Adult man in wheelchair. Close up photo of male hand on wheel of wheelchair during walk

Should I Buy or Rent a Wheelchair?

Around 3.3 million Americans use a wheelchair. That said, no two people’s situations are exactly the same when it comes to mobility.

Some individuals may need a wheelchair on a temporary basis after an accident. Others may use a wheelchair for certain occasions. And others may use a wheelchair for their day-to-day mobility.

Regardless of your situation, you may need to decide whether it’s best for you to buy or rent a wheelchair. But what are some factors to consider when choosing between these two options? Keep reading to find out!

Advantages of Buying a Wheelchair

If you’re not sure where you stand on the buy vs. rent a wheelchair debate, heading to a mobility store near me can help. There, you’ll be able to check out your options when it comes to different wheelchair styles, prices, and payment options. In the meantime, here are some key reasons why you might decide to buy a wheelchair instead of renting:

Long-Term Investment

Your budget will have a lot of influence on whether you decide to rent or buy a wheelchair. But your personal requirements and needs are usually the main determining factor.

For those of you who use a wheelchair most of the time, buying is often the most logical option. It may also be more affordable to buy a wheelchair if your ongoing mobility limitations mean you’ll be using a wheelchair for years to come. In this sense, renting from a wheelchair company isn’t as cost-effective as it will mean paying more in the long run.

Personal Customization

Wheelchair prices vary a lot depending on your needs. But, one of the biggest advantages of buying a wheelchair s that many providers offer customization to meet your demands. These might include tilting functions and seating adjustments on a power wheelchair. Or the right dimensions for your range of movement on a manual wheelchair.

Having a wheelchair that’s designed for you can help increase your independence and comfort. As such, although buying a customized wheelchair can be an expensive investment, it’s well worth it.

Advantages of Renting a Wheelchair

Despite the advantages listed above, opting for wheelchair rental can be a better option for many people. Here are some advantages of renting over buying:

Flexibility and Affordability

If you only need a wheelchair for a short period of time, wheelchair rental is the more affordable and flexible option. Mostly because you can then return it when your needs change. This flexibility also applies to those who only need a wheelchair for specific occasions and events. For example, while you may not need a wheelchair for everyday use, you may find it beneficial to rent a wheelchair for a family trip to the zoo or for a wedding if it’s difficult or unsafe for you to stand up for hours on end or walk long distances.

Avoid Transportation Hassles

Likewise, if you only need a wheelchair now and again, short-term wheelchair rentals can be the preferable option when traveling or heading to specific places. In these cases, renting a wheelchair at your destination or an outdoor attraction you’re visiting can be more convenient and affordable than finding a way to your own wheelchair, especially if you’re going cross-country.

Try Before You Buy

If you need to use a wheelchair most of the time, it makes sense to buy a wheelchair rather than renting one. That said, it’s not uncommon to hear of people investing in a wheelchair that looks good on paper but doesn’t meet their needs in real life.

Renting a wheelchair or even trying out several different models can give you a good feel for what you’re looking for before you commit to buying. For example, you can see whether you prefer a manual or power wheelchair. Or whether the suspension or special functions on your preferred model are as good as the manufacturers claim.

Likewise, renting might be the better option if you’re unsure of how your needs will change in the future. For example, you might see a custom-made manual wheelchair as a good investment. But if you then have to swap it for a power model after a year, renting, even in the long-term, could be more cost-efficient.

No Insurance or Maintenance Concerns

Renting from a wheelchair company also helps you avoid the hassles of dealing with maintenance, repairs, and insurance. Often, the more advanced and expensive your wheelchair, the more these extras cost, increasing your out-of-pocket costs and related concerns about whether your wheelchair is still functioning at its best. Wheelchair rental options include insurance and maintenance in the price so you can trust that the wheelchair you’re using is well-maintained and fully covered.

Factors to Consider When Deciding Whether to Buy or Rent a Wheelchair

As this guide shows, they are many factors to consider when deciding to buy or rent a wheelchair. Although your budget and needs are the main determiners, everything from your lifestyle to your personal preferences will come into play when making this decision.

While some wheelchair users prefer the flexibility of renting, others understand the value of having a customized wheelchair that suits their exact and specific needs. That said, you can always take advantage of both options by renting out several models to find a good fit and then investing in the wheelchair that best suits your needs. Or, you may even decide to buy a wheelchair for day-to-day use and then rent a wheelchair whenever you’re away to avoid the hassle and costs of transporting your own.

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