Mobility is a crucial part of life, and knowing how to choose the best walker can transform the daily lives of those who use them. In this article we will provide an in-depth review for anyone considering buying a walker.
There is no shame in needing assistance with mobility! You are no better or worse than anyone else because of your use of devices—relish in the fact that we live in the 21st century and these technologies are available to us at the tips of our fingers.
Finding Suitable Walkers
When considering walkers, first consider how long you will need to use one. If you’re having surgery and are likely to only require mobility support for a few days, you can probably get by without making a big investment. Check at your local senior center for donated walkers, which may even be available for free. This is also a good way to try out different types of walkers before you buy one. It is also advisable to be assessed for a walker by a physical therapist or similar professional.
Does Medicare Cover Walkers?
Medicare Part B will cover walkers as durable medical equipment (DME). The walker must be medically necessary, and ordered by a qualified provider enrolled with Medicare. The exact cost (to you) will depend. From Medicare.gov:
If your supplier accepts assignment you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount, and the Part B deductible applies. Medicare pays for different kinds of DME in different ways. Depending on the type of equipment:
1) you may need to rent the equipment,https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/walkers
2) you may need to buy the equipment, or
3) you may be able to choose whether to rent or buy the equipment.
Does Medicaid Cover Walkers?
Medicaid is a program that varies from state to state, but all states offer coverage for medically necessary walkers. Like Medicare, Medicaid also covers walkers if certain conditions are met. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which governs both Medicare and Medicaid, classifies walkers as durable medical equipment and covers them accordingly.
How to Choose the Best Walker for You
There are different products for different needs and different body types. For example, do you require a walker that can handle a heavy weight because of an unstable gait, or do you have a lighter body weight that can easily be handled by a two-wheeled walker. This will all depend on a conversation with your general practitioner, an assistive technology specialist, or someone who specializes in adaptive technologies dealing with mobility issues. Also, depending on your use of a walker, where and under what circumstances, it may be advisable to add tennis balls or some alternative to the legs.
Five Categories of Walkers
Not all walkers are the same, so knowing how to choose the best walker first depends on determining your individual needs and then selecting the best walker that fits your needs and situation.
- Standard Walker – A sturdy, simple, lightweight device that is used by holding onto two handles, then shuffling along, moving the walker in front of you as you travel. The four non-slip legs provide the maximum amount of stability and are good for users with less mobility. Some walkers also have two small wheels to help the user slide it across the floor. Wheels can be particularly helpful for those with less upper-body strength who need to get the rubber non-slip feet over a wide expanse of carpet.
- Upright Walker– Allows an upright posture, rather than stooped. The user’s body weight goes onto their forearms between the shoulder and elbow, instead of the hands and forearms. Many seniors have chronic pain in their wrists and hands, which can make a standard walker uncomfortable. Most upright walker models feature ergonomic hand brakes for stopping the walker.
- Three-Wheeled Rolling Walker– this standard height walker is designed to stay in motion until the a handbrake locks the wheels. These walkers have optional seats so that you can take a rest, or use the seat as shelf for items you wish to carry. The three-wheeled walker is easier to maneuver in tight spaces (like around furniture) than four-wheeled rolling walkers.
- Four-Wheeled Rolling Walker – Also known as a “rollator,” this popular walker is lightweight despite having four wheels and a seat/shelf. Like the other wheeled walkers, it uses handbrakes to disable the wheels. It works best for active people who need support in staying active.
- Beach Access Walker – Live on the beach (or access one often)? ACTIVEnABLE sells a hard-to-find Beach Access Walker. These units come with a hefty price tag, but for the person that lives on (or loves) the beach, it could be worth the investment if it means you are more safely able to cross beach sand (it’s also great for other difficult terrains).
If you’re unsure which walker would be most helpful to you, speak with your doctor, an adaptive technology specialist, or someone familiar with the unique requirements that your situation needs.
3 Key Features to Focus On
There are important details to research before making your purchase (if paying out-of-pocket). Not all walkers are made the same and there are certain key details that you may want to include in your new walker before finalizing your purchase.
Here are three features that you should research and look into once you know how to best accommodate for your unique situation:
- Adjustability – How tall are you? You must keep in mind if your handles are adjustable because an individual who is 6 foot is not going to use the same design as someone who is 5’5”.
- Stability – If you require a lot of additional support for your weight up top, then a front-wheeled walker will make more sense. However if you are looking for endurance or additional mobility then one with four-wheels may be a better fit for you.
- Weight Rating – As mentioned before, weight is incredibly important in determining which type of walkers to use. Most standard walkers are made for individuals up to 300 pounds. If you require a walker that can support additional weight then a bariatric model may be a better fit for you.
This video may also prove to be informative for readers:
In conclusion, make sure to have your weight, your gait, and the overall state of your health examined and analyzed by a medical professional. This will be paramount information when it comes to making your final decision on the type and specifics of your walker to purchase.
The 5 Best Walkers Right Now
Once you are well-informed on your unique requirements, you have double checked with your physician, and you are ready to return to a life of mobility—then it is time to look at what the market has to offer. Currently, there are thousands of different walkers available to senior citizens and those living with mobility issues. Below you will find a comprehensive list of the best that Amazon has to offer. Because there is nothing better than doing your research, being well-informed, and having the luxury of ordering your new life from your screen.
1. Drive Medical Four-Wheel Walker Rollator with Fold Up Removable Back Support
Making it to the top of Amazon’s Top Walkers is the Drive Medical Four-Wheel walker. This standout walker provides reliable support with maximum comfort and is ideal for uneven or outdoor terrain. Meaning, if you like to go on long walks or you enjoy gardening in the mornings, then this outdoor terrain walker may be ideal for you.
- Rolling Walker with Seat: Stable, strong and stylish, this steel rollator features a durable and supportive frame, a comfortable seat, and an under-seat storage pouch; a great walker for seniors and adults seeking stability in a smaller-than-average footprint
- Wheeled Walker: Four 7.5-inch caster wheels give you a stable roll and are great for outdoor use; a hand brake that can be pressed or pushed down to lock the walker with wheels into place
This walker also features deluxe loop locks for safety, non-marking wheels (no black streaks left behind), and a small pouch to store whatever you need to carry around. The Drive Medical also has a padded seat with backrest and adjustable handle heights. Finally, it can easily be stored and transported simply by removing or folding backrest.
2. Medline Rollator Walker
Next up on our list of top Amazon walkers is the Medline Rollator Walker, with a padded seat so that you can sit comfortably, take a second to rest and still be able to go about your day. It also features smooth rolling six-inch wheels that are designed for both inside and outdoor use. So you won’t be stuck in one place or the other. The walker also easily folds for convenient storage and in case you need to take it with you.
- ROLLATOR WALKER WITH SEAT AND 6" WHEELS - The Medline Rollator features a padded seat that allows the user to sit and rest, and smooth rolling 6 inch wheels that are great for indoor or outdoor use
- ROLLING WALKER EASILY FOLDS - Easily fold the Medline Steel Rollator Walker for convenient transport and storage. Rollator weighs 19 lbs
This walker also has additional storage for you with a built-in bag underneath the seat. Simply lift up the padded seat to access the storage bag. The Medline Rollator also has adjustable handle grips that adjust from 31″ – 35″. And last but not least, the rollator can handle up to 350 pounds.
3. KneeRover Economy Knee Scooter
Coming in at number three on our list of top Amazon walkers is the KneeRover and it is exactly as you might think. For an incredibly price and highly affordable, the KneeRover Knee Scooter delivers the best knee walker value in the industry and is ideal for individuals recovering from a broken foot, broken ankle, broken leg, foot surgery, or ankle surgery or simply those of us who are a bit older. This affordable scooter is an excellent crutch alternative. It is much more comfortable and offers much more stability than most crutches.
- THE PROVEN USA BRAND: KneeRover has been creating innovative, high performance mobility solutions for over 10 years, including the original All Terrain and Pediatric knee scooters. We are a family-oriented business based in Evans, Georgia USA - dedicated to delivering the highest quality knee scooters and providing exceptional customer service (available via phone and email). All our products come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and the best warranty in the industry.
- EXCELLENT CRUTCH ALTERNATIVE: More comfortable and stable than crutches, this affordable knee walker is made for both indoor and outdoor use, and is designed for supporting either the right or left leg.
The scooter is also incredibly easy to maneuver and features four 7.5″ rubber wheels, dual-adjustable locking hand brakes and dual rear on-wheel brakes. The Steerable Knee Scooter also comes with handlebars with a fast release folding mechanism for transportation and storage for when it’s time to put it away. And lastly, this knee walker weighs only 21 pounds and offers a robust 300 lb. weight capacity.
4. Drive Medical Nitro Euro Style Rollator Walker
Number four on our list of top sellers is the very sleek looking Drive Medical Nitro Walker. It features an easy to collapse rollator down to an ultra-compact size, all capable of being performed with only one hand. The design also boasts a lightweight aluminum frame with built in brake cables for additional safety.
- Rolling Walker with Seat: The Nitro walker combines larger wheels and advanced features with a sleek design for a safe, smooth experience; a great walker for seniors and adults seeking advanced maneuverability and comfort in a lightweight, foldable rollator
- Superior Wheels: Large 10-inch front casters glide the 4-wheeled walker over curbs and rough terrain while offering the rollator walker optimal maneuvering around furniture and corners
The Drive Medical Nitro Walker also comes with a comfortable nylon seat and an adjustable grip to match your height and level of wrists. Lastly, this Euro walker comes with large front wheels designed to increase your turning radius as well as including a small removable zippered storage bag for storage.
5. RINKMO Rollator Walkers
Last on our list is the Rinkmo Rollator walker with a sleek design and even more incredible mobility features. This Rinkmo Rollator is made and then welded by premium aluminum with a weight capacity of up to 300 lb—the rollator walker itself coming in at only a mere 15.6 lbs. The rollator walker handles are also capable of being adjusted to your size. The handle from the ground starts at 32.2 – 37.4” (80-95cm).
- Upgrade Walkers for Seniors: rollator walker structure all made/welded by premium aluminum, sturdy and lightweight senior walker for seniors weighing up to 300 lbs while rollator walker itself weigh 15.6 lbs only. Please note that rollator walker with seat and wheels can be used as walking aid only, aimed at helping the elderly/rehab patient walk more easily and confident.
- Walkers for Seniors with Adjustable Healconnex Handle: rollator walker handle can be adjusted by your needs. Walker handle from ground goes from 32.2 - 37.4” (80-95cm). if you are 5-5.7ft tall, it’s the best rollator walker for you, if you are 5.7-6” ft tall, you might need to stoop slightly.
If you are of smaller stature, or between 5-5.7ft tall, this is the ideal rollator walker for you, if you are taller than 5.7-6” ft, you might need to bend down slightly. This walker also includes 8 inch large solid PVC wheels, 18” wide seat, a padded backrest and a nylon mesh seat. Finally, the walker also comes with an ergonomic handgrip with a two brake system.
Choosing the best walker depends on your individual factors: how long you will need it, what your situation is, and what your doctor might say. Walkers are designed to improve your life, so see them as useful aids rather than unfortunate necessities. Remember to check with a certified medical professional before making any purchase so that you make the best and most well-informed decision.
Beyond the walkers themselves, seniors should do their best to stay fit. This in itself is the single biggest way to improve balance. Whether it is trying Tai Chi for seniors or yoga for seniors or some other exercise, consult with your doctor and improve muscle tone.