Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Choosing Between A Walker & A Rollator

If you have a loved one who needs help with walking, a physician, physical therapist or caregiver may suggest a walker or rollator. So what's the difference between these two options? And which one is right for your loved one?

Let's explore various types of walkers and rollators and check out the specifics of each that will help make choosing between them an easy decision.

Walkers and Rollators

It's estimated that over 6.8 million people in the United States use assistive devices for mobility and over 6.1 million seniors use walkers, canes or crutches. Walkers and rollators are commonly used by:

  • Those with arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • People going through rehabilitative services after a fall, accident or stroke
  • Seniors with gait problems or who are recovering from strokes
  • People in need of diabetic care and who may have diabetic neuropathy

When Walkers Are Required

A walker is a metal or aluminum frame with wide feet that can offer balance when walking. Walkers are used by people going through rehabilitative services or recovery services after a fall or to help with stabilizing gait.

Walkers can offer different options, such as one with no wheels on it or with two front wheels to help move the walker forward. Having two wheels ensures the person doesn't have to lift the walker with each step.

When Rollators Are Required

Rollators are similar to walkers, but there are a few key differences. They may have four wheels on the base. They may offer an optional seat for the person to sit down. Other features may include a basket under the seat or attached to the front frame to help with carrying things. Rollators may feature a brake to stop the rollator from moving forward. Brakes can be helpful if the rollator starts moving too fast. Features can vary, depending on the surface the rollator is moving across.

Walkers are able to collapse for travel or storage, while rollators cannot collapse but may fit into most vans, ambulances or SUVs. So which one is best?

Finding the Best Walkers and Rollators

Some people use walkers for general recreation. Walkers can provide stability for going to and from appointments and for daily living activities. Our top picks are:

Drive Medical Universal Deluxe Folding Walker
    • Features two buttons for easy folding
    • Includes two front 5-inch wheels
    • Height can be adjusted from 28” to 38”
    • Cost: $40.00

For seniors who need to take breaks in between walking and for those who may suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, using a rollator with a seat will probably be best. Possible options might include:

  • This type of rollator includes four wheels measuring 6 inches in height.
  • The caster wheels have loop locks.
  • The rollator uses hand brakes.
  • It comes with a seamless padded seat with a zippered pouch underneath.
  • Cost: $85.00
  • With this rollator version, the two front wheels are 10 inches tall and the two rear wheels are 8 inches tall. 
  • The frame folds side-to-side for easy transport or storage.
  • This rollator has brakes with hidden brake cables inside the frame tubing.
  • Cost: $200.00
Walker wheels typically have a standard 5-inch height that easily rolls across hardwood, concrete and marble flooring as well as roads. Walkers may be difficult to maneuver in grass or on the sand. Hence, rollators can offer more stability over uneven surfaces like breaks in concrete or cracks in the sidewalk.


There are different types of walkers and rollators that can help your loved one be mobile. Talk to his or her health care provider for the best options. Also be sure to let your relative test out different walkers and rollators. Try a variety of surfaces to ensure he or she is comfortable with the walker or rollator. The more the person is out and about walking, the more he or she will gain increased confidence over time. Reach out to us here at MMAR Medical with any questions!

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