Nova 6200s is a very well-engineered but ultimately niche product. Fantastic if you’re in the market for a reclining wheelchair that’s light enough to travel with.
Recommended For: Anyone weighing 325 pounds or less who’s in the market for a reclining wheelchair light enough to take on the road.
*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.
Do you spend part of each day in a wheelchair? Has that fact frustrated your travel and adventure plans? Are you a fan of, or do you have a need for a reclining wheelchair?
If you answered yes to all of the questions above, you’re going to like this Nova 6200S review.
While Nova isn’t the biggest name in the wheelchair business, they are a well-respected company, best known for their other medical aids, including a broad assortment of transport chairs, walkers, and rollators. They also make a small selection of wheelchairs, and this model is an excellent example of their work.
Unfortunately, finding a good reclining wheelchair that’s also light enough to travel with can be a daunting proposition. Since they have to be somewhat larger, most are also correspondingly heavier. This one hits the sweet spot in our view. However, as is the case with most reclining wheelchairs, even collapsed, it may be too large to take on an airplane. This type of chair sees its best and most frequent use when traveling overland, in a car, truth, SUV, or even an RV.
At the end of the day, the main reason chairs like this don’t get as much attention as more conventionally designed models is simply because not many people are in the market for this kind of thing. If you are, it’s a fact that can certainly complicate your search.
Is the Nova 6200S right for you? It may well be. In the sections that follow, we’ll go over the chair in detail so you can make that decision with all the facts at your fingertips. If you’re excited to know more, read on, and let’s take a closer look.
An Overview of the Nova 6200S Wheelchair
It’s a big fellow.
That’s the thing most likely to spring to mind when you see the chair for the first time. All reclining wheelchairs tend to elicit that response because they tower over conventionally designed chairs.
Aside from its impressive overall height, though, this model is designed along mostly conventional lines. Also, the core stats that define the model bear that out. Let’s take a quick look at those in this section of our Nova 6200S review to get a better sense of what we’re dealing with here:
- Overall Product Dimensions: 28.25 (W) x 35.5” (D) x 49” (H)
- Seat Dimensions: 20” (W) x 17” (D)
- Chair Weight: 51 pounds
- Maximum Supported Weight: 325 pounds
There are a few things to talk about where these numbers are concerned. First, it’s tall. Significantly taller than a conventional wheelchair. Fortunately, the headrest is detachable, so if you need something for day-to-day use, you can take it off and have a ‘regular’ wheelchair for a time, then put it back on when you’re ready for some rest and relaxation in the chair.
Second, the seat dimensions are good, offering a roomy, comfortable fit for most users.
Third, with a weight limit of 325 pounds, it’s capable of supporting a bit more weight than your average wheelchair. Most of the models on the market today have a 300-pound weight limit. This chair’s capacity doesn’t represent a huge increase, but if you’re right on the line, that may be a deciding factor for you.
Finally, we only recommend chairs that weigh less than 40 pounds as being well suited to travel with, but there are a few exceptions to this. Bariatric chairs, for instance, require a more robust frame to accommodate more weight, which increases the weight of the chair.
In this case, we’re also willing to make an exception. It’s just a bigger chair. It has to be, given its primary function, and the tradeoff that comes with that is the fact that it’s bound to weigh a bit more.
At 51 pounds with the headrest attached and 48 pounds without it, it’s a bit above what we’d normally recommend. If you love getting in your car, SUV, or RV and seeing the sights and you want to be able to kick back and relax when you get wherever you’re going, you probably aren’t going to mind the extra weight.
Adjustability and Comfort
The Nova 6200S wheelchair is a mixed bag where comfort is concerned. Mostly, the news is good. But as you’ll see, there is one glaring point of weakness.
Let’s start with the good.
The design team did take a number of steps to help enhance the comfort of the chair. This model sports full-length, padded armrests and calf pads on the swing away (and elevating, naturally) leg rests.
Additionally, if you decide you want one of these, you’ll get a 12” x 4” pillow for the headrest.
Those are all good things. But now for the weakness:
The chair is upholstered in vinyl, which isn’t breathable and doesn’t tend to age well. After about 18 months of regular use, you can expect it to start peeling and cracking. When that happens, you can get it recovered easily enough and at nominal expense, and we recommend going with an all-weather canvas, which is both more durable and more breathable.
Interestingly, Nova makes a wheelchair that comes covered in exactly such canvas. In our view, this model would have been well-served by its inclusion here.
The other problem with vinyl is that it gets hot. The longer you sit in it, the hotter and sweatier you’re likely to get.
Fortunately, there’s an easy fix for that, so we still rate the 6200S’ comfort quite high. There are all sorts of modestly priced seat and seatback pads available from a wide range of third-party vendors that will fit this chair. It’s just a matter of picking out which one you want and buying it to add to the chair.
If you don’t plan to spend much time in it, you can probably get away without the seat and/or seatback pad. If you envision long, leisurely naps in your recliner on wheels, the extra padding will go a long way toward giving you the experience you’re looking for.
Where adjustability is concerned, the big thing to talk about here is, of course, the recline feature itself. This model actually lays completely flat, so you could take a nap or even sleep through the night in it in a pinch (though even with padding, that’s apt to be uncomfortable after a time) with the wheels locked.
The seat is Hemi-height and can be adjusted from 15.5” to 17.5” as you prefer. Setting it low will allow most people to propel the chair with their feet, with enough play in the height setting to fine-tune to taste.
Additionally, the leg rests are length-adjustable, elevating, and they swing away for maximum utility.
Unfortunately, the odd man out here is the arms. They aren’t adjustable in any way, though they are detachable.
Extras and Options
We’ve already talked about the big extra, which is the detachable headrest, with its headrest pillow, and the recline feature itself.
On top of that, the Nova 6200S recliner wheelchair sports anti-tippers (good for both general use and for those times when you’re reclined back enjoying the day) and a handy storage pocket on the back of the seatback, generously sized at 16” x 9.” It is roomy enough to stash the pillow if you don’t need it and hold an assortment of traveling supplies.
This makes the chair a bit of a rarity. The majority of wheelchairs on the market today don’t come with any type of built-in storage. Granted, you may still want to invest in additional storage, but the fact that the pocket exists is a very good thing.
Finally, it also comes with a safety belt for added security. Note, however, that the belt is not DOT certified, so this chair is not one you can remain seated in while it’s in the back of a van or something.
You’ll still need to collapse it down for travel and then take it out and get it ready for use when you get where you’re going.
Unfortunately, this is a ‘what you see is what you get’ chair. There are no seat size or other options on offer here.
Portability & Ease of Use
Portability is a relative term. The simple truth is that reclining wheelchairs aren’t as portable as their conventional counterparts. Even so, the Nova reclining wheelchair collapses down to 12.5 (W), 11” (D), and 36.5” (H) with the headrest removed, which makes it portable enough to be useful on the road, again, assuming you don’t mind the added weight that comes with a chair like this.
In terms of ease of use, the chair fares very well. It’s as maneuverable as its conventional counterparts, narrow enough to fit through a standard-width doorway, and it handles well on sidewalks and other level terrain.
As with most wheelchairs, it doesn’t do well on open or uneven terrain. However, if you’re willing to invest in different real wheels at some point, you can remedy that as well if your adventures take you “off-road,” as it were.
Pros & Cons of Nova 6200S Recliner Wheelchair
Here are the things we think you’ll like best about the Nova 6200S reclining wheelchair:
Unfortunately, a chair like this is relatively more expensive than a conventional wheelchair, and you’ll still need to invest in some aftermarket goodies to get the most out of it, which adds to its total cost of ownership.
Nova 6200S Review Conclusion
A chair like this is almost entirely self-selecting. You’re either in the market for a reclining wheelchair, or you aren’t. The simple truth is that most people aren’t, which is why there aren’t a huge number of them on the market today.
Even so, for the right user, this chair is pretty amazing. As mentioned in the previous section here in our Nova 6200S review, you’ll have to make some additional investments in padding and probably some extra onboard storage to get it exactly how you want it. If you’re willing to do that, this one will serve you very well indeed, either in your home for use on a daily basis or on the road, allowing you to see the sights in style and comfort. On that basis, we provisionally recommend it.
References & Resources:
- Nova, Official Brand Website.
- Development of Reclining Wheelchair With Transfer Assistance Functions, IEEE Xplore.
- How to Do Pressure Reliefs (Weight Shifts), MSKTC.
- Manual Wheelchair Downhill Stability: An Analysis of Factors Affecting Tip Probability, Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation.
- Defining the Stability Limits of a Manual Wheelchair With Adjustable Seat and Backrest, RESNA.