Have you decided to invest in a walker? Is it time to replace your old mobility aid? Do you just want an upgrade? There are many reasons you might be looking into a new walker, but the objective is the same: to improve your mobility and quality of life.
There are a few different types of walkers, and many different brands. In this article, we’ll be touching on the best lightweight walkers for seniors, and how to pick the best one for you.
Types of Walkers
The first mistake many shoppers make is searching for the best walkers overall. There is no such thing as the world’s best walker, because different walkers are suited for different purposes. Before deciding on a brand or model, you need to decide on the type of walker you need.
Walkers are supposed to lower your chances of falling, but choosing the wrong one can actually increase your likelihood of injury. This is why it’s important to consider your choices carefully and choose the right one. You might need to try out a few different types and talk to an occupational therapist before you’re truly ready to buy.
There are three primary types of walkers: standard, two-wheeled, and rollator (four-wheeled).
Don’t let the word ‘standard’ mislead you into thinking these walkers are lower quality; they are considered standard for a reason. If you’ve never had a walker before, this might be a good place to start.
Standard walkers are the sturdiest of the three, and designed for bearing weight. They have four legs, and each one is capped to prevent slippage. A standard walker might be perfect for you if:
- You have an unstable gait and poor balance.
- You need something sturdy to bear your weight while walking.
- You struggle to control a rolling walker.
- You just need to get around the house safely.
Most standard walkers are foldable, which means they can be transported or stored away easily. This is also the lightest type of walker, since you need to pick it up before you step forward. Some standard walkers come with optional wheel attachments, which we’ll discuss next.
Here is a short video that explains how to use a standard walker, and who might benefit from using one.
Two-wheeled walkers are similar to standard walkers, but they come with two wheels on the front legs. This makes moving the walker easier, but it cannot bear as much weight as the standard walker.
Wheeled walkers are common among people who need their walkers for balance, but still move around frequently and don’t want to pick it up with every step. A two-wheeled walker might be perfect for you if:
- You have an unstable gait, but don’t need to put weight on the walker while moving.
- You want a walker that allows for a more normal walking pattern.
- You have the cognition and motor skills to operate a rolling walker.
As mentioned above, some standard walkers come with wheel attachments. This is good for people who have “good” days where they can bear their own weight, and “bad” days where they need the support of a stationary walker. Most two-wheeled walkers are foldable and lightweight as well.
Here is a short video that explains how to use a two-wheeled walker.
Rollators, or four-wheeled walkers, are designed for those with poor balance. They often come with brakes, baskets, and built-in seats. These walkers have a high degree of maneuverability, but this means that they require a high degree of strength and control.
If you’re still relatively active and strong, a rollator can provide you with the balance you need to go about your daily routine. The baskets allow you to carry items, while the brakes and built-in seat allows you to stop and rest when you need to. You might be right for a rollator if:
- You have poor balance, but a stable gait and a strong core.
- You lead an active lifestyle, but need to stop and rest often.
- You want the ability to move easily without losing your balance.
Rollators tend to be heavier than traditional walkers, and some models are not easily transported. If you want a compact rollator, a three-wheeled model might fit your needs better.
Here is a short video that explains how to use a rollator.
The Best Lightweight Walkers
Now that we’ve discussed the different types of walkers, it’s time for the recommendations. We’ll choose walkers from the three types, discuss their features, and compare them against others on this list.
This is widely considered one of the best standard walkers, and the only one we’ll be including on this list. The Vive Mobility Walker comes with a number of accessories, including two front wheels, a multi-pocket basket for carrying your necessities, and rubber hand-grips.
This walker can support up to 250 pounds of weight, and the legs can be adjusted between 33” and 40” to accommodate any height. The aluminum frame is durable and lightweight, and the walker can be folded with the press of a button.
Compared to other standard walkers, the Vive model provides everything you need and then some.
If you’re looking for a two-wheeled walker that is both lightweight and foldable, the Vaunn might fit your needs perfectly. It can bear up to 300 pounds, and the height is adjustable between 30” and 37”. It can be folded using the two-button system, and it collapses to fit inside trunks, closets, and even suitcases.
This walker is both durable and lightweight, but those looking for extra features might be disappointed.
Here are the extra features we were looking for. The Nova Cruiser comes with a seat, an attractive design, and a roomy pouch underneath. It has a weight capacity of 250 pounds, and the handles can be adjusted to accommodate people between 5’3” and 6’0”. It is foldable, and locks into place for easy transport.
This is an excellent two-wheel walker with plenty of accessories. However, it is a bit pricier, and you might not need the additional features enough to spend extra.
When it comes to rollators, you’re spoiled for choice. There are plenty of options out there, but Medline has you covered in almost every way. It comes with a cushioned, antimicrobial seat, a storage pouch, and a comfortable backrest. Not only that, but the seat swings upwards to give you more walking room, and it folds up for easy travel and storage.
The seat can support up to 300 pounds, and it can be adjusted to suit anyone between 4’11” and 6’4”. While this rollator is a bit pricier than our other pick, the features make it worth every penny.
Another walker by NOVA, the Vibe 6 comes with plenty of additions. The seat is cushioned and comfortable, while the brakes are designed for comfort and control. It comes with a pouch under the seat, and it can be folded and unfolded easily.
This rollator can bear up to 300 pounds, and the height can be adjusted to suit people between 5’4” and 6’1”. This range isn’t quite as accommodating as the Medline option, but it should be right for most people.
NOVA is shaping up to be the leader in mid-range walkers and rollators, and we’re adding this 3-wheeler to cover all of our bases. If a full-size rollator is too much, a triangle rollator might be compact enough to suit your needs. This rollator also boasts 8” rubber wheels designed for all kinds of terrain.
While it doesn’t come with a seat, it does have a tray, basket, and zippered pouch. The weight capacity is 250 pounds, and it’s suitable for those between 5’4” and 6’1”. Like the other NOVA walkers, it can be folded up for storage and travel. If you are highly active but need a rollator for balance, this might be the perfect option for you.
Before deciding on any of these options, make sure you’ve considered the following:
- Your mobility and dexterity
- Your measurements, including your height, weight, and width
- What accessories you want
- Your lifestyle and travel plans
- How much room you have in your home, including hallway and doorway measurements.
If you have doubts about which walker is right for you, make sure to talk to an occupational therapist and get their approval before ordering.