Drive Medical Rebel is a fantastic budget option, offered by a world-class company.
Recommended For: Anyone on a budget who weighs up to 300 pounds.
Do you spend at least part of each day in a wheelchair as a result of some sort of mobility issue? Are you in the market for a second wheelchair that’s light enough to toss in the trunk of your car and take with you on trips?
Or perhaps you’re on a budget and looking for an inexpensive, capable wheelchair that can serve for both day-to-day uses and is light enough to take on trips.
If you answered yes to the questions above, this Drive Medical Rebel review is going to leave you smiling. Drive Medical is one of the biggest and most respected names in the wheelchair industry. They have a long track record of making fantastic products and standing behind them, so you can buy with confidence when you buy a Drive Medical wheelchair.
As a low-priced chair, this one has its share of limitations, but it offers tremendous value for the money. If that sounds like what you’ve been looking for, read on, and we’ll tell you everything this great little chair has to offer.
An Overview of the Drive Medical Rebel Lightweight Wheelchair
The first thing you’ll notice about the Rebel is the fact that although the chair itself is designed along purely conventional lines, it sports a bold red color, which looks absolutely fantastic when paired with the black featured on the rest of the chair.
While the red paint job isn’t enough, in our view, to paint you as a “rebel,” it’s certainly a good, eye-catching look.
Before we do more than talk about aesthetics in this section of our Drive Medical Rebel review, let’s do a quick look at the core stats that define this model. Here are the basics:
- Overall Product Dimensions: 25.5” (W) x 43” (D) x 35” (H)
- Seat Dimensions: 18” (W) x 16” (D)
- Chair Weight: 37 pounds
- Maximum Supported Weight: 300 pounds
These are pretty typical numbers and about what you’d expect from a smaller, conventionally designed wheelchair. We like the fact that users will have no problems navigating through a standard-width doorframe, although the standard proviso applies here – be sure to watch your knuckles. Although there’s room enough to do it, you’ll find that you don’t have much room to spare, and you can give your knuckles a scrape if you’re not careful!
The seat dimensions are also pretty typical and make this model useful for a broad cross-section of the market, as does the 300-pound weight limit, which is the number that a solid majority of the wheelchairs sold today seem to gravitate toward.
The weight is, in our view, the standout feature where the basic numbers are concerned. We regard anything under 40 pounds as being excellent for a travel chair because it’s light enough to collapse down and maneuver into and out of storage with relative ease.
Coupled with the fact that when folded down, the profile of the chair is just 10.5” wide. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding room for it in the available trunk space of most full-sized sedans. It also shouldn’t be a problem to take this model with you on an airplane, but every airline’s policies are different. You need to call the airline you plan to fly with just to double-check so that there are no surprises.
Adjustability and Comfort of Drive Medical Rebel Wheelchair
Like most value-priced wheelchairs, one thing you won’t find here is much in the way of adjustability.
In fact, the only adjustable feature you’ll find here is the fact that the length of the leg rests can be tweaked to taste. They also swing away but are not elevating. The seat height is a stationary 19.5.”
Comfort-wise, the Drive Medical Rebel lightweight wheelchair is certainly not world-class, but it’s not bad either. Upholstered in durable, breathable nylon, it’s fine for shorter periods of sitting, helped along in that regard by the presence of desk-length, padded armrests and a strap that runs between the two leg rests that provides additional support for your legs.
We’d prefer to see proper calf pads here, but the little strap is a much more cost-effective solution that does provide some real benefit. It’s not as pretty or as comfortable, but it gets the job done.
Note that although the armrests aren’t height-adjustable, they do flip up and are removable, which makes transferring into and out of the chair a simple proposition.
Extras and Options of Drive Rebel Wheelchair
A lot of wheelchairs give you at least a few customization options at the point of sale. You can pick the style of arms you want, the type of leg rests you prefer, and change the seat dimensions. You can’t do any of that here. The Drive Medical Rebel wheelchair is strictly “what you see is what you get,” and what you’re getting is a surprisingly good, capable little wheelchair.
Fortunately, Drive makes a wide variety of extras and add-ons that work with all of the chairs they make. Since the Rebel doesn’t cost much money, you’ll have plenty left over to customize as you see fit.
In addition to buying directly from Drive, you’ll also probably want to invest in some extra padding for the seat and the seatback, especially if you plan on taking this chair with you on trips or sitting in it for long periods each day.
Also, bear in mind that the Rebel doesn’t come with any kind of onboard storage, so that’s something else you’ll definitely want to invest in. Fortunately, where padding and built-in storage are concerned, there are tons of great options available from a variety of third-party vendors, giving you a virtually unlimited number of choices.
Portability & Ease of Use
We’ve already talked about this in passing, but it bears repeating here. In our book, 40 pounds or less is what we generally look for in terms of what makes a good travel wheelchair. The Drive Rebel wheelchair comes in a shade under that, which makes it quite good in that regard.
The Rebel also sports 24” mag wheels which are not only attractive, but also offer a good, smooth ride on level terrain surfaces like sidewalks, parking lots, inside your home, and in shopping centers.
If you plan on using the chair on open ground and uneven terrain, be aware that the tires that come standard on the chair won’t serve you very well. That’s something else you’ll need to upgrade. Ultimately this comes down to having a good understanding of how you want to use the chair.
Pros & Cons of Drive Rebel Lightweight Wheelchair
We like almost everything about the Drive Rebel lightweight wheelchair. Although it’s not a terribly adjustable chair, it is quite capable, well-built, and offered by a great company that stands behind its products.
Combine that with the fact that there are tons of high-value extras and add-ons you can buy for the chair, adding them incrementally as you can afford it, and there’s really nothing not to like.
Drive Medical Rebel Review Conclusion
We would like to emphasize here in our Drive Medical Rebel review that this is a fairly self-selecting chair. Either you’re in the market for a value-priced chair with a 300-pound weight limit, or you’re not. If you are, this is one of the best options available on the market today, and we highly recommend it.
References & Resources:
- Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare, Official Brand Website.
- Drive Medical Rebel Lightweight Wheelchair User Manual
- Mechanical Performance Characterization of Manual Wheelchairs Using Robotic Wheelchair Operator With Intermittent Torque-Based Propulsion, Georgia Tech Library.
- Manual Chair Propulsion: New Insight Into Maneuvering Efficiency, mobility management.
- Wheeling Strategies in Manual Wheelchair Users and Able-Bodied Individuals, icord.