Walkers have evolved quite a lot over the years. What was once termed a “walker” 50 years ago is now referred to as: walker, rollator, rollator transport chair, knee walker or side walker. Although semantics, this is the first step in choosing a walker, deciding on what product you actually desire.
Also referred to as: front wheeled walker, rolling walker, walking frame, walker with wheels, medical walker, Zimmer frame, folding walker
A walker has four legs - sometimes with the option of small wheels (also referred to as castors). If there are wheels, they are usually on the two front legs, yet there are some four-wheeled walkers available. A walker also has a distinct square-like frame. A standard walker without wheels is a simple and lightweight design, so it is stable enough to bear significant weight. This design is almost always “foldable” now.
A walker is for someone only going short distances at a time. Someone who cannot bear weight on one or both legs, such as after a hip replacement surgery, but is mobile enough not to need a wheelchair, a walker is generally the right choice. Walkers are usually meant for people who do not need quite as much support but not stable or agile enough to use a 4 wheeled rollator.
They are more inclined for indoor use. Versus a rollator, it has a more narrow design, so fits through door frames better, such as a narrow bathroom door or walk-in closet. It is also the most compact option for storage.
This is a a typical walker for sale on Frontshop.ca by Drive Medical:
Also referred to as: walker, rolling walker, walker with wheels, rotator walker, roll about walker, 4 wheeled walker, walker with seat
As you may have noticed there is an overlap in the terms used to describe a walker vs rollator. This is why there tend to be some confusion when a consumer asks for a “walker”. Usually they mean a rollator.
A rollator has wheels on all (3 or 4) legs, period. It’s frame is also anything but square. They are usually either an A-frame or the newer cross-brace folding design. That’s the main difference.
A rollator also has more features than a walker. A rollator will have breaks, a built in seat with back rest, and a storage shopping pouch.
A rollator is for someone who is more agile and able to walk but may need help with balance and stability and may become fatigued and need to rest. It is for walking longer distances. A great advantage of rollators is they can be fit with many convenient accessories. This allows the user to customize the rollator to suit their uniqueness personal needs. These accessories include: IV poles, oxygen tank holders, baskets and bags for carrying personal items, cup holders, and forward facing light to help in dark spaces.
This is a typical rollator for sale on Frontshop.ca by Drive Medical:
Rollator Transport Chair
Also referred to as: Rollator wheelchair combo
A rollator transport chair is like the transformer of rollators. It can be a rollator or a transport chair. Needless to say, a rollator transport chair combo always has four wheels.
What is a transport chair? A transport chair is like a very light duty wheelchair. It does now have the big back wheels like a wheel chair, but four small ones. The person sitting in a transport chair can not move himself - another person must push him.
A rollator transport chair is for someone who makes frequent outings with a care provider. This is for someone who does not tolerate long walks as well or fatigued. The product is versatile; used as a rollator around home and outside as a walking aid. But, for walks or trips of longer duration, such as at the mall, it transforms into a transport chair so that the caregiver can push them around.
This is a typical rollator transport chair sold on Frontshop.ca by Drive Medical:
Also referred to as: knee rollator, knee scooter, walker with knee sling, knee wheelchair, foot scooter, leg cart, walking scooter, knee roller crutches, wheeled knee walker
A knee walker is like a rollator for those who only have use of one leg. It is a comfortable alternative to crutches. It comes equipped with 4 wheels, a “seat” to rest your knee on, and sometimes a steering bar with breaks.
A knee walker is ideal for individuals recovering from foot or ankle surgery, injury, breaks, sprains, amputations and ulcers. A crutch substitute.
This is a typical knee walker sold on Frontshop.ca by Drive Medical:
Also referred to as: one handed walker, hand walker
For individuals with the use of only one hand or arm. Ideal for users who do not need a walker but need a wider base for support. It is lighter than a walker and more stable than a cane and folds with one hand.
This is a typical side walker for sale on Frontshop.ca by Drive Medical: