In a Nutshell:
Drive Silver Sport is an incredibly well-rounded, capable, full-featured reclining wheelchair. It is recommended for anyone weighing up to 300 pounds (350 pounds if you order the 20” wide seat), who’s in the market for a reclining wheelchair.
- Distinctive Design
- Reclining Functionality
- Comfort Features
- Customization Options:
- Anti-Tippers Included
- Collapsible Design
- May Not Fit Most Trunks
- Limited Weight Capacity
- Lack of Height Adjustment
- No Safety Belt Included
Recommended For: Anyone weighing up to 300 pounds (350 pounds if you order the 20” wide seat), who’s in the market for a reclining wheelchair.
Do you have a mobility issue that sees you spending at least part of each day in a wheelchair? Are you a fan of reclining wheelchairs? If you answered yes to both of those questions, then you’re going to love this Drive Medical Silver Sport SSP20RBDDA review.
Drive is one of the legends in the wheelchair industry. A stellar company with a long history of making exceptional products and a reputation for excellent post-sales customer service and support.
This model is not only an excellent example of their work, but it could also make a viable travel chair for the right person, especially those who enjoy taking RV road trips.
In the sections that follow, we’ll tell you everything this model gets right (spoiler alert: it gets most things right!), and we won’t pull any punches when talking about the chair’s shortcomings and limitations.
That way, you’ll have all the information you need, right at your fingertips, to decide whether this is the model you’ve been looking for.
If that sounds good to you and your interest is piqued, read on, and let’s take a closer look.
An Overview of the Drive Silver Sport SSP20RBDDA Reclining Wheelchair
The Silver Sport SSP20RBDDA almost begs to be noticed. It’s a huge, imposing beast that towers over most other wheelchairs, and it’s offered in a silver grey upholstery with a gunmetal grey frame, from whence the chair gets its name. That, combined with its sporty mag wheels, makes it attention-grabbing, for sure.
While it is distinctive looking, it’s not what we’d describe as an especially stylish or attractive chair.
Then again, most wheelchairs aren’t being designed primarily for function over form. Even so, right off the bat, we have to give Drive props for finding ways to make an otherwise conventional chair design stand out. That’s no small feat!
Before we talk about anything other than simple aesthetics here in this section of our Drive SSP20RBDDA review, let’s begin by doing a quick look at the core stats that drive and define this model. Here are the basics:
- Overall Product Dimensions: 28” (W) x 50” (D) x 50” (H)
(16” seat variant is 23” wide, and the 18” variant is 25” wide)
- Seat Dimensions: 20” (W) x 16” (D)
(Also available with a 16” or an 18” wide seat, at your option)
- Chair Weight: 61 pounds
- Maximum Supported Weight: 350 pounds
(300 pounds if you get either the 16” or 18” wide seat configurations)
These are good, mostly impressive numbers. As we said, it’s a huge chair, and the profile bears that assessment out. We like that it’s offered in three different seat widths, but that does mean that you’ll need to take a quick measurement before you buy so you know which option to select at the point of sale.
We’re not as thrilled with the weight limit. Its 300-pound weight limit is strictly average, and this isn’t an average wheelchair. It would not have been difficult to offer the smaller seat widths with the same weight limit as the larger ones. In our view, this would have made the chair even more broadly appealing.
This, however, is a minor quibble. A 300-pound weight limit is the industry average, and it makes the chair useful to some 95% of the potential market for it. We just think that any time a company can offer a chair with a higher weight limit, that’s even better.
It probably comes as no surprise that a chair this big is on the heavy side. Normally, we don’t recommend chairs for use when traveling if they weigh more than 40 pounds, but we make an exception to that in two cases: Bariatric chairs and reclining chairs.
In both cases, the people buying those types of chairs are aware that the type of products they’re interested in will weigh more. Our assumption is that if you know you’re in the market for a reclining wheelchair, you’ve already made peace with that, and the weight won’t be as much of an issue for you.
We’ll have more to say about that later on. For now, just note that it’s a really heavy chair! A final note before we leave this section: When collapsed, this chair has a profile measuring 50” x 16” x 50,” which is probably too big to fit in the trunks of most cars, so you’ll need a truck, van, or SUV.
It’s also likely too big to take with you on an airplane, but it pays to contact the airline you’ll be flying with to double-check. Honestly, though, if you’re getting one of these, you’re better off traveling overland, and preferably in something roomy like an RV.
Adjustability and Comfort of Drive SSP20RBDDA
The big thing to talk about in this section is, of course, the fact that the Drive Silver Sport reclines. In fact, this model can even lay completely flat if you want it to, so in a pinch, you could use it as an emergency cot. Although we can’t say you’ll get a great night’s sleep in it if you use it for that purpose. Still, the fact that you could is pretty amazing.
The recline function is interesting on this model because it utilizes a hydraulic system and offers an infinite number of possible recline positions as opposed to having a handful of pre-set conditions you can lock the chair into.
Being able to tweak the angle of recline to taste definitely helps where comfort is concerned. That’s augmented further by the presence of padded armrests and a modest headrest pillow included with the chair (this is detachable if you decide you don’t want or need it, by the way).
On top of that, this model features well-padded calf pads to give your legs some additional support and further enhance the overall comfort level.
Note, too, that this chair is upholstered in durable nylon fabric, rather than vinyl. We regard this as a good thing because vinyl will start to peel and crack after just a couple of years. Also, nylon is much more breathable, which helps if you plan on spending long periods of time in the chair.
Having said that, if you are purchasing this with an eye toward spending several hours at a stretch sitting in it, you’ll definitely want to invest in some additional padding.
Here, you’ll find plenty of options available as there are literally dozens of third-party companies offering padding enhancements, no matter what seat size you select.
In terms of adjustability, the only thing to talk about is the leg rests, which can be length-adjusted to taste. The seat is 20.5” off the ground, and there is no height adjustment option.
Extras and Options of Drive Medical Silver Sport
In addition to selecting the seat width at the point of sale, you can choose from any of the following options where the armrests are concerned:
- Detachable desk-length arms
- Detachable full-length arms
- Fixed-frame desk-length arms
- Fixed-frame full-length arms
It also sports a handy pocket located in the back of the seat that’s big enough to hold the headrest pillow if you decide you don’t want or need it. That doesn’t give you much in the way of storage, but again, kudos to Drive for offering at least some. Though you’ll almost certainly want to invest in some additional storage, especially if you mean to use the Drive Medical Silver Sport chair while traveling.
It’s worth mentioning in this section that the chair is equipped with anti-tippers, and this is considered a standard feature for the model. You don’t have to pay extra for them.
Notably absent from this design, though, is any sort of safety belt. As with padding and storage, if you decide you want an added layer of safety, you can buy a serviceable safety belt from any number of third-party vendors.
Portability & Ease of Use
About the last word you’d ever think to use to describe the Drive wheelchair SSP20 DDA is portable. It’s not really. Unless you’re a giant, it’s too big a chair to be considered truly portable.
If you have a strong enough back, though, it is collapsible, and provided you have enough space in the back of your SUV or RV; you can stash it out of the way until you get where you’re going.
The good news is that once you get it unfolded and ready to use, it’s fairly easy to use. It handles well on flat, even terrain surfaces. If you want to take it down nature trails and the like, upgrading the wheels to something with a bit of tread on them is always a possibility. Ultimately, this comes down to how you plan to use the chair, though.
Pros & Cons of Drive Silver Sport
We like almost everything about the Drive Medical SSP20 RBDDA. It gets a lot right. It’s got distinctive styling and comes loaded with features.
A chair like this, though, is fairly self-selecting. Its nature makes it a heavy beast of a chair, so it’s not going to be for everyone.
All of the negatives we can think to talk about fall into that category. Once you decide you definitely want a reclining wheelchair, the negatives just…aren’t.
Drive SSP20RBDDA Review Conclusion
This is one of the best reclining models on the market today. As mentioned in the previous section here in our Drive SSP20RBDDA review, reclining wheelchairs are very much a niche product.
Either you’re keenly interested in something like this or not interested at all. If this is the kind of chair you want, this model is highly recommended. However, we can only give this one a provisional recommendation for the average user.
If you’re at all on the fence about getting a reclining wheelchair, think carefully before committing to the purchase.
References & Resources:
- Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare, Official Brand Website
- Drive Medical Silver Sport SSP20RBDDA User Manual
- What is a Reclining Wheelchair?, wisegeek
- Traveling With a Wheelchair: The Pros, the Cons, and How to Plan, verywellhealth
- Reduce Risk of Wheelchair Damage, WheelchairTravel.org