The 5 Best Beach Wheelchairs For Seniors

By: Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

Mobility issues among seniors and the elderly can hinder them from spending time at the beach even if they actually love it. Fortunately, it is possible for individuals who are suffering from mobility issues to enjoy their time at the beach with beach wheelchairs.

Income Disclosure: I recommend products based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from links in this guide. Learn More.

Beach wheelchairs are specifically designed to make it possible for users to move around at the beach (and even water) with ease, and in comfort.

Available in manual or motorized variations, these wheelchairs come with large balloon wheels that easily glide over the soft sand without the risk of getting stuck.

My Recommended Beach Wheelchairs for Older Adults

Read on below for more information on how to choose the right beach wheelchair for your elderly loved one.

Vipamat Hippocampe Beach All Terrain Wheelchair

  • Strong and durable construction featuring a stainless steel frame
  • Promotes independence as it’s self-propelled
  • Sold in four different sizes, extra large, large, medium and small
  • Can be used in all sorts of outdoor terrain, from flat surfaces, sandy beaches, snow and rough terrain
  • Easy transportation and storage thanks to its compact foldable design
See It At Amazon

While it’s the most expensive option on this list, the Hippocampe is a one of a kind beach wheelchair designed to tackle all sorts of rough terrain including soft beach sand and water. Designed to ensure that people with mobility issues can enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities, these wheelchairs can be self-propelled by the user or pushed by another person.

Having a reclining wheelchair design, the Hippocampe has a balloon wheel at the front and double rear wheels on each side. Thanks to its unique design and stainless steel frame, the wheelchair can be used on both sandy beaches and also on water. The unit also disassembles easily into a compact package.


Fields Outdoor Supplies Beach Wheelchair

  • Won’t get stuck in the soft sand thanks to its big balloon tires
  • Disassembles into a compact package for easy transportation and storage
  • Durable and lightweight Healthcare grade PVC frame
  • Quality construction backed by a 1 year warranty
See It At Amazon

A great fit for users who are not able to properly use their arms, this beach wheelchair is designed to be simple and functional.

As one of the most affordable options on this list, the Fields Outdoor Supplies Beach wheelchair comes with a strong and durable PVC frame that will not corrode even with regular exposure to salt water. The sturdy plastic frame sits on large 12 inch balloon wheels that will have you cruising around the beach with ease.

For maximum comfort, the wheelchair is fitted with a highly durable nylon mesh chair covering and easy-to-deploy flat folding footrest. Last but not least, this unit is also designed to be easily assembled and disassembled.


Sand Rider Offroad Beach Wheelchair

  • Easily glides over sand and floats on water thanks to its oversized balloon wheels
  • Easy to push due to its lightweight construction
  • Disassembles into a compact package for easy transportation and storage
  • Highly customizable with a long list of accessories available
See It At Custom Beach Wheelchair

Similar in design to the Hippocampe, the Sand Rider Offroad Beach Wheelchair comes with oversized rear and front balloon wheels. Just like the Hippocampe, this reclined wheelchair is also capable of being used in the water.

Made by Virginia Beach Products in Virginia, this beach wheelchair can be customized to fit the user’s tastes and preferences.


WaterWheels Floating Beach Wheelchair and Cart

  • Easily floats on water
  • Reclined design for utmost relaxation
  • Comfortable 18 inch-wide seat
  • Foldable design that is also easy to assemble and disassemble
See It At Amazon

If you want your elderly loved one to enjoy some time in the water during their beach outing, then look no further than this awesome Floating Beach Wheelchair. In addition to having three large floating balloon wheels, this unit also comes with floating arm rests as well!

Designed for utmost relaxation at the beach, this unit also bears a unique laidback design with outstretched wheels. The front wheel is capable of turning in all directions, for easy maneuverability.

Last but not least, the wheelchair comes with an ultra light aluminum frame and extra strong stainless steel front fork. Simply put this is one of the most comfortable and durable beach wheelchairs available out there.

RELATED: Best Beach Chairs for Older Adults


Healthline Medical – Beach Wheelchair

  • Easy to transport and store thanks to its collapsible design
  • Ultra lightweight construction using a high grade PVC frame that is resistant to corrosion
  • Useful extras including extra storage space and umbrella
  • Comfy padded seat
See It At Amazon

Another simple, functional and affordable option, this beach wheelchair is manufactured by Healthline Medical, a well known wheelchair producer operating from the US.

Like most of the other variants on this list, this wheelchair comes with extra large balloon wheels designed to easily move over soft sand without sinking and getting stuck. Furthermore, the unit, which is built from a heavy duty PVC frame, is easily disassembled, and is also foldable.

Perhaps what sets apart this wheelchair from others in this list is the collection of extras included in the package. This wheelchair comes with a convenient storage space at the rear, arm rests and an umbrella!

RELATED: Beach Safety Tips for Older Adults

Important Features To Look For In The Best Beach Wheelchair For Older Adults

Shopping for a beach wheelchair is much different that shopping for a household appliance. Here are the important features you should know all about when looking for a beach wheelchair that is safe for you or a loved one.

1. Factor in Size And Weight

Beach wheelchairs come in three main sizes: wide, medium and narrow. When choosing a new unit, it is important that you select one that comes in the right size that properly fits the user.

It is also important to note that size will have an impact on the overall comfort for the user as well as the total weight of the wheelchair. For utmost comfort, be sure to get a wheelchair that is perfectly suited to the user.

The larger the wheelchair the heavier it is likely to be. Since the weight will have an effect on the amount of effort needed to move the wheelchair over sand, choose something that the user or their caregiver can be able to move with ease.

2. A Lightweight But Durable Frame

While it is important for you to choose a wheelchair with a strong and durable frame, remember to consider the weight implications of the materials used in making the frame.

It is true that a metallic frame is one of the strongest and most durable options; however, exposure to beach (especially salt water) conditions may render it highly susceptible to corrosion.

With that in mind, plastic and PVC options are definitely worth your consideration. These make the wheelchair lighter in weight while also being durable and long-lasting.

3. Balloon Wheels Do Better in Sand and Water

Wide wheels are an essential part of any beach wheelchair worth its salt. These oversized wheels play an important role in ensuring that the wheelchair moves easily over the soft sand without sinking and getting stuck.

If you want to use your new beach wheelchair in the water as well, it is important that you get one with wide balloon wheels. These wheels will help keep you and the wheelchair afloat; thus helping you have some fun in the water as well.

4. Soft and Comfy Seat

The best beach wheelchair for seniors should come with a comfortable, strong and durable seat. When shopping around, be sure to look for a unit with the right sized seat – for comfort purposes. Seats made using vinyl or nylon are by far the best since they are not only easy to maintain, but also highly durable.

5. Armrests And Footrests

Adjustable arm and footrests make the transfer of users on and off the beach wheelchair much easier. This feature is especially important for users who are dependent on other people.

Another important feature to look for is bucket type footrests which hold the user’s legs in place; unlike the flat solid platform type that struggle to keep the user’s feet from falling off – especially for users who do not have good control of their feet.

6. Propulsion/Mobility: Who Will Be Pushing It?

Another factor to consider is the nature of mobility supported by the wheelchair. For users who want to enjoy independent movement around the beach, a self-propelling wheelchair is a great fit. But, if the user will be pushed by a caregiver, the size of the wheels aren’t as important.

7. Ease Of Storage

A beach wheelchair is only meant to be used every now and then, during beach outings. As such, it spends most of its time in storage. For easy transportation and storage, look for a unit that is easily assembled and disassembled into a compact package.

Summary

A beach wheelchair can make it possible for your elderly loved one to enjoy their time at the beach, even if they are suffering from mobility issues.

To ensure that you end up choosing the right unit from the wide selection of products available out there, it is important to have some background information.

With the above buying guide in mind, which includes top picks as well as some of the main features to be on the lookout for, you can be sure of making an informed final buying decision.

References:

  1. Mobility Device Use Among Older Adults and Incidence of Falls and Worry About Falling: Findings From the 2011–2012 National Health and Aging Trends Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4439269/
  2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Beach Wheelchairs: https://www.spinalcord.com/blog/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-of-beach-wheelchairs
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