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Airless & Air Tires: The Difference

Maintenance of an electric wheelchair is a headache, no doubt. For instance, repairing or changing the tire of your electric wheelchair seems like a confusing task. Besides being costly to maintain, it might be difficult to understand which option is better. Perhaps the two common types of tires that might appear perplexing are the two common factors. Notably, these are referred to as airless and air tires.   

You are probably still looking at your screen with a frazzled expression. And that is what we are here to help you out with! This article intends to elaborate on and define airless and air tires and identify the main difference between the two. Interested? Keep reading to learn more!

The Best Tire for You

 It is obvious that the tire’s quality is crucial to the performance of the wheelchair. Hence, it is necessary for your wheelchair to have the most suitable tire. This will ensure that your wheelchair performs its best. In addition, you will not have to worry about it damaging your wheelchair either.

To get yourself the best tire for your wheelchair, you must keep these points in mind:

  • Measurements
  • Type
  • Maintenance

We shall be elaborating on these factors in detail.


When we refer to measurements, it is fairly apparent that we refer to the tire size. The idea is quite simple when it comes to tire sizes: if it is not the right size, it will not fit. If you are unaware of what your wheelchair’s tire size is, then simply look at the wheelchair tire. Normally, it should contain a label stating its size. When buying tires, you can always check if you are investing in the correct size or not.

Most importantly, wheels are measured in inches. Their measurement also includes the diameter of the whole unit (tire and the wheel).

The tire’s width, tread pattern, and diameter impact multiple aspects. These include its security, grip, and user convenience, in addition to the tire type.

Bigger tire diameters provide a smoother, better ride. It becomes simpler to roll over roadblocks as the diameter of the tire rises. This implies that you won’t feel as jarred when you drive over dips or ditches. It is also better because you are least inclined to fall off the wheelchair if the wheel gets snagged in a pothole.

Broadly speaking, you would feel more at ease and secure the wider the tire. Wider tires are sturdier and less prone to become stuck in the road’s crevices. This can sometimes make it appear like you’re being steered down the road.

Types of Wheelchair Tires

As mentioned earlier, there are two main types of tires (that is, airless and air). Now, we shall be shedding light on what perks they offer.

Air Filled (Pneumatic) Tires

On self-propelled or electric wheelchairs, bigger tires are typically equipped with air-filled or pneumatic tyres. These are quite lightweight, which makes it easier to carry them into a vehicle. Therefore, it allows wheelchair users to maneuver with the greatest amount of effectiveness. In comparison to solid tires on outer surfaces, they produce a damping impact because they are air-filled. This kind of wheelchair tire often has a wider tread that offers better traction. This is beneficial for steadiness and improves the ride.

In comparison to solid tires, pneumatic tires offer three key advantages: less rolling friction, improved ride comfort, and improved traction. Interested yet? Click here to check them out! The coolest part is that they are also compatible with a manual wheelchair.

The tires expend less fuel traveling across the surface. This is because these tires have a lower driving coefficient of friction.  You’ll receive greater gas mileage and a faster top speed with pneumatic tires. The pressure of air in the tire enables greater travel comfort. Solid tires are less able to withstand road imperfections than pneumatic tires. They serve as the only form of stabilization on a certain wheelchair.

Fortunately, pneumatic tires are easier to travel on with less likelihood of slipping. This is because they are comprised of flexible rubber and have a higher static coefficient of friction. You’ll be able to brake relatively swiftly and without slipping. All thanks to the tire! They also give you more traction, even when it’s raining.

A pneumatic wheelchair tire’s drawback is that it needs routine repair. It is more prone to tearing and/or a general reduction in pressure because it is air-filled. As a result, checking the tires daily will be important. This might be a tedious task, but it is important to do. The reason behind this is to make sure you have a smooth wheelchair experience.


Similar to an air-filled tire is a puncture-resistant pneumatic wheelchair tire.  A puncture-resistant internal tube composed of a substance like Kevlar is used, and it is designed for the precise identical function as the typical pneumatic wheelchair tire. Although it requires minimal service, it may be a little bit heavier than a typical pneumatic tire. Semi-pneumatic tires are available here.

The only reason these tires stand out is primarily because of the expense factor. The cost of a puncture-proof tire is much more costly than the other options because of its intricate structure and construction.

Solid Tires

Such a type of tire is usually made from rubber. Though, they may also be constructed from other types of plastics. One drawback that this tire has is because of the absence of an inner tube. This makes the tire not as flexible as other tires. Moreover, it also fails to be adaptable. Ultimately, the lack of adaptability results in an uncomfortable ride on uneven terrain. All of this occurs simply because they lack air in the form of the inner tube.

Nevertheless, a solid wheelchair tire’s advantage is that it will absolutely not puncture or lose air. Henceforth, it needs much less upkeep and lasts much better. This makes the tire extremely cost-effective. If you are interested, click here to find these tires!


As stated, solid tires do not generally need to be maintained. However, they are far more challenging to repair compared to air-filled tires. Certain setups need you to take the wheelchair’s tire off to order to change it. This is typical with solid tires and may even call for expert intervention. The structure of pneumatic tires may make replacement easier or more challenging.

For instance, many mobility scooters, particularly the more expensive models, include split-rim tire styles. Using a tire that has a split rim, changing the inner tube is simple and does not need pulling the tire off the wheelchairs.

Here is a little tip to save you time. Always check the warranty card of your electric wheelchair. Some companies provide free service for changing the components of your wheelchair!

Environment and Task

One significant factor to keep in mind is the task itself. By task, it means what work you aim to perform with your wheelchair. For instance, if you intend to move your wheelchair outside on a rougher surface, your best option is a solid tire. However, if this is not the case, you should be good with air-filled tires.

Always think about the activities the person in a wheelchair is carrying out. Similarly, notice how the tire facilitates proactive and autonomous involvement, regardless of kind or capacity. Will losing weight result in the user requiring less effort and being able to complete the task? Can an activity be requiring frequent position changes result in excessive resistance from the deep tread? Can this also result in increased friction to allow independent motion?

In addition, the environment must also be catered to. You must remember where exactly the user is going to maneuver their wheelchair around. What type of surface is it? Where is the task being completed? Can the surface easily tear apart the tires?

Which Tire to Choose?

Albeit these detailed descriptions, the question still stands: Which tire to choose? Now, it is your task to answer that. You must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of air-filled and air tires. After that, you must consider different factors. These factors may include what your daily life is like. If you are someone who has to travel a lot, especially on rough surfaces, then you know what the right option (hint: solid) is!

This is just one aspect. It could be possible that you have to travel out of the city more than once a month. Or perhaps, you work from home. All of these aspects of your life will ultimately help you in deciding. It is mandatory that you heed attention to these aspects. This is so that your requirements can be fully satisfied. It would be a disappointment if you invested in an expensive tire only to not use it to the best of its capabilities.

So may it be an air-less or air-filled tire: your comfort matters most! We would want you to prioritize your safety and comfort above else. What are you waiting for? Click here to have an access to all types of cool wheelchair tires for yourself!

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