In a Nutshell:
The Medline Excel Extra Wide Bariatric Wheelchair is a rock-solid design offered by one of the finest companies in the industry, and capable of supporting an impressive 500 pounds of user weight. Recommended for big and tall users up to 500 pounds. This chair is mostly for indoor use but can handle relatively flat, even outdoor terrains.
Ease of Use
Are you a bigger or taller person with a mobility issue? Have you been struggling to find a chair that’s big enough to be comfortable for you, yet agile enough to be easy to use?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, then Medline’s Bariatric Wheelchair might be just what you’ve been looking for!
This chair isn’t for everyone. In fact, one of the dangers of buying a chair that’s “too big” for you is that propelling it yourself becomes a punishing exercise that will leave your forearms aching and bruised in short order.
One of the keys to a comfortable ride is to make sure you get a chair that’s just big enough for you to fit comfortably into, with little room to spare. Get one too small, and you won’t be able to use it at all. Get one too big, and you’ll only be able to use it with help.
Medline is one of the major players in the mobility industry, and the makers of a wide range of high-quality products. This brute, constructed of solid steel, is no exception and a real workhorse of a chair, for the right user.
The design is quite strong, but it’s not a perfect chair, and in the sections that follow here in our Medline Bariatric Wheelchair review, we’ll go over everything: the good, the bad, and the in-between, so you’ve got all the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision.
Ready to take a closer look? Let’s jump right in!
An Overview of the Medline Bariatric Wheelchair
While no wheelchair ever made can claim to be truly stylish, you can tell the design team put some thought into this model’s aesthetic.
Its carbon steel frame is chrome-coated, giving it a certain gleam which goes nicely with its padded Navy seating and sleek black mag wheels. It still won’t win any beauty contests, but again, as wheelchairs go, it’s a bit of a looker.
With regards to stats, here are the basics:
The carbon frame is a bit of a mixed blessing here. On the one hand, most wheelchairs sold today are made from high-grade aluminum. The upgrade to carbon steel is what allows this model to support such an impressive weight.
On the flip side, it’s also what makes this a heavier wheelchair. At 59 pounds, it may be too heavy for you to load and unload into a vehicle without assistance, and it’s big enough that it will be a tight fit, even in big, roomy trunks. Although if you have an SUV or a truck or van, transporting it won’t present any difficulties.
Adjustability & Comfort
The Medline Bariatric Wheelchair is only somewhat above average in both of these categories.
Seat Width & Footrests
Regarding adjustability, aside from being able to specify your preferred seat width at the point of sale, about the only other thing you can adjust on this model is the length of the footrests.
That does give you some flexibility, but there are other chairs on the market with much more on offer where tweaks to provide the perfect fit are concerned.
As to comfort, the padded vinyl seat cushion and seat back are adequate but underwhelming. The Medline Excel Extra Wide Wheelchair’s default configuration is excellent for short to medium-duration seating, but if you need to spend the bulk of each day in the chair, then you’re almost certainly going to want to buy an extra cushion for both the seat and the seat back.
Even then, given that the seat is not angled, sitting for extended periods will prove to be increasingly uncomfortable as the day wears on. With extra padding, you’ll probably be able to manage 6-7 hours at a stretch in reasonable comfort, which is decent, but not outstanding.
On-Board Storage & Extras
The Medline Bariatric Transport Wheelchair boasts a moderately roomy storage pocket, located at the back of the seat. That’s where most companies put storage, if and where it’s offered, so we can’t fault the company for its inclusion there, but we’ll note that we vastly prefer chairs that have storage located under the seat so the person sitting in the chair can easily access it.
That’s the only extra to speak of, but the company does offer some accessories that you can purchase at the point of sale, including a safety belt and elevating leg rests.
The leg rests that come on the default model swing away, which allows the person sitting in the chair to wheel right up to the family (or restaurant) dinner table and enjoy a meal without having to go through the process of being transferred out of the wheelchair and into a dining chair.
The optional leg rests do that too, but they also elevate. It’s not a feature that every user will want, but if you do, then be sure to pick up the optional leg rest accessory.
We regard the safety belt as a must-have and would have preferred it if the company had simply made it standard, but again, if it’s something you don’t feel you’ll need, don’t bother with it. If you want it, don’t forget to add it when you place your order.
Splendid Indoors, Average Outdoors
Medline’s Excel Transport Wheelchair sports 22” rear wheels and 8” casters. On paper, it looks like it would handle outdoor terrains with ease, but it’s got two things working against it.
First, the rear wheels aren’t very wide and don’t have tread, which will cause it to sink into soft earth more often than it rides over it.
Second, since it’s a heavier chair, even without someone sitting in it, navigating over rough terrain can prove to be a bit of a challenge.
If you don’t plan on spending much time outdoors, and when you do, if you mostly stick to flat, level terrain, you’ll be fine. Indoors, it handles like a dream, and even plush, thick carpet won’t present too much of a challenge.
No Real Learning Curve and Almost No Assembly Required
Medline is very good about this aspect of all the chairs they make. The vast majority come almost entirely assembled. In this case, the only thing you have to do to get ready for your first ride is to pop the leg rests into position, a process that takes less than two minutes.
Since there’s not a lot to adjust on the Excel Extra Wide Manual Wheelchair, there’s no learning curve to speak of, apart from spending a minute or two getting used to the way she handles. After that, you’re off to the races!
Pros & Cons of the Medline Bariatric Transport Wheelchair
This is a good model, but we don’t regard it as a great one. In no particular order, here are the things we like best about the design:
Regarding negatives, in a perfect world, we’d love to see the following changes made to the model:
We don’t regard any of the negatives as deal breakers, but they are indeed things to be mindful of as you’re weighing your purchase options.
Final Thoughts on Medline Bariatric Wheelchair Review
There’s a lot to like about Medline’s Bariatric Wheelchair, and given its few negatives (which are mostly small things anyway), we think it would make an awesome chair for the right user.
If you are…
Then you are the right user.
If those things don’t apply to you, then you’re almost sure to find a better fit with some other model. For the people who fit the description we gave just above, we highly recommend it.
References & Resources:
- Medline Standard Manual Wheelchairs User Guide.
- Types of Wheelchair Securement Systems: Safety Necessities, NMEDA.
- Bariatric Wheelchair: Benefits, Characteristics and Some Tips, Invacare Corporation.
- The Health Benefits and Constraints of Exercise Therapy for Wheelchair Users: a Clinical Commentary, Scielo.