The role of the rear wheel is to offer stability to the wheelchair, and also the ability for the user to self propel. In order to be able to manually self propel, the user must choose the large rear wheels. This offers the user independence as they don’t need to rely on another person to get around. Typically, more active wheelchair users will opt for the larger rear wheels.
If the user has someone, for example a caregiver or family, who is going to push the wheelchair from behind all the time, then a smaller rear wheel is more suitable. Typically, elderly users will opt for a wheelchair with a smaller rear wheels as it makes the wheelchair more lightweight and ideal for day trips.
+ Advantages of a large rear wheels
The user can propel the wheelchair themselves.
Large rear wheels have a larger surface area, so it’s easier to navigate rough terrain e.g., grass or uneven road.
The rear wheel can be detached for convenient transportation and storage
— Weaknesses of a large rear wheel
Heavier wheelchair, which means more effort is required to lift it
+ Advantages of a small rear wheels
Ideal for elderly caregivers because of the lighter weight
Easier to navigate in small spaces; apartment buildings, elevators, etc.
Smaller storage space needed