Portable Ramps for Wheelchairs: A Buyer's Guide

For people with physical disabilities, wheelchair accessible ramps serve a vital purpose, allowing those who cannot navigate stairs to access public and private spaces. Whether you’re looking for a wheelchair accessible ramp for your home or your business, a portable wheelchair ramp may be a great option.

Does Medicare Cover the Cost of a Ramp?

Medicare does not cover home modifications, like the installation of temporary or permanent wheelchair ramps. So why buy a wheelchair ramp? Let’s say you have a family member who uses a wheelchair. You want to invite them over, but your house is inaccessible. What can you do? Purchase a portable wheelchair ramp. These ramps are easy to use, transport, and store, and are more cost-effective than a permanent wheelchair ramp. With prices ranging from $50-1,000 depending on your needs, you can easily find a portable handicap ramp that fits your budget.

What is the Proper Slope for a Handicap Ramp?

Before buying a portable handicap ramp, you’ll want to grab a tape measure, and measure the stairs you will be replacing with a ramp. Measuring your stairs before purchasing a ramp will ensure your ramp's safety. Buy a ramp that’s too steep, too short, or too narrow, and you could risk injury or damage to a mobility aid.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)provides guidelines for ramp length and slope. Per their recommendations, you’ll need one foot of ramp length for every one inch of stair rise. That means, if you have one stair with four inches of rise, your ramp will need to be 4 feet in length.

Thee width of your wheelchair ramp is another important consideration. Generally, 36 inches of space is enough to accommodate most wheelchairs and scooters. Make sure your ramp is wider than your wheelchair to ensure safe ramp navigation.


By law, certain ramps must have handrails. Your portable ramp will need handrails if it is higher than six inches or has a horizontal projection of over 72 inches.

How Safe are Portable Wheelchair Ramps?

Portable ramps are safe when used properly. When using a portable ramp, ensure it is the right slope, length, and width. Do not exceed the weight capacity of a portable ramp. Proper use of a portable ramp will ensure safety and avoid injury. 

Building Permits for Portable Ramps

In most cases, installing a portable wheelchair ramp should not require a building permit, however, check your city, county, and state regulations to see if you need to adhere to any building codes before purchasing a portable ramp.

Can you Buy a Ramp for a Wheelchair?

The style of portable ramp you choose will depend on multiple factors, including your needs, budget, lifestyle, and even the type of climate you live in. For example, if you live in an area that gets significant rain or snow, you may want to opt for a ramp made with a slip resistant surface coating. If you’re looking for a ramp to navigate small obstacles like raised landings, doorways, or curbs, you may want to consider a threshold ramp. 

Looking for a portable ramp to fit your needs? Check out our blog on types of portable ramps, and visit a local hardware store, like Lowe’s or Home Depot to find a portable ramp that works for you.

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