Karman S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair Review

Karman S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair Review
  • Adjustability and Customization
  • Overall Comfort Level
  • Versatility
  • Ease of Use
4.6

Summary

The Karman S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair is a fantastic design. It’s pricey but well worth it, and not to be missed!. Recommended for people with long-term mobility issues in mind. If you have a short-term need for a wheelchair, some other model will probably be a better overall “fit” despite this one’s quality.

An Image Sample of Red Variants of Karman S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair

Karman S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair

Do you have a long-term mobility issue?  If you do, then it changes what you’re looking for in a wheelchair.  After all, if your needs are short-term, most any decent chair will work, but if you know you’re going to need a mobility aid for months and years to come, then you start getting much more particular and asking hard questions about what you want in a wheelchair.

We understand, which is why if the above describes you, we think you’re going to love our in-depth review of the Karman S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair.

“Ergonomic” is more than just a buzzword.  An ergonomically designed chair is just more comfortable to sit in, and easier to use because everything is exactly where you’d expect to find it.  It’s intuitive, and if your needs are long term, that’s pure gold.

There are a lot of wheelchairs on the market.  An almost overwhelming number of choices that can lead to analysis paralysis.  To help you cut through the clutter, we wrote this series of Karman wheelchair reviews so you can make an informed purchasing decision.

By any measure, the S Ergo 305 is an exceptional model.  In fact, it won top honors on our roundup review of the best wheelchairs being sold today ((insert link to the roundup review)).  In the sections that follow, we’ll walk you through everything this fantastic chair can do, and let you know about its (very few) limitations so you can decide for yourself if it’s the “right” model for you.

Sound good?  Let’s get right to it!

An Overview of the Karman S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair

The first thing you’ll notice about the Karman S-305 is the fact that it’s a striking design.  That’s not something we ever expected to say about a wheelchair, but we have to admit, this one’s fairly attractive as wheelchairs go.  Dressed in a combination of silver and black, it would be overselling it to describe the chair as elegant, but it wouldn’t be overselling it by much.  It’s surprisingly handsome.

It’s more than just a (relatively) pretty chair though.  Here are the S-305’s relevant stats:

  • Seat width: 16” or 18.”
  • Seat depth: 17.”
  • Seat height: 19.”
  • *Optional seat height adjustment (POS option)
  • Seat to floor height: 18,” 19,” or 20” (adjustable)
  • Weight: 29 pounds (22 pounds with footrests removed)
  • Rear wheel diameter: 24.”
  • Armrest height: 9” to 11” (adjustable)
  • Overall dimensions (unfolded and ready for use): 38” x 24” 43.”
  • Folded dimensions: 33” x 12” x 28”

In addition to that, it can support a maximum of 250 pounds of user weight, making it useful to a broad swath of the market.

An Image Sample of Black Variants of Karman S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair

As to Karman itself, they’re one of the more prominent companies in the mobility industry and the makers of a whole line of exceptional products.  The Karman S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair ranks as among the best of the best.

Adjustability & Comfort

Versatility and adjustability are among our favorite aspects of the Karman 305’s design.  Virtually everything on this chair can be adjusted to taste, and many “extras” can be ordered if you want or need them.

An Image Sample of Side View of Red Variants of Karman S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair

Here’s a quick overview of the Point of Sale Options:

  • You can specify the seat width, selecting from either 16” or 18,” whichever is a better fit for you.
  • If you like, you can order your chair with a seat height adjustment lever.
  • You can purchase anti-tipping struts if you feel you need them
  • A seat belt can be added at your request
  • Extra upholstery can be added at your request
  • A memory foam cushion can be included at your request
  • An ergonomic, contoured cushion can be added at your request
  • Reflecting spoke guards can be added at your request
  • The chair can be ordered with frog leg suspension if needed
  • You can order your chair with either magnesium wheels or Vulcan grip wheels

In addition to that, once you get your chair, you can adjust the height of the footrests and change the angle, height, and length of the headrest.  As we said, just about everything you can imagine can be adjusted or changed.  If you’re not impressed yet, keep reading, and you will be!

Regarding comfort, the S Ergo 305 Karman Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair continues to shine, mostly thanks to its ergonomic design.  The “S” in S-305 is a reference to the chair’s patented S-shaped seating, which is not only more comfortable than conventional wheelchair seating, but it provides added stability if you’re being transported over sloping terrain.  You just fit more snugly against the seat, which means you’re far less likely to slip forward and ultimately out of the chair.  That, combined with the optional safety belt is an ironclad slippage solution.

The padded armrests are also ergonomically designed, and more comfortable than you might expect.  In addition to that and being height adjustable, they also flip up and out of the way if you need them to, in order to make transferring into or out of the chair easier.

Even the hand rims on the wheels are ergonomically designed, making them easier to reach and use to propel yourself forward.  Speaking of the wheels, the large rear wheels feature a quick-release design, so if you need to take them off when you’re transporting the chair, doing so is a simple, painless process.

As a final note on this topic, the footrests swing away, enabling the person sitting in the chair to pull up quite close to a dining table and enjoy dinner with the family, whether at home or at a restaurant, without having to transfer out of the wheelchair and into a dining chair.  A very nice touch.

An Image Sample of Side View of Black Variants of Karman S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair

On-Board Storage & Extras

With so many adjustable features, at first glance, you might be surprised to learn that the Karman S-305 doesn’t come with any extras, not even a storage pouch on the back of the seat back, which is a fairly standard feature on many wheelchairs.

An Image Sample of on-board Storage of Karman S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair

On closer look though, you’ll realize that the reason the extras aren’t part of the core design is that you can order them at the point of sale.

You might be inclined to think that this is a gimmick designed to get you to spend more money, but the truth is, if all those extras come standard on the chair, they’d charge more for it.  By doing it this way, you can pick and choose the ones you want, and only pay for those, skipping the ones that aren’t of value to you.  We like that approach very much, even if it leaves us a bit light on things to say in this section.

Better Than Average Outdoor Handling

While this model isn’t an “all-terrain” wheelchair, its big rear wheels have a sufficient amount of tread on them to make the 305 capable of navigating a fairly broad range of uneven terrain types, and of course, it will have no difficulty at all navigating any indoor surface.  While we can’t promise the most comfortable ride imaginable over a cobblestone street or the like, the 305 will have no difficulty handling it, and get you from Point A to Point B.

Pros & Cons of S Ergo 305 Karman Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair

As you can see, there’s a lot to like about the Karman S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair.  It’s comfortable, and it’s highly configurable, which means that you can tweak and adjust it until it’s a perfect fit for you.  Even better, with so many extras and add-ons available at the point of sale, you can customize to your heart’s content, until the chair becomes perfect for the way you intend to use it.

An Image Sample of Karman Logo for Karman S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair Review

Having said that, the chair does fall short of perfection, and there are a few small things we’d ask the designers to change if we could.  In no particular order, these are:

  • While the braking and wheel locking system is fine, and both can be easily accessed by the person sitting in the chair, wheelchairs were also designed so that a caregiver can push, if needed.  We’d love to see the addition of handbrakes that the caregiver could use on those occasions, which would make the chair even better at handling sloping terrains.
  • Since a storage pouch isn’t one of the point of sale options offered by the company, we do wish they had included one on the base model.  Even better, add a storage pouch on the back of the seat back and a small, removable storage basket under the seat.  That way, the person sitting in the chair could easily access it without having to get up.
  • We’d love to see the option to order 12” rear wheels at the point of sale so that this chair could be converted to a transport chair if and as the need arose.  Not many models do this, but given this one’s price, it would be a superb addition.

The only other thing left to talk about then, is the price.

Even if you don’t order any of the point of sale “extras,” this is still one of the more expensive manual wheelchairs you can buy.  If you start adding on all the bells and whistles, it will predictably drive the total price even higher.

While it’s true that this is a case of getting what you pay for, it’s also true that the hefty price tag puts this model out of the reach of a good segment of the market.  That’s unfortunate, but also unavoidable.  Any time you place such a high emphasis on quality, the price is bound to rise, and that is precisely the case here.

We don’t regard any of these things as deal breakers (except for the price, of course), but they are limitations to be aware of before making a final purchase decision.

S Ergo 305 Karman Wheelchair Reviews Conclusion

And there you have it!  Even if you ultimately decide that the Karman S-305 Ergonomic Wheelchair isn’t right for you, we think you’ll agree it is a superb (and a superbly capable) model that sets the standard for the other chairs in the industry.

If you suffer from a long-term mobility issue, both quality and comfort really matter, and our view is, it’s well worth spending a little extra on a chair that will not only last you years (if not decades) but enable you to get around in comfort and style.  For people in this category, we recommend this model without reservation.

If your wheelchair needs are short-term, we’d recommend looking at some other model.  There’s not much point spending this kind of money on a chair you don’t plan to use for very long anyway, so a less expensive model would probably meet your needs without severely denting your bank account the way this one will.

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Check out our in-depth review of the Karman S-305 ergonomic wheelchair.  This model sets the standard where manual wheelchairs are concerned! @KarmanHC
  • Chair Institute
  • January 2, 2019
  • Wheelchairs
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