Wheelchair 

  • Price: $359
  • Net weight: 8.8 kg
  • Features: Comes with free medical air cushion

18. Ultra-Lite “D” Electric Wheelchair 

  • Price: $1,999
  • Net weight: 14 kg
  • Features: Battery rating of 240 WH, allowed by most airlines

Wheelchairs with extended warranties

Understanding that wheelchairs can be a small part of a larger group of expenses, some of us would have greater peace of mind knowing that we are covered in case the brand-new wheelchair comes with a defect.

Unfortunately, most wheelchairs featured in this article come with a standard 1-year warranty, as is the industry standard. However, we found that selected wheelchair purchases under Falcon Mobility come with an option of extended warranties at an extra cost. You can check out the list of wheelchairs covered here.

Reputable wheelchair shops in Singapore

Purchasing eldercare products and equipment is not something that’s commonly discussed, hence many people may not know where to buy them. That’s why we have put together a handy guide of places you can buy elderly care products in Singapore, which does not only cover wheelchairs but also other mobility aids, adjustable hospital beds, medical devices and more.

In general, there are 3 categories of locations you can purchase wheelchairs from. These include:

  1. Online marketplaces
  2. Direct suppliers
  3. Senior care equipment shops

1. Online Marketplaces

Screenshot of wheelchairs on sale on Shopee

Screenshot of wheelchairs on sale on Shopee

If you are planning to get your wheelchairs from online marketplaces like Shopee, Carousell or Lazada, you will need to do your due diligence. While the prices here may be lower than established shops, we highly recommend that you check the credentials of sellers and the warranties before making a purchase.

Carousell and Shopee are also where you are most likely to find the cheapest second-hand wheelchairs in Singapore, clearly marked under the New and Used categories on the site.

2. Direct suppliers

An image of a man in a wheelchair. For Homage's guide on the best wheelchairs to buy in Singapore and where to get them.

Source: Pixabay

Direct retailers are usually the best option if you already know which model you are likely to get. This is because purchasing directly from retailers helps with warranty and exchanges, and you can be sure that you will not be making your purchase at a marked-up price. 

You may also have noticed that many of the wheelchairs featured in this article are branded, meaning they can be bought directly from the suppliers. Here are some direct wheelchair suppliers you can check out:

3. Wheelchairs at senior care equipment shops

The most common places to purchase wheelchairs are senior care equipment shops. These shops stock a variety of wheelchair brands and models, and are able to provide recommendations based on your needs.

Where can I rent or repair a wheelchair?

A few of these senior care equipment shops also provide wheelchair rentals, if you would like to test out specific models or simply need a wheelchair to get through a temporary foot injury, Cairnhill Healthcare (from $3/day) and Rainbow Care (from $50/month) provide rental services. 

DNR Wheels provides servicing for wheelchairs starting from $40, and Cairnhill Healthcare also provides a wheelchair cleaning service with free wheelchair rental while it is being cleaned.

Get a holistic care experience with our Care Pros

Ageing can be a touchy topic for families, and as we navigate uncertain waters, there are care providers who are stepping up to help families transition into a better way of living.

Homage is a platform that connects you to trusted and trained caregivers, nurses, and therapists who provide various home care services, including personal care, nursing procedures, and rehabilitation therapy all in the comfort of your home. We also provide specialised care for conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s, and arthritisWith Homage’s full range of services, families can transition into new normals smoothly and easily.

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References
  1. Radiological Society of North America. (2006, November 27). Aching Back? Sitting Up Straight Could Be The Culprit. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 7, 2021 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061127112844.htm
About the Writer
Chris Soh
Chris has the lofty goal of being the world's first official beach connoisseur when he retires. He aims to get there by providing value to everyone who reads his articles.
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