Why Are Wheelchairs So Expensive?


Wheelchairs are useful for many disabled people to help them with mobility. They help people to support themselves independently. Hospitals mostly make wheelchairs necessary for patients confined to their homes and beds. However, few people can afford wheelchairs because of their exorbitant prices.

If you are experiencing these issues, you may wonder why wheelchairs are so expensive. Well, there are a few reasons for this.

Here are the reasons wheelchairs are expensive:

  1. Manufacturing cost.
  2. Cost of construction material.
  3. Duration of production.
  4. Cost of shipping.
  5. The unique design and features.
  6. The warranty on wheelchairs.
  7. High rental costs.
  8. Difficulty in accessibility.
  9. The presence of safety features.
  10. High durability level.
  11. Low maintenance cost.
  12. The stress of installation.

This article outlines and explains the reasons for the high cost of wheelchairs. All these reasons involve the factors that contribute to this situation.

12 Reasons Why Wheelchairs Are Expensive

There are different types and designs of wheelchairs. Each type has its features that determine what they offer. Irrespective of the number of features a wheelchair offers, many people depend on them for easy mobility. But, notwithstanding its invaluable function, many people can’t afford it.

woman sitting on wheelchair

Still, it is best to understand that wheelchairs are investments for medical purposes. Therefore, you need to read through the detailed explanation below to know how the market situation, production condition, and other factors affect the price of wheelchairs.

1. Manufacturing Cost

Manufacturing wheelchairs require a high level of technology and resources. The manufacturing process requires a lot of time and effort, which is costly. They keep spending money on everything required to produce each wheelchair. The company has to put the cost of producing these chairs on their cost price.

2. Cost of Construction Material

Wheelchairs require high-quality material to keep their durability. They need to be strong enough to support the weight of the user. The wheelchair will wobble under the user’s weight without quality production material. The most common construction material for wheelchairs is plastic.

Producing and acquiring plastic is quite expensive. Although, the manufacturing companies use other materials like steel, aluminum, titanium, etc. These materials are also costly to produce and acquire. The cost of these materials contributes to the high cost of wheelchairs.

3. Duration of Production

Manufacturing wheelchairs require a lot of time. Each chair can take up to 2 months to complete the production phase. As a result, most wheelchair companies don’t even manufacture anything until interested clients place an order. The order will determine how much effort and time will go into the production process.

Producing according to order means the company invests a lot of capital into that batch. So, the money they should have spent on mass production goes into that batch. So, the company has to find a way to make enough profit to cover the production cost. Hence, they increase the price of the chairs to make that much money.

4. Cost of Shipping

Generally, wheelchair companies are not many, and the few active ones have to find a way for the chairs to reach their customers. Shipping the chairs to different locations costs a lot of money. Then, the cost of taking them from the warehouse to their final destinations. Although, most wheelchairs go to medical institutions.

The high cost of transporting these chairs to their final destination makes them excessively expensive. They are more expensive if the location is in a remote area. So, you might want to recheck your location and distance from the production company to understand why the chairs cost so much.

5. The Unique Design and Features

Wheelchair design uses high-level technology to ease the life of people with walking disabilities. The chair always has many features to be adequate for the user. The company has to test the product and put them through life-threatening situations. Each wheelchair design has its specific purpose and targeted audience.

Person in wheelchair

For example, some designs enhance outdoor mobility, while others focus on allowing easy mobility within a small space. At the same time, some wheelchair designs have features that allow them to move with remote control. The features of each design determine its complexity and purpose.

Creating every unique design and feature requires money. The more the number of features, the higher the cost of the wheelchair. Therefore, those with outstanding features tend to cost more. But, every wheelchair is expensive irrespective of the price. Therefore, the prices can only be slightly different.

6. The Warranty on Wheelchairs

Wheelchairs usually have a warranty period of either two or three years. The warranty duration lasts this long because of the purpose of the chairs. Generally, wheelchairs deserve such a warranty because most people would likely use them for several years. Although, only a few people benefit from these warranties.

Some wheelchair users change the type they own after a few months or years because newer models always have better features. However, the warranty on wheelchairs is one of the reasons they are expensive. The companies increase the cost to make up for the number of times the chair will need repair or replacement during the validity period.

7. High Rental Costs

Renting wheelchairs is an option for people who need one urgently and can’t afford it or people that need them temporarily. However, renting wheelchairs for a long time is more expensive than new low-quality ones. For example, some new wheelchairs may cost $3,000 and the cost of renting it will cost you $1,000 per month.

Therefore, it is advisable to get a new one if you will be using the wheelchair for a long time. Although, most wheelchair rentals last for a very long time. The high rental costs of the wheelchairs make them expensive for someone interested in renting rather than buying one.

8. Difficulty in Accessibility

Accessibility plays a crucial role in the price of wheelchairs. Many people don’t have access to them because of their limited availability. For example, a special model of a wheelchair with specific features may only be available to 1 out of 10 people. This situation means the person who gets the chair has to pay a lot of money to secure a spot.

The people who need this specific wheelchair can’t also go for an alternative because it may not have the required feature. Using other wheelchairs can be quite challenging for people with different disabilities. Hence, you may experience a high price when you buy a wheelchair because it is not available to many people and only comes to the highest bidder.

9. The Presence of Safety Features

Expensive wheelchair models always have certain safety features that aren’t available on cheaper models. For example, a wheelchair may have a lock feature that prevents it from moving from a spot. This feature protects the patient from going down a slope without aid or entering danger zones.

Expensive wheelchairs need these features to compensate for their high cost. A wheelchair with extra safety features will have a price that depends on the number of features. Hence, wheelchairs are expensive because they have several safety features.

10. High Durability Level

Everything that lasts long always requires quality production, and the end product is always expensive. Wheelchairs always have a high durability level that helps them to withstand any situation and weight. Durable wheelchairs last longer compared to weaker ones that may not last up to 6 months.

This durability is one of the factors you need to consider when determining why the price of wheelchairs is high. However, it is best to buy an extremely durable wheelchair that will stay for years rather than buying one you have to replace every few months.

11. Low Maintenance Cost

Maintaining wheelchairs doesn’t require any special skill or effort. However, some wheelchair maintenance can be stressful because of their quality. These types of designs are mostly cheap and low-quality. The production materials wear and tear easily, and the user has to keep putting effort and money into sustaining them.

Wheelchair 2

On the other hand, high-quality wheelchair materials do not need so much effort. Most of them may only require regular cleaning and lubrication. Some models may need maintenance and repair to keep them in good shape. However, high-quality wheelchairs like this are always more expensive.

Although, it is best to buy one of these low-maintenance chairs that won’t need repair multiple times. It saves you from spending money on repairing and maintaining them.

12. The Stress of Installation

Whenever wheelchairs get to their destination, someone from the company or store has to install them for the user. The person tests the wheelchair for faults to fix them before leaving the chair for the user. The added installation cost contributes to the reason wheelchairs cost so much.


The cost of wheelchairs varies depending on their model, type, and quality. Therefore, it is essential to consider your needs and the purpose of the wheelchair. In addition, it would be best to consider the intended user’s age and body shape. Putting these factors together will help you choose the perfect wheelchair that will serve its purpose and last long. Although it may be expensive, at least you will get value for your money.

I hope you found this article helpful and now understand what makes wheelchairs expensive. Well, you should always ensure to know the features of each wheelchair to choose easily.

Sourav Biswas

I’ve been passionate about chair for as long as I can remember. I love the way they look, the way they feel, and the way they make me feel. I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting chairs to write about, and I’m never afraid to experiment with different styles and materials.

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