Walkers for seniors are used by those who need assistance walking due to an impairment, whether i is shortness of breath, hip, back, or leg issues, or arthritis. Various types of mobility devices are available such as wheelchairs or scooters. Mobility walkers offer respite for more debilitating disabilities, granting users greater freedom and independence. Active people do not want to be slowed down by a traditional walker or cane. A wheeled walker provides not only more movability, it provides more assistance, the ability to rest with it’s included seating, more durability, and the ability to move faster.
A walker is the most stable of aids, freestanding and typically made from lightweight metal, with the legs fixed with rubber bottoms and/or with some combination of wheels that are meant to be propelled forward. Wheel walkers, also known as rollators, have three or four legs ending in wheels. Many wheel walkers are equipped with a seat that a knee is propped up on so the user can rest. Three wheeled rollators are set up similar to a tripod; with one front wheel and two back wheels.This makes it easier to use in small spaces. Three wheel walkers are generally used by those who need more stability, not weight bearing. They are designed to offer support for the most favorable support and navigating in crowds.
Benefits of Using a 3 Wheeled Walker
Maneuverability: The intention behind having a three wheeled walkers as opposed to a four wheeled one is to make operating and steering easier. Four wheeled walkers tend to be a bulkier device, not making allowances for the same movability of a three wheeler.
Lightweight: Three wheeled walkers are lighter than their four wheeled counterparts, weighing in between 11- 15 pounds. This weight can make a big difference when picking up and moving the device to store in the trunk of a car or bringing up steps. Rollators are excellent for traveling.
Brakes: Brakes are a necessity when using a wheeled walker. However, locking brakes is an even better choice when a person needs to keep the walker in place before moving away from it. Locking brakes prevents the walker from wheeling away, losing balance, or it moving too fast.
Storage: Many walkers come equipped with a space to store such as a tray, bag, or basket to transport personal items or other things, freeing up one’s hands to grasp the handlebars with both hands.
Drawbacks of Using a 3 Wheeled Walker
Stability: A three wheeler may be less stable than a four wheeler, not providing a person with enough balance if they tend to put all or most of their weight on the rollator.
Weight Capacity: Standard wheelers are equipped to handle weight of up to 250 pounds. Some models hold up to 350 pounds, and others up to 500. It is vitally important to check the weight capacity of the rollator before purchasing, as this can affect the balance issues.
Price: A wheeled walker may be more expensive than a traditional walker, even though it allows for greater freedom. This may justify the price for individuals.
No Seat: Someone who gets tired easily and may need to rest often will not have a place to sit when using a 3 wheeled walker.
What to Look For
A well equipped rollator should come with height adjustable handles, height adjustable seat, and hand brakes – preferably locking. A big range of height adjustability allows for a number of different size people, both children and adults, to use certain models. A rollator should also fold easily to allow for transport. If the person using the walker is used to being outside, look into a versatile model that can be used indoors and out. These models will come with soft grip casters and “non marring” tires at least 6” in diameter. This style of tire won’t leave tread marks on flooring at the same time making it easier to use on outdoor surfaces paths. Other bonus features can be a padded seat, larger wheels ( large is considered anything over 8”), or a collapsible storage pouch.
Below you’ll find 4 recommendations for 3-wheel walkers that offer great value for money.
Drive Medical Winnie Lite
The Drive Medical Winnie Lite is constructed of aluminum for durability and longevity. The tan walker weighs in at a lightweight 11 pounds and can accomodate users of up to 300 pounds. The Winnie is small and compact, foldable, and great for transport and travel. It may be too lightweight for some people who either require or prefer a sturdier device.
The rollator is equipped with soft grip tires at a height of 26”. The handlebars are adjustable from heights of 31” to 38”; very flexible for people of varying stature – though some shorter people may have to hold it further away even at its lowest setting. Assembly consists of inserting and tightening these handlebars into the main structure.
The jaunty and spacious tan plaid storage pouch allows users to carry their personal items hands free with ease. There is an additional wire basket included for more storage options. With its large tires made for indoor and outdoor use, walking over different terrains is easy, and its three-wheeled design allows for easy maneuverability.
The Winnie Lite comes with removable hand brakes, though that really isn’t recommended, the option is there. Handbrakes allow for safe, tight turns, and the brakes lock in place, held by a loop. The Winnie is reasonably priced device. It is not eligible for return past 14 days as per the manufacturer.
- Lightweight For easy transport
- Lots of storage
- Widely adjustable handlebars
- Hugh weight maximum
- Indoor/outdoor tires
- Easy assembly
- Reasonable price
- Structure may be too lightweight for some
- Cannot return after 2 weeks
NOVA Traveler Rollator
Weighing overall at 16 pounds, the NOVA Traveler is a sturdy walker, but light enough to make tight corner turns. It may be heavier than the previous rollator, nonetheless it folds easily for storage and is portable in this locked position. It allows for users of up to 250 pounds. The adjustable handlebars can accomodate people of heights from 5’4 to 6’2; though those of shorter heights may not mind holding the handlebars at arm’s length depending on their comfort level.
The NOVA Traveler comes with removable tray, storage pouch, and metal basket for carrying personal items when on the go.
The Traveler’s wheels are 8” and all terrain, allowing for travel on a number of surfaces both indoor and outdoor. The hand brakes lock into position with a small push downward. The brakes come with a 5 year warranty on all parts. In addition, the walker frame has a Lifetime Limited warranty.
The NOVA Traveler is priced a bit higher than the Winnie Lite.
- Sturdy frame
- Wide tires for indoor/ outdoor use
- Foldable for easy storage and transport
- Warranty on brakes and frame
- Multiple, removable storage options
- Adjustable height handlebars
- Only recommended for people 5’4 to 6’2
- Highest weight capacity is 250 pounds
- Higher price point
- Heavier at 16 pounds makes it harder to lift
Carex 3 Wheel Walker
The Carex walker weighs an incredibly light 10 pounds, with a max weight capacity of 250. It has a slim design with a compact frame allowing for tight corner turns in narrow spaces. The handlebar height adjusts from 31” to 38” with the click of a button, accommodating users up to 6’2 tall. This lightweight design may not provide the safety and security some users need or would get from a sturdier device. For those with a harder mobility, or who need a walker largely for weight bearing, they may find that the Carex too prone to tipping and unstable.
The Carex folds easily for storing in backseats or closets and for transportation. The wheels are a thick 7.5”, allowable for use on harder surfaces inside and out, including grass and gravel.
The hand brakes lock into place so the rollator will not slip out of position when standing up or adjusting. The oversize storage bag comes with pockets to hold personal items when the walker is in use.
The Carex has a fast, tool free assembly. There is no manufacturer warranty, and the price is the highest of the recommended walkers.
- Lightweight frame
- Accommodates heights up to 6’2
- Large storage bag
- Lockable hand brakes
- Tool free assembly
- No warranty
- High price
- May not be sturdy enough for some users
Duro -Med Folding Rollator
The Duro-Med walker is a lightweight, 15 pounds of aluminum, with a swivel front wheel, making it easy to maneuver around crowds and narrow spaces. This wheel does not lock into place. As with other lightweight walkers, the Duro-Med can tip if there is too much weight put on one side and can feel not as sturdy as a heavier mobility aid.
The walker is foldable to make it compact for storage and transport, with an adjustable height handlebar, comfortable hand grips with bicycle style brakes. The walker is easy to assemble with no tools necessary. Ideal for shopping and running errands, the Duro-Med comes equipped with a tray, bag, and basket for storing personal items when on the go. The tray and basket are detachable as well.
The 7.5” wheels can be used to navigate on hard and soft surfaces both indoors and outdoors.The width of the wheels on the frame is 26”, and the walker may not fit through some doorways if the basket is in use without excessive handling. The basket can be removed and the wheels pushed closer together. The walker’s weight capacity is 220 pounds. There is a limited product warranty available.
- Adjustable handle height
- More storage options
- May be too wide for some doorways
- Front wheel does not lock
- Weight capacity will not work for heavier people
Katherine is a medical sales assistant and focuses on senior products. She is an expert when it comes to mobility for seniors as well as for safety equipment. When she is not counseling seniors or their family members, she enjoys riding the bike and spending time with her two kids.