Foldout Wheelchair Ramps vs. Infloor Wheelchair Ramps
When shopping for a side-entry wheelchair accessible van, choosing the right type of ramp for your mobility needs is crucial. After all, the ramp is your access point to freedom and independence.
Whether to use a foldout or infloor ramp is one option you’ll need to consider. To get you started, we’ve created an overview of each ramp style, as well as some key differences between these options for mobility van ramps.
Foldout Wheelchair Ramps
As the name suggests, foldout ramps collapse to fold in and out of an accessible van’s side door. The ramp is stored just inside the door inside the vehicle.
Infloor Wheelchair Ramps
Infloor ramps tuck in the floor by sliding in and out of the mobility van. The ramp is stored under the floor and invisible when stowed.
Key Differences: Infloor vs Foldout Wheelchair Ramps
Wheelchairs vary as greatly as the people who use them, and small differences can mean everything during daily use. Test driving a vehicle with each option you are considering can be a great way to try out which fits best with you, your wheelchair, and your way of life. Below, we’ll walk you through some main points to consider:
Wheelchair Vehicle Interior Space
Space for Your Wheelchair
For people who have very large power wheelchairs, every bit of the interior space in a wheelchair van may be needed. An inch may mean the difference between the ability to easily maneuver into the vehicle and sit comfortably or not. If this is your situation, an infloor ramp system may be better because a foldout, although designed for compact storage, still takes up interior space.
Space for Front Seat Passengers
Will someone very tall need to extend the front passenger seat all the way back? A foldout ramp may not allow the front seats to fully recline in the wheelchair vehicle.
Space for Your Lifestyle
Do you carpool or have a large family and pets to transport? A foldout ramp can prevent access to one side of the mobility vehicle or make it more challenging to get to the 2nd or 3rd row.
Do you need space for a lot of luggage for travel or sports equipment for your active lifestyle? A foldout ramp takes up more space that could be used for cargo.
In short, if you regularly need a great deal of interior space in your accessible van, foldout ramps may offer slightly less space.
Wheelchair Ramp Angle
The angle of a fully deployed ramp varies from about 8 degrees to about 11 degrees. This may seem like a small difference; However, even one degree of difference can mean a much easier ascent up the ramp and into an accessible van, especially for manual wheelchair users. Foldout ramps generally have a lower ramp angle.
Additionally, infloor ramps sometimes have a transition plate that some may find more difficult to bridge compared to a foldout ramp.
Remember that getting up a ramp for the first time that day may feel much different than trying it again after a day at the zoo with the kids or after running errands all morning. Try the ramp at different times of the day to ensure it is comfortable, even when you or your caregiver are tired.
Foldout ramps may be preferred if you are regularly parking curbside, as well. Infloor ramps may not be able to go over tall curbs or steep gradients. Foldouts are more easily deployable in challenging exit/entry locations.
Foldout ramps can have over an inch rail to help guide wheelchair users up and down the ramp which can be a great relief for some people including:
- Wheelchair users who travel alone.
- Those new to using a wheelchair.
- Children learning independence in their wheelchair.
- Those who may travel with less experienced caregivers.
- People who simply prefer an extra safe-guard
Infloor ramps have a very small side rail so the ramp can slide in the floor but they offer less protection from accidentally creeping over the edge and off the ramp.
Not all wheelchair users need a higher side rail, but it does bring some peace of mind to many. Try them both and see which is more comfortable for you and your mobility needs.
Wheelchair Ramp Reliability
Modern manufacturing advancements in ramps make reliability issues much less of a concern but they should still be considered. With anything mechanical, components can malfunction, break, and show wear and infloor ramps depend on mechanical systems. Some people simply feel more comfortable with the reliability of a manual foldout ramp, especially those wheelchair users who often travel independently in their mobility van.
You can still enjoy the advantages of a power infloor ramp with peace of mind, thanks to BraunAbility’s strict quality initiatives and efficient back-up systems. Mark your calendar for routine ramp maintenance every six months, as a further safeguard.
With both infloor and foldout options, regular maintenance with a certified professional will keep you getting where you want to go. We will give your accessible van’s ramp system a thorough inspection, including clearing it of debris and testing all of its functions. This will greatly extend the life of your fold-out and in-floor ramps, as well as ensuring uninterrupted freedom in your mobility vehicle.
Wheelchair Ramp Appearance
Are you regularly transporting guests or clients? If a sleek and clean appearance is important to you, an infloor ramp is your best bet. The ramp is out of sight and out of mind when folded up.
An infloor ramp also prevents external debris from entering the interior of your accessible van. If you live near the beach, or where there is a lot of snow, for example, this may keep your interior considerably cleaner.
Though the perfect choice between foldout ramps and infloor ramps will vary from person to person, according to their needs and lifestyle, a few pieces of advice are universal; Work with a mobility expert and try before you buy.
Consult an Expert and Try it Out
A BraunAbility Certified Mobility Consultant can guide you through the process and arrange trials or test drives with the necessary products. Going to look at and try out mobility vans with ramps of various types can be extremely helpful. You can see and feel how your wheelchair will maneuver on and around various wheelchair ramps. The Certified Mobility Consultants at your local BraunAbility dealership are trained to know the products and understand how they function. They’ll ensure you end up with the best product for your (and your family’s) needs and lifestyle.
With a little research, a few trials, and some expert assistance, you’ll be on your way to greater freedom and independence in your mobility van.