Finding the right walker trays and attaching them can be a pain. There are many to choose from and each walker is different. However, considering the sheer number of different walker tray models on the market, some standards have emerged and installation can be a hassle-free experience.
I worked for years in an nursing home, assisted living facility, and generally with seniors in the public. It is quite common to find women who use a walker tray and walker basket to hold their knitting supplies, the book their reading, etc.
If you are one of more than four million Americans that relies on walkers every day, you have noticed that your walker is both helpful and a hindrance. It is in the way when you try to approach your table, the desk, and even your vanity set. A good tray can help you with this, as it creates a work surface or item holder.
Although limited in size, walker trays offer space for your medication, iPad, and other items you’re using, even a drink or dinner. Enjoying the sunrise with a warm cup of coffee from your front-yard porch or terrace suddenly sounds more comfortable, no?
What to Look for in a Walker Tray
A tray is a tray, but finding the model that works best for you means first thinking about your needs. Then you find a tray with the specs that meet those needs. The size, the ease of attachment and cleaning, as well as the weight are the things to consider before making a purchase.
Ease of Attachment
You may need to periodically take off the tray, be it for washing or simply to make the walker lighter and less cumbersome. A tray that can be clamped onto the walker instead of bolted is a better option if you plan to remove and attach it often.
While a bolt-in tray is harder to remove, it adds to the stability and durability and it can have a slight improvement on your balance as you slide the walker over the floor. If you have a walker made of aluminum, you may have noticed that prolonged use usually means that the walker becomes wobbly – a good tray made of sturdy plastic may help alleviate some of these problems.
Easy to Clean
If you will be using the tray for dining or as a cup holder, you want a model that is easy to clean. Spills, dust, and other messes may end up on your walker tray even if you are careful, so having a smooth surface with few edges and cracks is best.
However, a smooth surface can also mean more slippage. If you use the tray to support yourself (consider walkers with seats in this case), you may want to reconsider smooth. A smooth finish allows for less bacteria, but if you use the tray frequently and do not mind spending more time cleaning it, then a matte texture may work better for you.
The weight of the tray is probably not an issue because they are usually made of plastic, but trays and other walker attachments add ounces and ounces add up to pounds. Test your walker and see if you could reasonably handle more weight added to it. Chances are you can.
If you will be using it for hold your meds, the remote, cell phone, and a book, get a larger tray. Hobbyists might consider deep trays to hold pieces and parts.
Back to your needs, the main thing to consider. Think about what you do during a typical day and consider which walkers trays are the best for you:
- Large size?
- Easy to remove?
- A tray that has a cup holder?
- A tray that has an iPad slot?
Be realistic in your assessment. If you only use an iPad when in bed, do you need that slot or will it just take up space? Do you need a tray with a cup holder or should you have a designated cup holder as well?
- Multifunctional cup holder could be used for stroller, wheelchair, walker, bike, scooter, armrest, trolleys, pushchair, lawnmowers, ATV, treadmill, golf cart ,shopping cart, kayak, boat handlebar, motorcycle, beach chair etc.
- The cup holder organizer compatible with different bottles, whose diameter less than 85mm / 3.4 in. It fits for baby bottles, water bottles, coffee mug, drink bottles, beverage cups etc.
Once you know what you need, the rest is a breeze – you just need to search for it. Check out customer reviews. Here, we’ve checked and compared different trays and their specs and to find a few of the best walker trays:
Lumex Walker Tray
- Easy to install without tools; sturdy clip-on brackets fit most standard walkers
- Carry food, drinks, or personal items while on the move
A sturdy clip-on model, Lumex Walker Tray allows you to carry several personal items from one room to another. It has two cupholders, for all those who want to stay hydrated throughout the day. The fold-down mechanism is easy to install and use. It comes in a 16” X 12” size and features raised edges to prevent spills.
Drive Medical Universal Walker Tray
- Versatile Tray for Walker: Designed to keep drinks, food, and personal items within reach, this tray with a cup holder allows you to carry your belongings and bottles from room to room
- Easy to Install: Walker tray for folding walker features a new and improved design that fits most manufacturers' walkers
The Drive Medical Universal Walker Tray and Cup Holder fits most walkers out there. It has plenty of space for all your items, a cup holder, and two handles that make it easy to lift and hold. It features raised edges, to prevent any spills, and is super easy to clean. The matte surface is still very easy to clean, despite preventing your items from sliding over the surface. The handles fit over the walker handles and enable super-easy removal.
NOVA Medical Products Walker Tray
- GREAT FOLDING WALKER ACCESSORY for transporting food, drinks and personal items. Folds down when not in use.
- INSTALLS EASILY WITH NO TOOLS REQUIRED in just minutes. Clamps must be placed above the top and bottom cross brace to secure the tray.
If you have a folding walker, this is the right tray for you. You may want to consider the NOVA Medical Products tray because of its easy-to-attach clamp system, and the ease of folding when not in use. The anti-slip surface works great if you ever need to grab onto something and keep your items in place. It fits most 18” wide walkers and the tray itself is 10.5” X 16”. Very practical and easy to use.
Support Plus Walker Tray
- PLEASE MEASURE YOUR WALKER CAREFULLY AGAINST OUR MEASUREMENT DIAGRAM, AS EVERY WALKER CAN BE DIFFERENT - Fits most standard walkers, where tray fits down lower on the handle than other brands for stability. Overall dimensions = 21.125" x 16.25". Handle slots = 2" wide x 11.75" long. Between handle slots = 16.25". Walker coffee cup holder = 2.625" diameter each.
- TURN YOUR WALKER INTO A CONVENIENT TV TRAY - Easy to use walker caddy hugs the handles of your walker, creating a stable and convenient surface that's large enough to hold your entire meal.
The walker tray offers a mat that is placed on top of the tray, as an anti-slip layer. This is one of the models with the best reviews. Super-large size of 21” X 16”, it offers a lot of space. You can even use it to carry larger, bulkier items with you around the house, including laundry baskets and smaller boxes. Make sure not to overload it, and give yourself time to adapt to it.
Vive Walker Tray
- PREMIUM WALKER TRAY: A great walker accessory to foster independence, the Vive folding walker tray securely holds a standard 10.5” dinner plate, a beverage and all the essentials for mealtime. The folding walker tray provides a stable surface for transporting food, drinks and personal items from room to room with ease. A mesh cup holder on the right side of the walker tray accommodates drinking glasses, water bottles and cans up to 3” in diameter.
- WALKER TRAY FOR FOLDING WALKER: Uniquely designed for greater versatility, the foldable tray for walkers features a mesh-lined opening that cradles your dinner plate to minimize sliding while the walker is in motion and also acts as a walker basket when carrying small personal items. Use the sturdy walker tray table to hold your laptop or use it as a portable desk for reading, writing or note-taking.
This is a unique walker tray in that it is not made of a sturdy plastic material. It is rather made of plastic fabric, which reduces the weight of the tray itself, but it also severely limits what can be carried in it. However, if you do not use the tray to transport heavier items, such as large dishes or bottles of water, it is a perfect, foldable, machine-washable solution.
How to Attach Your Walker Tray
Attaching older models of trays was a pain in the neck. When I was working in long-term care it was often the occupational therapist who helped seniors attach their trays.
Newer models are much easier to install. Most feature a mechanism of a kind that should enable an easy placement on top of the walker. In most cases, you will have a tilt tray, so you will be installing it in the closed position. Attach the clips to the back two legs of the walker, those facing away from you.
Make sure that cup holders or slots are facing away from you. Then, clip the tray on and move it into the upright position. To check whether it holds tight enough, place it in the upward position and then downward again. Note that most tray models will have a click function, with a mini slot to keep the tray firmly attached in the desired position. If you feel any kind of resistance when trying to change the position, this is normal.
Keeping your walker tray clean is easy and can be done in as little as two steps. First, remove any debris that you may find on it. A hand vacuum may help with that. Then, using a clean cloth and a disinfectant solution, spray the tray and let it sit for a few minutes. This will effectively remove all bacteria that may have built up and will keep the surface safe to eat from.
Once the disinfecting is done, you should use a clean cloth and lukewarm water to wipe down any remaining disinfectant solution. Once in a while, such as a fortnight or a month, remove the tray altogether and spray it down with hot water. Check the cleaning instructions in the manual, to see whether it is safe to use water this hot on the tray.
Can You Put a Tray on a Walker?
Yes, you can put a tray on a walker. To do this, take the measurements of your walker, understand what kind of tray you need, and check out different models that are sold online or in a local specialized shop. Purchasing in person may be better as the clerks may let you try on a tray.
How Do You Carry Food When Using a Walker?
You can place the food on your walker tray when you need to carry it elsewhere. Make sure that most of the food is dry, as soups, stews, and other runny foods and drinks may spill, and cause you to slip or get burnt if they are hot. If you need to carry any liquids, use deep dishes, such as soup bowls, bowls, or a thermos.
How Do You Carry A Drink When Using a Walker?
Most walker models have a built-in cup holder that you can place your coffee or tea in instead of carrying them around. This way, you will be able to safely transport them. Always keep an eye on liquids when you need to carry them with a walker – you may slip and fall if they spill, especially if you have no carpets.
What Should You Not Do with a Walker?
When using a walker, you should never use it to support your entire weight. Always remember that the walker is there to help you stay balanced and upright. It is not meant to transport your entire weight. If you lean on it, or too forward, it may slide under your weight, causing you to fall and injure yourself.
A walker is a great thing to have. It helps with mobility and balance, provides extra protection on some types of flooring, and, with a tray, it also doubles as a workspace or a dining surface. With so many tray models online, it can be difficult to choose the right one. You can, however, refer to our guide and choose the best model for your needs.