The Ultimate Guide to The Best Walkers for Seniors [By An Industry Insider]

I’ll bet you that a walker isn’t something you’ve thought much about. Or, even wanted to really.

Don’t feel bad. Most people don’t. At least, not until they or a loved one need one.

Chances are there has been an accident or illness. Now, your doctor or therapist is talking to you about using a walker. (You should definitely discuss any medical equipment with a medical pro that you trust before using it!)

Maybe you already have a walker. But, you just aren’t happy with it.

Maybe it doesn’t fit you well. Maybe it doesn’t fit your home well. I’ll show you how to fix these problems too.

The ultimate guide to everything you need to know about walkers for seniors including walkers for small homes, shorter seniors, and rollators for outdoors

But, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, I am going to teach you everything I have learned about walkers as a medical equipment specialist. I work with seniors with mobility problems every day and am going to share my knowledge with you in this detailed guide.

Table of Contents

Looking for something in particular? Click to jump right to the topic.


Chapter 1: How Many Types Of Walkers Can There Be, Really?

The answer might just surprise you. Depending on how you break them out, there are at least a dozen different types.

Generally, though walkers are classified by the number of wheels and their general shape.

There are also a few special kinds I’ll tell you about too.

Folding Walkers

Most walkers available do fold in one way or another. The only difference really is how they fold.

Lightweight 1 Button Folding Walkers

These walkers are made of lightweight aluminum and fold up easily using a button in the middle of the top bar.

The drawback to this style though is that it must be either completely opened or completely closed. You also have to pick it up every step you take.

one button walker on a white background

Lightweight 2 Button Folding Walkers

These are also lightweight and easy to fold but they use two buttons to fold – one button for each leg.

That way, you can fold up one side at a time. This is useful for getting through small doorways or around obstacles like toilets.

two button folding walker on a white background

Walkers with Wheels

Often people who have mobility problems also are weak or have poor balance. So, they should not be lifting a walker off of the ground. Wheeled walkers help with this by gliding along without having to be picked up.

Front Wheeled Walkers

The 2 wheeled walker is the most common walker you’ll see.

This style has 2 wheels on the front legs and smooth caps on the end of the back legs. This setup lets the walker glide on the ground without having to be picked up.

Sometimes, you’ll even see tennis balls on the back legs to make them slide better.

2 wheeled walker with wheels on the front

3 Wheeled Walkers

These triangle shaped walkers are less common but they are really helpful. Especially for seniors with tight living spaces.

Three wheeled walkers are, just that, walkers that have three legs with a wheel on each end. This lets them roll smoothly over the floor.

There are also brakes that the user can apply when they need to stop and rest.

Learn more about these walkers in Chapter 6.

triangle walker with three wheels

Rollators aka Four Wheeled Walkers with Seats.

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. You can lock the rollator in place by applying the brakes too.

Rollators also have larger wheels and are better for use outside. They are larger than a typical walker though and may not fit in areas where a regular walker will.

Learn more about these walkers in Chapter 5 or bariatric walkers for larger seniors.

rollator walker with 4 wheels

Specialty Walkers

Side Walkers, aka Hemi-walkers

Hemi-walkers have four small legs that taper to a single handle. You use these at your side instead if in front of you.

These are commonly used with stroke patients because the stroke only affects one side of the body. Because hemi-walkers have a wider base and more points of contact, they offer more support than canes.

hemi side walker on white background

Bariatric Walkers

Bariatric walkers are heavy duty walkers for larger folks who weight over 300 lbs.

Some can even support up to 1000 lbs. And, like the other walkers above, these come with and without wheels and also with and without seats.

But, they are heavier than others – by design. They use heavier materials and have more support for higher weight capacities.

bariatric walker on a white background

Knee Walkers aka Knee Scooters

Knee walkers look and work differently than the other types of walkers.

The main purpose of this type of walker is to temporarily support an injured lower leg while the user walks with the other leg. They are for temporary use 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.

close up of a knee walker

There are other types of walkers available too. But, they are just variations of the main types I discussed above. If you see something I missed or have a question, please let me know in the comments at the bottom!

Now that you know a little more about the different kinds of walkers, I’m going to teach you about walker features and options next.

or continue on to the next chapter…


lady with hand on senior man who is using a walker

Chapter 2: How To Decide Which Walker Features You Really Need

Like any consumer product out there, you have your choice of all kinds of options and features for walkers.

Some options are there for convenience. Some are more cosmetic in nature. Others are for comfort.

But, some are important for your safety.

So,here’s how you can decide what features you need when buying a walker.

The Basic Walker Features Everyone Needs

Here are the basic features you’ll find on most any walker.

  • Materials. Most walkers are made of aluminum because it is lightweight but strong. Heavier duty walkers are made of steel because of its added strength. But, steel walkers are heavier.
  • Wheels. Like I went over in Chapter 1, different kinds of walkers have 2, 3 or 4 wheels (some have none!). Standard walker wheels are 5″ or 6″ in diameter which is all you need for indoor use. Rollators often have wheels that are 7″ or 8″ in diameter so they are a better choice for outdoor use. The tires are usually solid rubber so no need to worry about putting air in them.
  • Ability to Fold. Almost every walker will fold up for storage and travel. How they fold, though, depends on the style. Standard walkers use buttons that unlock the legs. Larger rollators fold in the middle similar to a wheelchair.
  • Height Adjustment. Most walkers have some way to adjust their height to fit the user better. Some adjust by extending the legs while others have handlebars that raise up and down. The amount of adjustment varies so you should compare the height range to your height.

Options that Improve Comfort and Convenience

Other features are just for the comfort of they user or to make their life a little easier.

  • Baskets and Storage Areas. Usually made of wire mesh or fabric, these are handy for carrying personal items like purses, cell phones, etc. Small items may fall through wire mesh baskets and fabric storage pouches help keep items private.
  • Ergonomic or Padded Hand Grips. The typical walker has hard plastic hand grips. Others have upgraded foam and ergonomic hand grips. This is a great upgrade for people with arthritis in their hands or wrist.
  • Colors and Style Options. Standard walkers are just a plain silver aluminum color. Some walkers come in basic colors like red, blue, or black. The more expensive walkers might even have pink or purple options.

Important Features That Improve Your Safety

These options are primarily for safety but they do also affect your comfort while using your walker.

  • Built-In Seat. Rollators are walkers that have a seat between the handlebars. So, if you get tired, just lock your brakes and have a seat. It’s like having a built-in rest stop! A feature like this could help prevent a fall.
  • Hand Brakes. Some walkers, especially rollators, come with hand brakes. You simply squeeze the handle to apply the brakes – kind of like a bicycle. Pushing the handle in the other direction locks them in place. Some brakes are easier to operate than others so consider your grip strength or any hand pain you may have due to arthritis.
  • Back Supports. Some walkers with seats also have support bars that double as a back rest. You’ll find padded and unpadded options for these. Of course, padded is probably the way you should go.

To see some of these features in action, take a look at this video from Drive Medical, a popular walker manufacturer.

Now that you know more about the types of walkers and the options that are available on them, let’s move on. Next, I’ll teach you how to make sure your walker fits and use it safely.

or continue on to the next chapter…


senior woman leaning on her walker

Chapter 3: How To Adjust a Walker and Use a Walker Properly

Why Does the Height of A Walker Matter?

A walker must fit properly to be used safely. 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 you to lean over too far. This constant bending will lead to hip and back pain because of the unnecessary stress. It also puts you in an unstable position.

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

How to Adjust the Height of Your Walker

Now that you know how to check your walker’s height, it might need some adjusting. To do this, you will either extend the legs or raise or lower the handles.

These pictures will help you identify which adjustment your walker has.

Adjustable Walker Legs
rollator adjustment handles
Adjustable Walker Handles

To extend the legs, simply push in the silver button then slide the leg to the correct position. Some walkers have markings on them but sometimes it is a trial and error process. You should hear the button snap back in place. That let’s you know it’s securely locked and safe to use.

To raise or lower the handle bars, locate the knob at the base of the handle bar. Unscrew the knob and slide the bar to the proper height. Make sure you line up the holes. Then replace the knob and tighten it. If you have to force it, something isn’t right. Back off and start again.

Here is a great video from Mandy, an Occupational Therapist, that demonstrates all this for you.

Tall? Short? Heavy? Finding a Walker That Fits

Most standard walkers will fit average sized seniors. But, if you are extremely tall or short, you will struggle to use a regularly sized walker. I cover tall and short walkers down in Chapter 8 if you think this applies to you.

Also, walkers have weight limits. Larger people should make sure the walker will support their weight. Never use a walker if you exceed the recommended weight limit. Quite frankly, it is dangerous to take the risk and could lead to a fall or injury.

How to Use Your Walker Safely: A Demonstration

There is a right way and a wrong way to use a walker. Unfortunately, I see used them wrong everyday.

Using a walker incorrectly could lead to injuries of the arms and shoulders or even falls. It also causes back and neck pain.

Cindy, a Physical Therapist, demonstrates both ways of using a walker correctly:

OK. Now that you know more about adjusting and using a walker properly, let’s look at some specific walkers for specific situations.

Next stop, narrow walkers for small spaces!

or continue on to the next chapter…


woman standing with a walker at home

Chapter 4: Small House? Tiny Doorways? How to Find Narrow Walkers for Small Spaces

It’s a much more common problem than you would think. A standard walker that is 26″ or 27″ wide might not fit for one reason or another

Many seniors live in older homes that aren’t very accessible for medical equipment. They often have small rooms and narrow doorways.

Another issue is cluttered homes with lots of furniture. Sometimes, moving furniture or clearing clutter isn’t possible. So, you are left with an obstacle course.

But, trying to make a walker squeeze through a tight doorway could lead to an injury from a fall.

I have experienced this in my family too. Here’s my story:

How to Make Sure a Walker Will Fit Your Home

To make sure the walker will fit, measure your doorways and compare it to the overall width of the walker you are considering. Some manufacturer specifications list the inside width (the width between the handles) and the overall width. Just make sure you are comparing it the right number

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.

Tips for Making A Walker Fit Small Spaces Better

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

  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!)

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.

Narrow Walkers Have Some Drawbacks Too

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 because your feet might hit the back legs causing a fall. The walker also will not offer the proper support if the you do not fit between the handles.

Your personal safety and the proper fit of the walker should be the priority.

Recommended Narrow Walkers for Small Spaces

If you purchase an item through links on this site, I may earn an advertising fee (at absolutely no extra cost to you). This helps me pay for the site expenses and research without charging or using ads. Thanks for supporting Graying With Grace! Learn More

NOVA Traveler 3 Wheel Rollator Walker, All Terrain 8" Wheels, Includes Bag, Basket and Tray, Red

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The Nova traveler is a great option for those needing a narrow walker (only 24.25" wide) that supports taller people. It has a few extras like larger wheels that are good for outdoor use and an accessory lid that doubles as a tray. Weight capacity is only 250 lbs though.

Because the width at the widest point is only 24.25″ wide, it will fit in many homes with tight spaces or small doorways. It is a bit longer (27.25″) than some of the others though which means it won’t be quite as maneuverable. It will take more space to turn it.

It fits users from 5 foot 4 inches tall to 6 feet 2 inches tall because the handles adjust from 33 inches to 37.25 inches high. If you are under 5’4″, take a look at the Nova Petite Rollator.

Total weight is about 16 lb which puts it in the middle of the pack as far as the weight and it supports users up to 250 lb.



PROS:

  • 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


CONS:

  • The weight capacity is only 250 lbs so check the weight of the user carefully
  • Longer (27.25") than some of the others so it won't be as maneuverable




Drive Medical Adjustable Height Rollator with 6 Inches Wheels, Red

$71.77  in stock
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as of August 22, 2019 9:15 am

This narrow rollator from Drive Medical is only 24″ wide which will help it fit through some of those smaller bedroom and bathroom doors of the older homes. Seniors with extremely wide hips, though, may have trouble fitting between the handles. It is also only 27″ long which will make its very maneuverable and easy to steer.



It's easy to fold and transport because it is very lightweight – only 14 lbs. It folds by lifting the seat and pulling up on the bar.



The telescoping handles adjust from 29.5″ to 38″ tall allowing the walker to fit heights from 5’2″ to 6’2″ tall. To adjust the handles, loosen the screw with thumb wheel, set the proper height, then tighten back the screw.



This is one of the few folding rollators where you can adjust the seat height. This is helpful for shorter people so they can keep their feet on the ground while they are sitting in the seat. The seat adjusts from 18″ to 22″ from the floor to fit a range of leg lengths.



PROS:

  • 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

CONS:

  • Narrow width may not fit larger people or seniors with wider hips
  • Seat is only 13" wide X 12" deep



Essential Medical Supply Endurance Junior Trigger Walker, Silver, 1 Inch

$69.90
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as of August 22, 2019 9:15 am

This walker has a unique trigger folding mechanism that reduces pinching and is easier for small hands too. But, on top of that, it is a only 22.5" wide overall plus is strong while also very lightweight (less than 5 lbs). But, wheels will need to be ordered separately.



Foam hand grips are soft and comfortable. Many other walkers come with vinyl or plastic hand grips which are harder and hotter on the hands. This is a nice upgrade for seniors with arthritic hands.



It adjusts from 25″ to 32″ tall by extending or retracting the legs. No tools required! This means is will fit seniors as short as 4 feet 6 inches tall. It is one of the shortest walkers on the market.



Caution: this walker does not come with wheels! Most people use wheels with their walkers so that they do not have to pick it up each step. Click here for a set of wheels that fit this walker. Or, take a look at the Medline model below that comes with them.



A cool feature is the unique trigger button folding mechanism. See those latches underneath the handles in the photo? That’s what I’m talking about. This feature is important because those large trigger handles are easier for small hands to use. I know that sounds backwards but it is true.


Small hands sometimes have trouble using the buttons that unlock the walker for folding. This is because the hand has to be wrapped around the tubing and the thumb has to slide the button.
But with trigger buttons, you simply use your entire hand to push up the latch. Then the walker is freed to fold up. This method is easier for hands of all sizes actually!




PROS:

  • 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"

CONS:

  • Does not include wheels but they can be ordered separately



Drive Medical Deluxe Two Button Folding Walker with 5-Inch Wheels

$29.45
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This walker from Drive Medical is as near to a true universal walker as you can get. It will fit most seniors from short to tall. The walker itself is lightweight (7 lbs), narrow (21.75" wide) and easy to lift, fold, and take with you anywhere you go.



This is the narrowest walker that I have been able to find. It is only 21.75″ wide with or without the wheels (because you can turn the wheels to the inside).



This is good and bad. It will fit through those tight bathroom and bedroom doorways with ease. But, because the inside measurement is only 17″ between the handles, it may be too skinny for larger people or people with wider hips.



The 10″ of height adjustment can position the handles at a height between 28.25″ to 38.5″ from the floor. This level of adjustment means it will fit both shorter and taller seniors. The manufacturer says it will fit those users from 4’10” to 6’2″ tall. My experience tells me this will vary somewhat based on arm length as well.



This rolling walker comes with 5″ front wheels and glide caps on the back. Glide tips are smooth discs mounted on the back legs. This makes it easily slide across the flooring surfaces of your home. Never lift a walker off the floor while using it. This risks injury to the shoulders and arms.




PROS:

  • 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

CONS:

  • Storage basket is extra
  • No color options
  • No seat



Lumex RJ4301R Walkabout Lite Junior Rollator, Burgundy

$86.27
$85.17  in stock
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as of August 22, 2019 9:15 am

The Lumex Walkabout is an ultra narrow walker that is only 20" wide! Because of this, it will fit easily through tight doorways and small homes. But, this narrow width means it will only fit smaller, thinner adults who are between 4'10" and 5'4". It's light too weight only 11.5 lbs.



This recommendation came out of a question from a reader on this post who was looking for a narrow rollator she could use in her small house (Thanks Jan!). You see, her bathroom door is only 22″ wide. Most rollators will not fit through doors this small. But I found one that will.



Sure, it does have a 300 lb weight capacity but it is only 14″ wide between the hand grips. The seat though is only 12″ wide. So, people who are wider than that at the hips won’t be able to fit between them well. This could mean no sitting down or an unsafe walking posture.



The handles telescope out from the main frame and adjust quickly without the need for tools. This allows this model to fit users from 4 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 4 inches.




PROS:

  • 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

CONS:

  • Only comes in burgundy



or continue on to the next chapter…


close up of a walker with seat with candle

Chapter 5: Need Rest Breaks? Consider Rollator Walkers with Seats

What’s a rollator? A rollator is just a rolling walker that goes by the more common name: a four wheel walker with seat.

Like a standard walker, it helps stabilize seniors with mobility problems.

What’s so special about a rollator, then?

It has one distinct advantage – it comes with a built-in seat!

This option is a great idea if you need to take occasional rest breaks when walking. Rollators are really helpful too if you are somewhere where seats aren’t readily available.

The always available seat improves your safety and reduces the chance of a fall.

Most rollators also share other features: they fold for travel, have handles with locking brakes, larger wheels, and the seat discussed above.

Who Should Use a Rollator?

You should never use any medical equipment without first talking to your healthcare professional or therapist.

Here is some advice provided by The Mayo Clinic.

As a general rule, rollators are recommended for people who:

  • are able to bear weight on both legs
  • unable to use a walking cane safely
  • need a little help with balance
  • tire easily requiring frequent rest breaks

They are NOT recommended if:

  • the user cannot bear weight on both legs
  • the user cannot sit or stand by themselves

How to Use a Rollator

A rollator is used for both short and long distances. It provides stable support and even a place to rest if you get tired.

Here is a quick overview of rollators from Drive Medical:

Here is how to safely use a rollator:

  • Make sure the walker is in front of you and close to your body.
  • Make sure the brakes are off.
  • Hold on to both handles and wheel the walker in front of you as you move.
  • When turning, don’t try to force the walker into a tight turn, instead go wider, this will stop it overbalancing.
  • Keep the walker within reach when you sit down or do other tasks.

Rollators are light pieces of equipment, so do not use it to pull yourself up from a chair. To sit down, back up until your legs hit the chair and put the brakes on the walker. Rest your hands on the arms of your chair as a guide and sit down.

To stand up again, make sure the brakes are on, lean forward, and use your chair arms to boost yourself up. Do not push or pull on it to get up or down.

So, What are the Best Rollators?

Believe it or not, there are nearly 100 models of rollators for sale at the moment.

Many look the same. But, there are subtle differences.

So, based on my hands-on experience with these products, here are the ones I recommend.

Feel free to ask any question about these in the comments below.

Drive Medical Duet Transport Wheelchair Rollator Walker, Blue

$146.05
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The Duet is a unique product that bridges the gap between a four wheel walker and a transport wheelchair. With this combo, you can walk with the assistance of a rollator and rest on the built-in seat when needed. But, you can also be pushed if you are unable to walk by converting the rollator into a transport chair. Complete with footrests!!The Drive Medical Duet is a hybrid mobility aid that addresses several different mobility needs.



First, the Drive Duet easily transforms from a rollator to a transport wheelchair and back again.



How is this helpful? It is a great choice for users who may need a little help every now and then or who needs to be pushed only for long distances.



To convert it from a rollator to a transport chair just flip up the armrests and flip down the footrests and the user may be pushed safely and securely like a transport wheelchair.These steps are easily reversed to convert it back again.



Here is a great video from actual users explaining the benefits and how to convert it:








PROS:

  • Handles are adjustable from 31-1/2″to 37″ fitting users between 5 feet and 6 feet tall
  • Reversible support bar for back support in either mode
  • Combines features of a rollator with a transport chair
  • Footrests for transport chair mode are built on
  • Supports up to 300 pounds in both modes

CONS:

  • Heavier than some because of the extra parts



Medline Freedom Mobility Lightweight Folding Aluminum Rollator Walker with 6-inch Wheels, Adjustable Seat and Arms, Burgundy

$98.88  in stock
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This is one of my favorite rollators because it is extremely lightweight (11 pounds) making it easy to fold and transport. It also has lots of adjustment, fits seniors between 4'10" and 6'4" and is only 24" wide. You can even adjust the height of the seat. But, the weight capacity is only 250 lbs so make sure the user weighs less.



This rollator is highly adjustable by turning simple knobs with no need for tools.



The first adjustment is the height of the walker. The handles are adjustable from a height of 29″ to 36″ tall. (Just a reminder: the hand grips should be the same level as the wrist when the user is standing upright but relaxed.) The manufacturer says it will fit seniors from 4’10” tall to 6’4″ tall. That is an amazing amount of adjustment.



The seat height is also adjustable. The height of the seat adjusts from 18″ to 23″ off of the ground. So, your feet stay in contact with the ground while they are sitting on the padded seat. This improves the senior’s safety because they won’t have to have to hop down off the seat risking a fall.




PROS:

  • 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

CONS:

  • Lower weight capacity of 250 lbs



Drive Medical Winnie Lite Supreme Aluminum Three Wheel Rollator, Tan Plaid

$96.67  in stock
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as of August 22, 2019 9:15 am

Frankly, the Winnie is one of my favorite walkers and always makes my "best of" lists. The narrow size, lightweight construction (11 lbs), stylish looks, and affordable price combine to make it nearly perfect. The only thing missing is a seat for those who need periodic rest breaks.



It’s a matter of preference of course but really like the unique and attractive tan and black finish of this rollator. Maybe it’s odd to say this about a piece of medical equipment but I really like the looks and style of this one. Most other walkers are just painted metal. This one at least looks different.



At its widest point, it is 26″ wide! This means it will easily fit through doors that are 26″ wide or wider. The overall length of this walker is only 21.75″ long so it is easy to maneuver and navigate – even through the smallest homes.



This rollator fits most users because the handles adjust from 31″ to 38″ high. This range should easily fit seniors between 5 feet and 6 feet 2 inches tall.




PROS:

  • 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
  • Only weighs 11 lbs

CONS:

  • Comes in one style only
  • No seat is included



Now that you know about rollators, let’s take a look at their three wheeled cousins in the next chapter.

or continue on to the next chapter…


senior man using the best 3 wheel walker rollator to get out of car

Chapter 6: Three Wheeled Rollator Walkers Are Small and Highly Maneuverable

Three wheeled walkers (aka three wheel rollators) are very similar to the rollators in Chapter 5.

Three wheel walkers have two handles at waist height, a small basket in the center and three wheels. Because of this, they are also called triangle walkers.

This triangle shape makes them pointed in the front. So, they are smaller and easier to manuever. Especially in homes where there isn’t a lot of space. (If you missed it, I covered walkers for small spaces in Chapter 4).

The Winnie – a three wheeled walker made by Drive Medical

But there is one difference compared to the four wheeled version.

Three wheeled rollators do NOT have seats.

So, Why Would You Consider a Walker with Three Wheels?

The main reason is maneuverability. The triangle shape makes them easy to move around in tight spaces such as corridors, small hallways, and bathrooms that tend to be narrow.

Because they are smaller, they tend to be lighter in weight than other rolling walkers.

Also, like a rollator, these walkers also have safety brakes on the handles. The handbrakes allow you to control your speed while walking.

Most even have pouches or trays for carrying personal items along with you.

The Disadvantages of Three Wheeled Walkers

The most important disadvantage is the fact that they are not as stable as other types.

The triangle shape is less stable than a wide rectangular base like on other walkers. They do give more support than a cane but can tip over easily if pushed incorrectly or you lose your balance.

So, you shouldn’t use one if you do not have good balance.

Another disadvantage is that there is no room for a seat.

Because of the triangle shape, there isn’t room for a rectangle seat. (Remember trying to put a rectangle block into a triangle hole as a child?)

So, if you need a seat for rest or breaks, consider a four-wheeled rollator instead.

The Best 3 Wheel Walker Rollators

Here are the three wheeled walkers I recommend based on my experience at a home medical store.

Drive Medical 3 Wheel Rollator, Flame Red

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This three wheeled rollator from Drive Medical is a great choice for an entry level rolling walker. It even includes a few extras that more expensive models do not. It is small, lightweight and adjustable. A basket, tray, and leather-look pouch are included too!


The Drive Medical Three Wheel Rollator provides stability over various types of surfaces except for extremely bumpy or rocky surfaces. The wheels are slightly smaller than some other models with 7.5" casters and are not as soft. The handles can be adjusted to a maximum height of 31″ and a maximum of 38″ to fit a wide range of heights.



Important Features:


  • Aluminum casting loop lock for comfortable operation and control of the three wheel walker during movement. It also provides safety against damage.
  • Handles equipped with a self-threading knob for easy folding especially during storage.
  • Lightweight wheels for comfortable control during indoor and outdoor movement.
  • Basket and pouch for holding items including a water bottle, a sweater, magazine, and other products. Perfect for seniors who like going out occasionally for shopping.
  • A tray that is used in rolling out your meal into the TV room. It saves you the trouble of walking with your cane to the dining room.



PROS:

  • Includes a basket, pouch, and tray for storage and carrying small items
  • Folds easily with just one hand
  • Handles adjust from 31" to 38" for people between 5 feet and 5 feet 10 inches tall
  • Only 25" wide and 24" long
  • Weighs just 11 pounds

CONS:

  • Basket is difficult to assemble and clip on the walker
  • Basket has to be removed to fold for transport
  • Aluminum construction makes it lightweight but not as heavy duty as steel



If the weight of a walker concerns you, read on to the next section.

or continue on to the next chapter…

nurse helping elder person to walk with walker

Chapter 7: Lightweight Walkers That Are Easy for Seniors and Caregivers to Lift and Load

When does the weight of a walker matter?

One of the medical problems that leads to the need for a walker is general muscle weakness. Because of this, you might not have the strength to lift a walker.

Also, think about the caregiver. Your caregiver maybe a spouse with their own medical problems. Lifting a walker might be difficult for them as well.

This is important for transportation! Being able to easily lift and load a walker into a car or trunk is necessary. You have medical appointments, family functions, and social events to attend, right?

So, if you have a heavy walker, you might choose not to leave the house because you can’t take your walker with you. Or, worse yet, you might even leave home without taking it with you risking a fall. That’s a bad idea.

Which Walkers Are Lightweight?

Generally, walkers made from aluminum are lighter than steel models. Sometimes, though you sacrifice strength.

Front-wheeled walkers are usually lighter than rollators. Many front-wheeled walkers weight between 7 and 10 pounds.

But there are some exceptions to this.

There are a few rollators that are designed to be lightweight. Some weight as little as 10 pounds so that many caregivers can manage them.

Best Lightweight Walkers for Elderly

If lifting strength is a problem for you or your caregiver, consider one of these lightweight walkers.

or continue on to the next chapter…


senior woman shopping for vegetables while using a three wheel walker

Chapter 8: Small Walkers That Fit Small Adults Better

Like I said before, a walker must fit for maximum safety and mobility. Period!

(If you missed my guide to fitting a walker, you can see that back in Chapter 3)

This is a real problem for shorter seniors – especially those under 64″ (5’4″) tall.

So, they’ll try to make their “too tall” walker work. This is risky though and you take a chance of injury or a fall.

But many manufacturers make walkers that fit small adults. A few of my favorites are below.

Drawbacks of Smaller Walkers

Smaller walkers do have a few drawbacks 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 had 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 Walkers for Shorter People

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

Medline Junior Two-Button Folding Walker with 5" Wheels, For Users 4'6" to 5'5"

$34.32
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The Medline Junior walker is a great choice for those who want a basic front wheeled walker that accommodates a shorter stature. It is designed to fit seniors between 4'6" and 5'5". It's lightweight (only 5 lbs!) and easy to load as well.


It folds easily into a nice flat package by pushing the buttons on the crossbar at the top. If you think these buttons would be a problem, look at the folding mechanism on the Essential Medical model.


It has 5″ wheels on the front plus glide caps on the back. This makes it roll and glide smoothly across indoor and outdoor surfaces. That way, the user doesn’t have to pick it up and risk injury to their shoulders or back.


The width of this walker is about 26″ with the wheels attached. But, here is a trick to make it narrower! Put the wheels on so that they are between the legs – not to the outside. This saves about 3″ in width. Learn more about narrow walkers and rollators by reading this post if you are interested.



PROS:

  • 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

CONS:

  • Just a bare bones walker - no storage or accessories included



Drive Medical Junior Rollator with Padded Seat, Red

$83.43
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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 features you need in a rollator but it is a bit heavier (17 lbs) than some of the other models.


This model has all the other usual rollator features like a padded seat, a storage pouch underneath and hand brakes on the handles. The seat is average sized at 15.75″ wide by 12″ deep so it will fit most average size seniors ok. It is also 22″ off of the ground which is pretty standard.


Overall, this rollator is 24″ wide and 25″ long when unfolded so it will fit through many smaller doors and homes.


The hand brakes are a little different on this one. It has a lever to keep your fingers from getting pinched when the hand brakes are unlocked. Typical hand brakes have a tendency to snap quickly and can possibly pinch.


The total weight of this item is 17 lbs though. So it may be too heavy for some seniors or their caregivers to lift into a trunk or SUV. It does support users up to 300 lbs.



PROS:

  • 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

CONS:

  • Weighs 17 lbs so it may be too heavy for some seniors or their caregivers to lift into a trunk or SUV.



or continue on to the next chapter…


woman using a rollator outdoors

Chapter 9: Walkers For Outdoors That Roll Smoothly on Varied Terrain

Do you like to spend a lot of time outdoors? Tired of your mobility and health problems keeping you inside?

Maybe you like to go out and check on your garden. Or even basic tasks like get your own mail.

There are walkers that are designed to be used outdoors to help get you out of the house. As long as it is safe for you to do, of course.

What Makes the Best Walker for Outdoors?

Often, regular rollators and walker get stuck in sidewalk cracks or potholes.

Uneven terrain makes moving around outside very bumpy. When walking through parks, they don’t do well on rocks or wet grass either. This makes using one in these areas not safe.

This is especially true with standard two wheeled walkers with small 4″ or 5″ wheels.

The larger wheels and tires make the biggest difference though! These recommended features will be found on rollators more than standard walkers. Rollators are larger and built more sturdily. They also tend to be a little more rigid and will give better support than a standard walker.

The Best Rollators for Outdoors

Here is a list of the best rollators to use outside based on my recommendations above.

Drive Medical RTL10266BK-H Nitro Aluminum Rollator, Hemi Height, 10 Inch Casters

$230.99
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The Nitro is a lot more than just a good looking, sleek rollator. It is one of my top recommendation for people who need an outdoor rollator. It has large 10" casters that swivel easily for navigating varied terrain. Storage and loading is easy too since it folds with one hand. Comes in multiple sizes to fit most users too!


Euro-styled rollators are known for sleek curves, minimal framing, and low profile tires. Most also have fabric seats and back supports. This is a more premium model of rollator with some unique styling details. But, the extra cost is going to get you some extra features too.


The primary advantage of this one is the design of the wheels. They are 10″ in diameter – the largest available in a rollator. This gives you more control and stability when handling uneven, outdoor terrain.


I love the folding mechanism too. It folds quickly for travel like a wheelchair using a cross brace design. You’ll be able to fold it with one hand too. This leaves a smaller footprint for storage and transportation. The storage bag is even designed to fold without removing it first.


The Nitro even comes in sizes (Petite or Hemi, Standard, and Tall) to fit a wide height range of users. It is very important that a rollator fits properly so this is a huge plus. The handle heights are also adjustable with a simple push button for fine tuning the fit of the walker.




PROS:

  • Great outdoor capabilities with sturdy frame and huge 10" casters on the front
  • Lighter weight than similar models at 17 lbs
  • Folds with one hand for compact storage
  • Comes in petite and tall height options
  • Lots of color options

CONS:

  • Because of the size options, make sure you are ordering the right model for your height
  • Tires are not treaded so extra care should be taken on smooth, wet surfaces



Vive Folding Rollator Walker - 4 Wheel Medical Rolling Walker with Seat & Bag - Mobility Aid for Adult, Senior, Elderly & Handicap - Aluminum Transport Chair (Red)

$199.99
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This rollator by Vive was made for the outdoors. It has large 8" casters with treaded "sport tires" on the front for better traction. The unique X style folding mechanism leaves a small, lightweight package that is easy to lift and load. It is also height adjustable and includes a removable accessory bag and cane holder.


This is one of my favorite rollators period because it is a great choice for both indoor and outdoor users alike.


It has the large 8″ casters that I recommend for outdoor rollators. But, there is a difference between it and other 8″ wheeled models. The front wheels are “sport tires” and have a little tread on them. This adds a little security especially on wet surfaces. Most other rollators only have smooth tires which are slicker in water.


Yes, it folds quickly like other rollators. But, the Vive has improved on folding technology. It folds in half using an X shaped cross brace. Then, the rear legs also fold up leaving a very small package to handle. It collapses down to 10” by 20” by 32” which will fit in even the smallest vehicles.


Vive also improved on Rollator brakes with its dual braking system. The handles are located in an ergonomic, neutral position to reduce hand strain. Squeezing the brakes allows you to control your speed. The brakes can also be locked in position by pushing them down until they click.


You’ll find lots of adjustment to fit most people between 5 feet and 6 feet tall by raising or lowering the handles. This is easily done by loosening and tightening a knob on the frame.




PROS:

  • Large 8" casters with rubber treaded sport tires that are removable
  • Collapsible folding mechanism with legs that fold too means it is compact and easy to transport
  • Supports 300 lbs in a lightweight aluminum frame
  • Dual braking system adds extra security for outdoor use
  • Removable accessory bag is included

CONS:

  • Weighs 20 lbs - a bit heavier than some others



or continue on to the next chapter…


senior man walking on the side of the road with his rollator walker

Chapter 10: Summary, Bibliography, and Additional Resources

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.

I am
short
average height
tall

text

NOVA Traveler 3 Wheel Rollator Walker, All Terrain 8" Wheels, Includes Bag, Basket and Tray, Red

$99.99  in stock
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1 used from $ 86.24
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as of August 22, 2019 9:15 am

The Nova traveler is a great option for those needing a narrow walker (only 24.25" wide) that supports taller people. It has a few extras like larger wheels that are good for outdoor use and an accessory lid that doubles as a tray. Weight capacity is only 250 lbs though.

Because the width at the widest point is only 24.25″ wide, it will fit in many homes with tight spaces or small doorways. It is a bit longer (27.25″) than some of the others though which means it won’t be quite as maneuverable. It will take more space to turn it.

It fits users from 5 foot 4 inches tall to 6 feet 2 inches tall because the handles adjust from 33 inches to 37.25 inches high. If you are under 5’4″, take a look at the Nova Petite Rollator.

Total weight is about 16 lb which puts it in the middle of the pack as far as the weight and it supports users up to 250 lb.



PROS:

  • 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


CONS:

  • The weight capacity is only 250 lbs so check the weight of the user carefully
  • Longer (27.25") than some of the others so it won't be as maneuverable




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.

Additional Resources / Bibliography

Final Recommendations

I hope this guide has been helpful.

My goal was to share my expert opinions with you and give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

Don’t forget to discuss any medical equipment decision with your doctor or therapist first.

Anything I missed or any remaining questions you have? Please leave them in the comments below.

Also, I would appreciate a share on your favorite social media account if you found this ultimate guide to seniors helpful.

Other Guides to Mobility Devices for Seniors

About Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

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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