Wheelchair Rental vs Buying a Wheelchair: Which Is Right for You?

a mother and son at a park. The son is using a wheelchair rental

For many people, a wheelchair is essential to getting around. However, no two people's situations are the same. Some only need a wheelchair temporarily after an accident, others may need a wheelchair for particular occasions and others need a wheelchair for their day to day mobility. Regardless of your situation, you will have to decide if you should rent or buy your wheelchair. Your needs and your budget will determine if wheelchair rental or outright purchase is best for you. 

Wheelchair Rental vs Buying a Wheelchair

There are instances where it is more cost-effective and more efficient to choose wheelchair rental. There are other cases where buying your own wheelchair is the right choice. Here we will answer the question, should I rent or buy a wheelchair?

Buying a Wheelchair

For those people who require a wheelchair for everyday use buying a wheelchair is often the most logical and affordable option. However, you will need to consider your situation and needs to be sure.

Wheelchair prices vary drastically depending on your needs. The most basic manual wheelchairs cost approximately $500. But these are not suitable for day to day use. Manual wheelchairs designed for day to day use typically cost between $1000 and $2000. One of the biggest advantages of buying a wheelchair is that many providers offer customization to meet your specific needs. Although the price for these chairs can increase quite quickly, having a chair designed for you is an enormous benefit. 

Generally, purchasing will be cheaper than renting manual wheelchairs. However, powered chairs can range in price from $2000 to over $30,000 depending on your needs and the functions of the chair. For many people the right powered chair might simply be out of their price range and will mean renting is the only option. 

Renting a Wheelchair

Wheelchair rental is the most popular way to access a wheelchair in the USA. People rent wheelchairs for several reasons, but the biggest reason is flexibility. Many people only need a wheelchair for a short period of time, a few weeks to a few months. In these cases, wheelchair rental is much more affordable.

This flexibility extends to people who only need a wheelchair semi-regularly. Some people do not need wheelchairs from day to day but will need one for special occasions, such as a family visit to the zoo. If you only need a wheelchair a few days each year, one-day rentals will be more cost-effective.

Similarly, for people who do not need a wheelchair every day of the year wheelchair rental is a good option if you travel regularly. Transporting a wheelchair across the country can be expensive. You can save a lot of money renting the wheelchair at your destination. 

Renting a wheelchair also lets you test various wheelchair models out before you buy. If you need a wheelchair every day buying is often your best option. Renting lets you know which is the right wheelchair for you before making that investment. 

Lastly, renters will save on maintenance and insurance costs. Securing wheelchair insurance can be quite difficult. Often insurers will only cover 50% - 80% of the cost of the wheelchair. Renting leaves the maintenance and insurance of the wheelchair to the provider. 

Buying a Wheelchair vs Renting a Wheelchair

Every user has unique needs, which will determine if wheelchair rental or buying a wheelchair is their best option. If you need a wheelchair for day to day mobility buying is usually a better option, unless a more advanced and expensive chair is needed. For those with only semi-regular or short term needs, renting is almost always more cost-effective. Check out our wheelchair accessible vans and van rentals that make wheelchair transport possible.

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