21 wheelchair accessories that make life easier
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In this list, we are going to be looking at 21 wheelchair accessories that can be used with your wheelchair, to make it an even better mobility aid.
Whether you use a manual wheelchair, or an electric wheelchair, both can have a huge impact on your life. They can give you far more freedom and make daily life much easier.
The accessories below offer you 21 different ways to get even more out of your wheelchair
Comfort increasing wheelchair accessories
Potentially, you will spend a lot of time in your wheelchair, so comfort is extremely important. In this section we will be looking at accessories to make your wheelchair even more comfortable.
Wheelchair cushions come in a variety of different options. Most commonly they are made of foam, this helps them mould to the user for maximum comfort. You will also find some with gel toppers and they come with a variety of different covers, including everything from soft cotton, to luxury wool fleece.
If you are looking for extra warmth and comfort, then a wheelchair cosy is the way to go. This is the equivalent of a sleeping bag for your wheelchair. Wheelchair cosies are usually waterproof and come with fleece linings for extra warmth. This is the perfect wheelchair accessory for a cold day. Just sit in your chair, zip it up and get cosy.
Full seat pillow cushions with armrests
This option takes a wheelchair cushion to the next level. Not only will this give you something to sit on, but it will also cover the back rest, plus the sides and arms of your wheelchair. This type of wheelchair cushion is usually made with padded quilt and is designed for maximum comfort and warmth. Ideal for daily use and great for providing extra warmth on colder days.
Comfy seat covers
A seat cover is another option for improving the comfort of your wheelchair seat. These will usually wrap over the seat and backrest of your chair. They are not usually cushioned. However, they are commonly made from soft natural materials such as wool. This is great if you already have a comfy chair but just want to add a bit of luxury.
Our final comfort increasing wheelchair accessory, is the pressure cushion. This is like a standard cushion but is specially designed to protect people who are susceptible to pressure ulcers. Pressure cushions are made from foam, that has individually cut sections in the cushion itself. This allows each section to move independently and evenly distribute weight. It is also a fantastic way to keep the cushion and user cool due to extra air circulation.
This type of cushion will cost a little more than a standard cushion, but considering it will be used daily, they really are quite affordable.
Wheelchair storage accessories
Storage is another important factor that may be lacking as standard in many wheelchairs and electric wheelchairs. In this section we will be looking at several different wheelchair storage accessories.
This is simply a storage bag that hooks onto the back of your wheelchair. These are ideal for storing a range of different items, from small amounts of shopping, to spare batteries if you are using an electric wheelchair.
These bags are almost always waterproof and are usually very affordable.
A pannier is another good option for additional storage. Due to its positioning (usually attached to the armrest) this type of storage is ideal for small personal items, such as your keys or mobile phone. Again, these are almost always waterproof and are very affordable.
Under seat storage
Finally, you have under seat storage. Some wheelchairs, such as the Pride I-Go which we reviewed here. Already have under seat storage as standard. However, most wheelchairs do not, adding it can be a good way to add extra storage space to your chair, without taking up any extra space.
Under seat storage is usually quite a decent size, so this can be used for a variety of different items that you may need whilst out and about.
If you somehow manage to fill every other bit of storage you have, then there is one more option. That is a pull along trailer, that attaches to the back of your wheelchair.
This option won’t be great for people that rely on a carer to push their chair. But for an electric wheelchair, or self-propelled wheelchair user, it can be a useful way to add extra storage
Waterproof wheelchair accessories
Whether you are in a wheelchair or not, nobody likes getting wet. So, this section looks at a few handy waterproof accessories, that can keep you and your wheelchair nice and dry.
This is probably the simplest, and in our opinion, the most effective item for keeping dry in your wheelchair.
A wheelchair poncho can usually cover the user completely, entirely draping over the chair and well below the knees of the user. This makes it the ideal waterproof accessory for your wheelchair. Whats more, it will protect the joystick and other mechanical components of an electric wheelchair. This will stop corrosion and rust forming and make your wheelchair far easier to maintain.
Ponchos are generally small and lightweight. This makes them ideal for storage in a side compartment, such as a pannier.
Waterproof joystick protector
Even if you have another form of keeping the rain off, this could be an additional safety precaution for electric wheelchair users. A waterproof joystick protector conveniently attaches over the joystick of your electric wheelchair. This provides a waterproof shelter, to protect the electric and mechanical components.
Again, this is a small lightweight accessory and can easily be stored on your person, or in one of your wheelchair’s storage compartments, or bags.
You can see a waterproof joystick protectors and read reviews on Amazon here
This last option is quite self-explanatory. Using a small bracket, you can attach an umbrella to your wheelchair. We are not a huge fan of this option for keeping water off. It does work to some extent, but is not as good as something like a poncho.
However, we do really like this option for sun protection. An attachable umbrella can be a great way to keep in the shade in hot weather.
Wheelchair accessories for extra support
Wheelchairs are used by people with a varying level of mobility. This means that some users need additional support. That is what the accessories in this section are for.
Harnesses come in a variety of different styles; these are designed for several different levels of support. This can be belts that just wrap around the user’s waist. All the way to full body harnesses that come over the shoulders and around the chest.
If even more support is needed, you can get a harness that will strap the users head back to the headrest.
Elevating leg rests
Many wheelchairs and electric wheelchairs will come with adjustable leg rests as standard. However, for those that do not, you can usually get attachable, extending and elevating leg rests.
Leg rests allow the user to find the perfect comfortable leg position. This type of rest is great for improving circulation, back hip and knee pain, as well as just relaxing.
Most wheelchairs will not come with a head rest when you buy them. Usually this is an additional wheelchair accessory that you will need to buy separately.
For some users this will be an essential item. For others it might just make the chair more comfortable. Whichever it is, adding a headrest is an easy way to add extra comfort and support to your wheelchair.
Eating and drinking wheelchair accessories
This is one of the simplest options on the list. But at the same time, it is also one of the most essential. We all need to keep hydrated and having a drink handy is the ideal solution to this.
A cup holder can be used for a cup of tea or coffee, a soft drink, or even a flask of soup.
Many wheelchairs will already come with a cup holder installed. But we were quite surprised by the amount that do not. Again, this is a very cheap add-on and well worth the £3 – £5 you will spend on it.
Trays and half lap trays
A tray can be used for several reasons, including any of the following:
This type of wheelchair accessory comes in a variety of styles. These include full and half lap trays, as well as fully detachable and attached, fold away options.
Some other useful wheelchair accessories
In this final section we have added a few additional wheelchair accessories that did not fall into any one category. However, these are all extremely useful devices, that can be used in combination with your wheelchair.
Walking stick holder
If you are not completely wheelchair bound, you may like to get out and walk occasionally. For many people this will mean using a crutch or walking stick.
A walking stick holder is a very simple way to facilitate this. Most holders are simple, double sided clips. One side will clip to the frame of the chair and the other will hold the walking stick. The simplicity means that this type of wheelchair accessory can be added to your chair in a matter of seconds. Once fitted, it will be able to hold your walking stick securely in place.
A leg lifter is another small and simple device that can make life that little bit easier. Simply hook the looped end over your foot and easily lift it into place. This can be used when entering or exiting your wheelchair.
Again, leg lifters are usually very cheap (around £5 – £6) and once you start using one, you may start to wonder how you managed without it.
If you need to carry oxygen for medical reasons, then an oxygen tank bag can be an essential piece of equipment. These bags are lightweight and heavy duty. They easily attach to the rear of your wheelchair and can fit alongside most rear wheelchair bags.
Alternatively, you can buy bags that combine a standard wheelchair bag, with an added oxygen tank compartment.
Wheelchair ramps come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. They can help with many access issues that a wheelchair user may encounter.
Whether you are looking to get over a door threshold, up some stairs, or into a vehicle, there are many different options available.
If you want to learn more about different types of ramps, we have a full article on wheelchair ramps that you can view here.
We hope you found this list of 21 wheelchair accessories useful. We have tried to cover all the most common accessories and we are sure that the items in the list could help any wheelchair user.
Do you currently use any of the following wheelchair accessories? Or did you notice any items that are missing from our list?
Let us know in the comments below.