The Best Walkers for Seniors: The Ultimate Buying Guide

The loss of mobility is completely devastating to many seniors. They are a proud group and many don’t want to start depending on family members for their care. Dealing with a loss of mobility can be frustrating and even embarrassing (Source: Harvard).

Regardless of the reason though, it is important to discuss any decline in walking with your medical professionals. Sometimes medications and therapy can help the situation. Physical or occupational therapists can use exercises and stretches to improve a senior’s mobility.

But, if you find yourself with a prescription for a walker, here are some of my recommended rolling walkers and rollators to consider. These recommendations are based on my hands on experience and on the job knowledge .

The best walkers for seniors are rated by a home medical equipment expert including narrow walkers for small spaces and small walkers for short seniors.

My Top Picks for the Best Walker for Seniors

Top Recommendations
Top Pick!
Medline Freedom Ultralight Rollator Walker Review

Medline Freedom Ultralight Rollator Walker

This is one of my favorite rollators because it is extremely lightweight making it easy to fold and transport. It also ...

  • Includes padded seat with backrest, storage pouch, and brakes on the handles
  • Amazing height adjustment for seniors between 4'10" and 6'4"
  • The seat height adjusts to make sure it is easy for the user to get in and out of
  • One of the smallest, lightest rollators on the market at only 11 lbs
  • Folds using only one hand

$77.33 $79.07 See Deal
Top Pick!
2 Drive Medical Winnie Lite Rollator Walker Review

Drive Medical Winnie Lite Rollator Walker

Frankly, the Winnie is one of my favorite walkers and always makes my "best of" lists. The narrow size, lightweight ...

  • Fits most users from 5'3" tall to 6'2" tall with handles that adjust from 32″ to 38″ high
  • Folds easily with just one hand which makes it easy to transport and store
  • It has hand-operated brakes that lock the walker in place for safe usage
  • Fit through doors that are 26″ wide or wider
  • A handy and stylish plaid carrying pouch
  • Only weighs 11 lbs

$71.89 $81.00 See Deal
Top Pick!
3 Drive Medical Universal Walker

Drive Medical Universal Walker

This walker from Drive Medical is as near to a true universal walker as you can get. It will fit most seniors from ...

  • Comes with 5″ wheels on front and glide tips on back
  • Only 21.75″ wide with or without wheels
  • Fit users from 4’10” to 6’2″ tall
  • Easy to fold, load, and store
  • Weighs only 7 lbs

$24.72 See Deal

Buying Guide: Choosing a Walker

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is human-874979_1280.jpg

Buying a walker is something that most people know nothing about. Few even know what questions to ask their equipment provider. It’s likely you’ve never given a walker a single though until you or a loved one needed it.

So, as a medical equipment specialist, I’m going to walk you through what you need to know before choosing a walker.

Are There Different Kinds of Walkers for Seniors?

Yes, there are several different types of walkers available to seniors. Here is a quick run down of your options:

1. Anterior Safety Walkers

silver anterior safety walker

This is the original style of walker. These walkers are usually all steel with a wide base that has 4 caster wheels on it. They adjust up and down for the height of the user but that is about it.

They do not fold up and are difficult to get out of the way when not in use. The invention of the lightweight folding walker brought about the decline and they are almost never used today. The only use I have seen for this style lately is for bariatric patients because they are heavier, sturdier, and can bear more weight than many of the newer styles.

2. Lightweight 1 Button Folding Walkers

example of a 1 button folding walker

These walkers are made of aluminum and are lighter in weight than the older safety walker style. They fold up easily with only one hand using latch or button in the middle.

The best use for this type of walker is an elderly person who has had a stroke or weakness in one hand and only has one usable hand to fold it up. The drawback to this style is that it must be either completely opened or completely closed.

Sometimes, there is a need to only partially fold a walker as you will see below.

3. Lightweight 2 Button Folding Walkers

two button folding walker

This is the most popular type of walker used today. Like the 1 button folding walkers above, these are made of aluminum and are lightweight.

However, these walkers use two buttons or latches to fold up – one button for each side. That way, the user can fold up one side at a time. This is useful to get through small doorways or around obstacles such as a toilet. The user can fold one side of the walker in and then use the other side to stabilize themselves.

This is also helpful with transferring to a bed or wheelchair too.

4. Front Wheeled Walkers

foldig walker with 2 wheels

A 2 wheeled walker is usually set up with the two wheels on the front two legs. The back legs may be left alone or have other attachments on them.

It is not uncommon to see tennis balls on the back legs of a walker! Tennis balls are used to make the back legs glide along with the front. There are actual glides that attach to the back of a walker that look like little skis.

Sometimes, pressure activated brakes are even put on the back legs. These brakes are mainly used for someone who is frail and may not be able to keep the walker from rolling. They can put pressure on the back of the walker and keep it from rolling.

5. 3 Wheeled Walkers

folding walker with 3 wheels

A 3 wheeled walker is a completely different style of walker altogether.

This walker only has 3 legs and looks like a triangle from above. The top point of the triangle points forward away from the user. The user then uses the back two legs of the walker to support and balance themselves.

Because of the shape of this type of walker, it is smaller and easy to move around than a 4 legged walker. They tend to be lighter in weight too. Another name for this type of walker is a 3 wheel rollator.

6. 4 Wheeled Walkers

rollator walker with 4 wheels

This type of walker has 4 wheels – one on each leg. This keeps the user from having to pick it up every time they take a step.

Instead, the walker glides along with them as they take each step. This saves energy along with arm and shoulder muscles. Users of 4 wheeled walkers need to control each part of their steps to keep the walker from rolling too fast. They must keep the walker from getting away from them too.

Rollators, discussed below, are also called 4 wheel walkers sometimes. You can read more about 4 wheeled walkers with seats in this article.

7. Rolling Walker with Seat, aka Rollators

folsing rollator walker with seat

Rollators are really just 4 wheeled walkers with a seat. The seat is handy for someone who can walk some but needs to stop and rest every now and then because they tire easily or lose their breath. A rollator can be locked in place before the user sits so it doesn’t roll.

Rollators also have larger wheels and are better for use outside. They are larger than a typical walker though. Sometimes, they may not fit in areas where a regular walker will. Rollator walkers are a huge help to regaining mobility for an elderly person who just needs a little help.

8. Side Walkers, aka Hemi-walkers

side hemi walker

Like the 3 wheeled walkers above, this type of walker is also unique in its style and how it is used. This walker has four small legs that taper to a single handle. They are used to the side of the person instead of in front.

This style of walker is generally used with someone who has had a stroke and needs support on one side. Because hemi-walkers have a wider base and more points of contact, they offer more support than canes.

Sometimes, people who have had a stroke also cannot grip a walker with both hands so they will use a side walker.

9. Bariatric Walkers

heavy duty bariatric walker

For the larger sized people, there are bariatric walkers.

This type of walker is designed for people over 300 lbs and can support up to 1000 lbs in some cases. Like the other kinds of walkers above, these come with and without wheels and also with and without seats.

These walkers are heavier than others – but that is by design. They use heavier materials and have more support for higher weight capacities.

10. Knee Walkers

knee walker scooter

Knee walkers look and work differently than the other types of walkers for seniors. Another name for these is knee scooters because the user supports their weight on one knee.

The main purpose of this type of walker is to temporarily support an injured lower leg while the user walks with the other leg. It is common for knee walkers to be used on a temporary basis for someone with a broken leg or foot ulcers. These walkers have handlebars and are sometimes even steerable.

Often, knee scooters are used in place of crutches for longer periods of outdoor use like walks, shopping, etc. Read more about knee walkers in this helpful guide.


How Long Will You Need a Walker?

Sometimes, the need for a walker is temporary like after a total hip surgery. The walker is only needed while healing from surgery or a leg injury. Standard front wheeled walkers are best for a temporary need because they are inexpensive and readily available at DME stores, pharmacies, and even online.

But, often a more permanent decline in mobility happens. If this is the case, the standard front wheel walkers or rollator walkers are the best choice. Rollator walkers are a little more expensive but they offer additional safety and comfort features like the seat and hand brakes. Learn more about them in my rollator guide.


How Much Space Do You Have?

Walkers do take up some room in the home and it is important that they are able to move from room to room throughout the home. Measure your doorways of the home and compare it to the overall width of the walker you are considering. Obviously, the walker you choose should be narrower than the doorway.

Here is a walker hack! There is a trick for using standard front-wheeled walkers in tight spaces. You can reverse the wheels so that they are on the inside of the frame instead of the outside. This will make the overall width of the walker narrower.

For homes with tight spaces or narrow doorways, front wheeled walkers or three-wheel rollators are generally best. Several four wheeled rollators come in more narrow widths and smaller sizes too. I have a section about small walkers for narrow spaces (See the Narrow Walker Tab above) that you can read by clicking here if you are concerned about the width of the walker.


Where Will You Use the Walker?

Are you planning to use the walker only inside or outside too? Will you use it on uneven terrain like a yard or will it stay on smooth, paved surfaces? These are important questions to ask because the different types of walkers perform differently on different surfaces.

Outdoor user? The best walker for seniors who will be using their walker on varying terrain is a four-wheeled rollator. This style of walker typically has larger wheels which would work better in yards or uneven surfaces. These bigger wheels will roll smoother and easier in these areas.

Indoor user? On the other hand, standard front wheel walkers are fine for indoor use. The wheels on front-wheeled walkers are smaller and are better on flat, even surfaces. The exception being homes with deep, plush carpets. This style of carpet requires a larger wheel too.


Can You Walk Long Distances or Will You Need Rest Breaks?

If you tire easily or lose balance, you might need frequent rest breaks to regain your breath or energy. Rollators are extremely helpful because they have seats built onto them.


How Big or Small is the User?

nurse helping elder person to walk with walker

Most standard walkers will fit the majority of seniors. People who are extremely tall or very short will struggle to use a regularly sized walker. Also, all walkers have weight limits. Larger people should make sure the walker will support their weight.

It’s important that a walker fits the person who is using it. The hand grips of a properly sized walker are even with the user’s wrists. The position is the best because it reduces strain on the shoulders, wrist, and back while the senior is using the walker.

Fortunately, most walkers are adjustable in height using simple push pin adjustments. . For rollators, the handles are height adjustable to fit the user. Walkers designed for tall people offer more adjustments on the higher end. Shorter walkers are available for shorter people too.

For seniors who are over 250 lbs, carefully check the top weight that the model will support when shopping. Several models of walker top out at 250 lbs although many go to 300 lbs.

Bariatric walkers are walkers for seniors who weight over 300 lbs or more. For very large people, there are also walkers that support 600 lbs and even 750 lbs.


How to Buy A Walker

Buying mobility aids like walkers is an unfamiliar process for most elderly people and their families. Whether you are buying for yourself or a loved one, you want to get the best walking aid for your needs. After all, the goal here is to improve quality of life.

But, don’t worry. I am going to walk you through all of your options. And, I am going to give you the pros and cons for each.

NOTE: This advice is really good for most any piece of durable medical equipment, including rollators, walking canes, and even wheelchairs.

Questions to Ask Yourself

There are many different options for purchasing a walker. The best option for you depends on a few different things.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Do plan on using insurance benefits or are you paying for the walker yourself?
  • Do you have transportation to go shop and choose a walker?
  • Do you use the internet and are you comfortable shopping online?
  • Do you need a walker right now or can you wait a few days?

Remember your answers to these questions.  We will come back to them later.

Places to Buy Walkers

There are many places you can go to buy a walker. Many more than you probably realize. Some are quite obvious. But, I am betting a few of these you have not considered.

1. Durable Medical Equipment Stores (DME)

store front of a DME store

This is probably the first place that comes to mind. Of course, it is for me since I work for a DME as custom wheelchair specialist.

Durable Medical Equipment (DME) stores have several significant advantages. The main one is product knowledge. Usually, the employees at a DME are familiar with the equipment and know how to use and fit it. They also know the options available for a walker.

The second advantage is that a DME is probably going to be able to bill your insurance for you. They will know the process for qualifying a patient for a walker. A third advantage is that you can see, touch, and feel a piece of equipment before buying it.

However, a DME has a few disadvantages, too. First, the total number of options are limited. Most DME’s bill insurance so their product mix will be geared towards walkers that insurance companies will buy. For example, they may not have narrow walkers or shorter walkers in stock for smaller space and shorter people.

Although, a good DME will have a few other options for anyone who wants to upgrade to a better product. Second, a DME’s prices may be higher than other places to by a walker. Many DME’s are locally owned and don’t have the buying power of a large company. But, the trade-off is the product knowledge I discussed above.

Who Should Buy a Walker at DME Store?

  • People who want or need to see a walker before buying one
  • People who are using insurance to pay for a walker
  • People who have questions and need experienced help making a decision.
  • People who want to buy a walker now

ADVANTAGES

  • Knowledgeable about walkers
  • Will bill insurance for you
  • See and use product before buying
  • Get a walker the same day

DISADVANTAGES

  • Limited inventory and options
  • Higher prices

2. Retail Pharmacies

pharmacy shelves

Many retail pharmacies like CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens sell walkers and other medical equipment.

Large retail pharmacies have several advantages, too. First, because many pharmacies are national chains, they have better buying power than local stores. So their prices are pretty good.

Some retail pharmacies also have billing departments that bill insurance for basic walkers and medical equipment. Also, you are able to see the actual product before buying it.

However, there are a few disadvantages to consider with a retail pharmacy. First, many of the employees are minimum wage cashiers who have no experience or training in mobility equipment and walkers. So, they typically won’t have much product knowledge in these areas. Second, because retail shelf and storage space is at a premium, these stores have limited selections and choice may be limited to a brand or two.

Who Should Buy a Walker at a Retail Pharmacy?

  • People who want or need to see a walker before buying one
  • People who want to buy a walker now

Advantages

  • May bill insurance for you
  • Lower prices
  • See and use product before buying
  • Get product the same day

Disadvantages

  • Limited inventory and options
  • Most do not have anyone knowledgeable about equipment

3. Big-Box Retailers

clothing racks in a retail store

Many big-box retailers, especially those with pharmacies, sell walkers. You can buy walkers for elderly people at Walmart, Target, and Kmart.

The main advantages of a big box retailer are price and availability. Big box retailers like Target and Walmart will have the lowest prices with the exception of online retailers maybe.

Also, you can leave the store with the walker. No waiting for shipping. Finally, since the product is there, you will be able to see, touch, and feel the walker before buying it.

Like other physical locations to buy a walker, selection and choice is limited. Big box stores usually only sell one brand or maybe two. Also, you will have to pay out of pocket for the walker but there will be several payment options. Finally, don’t expect to get answers to your questions at a retail store. Most retail staff are not trained or knowledgeable about mobility equipment like walkers.

Who Should Buy a Walker at Big Box Retailer

  • People who want or need to see a walker before buying one
  • People who want a walker now and don’t want to pay much

Advantages

  • Low prices
  • See and use product before buying
  • Get walker the same day

Disadvantages

  • Limited selection
  • Not knowledgeable about equipment
  • Will not bill insurance

4. Online Medical Equipment Stores

graphic showing computer screen with online retailer

The internet is full of online medical equipment stores. Many of these stores are online branches of physical DME’s and some exist on the internet only.

Online medical stores have some pretty important advantages. The first advantage is a combination of lower prices with lots of selection. Online stores do not have the overhead of a retail store and can sell walkers at lower prices.

This also allows them to offer more choices of models and brands. Some online medical stores bill insurance and most will help you get reimbursed by your insurance company for walkers. Finally, because these stores specialize in this type of equipment, there is usually someone available who has significant product knowledge.

The disadvantages with online DME’s are mainly related to physical location. Because these stores aren’t local and exist online, the product is not available to be viewed before purchasing. Also, it will take a few days to get the walker because it is shipped to your location. Accordingly, make sure you understand the site’s return policies before buying.

Who Should Buy a Walker at an Online DME Store?

  • People who like ordering products online
  • People who want lots of choice at good prices
  • People who have questions to ask before ordering

Advantages

  • Staff will have some knowledge about walkers
  • Some will bill insurance for you
  • Large selection of brands to choose from
  • Low prices

Disadvantages

  • Product shipped later
  • Cannot physically see product before ordering

5. Online Retailers

walkers for sale online

Many of the big box retailers have an online presence as well. For example, Walmart has a wide selection of medical equipment online that you can pick up at the store. Online only retailers like Amazon also sell medical equipment like walkers.

Large online retailers have several key advantages over their competition. First, they almost always have the lowest price on walkers and medical equipment. They also have many choices to choose from. Another advantage is reading reviews from people who purchased or used the product in the past. Reading experiences of other users from the comfort of your home is a huge benefit. Similarly, the ability to ask questions of actual users is a good thing. Especially when buying a walker online.

The disadvantages are similar to those of retail stores and online DME’s. You will have to wait a few days to get the walker after purchasing it. You also cannot physically see the product before ordering. Also, most online retailers cannot answer detailed questions about the walker. They may not be able to explain the differences between a 3 wheeled walker and a 4 wheeled rollator, for example. Their customer service reps are trained in managing orders and returns, not medical products. Most online retailers use their online community to answer these types of questions.

Who Should Buy a Walker at an Online Retailer?

  • People who are comfortable researching products online
  • People who want lots of choice at the best price possible

Advantages

  • Large selection of brands to choose from
  • Lowest prices
  • Detailed product information is available
  • Reviews from actual users
  • Questions answered by users and community

Disadvantages

  • Product shipped later
  • Cannot physically see product before ordering
  • Customer service reps not knowledgeable about walkers and medical equipment

Best Walkers for Small Adults

For a walker to give seniors the most benefit, it must fit. Period! This is a real problem for shorter seniors – those under 64″ (5’4″) tall.

So, they try to make their “too tall” walker work risking injury and falls. But many manufacturers make walkers that fit small adults.

Here’s a list of small walkers for short people:

Recommended Small Walkers
Top Pick!
Medline Freedom Ultralight Rollator Walker Review

Medline Freedom Ultralight Rollator Walker

This is one of my favorite rollators because it is extremely lightweight making it easy to fold and transport. It also ...

  • Includes padded seat with backrest, storage pouch, and brakes on the handles
  • Amazing height adjustment for seniors between 4'10" and 6'4"
  • The seat height adjusts to make sure it is easy for the user to get in and out of
  • One of the smallest, lightest rollators on the market at only 11 lbs
  • Folds using only one hand

$77.33 $79.07 See Deal
2 Essential Medical Junior Trigger Walker Review

Essential Medical Junior Trigger Walker

This walker has a unique trigger folding mechanism that reduces pinching and is easier for small hands too. But, on top ...

  • Unique folding mechanism is ouch-less and easier for smaller hands to operate
  • Aluminum construction is strong and lightweight - weighs about 4.5 lbs
  • Soft foam hand grips are more comfortable than vinyl or plastic
  • Narrow - only 22.5" wide to fit well in most homes
  • Fits users 4'6" to 5'4"

$39.10 $46.00 See Deal
3 Medline Junior Two-Button Folding Walker Review

Medline Junior Two-Button Folding Walker Review

The Medline Junior walker is a great choice for those who want a basic front wheeled walker that accommodates a shorter ...

  • Easy to fold two-button mechanism folds in one side at a time
  • 26" wide with the wheels attached
  • Weight capacity is 300 lbs
  • Only weighs 5 pounds

$34.99 $54.00 See Deal
4 Drive Medical Junior Rollator Walker Review

Drive Medical Junior Rollator Walker

This is an entry level rollator with a great price that will fit seniors between 4'8" and 5'4". It has all the basic ...

  • Junior sized rollator fits seniors between 4'8" and 5'4"
  • Usual rollator features like a padded seat, a storage pouch underneath and hand brakes at an entry level price
  • Hand brakes have a lever to keep your fingers from getting pinched when the brakes are unlocked

$74.83 $83.43 See Deal


Why Does the Height of A Walker Matter?

senior woman whose walker fits well

A properly fit mobility aid is important to elderly safety. Using a walker that isn’t fitted properly can cause further injury and risks falls (Source: Mayo Clinic).

Walkers that are too short will cause the user to lean too far forward. This constant bending will lead to hip and back pain because of the unnecessary stress. It also puts the user in an unstable position.

Walkers that are too tall will cause the seniors to elevate their shoulders and bend their elbows too much. This position leads to shoulder, elbow, and back pain because of the incorrect arm position.

Here is how I check walkers for a correct fit:

  1. Stand between the walker sides with your arms at your sides. (Only if it is safe for you to do so!)
  2. Look at your wrists are in relation to the top of the walker.
  3. Are your wrists higher than the top of the walker? If so, your walker is too short and should be adjusted taller.
  4. Are your wrists lower than the top of the walker? If so, your walker is too tall and should be adjusted shorter.

Drawbacks of Smaller Walkers

There a few drawback to using smaller walkers that you should know about.

  • Weight capacity can be lower. Because the walkers are shorter, they have less metal in them. So, they may not support as much weight. Make sure the user’s weight is less than the stated weight capacity. For safety, never exceed the weight capacity.
  • The walker can be too narrow. Because these walkers are smaller overall, they will be narrow too. Users who are short but also wide will not fit between the handles of many of these walkers. This is a tough group to fit. Some bariatric walkers or rollators are also on the shorter side.
  • Some are labeled as youth walkers. I’ve has some experiences in my career where a senior did not want to use a walker because it was labeled as a youth walker or children’s walker. But, sometimes, these are the best fitting ones.

Make sure you know the height and weight of the user and compare that to the specs of the chosen walker before buying. This is important for the safety of the user.

Best Lightweight Walkers for Elderly

Generally, seniors aren’t supposed to lift their walker off the ground while using them. That is why many walkers come with wheels. That way, they glide across the floor so that the user stays in contact with the ground for support and balance. (Always follow your therapist’s or doctor’s guideline though!)

Recommended Lightweight Walkers
Top Pick!
Medline Freedom Ultralight Rollator Walker Review

Medline Freedom Ultralight Rollator Walker

This is one of my favorite rollators because it is extremely lightweight making it easy to fold and transport. It also ...

  • Includes padded seat with backrest, storage pouch, and brakes on the handles
  • Amazing height adjustment for seniors between 4'10" and 6'4"
  • The seat height adjusts to make sure it is easy for the user to get in and out of
  • One of the smallest, lightest rollators on the market at only 11 lbs
  • Folds using only one hand

$77.33 $79.07 See Deal
Top Pick!
2 Drive Medical Universal Walker

Drive Medical Universal Walker

This walker from Drive Medical is as near to a true universal walker as you can get. It will fit most seniors from ...

  • Comes with 5″ wheels on front and glide tips on back
  • Only 21.75″ wide with or without wheels
  • Fit users from 4’10” to 6’2″ tall
  • Easy to fold, load, and store
  • Weighs only 7 lbs

$24.72 See Deal
Top Pick!
3 Drive Medical Winnie Lite Rollator Walker Review

Drive Medical Winnie Lite Rollator Walker

Frankly, the Winnie is one of my favorite walkers and always makes my "best of" lists. The narrow size, lightweight ...

  • Fits most users from 5'3" tall to 6'2" tall with handles that adjust from 32″ to 38″ high
  • Folds easily with just one hand which makes it easy to transport and store
  • It has hand-operated brakes that lock the walker in place for safe usage
  • Fit through doors that are 26″ wide or wider
  • A handy and stylish plaid carrying pouch
  • Only weighs 11 lbs

$71.89 $81.00 See Deal
4 Essential Medical Junior Trigger Walker Review

Essential Medical Junior Trigger Walker

This walker has a unique trigger folding mechanism that reduces pinching and is easier for small hands too. But, on top ...

  • Unique folding mechanism is ouch-less and easier for smaller hands to operate
  • Aluminum construction is strong and lightweight - weighs about 4.5 lbs
  • Soft foam hand grips are more comfortable than vinyl or plastic
  • Narrow - only 22.5" wide to fit well in most homes
  • Fits users 4'6" to 5'4"

$39.10 $46.00 See Deal
5 Lumex Walkabout Lite Rollator Walker Review

Lumex Walkabout Lite Rollator Walker Review

The Lumex Walkabout is an ultra narrow walker that is only 20" wide! Because of this, it will fit easily through tight ...

  • Padded tubular backrest gives a place to rest the back while seated
  • The durable aluminum construction also keeps it light weight
  • The handles adjust to fit users from 4'10" to 5'4"
  • Super narrow - only 20" wide
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs

$81.78 See Deal


Why the Need for a Lightweight Walker?

It is not at all uncommon for a senior to not be able to lift their own walker. But if they travel alone, they need to lift it into their car so that they have it with them.

Often, though, a caregiver or spouse is lifting and carrying the walker. And, it is also common for the spouse or caretaker to have medical problems of their own that leave them weak and unable to lift a walker. This makes it difficult to load into a car or a trunk. A lightweight walker is needed in this situation to make it easier on these folks.

Generally, front-wheeled walkers are lighter than rollators but there are some exceptions to this. There are a few rollators that weight about 10 lbs that many caregivers can manage.

Best Narrow Walkers for Small Spaces

It’s a much more common problem than you would think. Some walkers for seniors are just too wide for small homes or the narrow doorways of an older house. But, did you know some walkers and rollators are wider than others?

Here are some narrow walkers for small spaces that will fit in tiny homes as well as tight doors.

Recommended Narrow Walkers for Small Spaces
Top Pick!
Medline Freedom Ultralight Rollator Walker Review

Medline Freedom Ultralight Rollator Walker

This is one of my favorite rollators because it is extremely lightweight making it easy to fold and transport. It also ...

  • Includes padded seat with backrest, storage pouch, and brakes on the handles
  • Amazing height adjustment for seniors between 4'10" and 6'4"
  • The seat height adjusts to make sure it is easy for the user to get in and out of
  • One of the smallest, lightest rollators on the market at only 11 lbs
  • Folds using only one hand

$77.33 $79.07 See Deal
Top Pick!
2 Drive Medical Universal Walker

Drive Medical Universal Walker

This walker from Drive Medical is as near to a true universal walker as you can get. It will fit most seniors from ...

  • Comes with 5″ wheels on front and glide tips on back
  • Only 21.75″ wide with or without wheels
  • Fit users from 4’10” to 6’2″ tall
  • Easy to fold, load, and store
  • Weighs only 7 lbs

$24.72 See Deal
3 Drive Medical Adjustable Height Rollator

Drive Medical Adjustable Height Rollator

This is a narrow rollator that should fit a wide range of seniors well. The adjustable height seat is a unique feature ...

  • Height adjustable from 29.5″ to 38″ tall to fit patients between 5’2″ to 6’2″ tall
  • Padded, comfortable seat with a zippered storage bag under the seat
  • Seat is height adjustable from 18″ to 22″ to fit a range of leg lengths
  • Weighs only 14 lbs making it very portable
  • Only 24″ wide by 27″ long
  • Weight capacity of 300 lbs

$71.77 $92.39 See Deal
4 NOVA GetGo Petite Rollator Walker Review

NOVA GetGo Petite Rollator Walker

This petite rollator walker from Nova is designed to fit both shorter people and smaller spaces. It is very narrow, ...

  • Weighs only 13 lb making it easy to fold, lift, and travel for most seniors
  • Height adjustable to fit users from 4’10” to 5’4″ tall
  • Four color choices: red, blue, pink, and purple
  • Only 22″ wide at the widest point
  • Supports users up to 300 lbs too

$115.67 $159.95 See Deal
5 NOVA Traveler 3 Wheel Rollator Review

NOVA Traveler 3 Wheel Rollator Walker

The Nova traveler is a great option for those needing a narrow walker that supports taller people. It has a few extras ...

  • Includes a carrying basket with a lid that doubles as a tray for food and/or drinks
  • It comes in four color choices: blue, red, black, and purple
  • The 8" wheels are better for outdoor use
  • Only 24.25″ wide at the widest point
  • Fits users from 5'4" to 6'2" tall

$92.95 $97.95 See Deal
6 Lumex Walkabout Lite Rollator Walker Review

Lumex Walkabout Lite Rollator Walker Review

The Lumex Walkabout is an ultra narrow walker that is only 20" wide! Because of this, it will fit easily through tight ...

  • Padded tubular backrest gives a place to rest the back while seated
  • The durable aluminum construction also keeps it light weight
  • The handles adjust to fit users from 4'10" to 5'4"
  • Super narrow - only 20" wide
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs

$81.78 See Deal

How Can a Narrow Width Help Seniors with Mobility Problems?

senior woman leaning on a narrow walker

Many elderly people live with small rooms, tight hallways, and narrow doors. Most have lived in the same home for decades and they are often crammed full of furniture. This makes many of these homes look like an obstacle course.

So, the walker gets banged into furniture and the walls causing damage. But, it also affects the safety of the senior by creating a fall hazard if the walker gets caught on something.

Often people try to get by with a walking cane instead. Just because it fits better when they try to get through a skinny doorway. Or, worse, they risk injury by not using anything at all. (Source: National Institutes of Health)

This is extremely unsafe. The better option is finding the best walker that meets their needs.

Tips for Making An Existing Walker Fit Small Spaces Better

There are some things you can try before running out to buy a new walking aid.

  1. Clear the Clutter. Clean out rooms that are small or jam-packed with furniture. I know that is easier than it sounds. Move items to out of the way areas. Or, put them in storage.
  2. Widen the Doorway. Sometime this means construction though. There are other options like taking the door off the hinges. Another option is replacing current hinges with offset hinges (Amazon link). These handy products will add nearly 2″ to the opening but still allow the door to open and shut.
  3. Move the Wheels! If you have a walker with wheels and they are making the walker too wide, simply flip the wheels to make the overall width more narrow. You will need to take the right wheel and put on the left leg and vice-versa so that the holes line up. This alone will take 2″ – 4″ off of the overall width of the walker. (This is how I solved my grandmother’s problem!)

Drawbacks of Narrow Walkers for Seniors

There is a potential drawback though. Because these walkers are skinnier by definition, larger sized people may have trouble fitting between the handles of a folding walker or using the seat of a rollator walker.

This could make them unsafe for some seniors to use because their feet might hit the back legs causing a fall. The walker also will not offer the proper support if the user doesn’t fit between the sides.

Walkers are designed to improve the mobility of the user. So, it is very important that the walker fit where it will be used. It also must fit the user properly. Using a walker is safer when it fits right.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Use A Walker Safely?

There is a right way and a wrong way to use a walker. Unfortunately, I see a lot of people using one the wrong way. This leads to injuries of the arms and shoulders and even falls. Mobility aids are important to the function of a senior, but they must always be used safely. The chance of falling from a walking aid is much higher than using a wheelchair. Using a walker correctly reduces the chances of these injuries.

In the following videos, professional therapists show you how to set the proper height of a walker and also how to use a walker correctly and safely. These videos also share other tips like flipping around the front wheels to make a walker smaller in width.

Always follow the directions of your therapist or doctor over any advice you see here!

Setting Up a Walker: Video Demonstration

This video by Mandy Chamberlain, an Occupational Therapist with Seniors Flourish walks you through the process of setting up a walker properly.

Using a Walker Correctly: Video Demonstration

Cindy, a Physical Therapist at Adaptive Equipment Corner, demonstrates both ways of using a walker correctly:



What is the best way to use a walker?


It is always a good idea to check with a physical or occupational therapist in your area when beginning to use a walker. Online resources like Cleveland Clinic and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offer tips on using a walker correctly.


What percentage of Americans use walkers?


Consumer Affairs reports that 11.6% of seniors use a walker, second only to canes at 16%.


Are walkers only used by elderly people?


No!  Walkers are also used as a temporary mobility aid during recovery from hip surgery. As the hip heals, most people then use a cane.

How do I know if my walker fits properly?


The proper height of a walker is when the handles are at about the same level as your wrist. The recommended posture while using a walker is standing up nice and straight with only a very slight bend in the arm.
Next, keep the handles level with the ground so that all legs are the same height.
If the walker is not at this height, the legs adjust up and down by using the little metal push buttons and sliding the leg up and down to the proper height.

What are the Alternatives to Using a Walker?


If using the walker seems unsafe, consider another type of mobility aid. Maybe a rollator walker that has a seat is better. That way, there is always a place to stop and rest. While no one gets excited about using a wheelchair, sometimes a lightweight wheelchair is the safest option, even if only used temporarily. The safety of the senior is always the main consideration.


Buying Guide Summary and Final Recommendations

Like any purchase, it is always good to know what your options are. Educated buying decisions typically come with more satisfaction and less regret. Of course, your medical practitioner will usually make a recommendation for you too and you should always follow their advice.

Here is a quick summary of the info in this buying guide:

  • Walker Types: While there are 10 different kinds of walkers, the most common ones are front wheeled walkers that fold and rollator walkers with seats. The next most common are the three wheeled walkers.
  • Length of Need: If the walker is only needed for a short term recovery, a basic folding walker with wheels is usually sufficient. For longer term needs, choose a rollator because of their extra features and benefits.
  • Space Requirements: Measure the doorways and walking paths where the walker will be used. Make sure the walker will fit in those areas by looking at the overall width. Balancing this with the size of the user can sometimes be tricky if you have a larger user with small doorways.
  • Indoor vs. Outdoor: Think about where the walker will be used. If the main areas are indoors and on flat sidewalks, a folding front wheeled walker should work fine. But, if the user is outdoors a lot, encounters gravel and grassy terrain, go with a rollator because of the larger wheels.
  • Need a Seat? If the senior can only walk short distances without resting, choose a rollator. These four wheel walkers have built-in seats that allow the user to sit and rest if they get tired or dizzy.
  • Size of the User: Know the height and weight of the person who will be using the walker. Make sure the walker can adjust to fit their height and will support their weight. Some walkers and rollators are better for short people, some are better for tall people, and some support more weight than others.

That’s why I have created this guide to the best walkers for seniors – I wanted to give you the expert opinions and tools you need to make your own decisions. Don’t forget to discuss your choice with your doctor or therapist. I hope this information was helpful!

Do you have experience shopping for a walker that you would like to share? Please share your opinions in the comments below.

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Assistive Technology Professional, Custom Wheelchair Specialist, Medical Equipment Guru, Dad and Grandfather | Scott Grant is dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not working as a custom wheelchair specialist at a regional home medical equipment company, he enjoys early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. He is also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's.

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