This chair is amazing. That’s all there is to say.
Recommended For: Anyone. Everyone. You need this chair, even if you don’t know it yet.
* Note regarding Brand Reliability: This metric is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.
Is your current wheelchair holding you back? Is it too heavy and cumbersome to take with you on the road? Does it handle poorly, or are you dissatisfied with it for some other reason?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you’re going to be all smiles when you reach the end of this Drive Viper Plus GT review. Or maybe you don’t have a wheelchair yet, but you’re hoping to avoid the problems the questions above describe. Whatever the case, the Viper Plus, offered by Drive Medical, is in a class by itself.
In the sections that follow, we’ll tell you everything this chair is capable of, and by the end, we think you’ll be.
An Overview of the Drive Medical Viper Plus GT Wheelchair
In some respects, the Viper is a deceptive chair. Other than the mag wheels, which give it a distinctive look, it’s got a purely conventional pedigree. The design team didn’t take any chances, which is a good thing.
Too often, when designers attempt to create a truly distinctive-looking wheelchair, the results are decidedly mixed, with some folks loving the aesthetic, and others despising it. By sticking to convention, Drive ensured that the Viper would be readily accepted by the mass market.
Before we tell you about what’s lurking ‘under the hood,’ let’s start this section of our Drive Viper Plus GT review by looking at the core stats that define this chair. Here are the basics:
These numbers are quite close to another Drive Medical model, the Cougar. The notable exceptions are that the seat is a bit deeper, and this model supports 50 pounds more user weight.
We like the Cougar, but this is the chair it wants to be. It’s only nominally heavier, yet supports more weight, which makes it useful to a larger slice of the market. What’s more, the chair has a “superpower” that we’ll talk about in the next section!
Adjustability and Comfort of Viper Plus GT
There’s a lot to talk about here. First and foremost, the Drive Medical Viper Plus GT is a Hemi-height chair, which means it is height adjustable.
At the low setting, the Viper’s seat sits 17.5” off the ground, which is probably low enough that you can propel yourself with your feet. At its highest setting, it sits 19.5” off the ground, which extends into Big and Tall territory. That’s a very good range that extends the Viper’s versatility.
In the last section, we mentioned the seat’s ‘superpower.’ This is one of the few chairs on the market with an extending seat! Just slide the seat rails forward, and you can have an 18” deep seat in a matter of seconds if the standard depth isn’t quite enough to give you a comfortable seating experience.
It gets better. You can adjust the angle of the seatback to a maximum of 20 degrees, allowing you to customize your ride even further.
You can also set the back height to taste, adjusting it between a range of 17” – 19.”
The swing-away leg rests can also be adjusted for length, giving you even more customization options, and the leg rests also swing away (or, at your option, you can order the chair with elevating leg rests if you prefer).
Finally, the armrests can be height adjusted, giving you virtually unlimited flexibility when it comes to tweaking your wheelchair for optimal comfort.
Speaking of comfort, the armrests are padded, and you can order calf pads for the leg rests, which work well with the breathable nylon fabric upholstery to enhance the comfort of the chair.
Of course, if you plan on spending several hours at a stretch sitting in the chair, you’ll probably want to augment the nylon with a pad for the seat and/or the seatback.
Extras and Options of Viper Plus GT Wheelchair
The big thing to talk about here is the fact that the Drive Viper Plus GT manual wheelchair comes with anti-tippers as a standard feature.
We honestly believe this should be a standard safety feature on all wheelchairs, but sadly, it isn’t, so we were very pleased to see them offered here.
Unfortunately, the Viper doesn’t come with any built-in storage, so you’ll almost certainly want to check out some of the options available from third-party vendors.
In addition to that, Drive offers a broad range of other accessories that work with the chairs they make, giving you plenty of freedom and flexibility to customize to your heart’s content.
Portability & Ease of Use
The Viper Plus GT lightweight wheelchair weighs in at just 35 pounds, making it lighter than most of its peers. We regard anything under 40 pounds as being a good traveling chair, so this model fits the bill too, in addition to being a ridiculously adjustable wheelchair.
Even better, despite the fact that it has so many adjustable features, it’s incredibly easy to use. The features are all intuitively designed, and it handles very well on flat, even terrain.
Note, however, the absence of tread on the wheels. If you’re looking for a chair to take on nature trails or to parks, you’re definitely going to want to upgrade the wheels to handle those types of terrains.
On sidewalks, parking lots, and inside your home or shopping centers, though, the Viper offers a smooth ride indeed and will see you riding in comfort and style.
One thing to note, however, is that when collapsed, the Viper still presents a 12.5” profile. We regard anything 12,” or less as ideal for travel, and this chair only misses that mark by half an inch, so it’s not the end of the world. It may, however, be a tighter fit in your available trunk space than some of the other options out there.
In our view, we regard the extreme adjustability offered by this chair to be well worth the tradeoff of the slightly wider profile, and we think most people would agree with that assessment.
Pros & Cons of Drive Viper Plus GT
This chair is amazing.
It’s well priced and well made.
It has adjustable everything, and it looks pretty good too. Even better, it supports the informal industry standard of 300 pounds of user weight and has a small enough profile and a light enough total weight that it makes an exceptional traveling companion.
Yes, we’d love it if the chair came with padding and built-in storage, but we could say that about almost every chair on the market today. Given that, this is about as close to perfect as we’re likely to see, and it’s offered by a company with a legendary reputation for quality and post-sales customer service and support.
Drive Viper Plus GT Review Conclusion
If you need a wheelchair for any amount of time during the course of a typical day, and especially if you’re looking for a chair that’s light enough to take on the road with you when you travel, then you want a Viper. As mentioned in the previous section here in our Drive Viper Plus GT review, it’s that good.
Even if you ultimately decide to get a different chair, the Viper should be the chair you compare yours against. It’s an amazing, rock-solid design, and we highly recommend it.
- Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare, Official Brand Website
- Drive Medical Viper Plus GT User Manual
- Wheelchair Use in Ultra-Lightweight Wheelchair Users, PubMed.gov
- Characterizing the Community Use of an Ultralight Wheelchair With “on the fly” Adjustable Seating Functions: A Pilot Study, plos.org
- The Quest For the Perfect Lightweight Wheelchair, Rehab Management