When it comes to choosing a mobility aid it can be confusing deciding between the range of support that is available. Deciding what mobility aid you need can depend on a number of factors including the support that is required, whether you are looking to use your aid inside the house only or you also want to use it when venturing outside. Do you need to use public transport or will it need to fit in a car boot? Perhaps the most confusing choice can be between a Rollator and a Walker.

What’s The Difference between a Walker and a Rollator?

The main difference between a Walker and a Rollator is the number of wheels. A Walker does not have a wheel at the end of each leg. A Rollator which is sometimes known as a rolling walker has a wheel at the ends of each of its four legs.

A walker has 4 legs but does not have wheels, this means that it offers greater support but needs to by lifted from the ground when you want to go forward.

A Rollator has four legs and four wheels which means it does not have to be picked up to move forward or to get around the house or outside. Most Rollators come with seats which are great for taking rest when using your walker outside. Rollators are much more manoeuvrable and allow you to get around with ease. Rollators can be larger in size, particularly if they can be used when going outdoors. If you need your Rollator for indoor use only then choose one that is smaller and lighter and can be manoeuvred in tight spaces, for example, the toilet or the corridor of a house.

What Is A Walker?

Put simply a Walker is a frame with four legs that are designed to support your weight and to help you move around. A Walker needs to be lifted and laid as you move forward because of this they are normally very light weight, but the user will need to have the ability to grip the walker and to have the arm strength to maneovre it forward.

Walkers are ideal for supporting body weight and helping with balance. Some accessories are available including a bag to help you transport small items from room to room. They do not have a seat and are aid only when moving about the house.

What Is A Rollator?

The main difference is that a Rollator has wheels and it usually comes with a range of accessories including a bag, a seat, backrest, walking stick holders. The wheels allow the user to move forward without lifting the Rollator.

In summary the main difference are:

  • Rollators feature wheels are the end of each leg.
  • Rollators typically have a seat built into their frame.
  • Rollators do not need to be lifted in order to move around.
  • Rollators should not be used to support body weight or help with your balance

For full information on choosing a Rollator click here

How to Decide if I Need a Rollator or Walker?

Walkers:

  • Have to be lifted to move forward and will therefor depend on strength in your arms and hands to lift the Walker
  • Generally lightweight so easy to lift and move
  • Will support your weight better as there are no wheels
  • They come with four legs with give great support and help with balance
  • If you do not have great stability or need support with your balance then a Walker may be the better choice.

Rollators:

  • Will not offer as much stability as the wheels will move forward
  • The brakes will lock in place and it is important that this is done if using the walker for balance while stationary
  • If you can hold your balance then a Rollator is a great choice
  • Usually, it comes with accessories and a place to sit down if you get tired.
  • A Rollator is good if your arms or your grip is weak as you do not need to lift it to move about.

IS A FOLD UP WALKER WITH WHEELS THE SOLUTIONS

These walkers feature two legs at the back which touch the ground and do not have wheels and two legs at the front with wheels on them. This means that, when moving around, you only need to partially lift the walker to move about.

This solves the problem of having to lift the walker before moving forward, as you are only partially lifting you do not have to rely on so much hand and arm strength. This makes walking around much easier on the arms. These walkers are also able to partially support your balance and weight. However, you need to be careful as the wheels at the front can roll forward if you put too much weight and strain on them and it is, therefore, necessary to ensure that the user is able to control the wheels as they manoeuvre about.

MAIN FEATURES OF WALKERS WITH FRONT WHEELS

  • There are two legs at the back and two wheels at the front.
  • They require less arm strength and hand grip to use.
  • They will partially support balance and body weight but not as much as the traditional walker.
  • They may not have seats
  • They tend to have a smaller frame than the Rollators which makes them great for moving about in smaller spaces.
  • They are usually lightweight which makes them great for using them on public transport.

MAKING A CHOICE BETWEEN WALKERS AND ROLLATORS

If your mobility aid needs to support your balance, but you are still able to grip onto handles and lift objects, then a walker may be the best choice for you. On the other hand, if your balance is good but your arms are weak or you need to sit down often, a rollator would be the right choice.

However, if your arm strength isn’t what it used to be but you don’t need to sit down at regular intervals, then a mix of walker/rollator with half wheels and half legs may be the best choice.