If you suffer from some kind of mobility issue and you’re thinking of getting one or the other, it’s one of the first questions that is likely to pop into your head. If you’ve been curious but didn’t know who to ask, read on and we’ll give you the full scoop!

What is the difference between a regular wheelchair and a transport chair?

The single most significant difference between the two types of chairs is that a wheelchair has two giant-sized rear wheels that are big enough for you to grab onto while seated in the chair, allowing you to propel yourself forward without assistance.

Contrast this with a transport chair that features four smaller wheels that are simply out of reach and impossible to use for self-propulsion. This type of chair requires the presence of a trusty assistant to push you if you want to go somewhere.

Given that, one might wonder why anyone would want a transport chair at all. After all, an assistant can push a “regular” wheelchair too, so there’s got to be some other benefit, right? And as it happens, yes, that’s exactly right.
Transport chairs tend to be more lightly built, and when they are folded for transport, they tend to collapse down into a smaller footprint than a conventional wheelchair, which makes them easier to store in the trunks of cars or backseats. It just makes trips away from home easier and more convenient.

Note, though, that there are some tradeoffs to be had. Transport chairs don’t tend to be as comfortable, and the smaller wheels make them less able to handle uneven terrain. If you’re being pushed down the smooth, tiled floor of a shopping mall, or an even sidewalk, you’ll enjoy a smooth, comfortable ride. But if you get into gravel, go over cobblestones, or try to maneuver through open ground, the transport chair is going to bounce you all over the place and is much more likely to be unable to navigate the rougher terrain at all.