Choosing the Right Rollator

A rollator is a walker with wheels. It is a walking frame that enables people with reduced mobility to move around in an upright position, both indoors and outdoors. In this guide, we briefly discuss the recommended uses for both walkers and rollators and then focus on the main criteria for choosing a rollator.

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  • Is it better to choose a walker or a rollator?

    Depending on the situation and the user, one may be more suitable than the other. Here we highlight the main aspects to help you make the right choice.

    • When should you opt for a walker?
      • A walker is suitable for users who need stable support or who walk slowly.
      • They are also a good option for people who can’t stand on one leg but have enough strength in their other leg and arms to lift the device off the ground when walking.
      • The price is generally lower than that of a rollator.
    • When should you opt for a rollator?
      • Rollators are for people who can walk and stand on two legs but need help to maintain their balance and stability. They’re ideal for users with less upper body strength, as they don’t have to lift the device to move.
      • A rollator allows you to walk faster.
    Invacare 4-wheeled rollator with basket

    Invacare 4-wheeled rollator with basket

  • What are the main criteria for choosing a rollator?

    When choosing a rollator, you need to consider several factors. Here are the most important ones:

    • Indoor/outdoor use:
      • Indoor rollator: For walking at home, it is best to opt for a compact two-wheeled rollator designed for indoor use, which can pass through corridors and doorways. These devices have various accessories, such as trays, baskets or bags, ergonomic handrests, etc. Indoor rollators can also be used in outdoor areas around the home (yard, balcony, terrace, driveways, etc.). Their use requires a certain amount of practice and, sometimes, some adaptation exercises may be recommended by a health professional.
      • Outdoor rollator: These can have two, three, or four large wheels, making them suitable for all types of road surfaces (sidewalks, dirt paths, fields, uneven surfaces, etc.). The rear wheels usually have brakes, providing greater safety when the user wants to sit down or stop for a moment, while the front wheels swivel to make the device easier to move and maneuver. They can be equipped with a fixed or removable basket for carrying a bag or for shopping, for example, and with a seat so the user can rest. Some models are foldable so they can be transported in the trunk of a car or on public transport. At first, using a rollator outdoors also requires learning some adaptation exercises to prevent falls and help the user keep their balance.
    • Capacity: Conventional models for indoor use can support up to 225 kg on average, but there are bariatric rollators with a capacity of up to 295 kg.
    • Frame dimensions: The frame dimensions are a particularly important aspect to consider when choosing an indoor rollator. It must be narrow enough to pass through corridors and doorways and to move around bathrooms.
    • Weight: The rollator must be light enough for the user to carry and maneuver easily. However, it should not be too light, as it could then not be strong enough to support the person’s weight.
    • Wheel size: For outdoor use, the size of the wheels is very important. Larger wheels make it easier to get up and down sidewalks and uneven surfaces.
    • Brakes: For two-wheeled rollators, non-slip rear feet are recommended. For four-wheeled rollators, automatic hand brakes (like those on wheelchairs) ensure the user’s safety. There are also special models with two brakes that can be operated with just one hand, suitable for people with hemiplegia.
    • Price: The price of a rollator varies depending on a number of factors, such as the quality of the materials and the accessories. Generally speaking, the more wheels and accessories you have, the more expensive it will be. But it will never cost less than several hundred euros. The price will be higher for models with special technical features, such as all-terrain rollators, ultralight models, or those designed for obese people.
    Helavo all-terrain foldable rollator

    Helavo all-terrain foldable rollator

  • What other critera should be considered when buying a rollator?

    There are several other potentially interesting features for the user that are available. Here are some of the selection criteria that, although secondary, can make all the difference.

    • Number of wheels: Two-, three- and four-wheeled models are available (see next section).
    • Foldable rollator: Foldable outdoor models are very practical and can easily be placed in the trunk of a car. On public transport, the user can take it next to them without impeding the passage of other passengers.
    • Rollator with seat: Allows the user to sit down and rest. The seat must have a width and strength appropriate to the person’s physical constitution and weight.
    • Rollator with basket or bag: A basket or bag can be a very useful accessory in models for outdoor use to carry shopping bags or the user’s belongings.
    • Handrest characteristics: Ergonomic and soft handrests offer greater comfort. They should be at hip height.
    • Available colors: Certain models are available in various colors to suit different tastes.
    Mobio carbon fiber foldable rollator

    Mobio carbon fiber foldable rollator

  • How many wheels should I choose for a rollator?

    There are two-, three- and four-wheeled rollators available. Your choice will depend on the user’s characteristics and needs. Here we summarize the specifics of each model.

    • Two-wheeled rollator:
      • This model is particularly suitable for people with reduced mobility, slight balance difficulties, and a slow walking pace.
      • Mainly intended for indoor use.
    • Three-wheeled rollator:
      • Of all the types of rollators, this is the easiest to maneuver because it only has one front wheel, but this feature also makes it less stable.
      • Can be used both indoors and outdoors and is a good option due to its versatility and generally more compact size.
    • Four-wheeled rollator:
      • Particularly suitable for people who are more mobile and have good balance.
      • Generally intended for outdoor use and suitable for all types of terrain.
    Drive DeVilbiss 3-wheeled rollator with basket

    Drive DeVilbiss 3-wheeled rollator with basket

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