How To Find The Strongest and Lightest Wheelchair Ramps

By: inkbottle
There are many types of wheelchair ramps available... including temporary and permanent ones. There are ones made of wood and ones made of steel or aluminum. In this article, we're going to talk about a different kind of ramp...a ramp that is completely portable.

So many mobility products are made to be ultra-portable. Wheelchairs and scooters can be quickly and easily disassembled and will fit into the trunk of a car. Or there are the highly convenient hitch attachments that allow scooter users to lift their scooter off the ground and drive around with it nearby, fully assembled and ready for their convenience. Unfortunately, ramps have not followed suit as closely as other mobility products. Ramps tend to be large, heavy, unwieldy, and often permanent. There are two reasons for this:

1. The slope of the ramp needs to be a certain ratio of the height...which means the higher the step you want to ascend, the longer your ramp needs to be. This can increase the weight of the ramp dramatically and longer ramps are, of course, less portable.

2. The material of a ramp needs to withstand a fair amount of weight. While the materials that make up a wheel chair are fairly light weight, when you combine them together with the user, a battery and motor (in the case of an electric wheelchair), or a second person to push the wheelchair up the ramp... that can be a lot of weight. Many wheelchair ramps have to be rated for a MINIMUM of a 500 pounds and many try to build beyond the minimum!

So, between the size of the ramp and the material necessary to hold the weight, a ramp is not easily portable. But slowly, efforts are being made to improve the portability of wheelchair ramps so that they can carried with the wheelchair user. There are a few kinds:

...A suitcase ramp is the most well known. When it folds up, it is about the size of a suitcase but when it is unfolded, it allows a rise of about 1 - 2 steps (depending on the manufacturer). Unfortunately, they are still fairly large, weighing about 41 pounds. They might be found to be more portable in a scooter rather than in a wheelchair.

...A rolling ramp. These are unusual looking ramps. They are fairly light in weight and they roll in one direction. When you want to use them, you unroll them on a flat surface and flip them over and the ramp is very strong. These ramps are often stronger than the suitcase ramp, but they can also be more expensive. As well, they are very portable but again are probably more portable on a scooter than on a wheelchair.

...A home made ramp. Home made ramps are not always recommended because they don't have a weighted and tested strength, they are often just made of wood, and they can be put on slopes that are not advisable. Still, many wheelchair users use them because they are very slim to carry around, fairly lightweight, and easy to use.
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