The Best Walkers for Seniors: 21 Great Options to Keep You Moving
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The best walkers for seniors enhance mobility and independence. They can make a world of difference, such as allowing you to get out and engage in enjoyable activities rather than being confined in a chair at home. When used correctly, walkers can also reduce the risk of falls.
Plus, did you know that a growing number of older adults are choosing walkers to help them stay active and safe? A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society revealed that the use of mobility aids among Americans over the age of 65 jumped 50 percent between 2004 and 2012. Overall, around 12 percent of seniors use walkers.
Walkers come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. But it's crucial to choose the best model for your particular needs. So don't simply borrow one from a friend or family member and assume it will work for you. (It's best to ask an occupational or physical therapist for guidance on what kind of walker would benefit you the most.)
This article will help you understand the different types of walkers that are available as well as the pros and cons of each type. You'll learn what factors to consider when shopping for a walker. And you'll read about nearly two dozen of the best walkers for seniors who need various levels of support.
3 Main Types of Walkers
For older adults who need a bit of assistance with mobility but don't require the full support of a wheelchair, medical walkers can provide the necessary balance and stability. Choosing the right one requires understanding the various options. Generally speaking, the different types of walkers are standard walkers, front-wheeled walkers, and rollator walkers.
1. Standard walkers
A standard walker is a simple frame with four rubber-tipped legs that a person can lean on for support. These types of walkers are made of aluminum to keep them lightweight. Of all the options, standard walkers offer the steadiest support. They are the best choice for people who tend to fall or cannot place weight on a leg due to injury. However, standard walkers only allow for fairly slow movement, and they are not suitable for uneven surfaces. They are also not good for people who lack upper body strength.
To properly use a walker, you lift it off the ground, set it down a few inches ahead of you, and step toward it. The following video illustrates the technique:
In some cases, a walker can even help you go up and down stairs. You use a walker on stairs by turning it sideways and placing one hand on the walker handle and one hand on the stair railing. The key thing to remember is that you lead with your stronger leg when going up and with your weaker leg when going down. To see this technique in action, check out the video below:
2. Front-wheeled walkers
A front-wheeled walker is just like a standard walker, except that it has non-swiveling wheels on the front legs. The two wheels make it easier to maneuver over rougher surfaces. Because front-wheeled walkers are designed to be pushed forward rather than lifted, they take less of a toll on your upper body. However, they do not provide as much stability as a standard walker. Some models have removable wheels, allowing them to be converted into standard walkers.
This video demonstrates how to use a front-wheeled walker:
3. Rollator walkers
Known as a rollator, a "rolling walker" is a type of walker that has either three or four wheels along with hand-operated brakes. The difference between a rollator and a walker is that all of the legs on a rollator have wheels, some of which swivel to make turning easier. Rollators are designed for people who have relatively good balance and only require light support. Most models come with a storage basket or pouch, and four-wheeled ones also have a built-in seat to allow for rest breaks. Rollators are well-suited for outdoor use and can also be used indoors. However, they are heavier than traditional walkers and are harder to fold up to put in a vehicle.
Here's a video that shows you how to use a rollator:
What to Look For in the Best Senior Walkers
The best walker is the one that fits both your body and your specific needs. Walkers come in different sizes, and the features can vary from model to model. So it's important to think about what will best suit your situation.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing a walker:
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8 of the Best Standard and Front-Wheeled Walkers for Elderly People
If you're looking for an economical way to get the extra assistance you need to move around independently, check out this list of the best walkers for elderly people:
The Able Life Space Saver Walker is a standout among narrow walkers for seniors. It can hold up to 400 pounds but is extremely lightweight and folds down to about the size of a large umbrella. Its slim profile allows it to fit through tight passageways, making it an ideal mobility aid for travel. Plus, the front stationary wheels can be replaced with swivel wheels for maximum maneuverability.
Thanks to its two levels of handles, the Lumex UpRise can provide assistance not only with walking, but also with going from sitting to standing. That means it can even be used as a portable aid for getting on and off the toilet. This standard walker is lightweight enough for everyday use and can be folded down with the touch of a single button.
Lightweight yet stable, the Vive Folding Walker can be used either with or without the included wheels. It is adjustable for a range of heights and can support up to 250 pounds. The textured handles provide a nonslip grip and help reduce hand soreness. And the detachable pouch makes it easy to carry small items around with you.
This model is an excellent walker for seniors who carry extra weight. Durable and sturdy, it can hold up to 600 pounds and comes with padded hand grips for comfort. Plus, the rubber caps on the back legs can be replaced with skis and felt pads (not included) to help the walker glide smoothly without scratching your floors.
With an extra-wide frame, handles that adjust from 33.5 inches to 43.5 inches high, and a weight capacity of 500 pounds, this two-wheeled walker offers comfortable support for larger adults. It even folds flat, so it can easily be tucked under a bed or into a trunk. However, as is the case with most oversized walkers, this one may not fit through all doorways.
Looking for a two-wheeled walker that can fold up small enough to fit inside a suitcase? Check out this compact model from OasisSpace. It supports users of up to 350 pounds, but it folds down much smaller than most other models. And if you reverse the wheels by attaching them to the inside of the legs rather than the outside, the base of the walker is only 20.5 inches wide.
Adjustable down to a 30-inch height, this sturdy walker is a good choice for shorter seniors. The detachable sides allow it to fold down very compactly, making it well-suited for travel. Also, the rubber tips on the back legs can be switched out for glider caps to help the walker move more smoothly over varied terrain.
Are you on the petite side? This height-adjustable junior walker is aimed at people under 5'4" and has a total weight capacity of 250 pounds. It is lightweight and folds easily, so transferring it in and out of cars is a breeze. The wheels can be attached to the inside of the legs if you want to make it even easier to get through narrow doorways.
9 of the Best Rollator Walkers for Seniors
Also called rolling walkers or just rollators, these wheeled devices can be good mobility aids for people who need more support than is offered by a cane and don't like the slow pace of a traditional walker.
Rollators come with either three or four wheels. Triangular-shaped three-wheeled models have a tighter turning radius and are easier to maneuver, but four-wheeled models come with seats and provide more stability. If you find that you need to take periodic rest breaks while you're out and about, you will probably want a model with a seat.
For help with your choice, have a look at our top 10 picks for the best rollator walkers for seniors (with seats and without):
The Go-Lite is a heavy-duty rollator featuring a sturdy steel-reinforced frame to support individuals who weigh up to 500 pounds. The padded seat is extra wide, the backrest can easily be removed to create additional space, and the adjustable handlebars can accommodate seniors as tall as 6'6". The Go-Lite comes in red.
The Vive Folding Rollator Walker ranks among the most popular four-wheeled walkers for seniors. It rolls smoothly, has a comfortable seat and backrest, and comes with both a storage bag and cane holder. It also folds down easily and compactly, and the front wheels can be removed to make it fit into even smaller spaces.
Uniquely among rolling walkers, the NOVA Zoom comes in four different seat heights, so you can get just the right fit. Plus, the handles are height-adjustable, so this walker can suit seniors as short as 4'10" and as tall as 6'2". It features a padded seat that's easy to clean and an under-seat pouch to store your belongings. It also locks when folded to make it easier to tuck into a closet or trunk.
Hugo's rollator walker features adjustable handlebars as well as a padded seat that can be set at two different heights. With storage both under the seat and in an additional saddle bag, there's plenty of room for all your essential items. Plus, the rollator conveniently folds down to fit into vehicle trunks.
With its padded seat, push bar, and fold-down footrests, this four-wheeled rollator can be used as both a walker and lightweight wheelchair. The handles can be adjusted for a range of heights, the brakes are easy to use, and the wire basket under the seat provides a handy way to carry whatever you need.
With the removable basket, pouch, and tray, the NOVA Traveler offers plenty of convenient ways for you to carry everything you need. The durable rubber wheels provide stability over many types of terrain, and the brakes are designed for comfortable use even by adults with poor hand strength. This three-wheeled walker can even stand on its own when folded.
Like the Medline Freedom, the Lumex Set n' Go allows you to adjust the height of both the seat and the handlebars to ensure a comfortable fit. This model is slightly heavier than the Freedom, but this one can support up to 300 pounds. The large basket provides convenient storage, and when you flip up the seat, you find an additional zippered pocket for keys, cell phones, or other small items. The Set n' Go is available in four different colors.
Weighing in at only 11 pounds, this is one of the lightest four-wheeled rollators on the market. It also stands out for the fact that both the seat and the handlebars can be adjusted for a wide range of different heights. It provides stable support for users who weigh up to 250 pounds, and it folds down almost flat for travel or storage. You have a choice of three colors.
This well-reviewed rollator offers stability and affordability. Its seat and handlebars are both height-adjustable, it can hold adults up to 300 pounds, and its frame is light enough that you shouldn't have to strain to lift it in and out of cars. The under-seat storage pouch doesn't even have to be removed for folding. You can choose a red or blue model.
3 of the Best Knee Walkers (for Special Situations)
If you have an injured foot or ankle and cannot place any weight on it for a period of time, a knee walker might be a good mobility aid for you. A knee walker is a wheeled scooter that is often used as an alternative to crutches. It allows you to move about quickly and easily by leaning one knee on the walker while using your good leg to propel yourself.
Here are a few of the best knee walkers for seniors:
This may be the best walker for seniors who have lower leg injuries but still want to explore the outdoors. The 12-inch air-filled tires can easily handle all types of terrain (including gravel and sand), and the adjustable knee rest is made of contoured foam for comfort. Durable and rugged, this scooter can hold up to 350 pounds and is height-adjustable for adults up to 6'6". It also comes with a detachable storage basket. However, it's not suitable for seniors under 5'6".
A less expensive alternative to the All-Terrain KneeRover, this deluxe model is designed for individuals between 4'9" and 6'6" who weigh up to 300 pounds. It features the same cushioned knee rest and detachable storage basket, but this model has 7.5-inch rubber tires rather than 12. Still, it provides a smooth ride both indoors and outdoors.
The knee rest of this scooter is contoured with padded ridges to cushion your knee and help keep it stable as you move. Both the knee rest and the handlebars are fully adjustable, though this model was not meant for petite seniors. This walker also comes with a large attached basket, so you can carry all of your essentials with you.
Get the Support You Need
Maintaining your mobility is a big part of remaining independent, and the right walker can go a long way toward achieving that goal. By using the information above as guidance, you will be better prepared to find the device that is just right for you.
*(Pricing current as of May 6, 2020.)