March 25, 2012

Comparing Portable Wheelchair Ramps

Author: Adam Hefner

Portable wheelchair ramps are a convenient way for a wheelchair user to access any area. They can help you get over steps or thresholds, or enter a number of different models of vans, minivans, and SUVs, without having to modify them for wheelchair access. A variety of different portable ramps are available. When choosing a portable ramp, you have to take into account what kind of wheelchair you are using and what angle of incline you can use, the ramp length you will need to achieve this angle in the areas you're likely to use the ramp, and what size and weight of ramp you can transport.

Rollup Ramps: These ramps are unrolled and secured with a side railing to provide a short ramp, available in lengths of three or five feet. These ramps are extremely portable, with a very low weight and compact size. They are excellent for crossing thresholds and one or two steps, but their use is limited to short inclines.

Single-Fold Ramps: Single-fold wheelchair ramps or suitcase ramps are reasonably light and sturdy. They have a high weight capacity and can be transported fairly easily for mid-height inclines. The disadvantage is that the ramp retains its full length when folded, making larger single-fold ramps cumbersome.

Multi-Fold Ramps: Multi-fold wheelchair ramps are made up of four sections which fold into a heavy duty portable ramp with lengths available of up to 12 feet. These are the heaviest portable ramps, but they provide even heavy wheelchair users the ability to pass over steps and to enter large vehicles.

Track Ramps: Adjustable-length track ramps, or telescoping ramps, are extremely versatile. These ramps allow easy access to short steps and thresholds, and can be extended to cover higher inclines. Models are available which extend up to ten feet. These ramps come in pairs, each ramp acting as a track under each side of a wheelchair. Because of this, this ramp cannot be used for power scooters with three wheels or six-wheeled power wheelchairs; the wheels will not all fit on the same track. The track ramp is extremely light-weight but also has a lower weight capacity than a folding ramp.

Temporary Ramps: Ramps are available which can be easily installed as a temporary or semi-permanent access to a home or business. These ramps come in a variety of forms. The simplest are lightweight aluminum ramps which can be moved from one threshold or step to another quickly and conveniently. Mid-length door-width ramps are available with minimal assembly to allow entry to a place where a wheelchair user will be visiting or staying temporarily or semi-permanently, or in any situation where a permanent ramp is inconvenient. Temporary, easily assembled ramp structures are even available in multi-section ramps and platforms allowing easy access with a low slope.

These different types of temporary wheelchair ramps allow access in any situation. You can measure or approximate the height of the obstacles you\'re planning to pass using temporary ramps and ask what length of ramp you need when you order; some websites also offer ramp calculators to help you figure out what kind of ramp you need.

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