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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

Wheelchair ramps - what to look for when buying

We sell a fairly wide range of wheelchair ramps and are frequently asked for advice on which ramp to buy. There are different styles of ramps for wheelchairs and each has its perks and is intended for a different type of operation and situation, so we decided it would be good to create a brief guide to explain the key differences between each model and point out which are best for manual and electric wheelchairs.

So, when looking for the perfect wheelchair ramp it is worth considering these simple factors to ensure that you pick the right type and the right size.

Ramp length

For self propelled and transit wheelchair we advise that the maximum gradient for the ramp is 1:6.

This means that in moving forward 6 feet you climb just one foot in height or in other words if you need to tackle a 1ft rise in your wheelchair, you will need a 6ft ramp to do so comfortably and safely. When it comes to electric wheelchairs you will need a lesser gradient to avoid the powerchair from grounding out as you mount the ramp due to their low ground clearance.

Ramp Width

This one is more obvious in that the wheelchair ramp needs to be wide enough to accommodate your wheelchair or powerchair yet narrow enough to fit into the threshold you are bridging.

Once you have calculated the dimensions of the ramp that you require you can consider which of the styles suits your purpose best. Here are the most common types of wheelchair ramp:

Threshold ramps

These are most commonly used to bridge single steps and door thresholds and are typically made from aluminium or fibreglass and are rigid designs (that is they do not fold or roll-up). Often as not the surface has a tread plate finish or uses grip tape to ensure there is traction for the wheelchair.

Channel ramps

These are used mainly for access in to vehicles or up bridge steps and from two channels which help to keep the wheelchair moving in the right direction. Channel ramps for wheelchairs are often of portable design and are not intended to be fitted permanently. They tend to come in a variety of lengths but are not suitable for electric wheelchairs due to the side walls.

Roll-up ramps

As their name suggests, these wheelchair ramps simply roll up when not in use. Made using aluminium extrusion, the rollup wheelchair ramps are very convenient for those who travel frequently and need to take their ramps to their destination. Often supplied with a carry bag, these provide a quick and easy solution to access to buildings where steps are involved. These ramps suit manual wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs and scooters.

Folding ramps

These have become more sophisticated in recent years and now provide a truly portable solution for both manual and electric wheelchairs. As their name suggests, these ramps fold to halve their width meaning that they can then be transported with ease. Typically made from aluminium, these folding wheelchair ramps are lightweight and have an anti-slip grip surface togive good traction.

There are folding ramps which fold both length ways and width ways and these are known asmultifolding ramps. The idea of these is to be a compact as possible to allow them to be transported and used where and when needed by the wheelchair user. These too are suitable for powerchairs and manual wheelchairs as long as they are rated to a sufficient weight. This weight has to include the wheelchair, the ser and sometimes the attendant also.

Cross folding wheelchair ramps

These are very popular for vehicle access as they folds to half their length, making the extremely easy to store. Typically made from aluminium they too are lightweight and have an anti-slip grip surface.

Fixed ramps

Fixed ramps or non-folding wheelchair ramps. As their name suggests, these ramps are simply a one piece rigid ramp that is full width to cater for both electric wheelchairs and manual models. Typically they have a lip or side walls to help contain the wheelchair. These are often shorter than other models and used in permanent locations to overcome lower rises. For occasional use they can be quick to setup and therefore useful if you have infrequent visits from a wheelchair user.

If you want to know anything else about the wheelchair ramps that we sell please call us and we can advise on the best model for your needs.