If you or a loved one uses a wheelchair, you know that comfort is vital. One way to increase comfort is to ensure the armrests are well-padded. You may not pay much attention to armrests when buying a wheelchair, but these parts play a significant role for the users.
Armrests provide stability and balance for those who no longer have strong upper bodies. A good armrest reduces pressure, relieves pain, and reduces skin irritation. It is also the only arm resting place when sitting in a wheelchair.
This blog post will cover everything you need to know about buying wheelchair armrest pads and provide some of the ones in the market. Remember, it’s not enough to choose the best wheelchair; you should also consider the perfect armrest for maximum comfort.
Factors to Consider When Buying Wheelchair Armrest Pads
Below are the factors you must consider when buying armrest pads for a wheelchair:
Several materials are available for armrest pads, each with advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the most popular options:
- Foam: Foam is a popular choice because it's relatively inexpensive and easy to find. However, foam can break down over time and may need to be replaced more frequently than other materials. In addition, foam can be less comfortable in hot weather as it retains heat.
- CPU: Cooling gel armrest pads are designed to mitigate the heat retention issue common with foam pads. They work by absorbing and dissipating body heat, making them more comfortable in warm weather. However, cooling gel pads tend to be more expensive than other options.
- Memory foam: Memory foam contours to your body and redistributes your weight evenly, making it more comfortable for long-term sitting. It is also durable and holds up well over time. However, memory foam can retain heat like other foam materials, so cooling gel memory foam may be a good option if you live in a warm climate.
Before you buy an armrest pad, you need to measure the width of your wheelchair's armrest. Most armrest pads are designed to fit standard-sized armrests, but it's always best to double-check before making a purchase.
You'll also want to consider the thickness of the armrest pad when making your decision — thicker pads will provide more support but may make it difficult to get in and out of your wheelchair.
Best Wheelchair Armrests
Here is a compilation of the best wheelchair armrest pads on the market today:
- Dimensions: 15 x 11 x 7 inches
- Weight: 9.6 ounce
- Material: Nylon-covered foam
Skil Care’s wheelchair armrest pad is lightweight at 9.6 ounces and has an ergonomic design that cradles the arm. You can quickly attach or detach it from the existing wheelchair. It’s also easy to clean and provides excellent support and stabilization.
However, this armrest pad may be too soft for some users looking for a firmer one.
- Dimensions: 17 inches x 9 inches x 7 inches
- Weight: 1 pound
- Material: Vinyl-covered foam
The Posey wheelchair armrest pads have a unique design. It wraps around the arm of the wheelchair with a longer side draping and requires your leg and upper hip to press against it. This design helps relieve pressure points and reduce arm pain.
Its cover is made of vinyl which can be hot in warm months. However, the cover is easy to clean and has self-releasing straps for easy attachment.
- Dimensions: 13” length, 4.5” diameter, 8.5” circumference
- Weight: 7.3 ounces
- Material: Memory foam
The Back Pedal wheelchair armrest pads are sold as a set that can cover both armrests. They are ideal for seniors who suffer from painful elbow pressure. It’s made from memory foam layers wrapped in hypoallergenic synthetic sheepskin.
These armrest pads protect against soreness, pain, skin irritation, and breakdown. It has a nonslip design that secures it on an armrest.
- Dimensions: 11 x 10 x 1 inches
- Weight: 4 ounces
- Material: Fleece
The Nova Sheepskin Fleece wheelchair armrest pads are made from soft and comfortable thick synthetic sheepskin that provides a soothing feeling to arms and elbows. They’re easy to attach to the armrests using velcro and can be cleaned by washing.
However, unlike the other armrest pads on the list, they may not provide as much support.
- Dimensions: 13.54 x 5.04 x 4.53 inches
- Weight: 11.68 ounces
- Material: Memory Foam
Vive wheelchair armrest pads are made from a thick memory foam layer that can distribute pressure evenly across your arms, helping relieve nerve pain. It’s covered with hypoallergenic sheepskin that protects from soreness and skin irritation.
Wheelchair armrest pads are great wheelchair accessories to help ensure the maximum comfort of our elderly loved ones. Like portable wheelchair ramps, they are a must for wheelchair users.
Check out one of these armrest pads today and give your senior family member the gift of comfort.
William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.