In a Nutshell:
ProBasics K7 is a surprisingly good-quality, capable, off-brand wheelchair. It is recommended for provisionally recommended for anyone weighing up to 300 pounds if you haven’t found what you’re looking for in the product lines of mainstream brands.
- Solid Build
- Weight Capacity
- Lightweight for Its Class
- Basic Functional Design
- Limited Extras
- Doorway Compatibility
- Basic Comfort Features
- Lacks Aesthetic Appeal
- Portability Challenges
- Terrain Limitations
Recommended For: Anyone looking for a chair capable of supporting between 450-600 pounds of user weight, who doesn’t have a lot of money to spend.
Are you a heavier individual who’s on a budget and is in the market for a chair that has all the basics covered, won’t break the bank, and is light enough that it wouldn’t be too much of a problem to take on the road with you if you want to travel?
That’s a tall order to fill, and if you’ve been searching for such a chair, you know it can be frustratingly difficult to find one that hits all those notes.
We’ll be quick to admit here in our Roscoe Medical K7 HD review that the chair won’t be a perfect fit for everyone, but it just might be the chair you’re looking for.
The ProBasics line of wheelchairs is made by a smaller company in the wheelchair industry.
Roscoe Medical doesn’t have the brand recognition of, say, Drive, or Medline, or even Nova, but they’ve been in the business for more than two decades, and their designers are certainly competent. We have found their chairs to be inexpensive or reasonably good quality and designed for folks on a budget.
The K7 is a good chair.
It’s well-built and functional, and even better, it’s offered at a tremendously attractive price. In the following sections, we’ll take an in-depth look at everything this model offers so you can decide for yourself if this is the chair you’ve been looking for. If that sounds good, read on, and let’s get to it!
An Overview of the Roscoe Medical ProBasics K7 Heavy-Duty Wheelchair
It looks like a great big, basic wheelchair. That’s not a bad thing, and it’s certainly not meant as an insult. Most people who are in the market for a wheelchair prefer functionality over form, and the design teams at Roscoe understand this.
They didn’t take any chances where the K7 Lite was concerned, designing a purely conventional wheelchair capable of supporting an impressive amount of user weight.
Before we say more than that here in this section of our Roscoe Medical K7 HD review, let’s quickly look at the core stats that drive and define this model. Here are the basics:
- Overall Product Dimensions: 30” (W) x 33” (D) x 36” (H) (deduct 2” from the width if you order the variant with the 22” seat)
- Seat Dimensions: 24” (W) x 18” (D) (This chair can also be ordered with a 22” seat if you determine it to be a better fit for you)
- Chair Weight: 57 pounds (the reinforced variant weighs 60 pounds)
- Maximum Supported Weight: 450 pounds (the reinforced variant supports up to 600 pounds)
There are a number of things to talk about where these numbers are concerned. First, note that the largest variant of this chair (24” seat) will not fit through a standard-width doorway, but the smaller (22” variant) will – just barely. That’s going to present a few challenges for sure, but this is a feature, not a bug.
It’s just the reality when dealing with chairs built for larger, heavier folk.
The seat dimensions are good, and we like that you have at least a couple of options you can select at the point of sale. Just be sure to take a quick measurement of yourself before you commit to purchase so you can be sure you’re getting the variant that’s the best fit for you.
The supported weight limit of 450 pounds is impressive in its own right. Note that Roscoe sells a reinforced version of this wheelchair that’s capable of supporting up to 600 pounds, which makes this chair capable of serving more than 99% of the market.
Even better, the reinforced version doesn’t add a ton of extra weight to the chair itself, which is fantastic.
But let’s talk about the weight of the chair for a moment. Normally, our threshold for what makes a viable traveling wheelchair is 40 pounds. Under that line is good. Over that line is not so good.
We make two exceptions where that line is concerned: For reclining wheelchairs and for heavy-duty chairs. In both of those cases, other needs trump the weight limit. Reclining chairs are simply bigger, and they’re bound to be heavier. Bariatric chairs have reinforced steel frames, which naturally add to their total weight.
In these cases, we relax our 40-pound threshold on the thinking that if you want or need a recliner or a heavy-duty chair, you understand and accept the weight tradeoff.
Having said that, 57 pounds is pretty good for a heavy-duty wheelchair. We were pleasantly surprised!
Adjustability and Comfort
There are two things to talk about on the adjustability front where the ProBasics K7 Heavy-Duty wheelchair is concerned. First of all, this is a Hemi-height chair. The seat height can be adjusted to a low of 19” and a high of 21”, depending on your preference.
This height range exists entirely in the big and tall territory, which generally starts at a seat height of 18” and goes up to 22” or higher. As such, this chair may not be a good fit for someone shorter (or with shorter legs) and heavier.
Second, the leg rests can be length-adjusted. Those two things taken together give the person sitting in the chair quite a lot of play in terms of tweaking the chair for an optimal fit and a comfortable ride. Depending on the length of your legs, you may be able to propel yourself with your feet to move around a room if you set the seat to the lowest setting.
On the comfort front, this chair only offers the basics. The fabric on the seat and seatback is breathable nylon, which is fine for shorter periods of sitting in the chair. If you plan to spend several hours a day on this one, you’ll almost certainly want to invest in additional padding.
Note, too that the leg rests have footrests but no calf pads, and not even a calf strap, so again, the longer you sit in the chair, the less comfortable you’re apt to be.
Finally, the armrests are worth mentioning before we close this section out. Although they are not adjustable in any way, they are desk length and padded, which helps on the comfort front.
Desk-length arms are also useful if you want to do work from the chair, as they allow you to roll right up to your desk and get to it without having to transfer into a different chair.
They’re also good for times when you want to have dinner with family and friends as the arms allow you to roll up to the dinner table and enjoy a meal without having to transfer to a dining chair. That’s handy, and it’s a good functional design.
Extras and Options
This is a genuine point of weakness in the design of the ProBasics K7 Heavy Duty wheelchair, but it’s more of a feature than a bug.
Bear in mind that this is a budget-priced chair. As such, sacrifices have to be made to keep the cost low, and when they are, they generally take the form of skimping on extras and options.
The K7-Lite is a basic, functional wheelchair. There are no extras that come standard. You don’t get anti-tippers, safety belts, built-in storage, or any other fun things like that.
Fortunately, there are tons of possibilities for customization available from a wide range of third-party vendors. If you want to add something custom to your chair to personalize it or make it more functional for the way you plan on using it, you can find ways of doing that.
We absolutely recommend adding a memory foam seat and possibly seatback pad, along with some type of storage that fits over the back of the seat. The storage will be generally useful, but especially so if you mean to take the chair with you on the road, as it’s always nice to have a place to put some basic supplies.
Portability & Ease of Use
The ProBasics K7 extra heavy-duty wheelchair is about as portable as you’d expect a great big, burly chair to be, which is to say, it’s not very portable. Even so, it’s one of the lighter bariatric chairs on the market. If you’ve already made peace with the fact that you’re going to be buying a heavier chair that’s capable of properly supporting you, you will be pleasantly surprised.
When collapsed, it presents a profile that’s 14” wide, which is wider than average, to be sure, and as such, you may struggle to fit it neatly into the trunk space in a full-sized sedan.
You’ll fare significantly better if you have a hatchback, truck, full-sized SUV, or van, of course, but taking a chair like this on an airplane may be problematic. Every airline has different policies where that’s concerned, so you need to call ahead and check with whatever airline you’re flying with so you know what to expect before you show up at the airport in your great big chair.
The K7 is better in terms of ease of use. It handles well, but again, be prepared for the fact that you’re going to be propelling a 57-pound chair with your arms unless you have an assistant to give you a push. If you’re not accustomed to the weight, it will take some getting used to.
The size of the chair also poses a few problems, but that comes with the territory when dealing with larger chairs like this. Depending on the seat size you order, you will have some challenges to overcome in terms of navigating through doorways.
The wheels on the ProBasics wheelchair are mag wheels and good-looking, but they also have no tread. That makes them fine for navigating flat, level surfaces like sidewalks, parking lots, and most indoor spaces. If you’re looking for a chair, you can take onto rugged terrain; then you’re going to need to upgrade the wheels to something better suited to that.
Fortunately, given the modest price of this chair, you’ll probably have money left over that will make those upgrades a bit easier!
Pros & Cons of ProBasics K7 Heavy Duty Wheelchair
This is a very good heavy-duty chair, but it comes with the limitations inherent in the design of those types of wheelchairs. It’s big, it’s on the heavy side, and as a budget chair, it doesn’t have much to offer in the way of extras and options.
The good thing about that is that you can look at the chair as a blank canvas and add extras from third-party vendors to your heart’s content, making it exactly the way you want it over time.
Roscoe Medical K7 HD Review Conclusion
We like the K7-lite, but we don’t love it. As mentioned in the previous section of our Roscoe Medical K7 HD review, it’s very good at what it does (hauls bigger, heavier folks around in relative comfort), but it’s not what we’d call an exciting design. It’s functional. It gets the job done. While it may not be glamorous or exciting, there’s something to be said for that.
On that basis, we provisionally recommend it. It won’t dazzle, but it also won’t disappoint.
References & Resources:
- Compass Health, Official Brand Website.
- History of the Wheelchair, Ability Tools.
- Life in a Wheelchair – Elaine’s Story, Multiple Sclerosis Trust.
- Guidelines on the Provision of Manual Wheelchairs in Less Resourced Settings, NCBI.
- Advanced Wheelchair Designs Introduce Ergonomic Advantages, MachineDesign.