How to Choose a Wheelchair Ramp

Discount Ramps has a large selection of Wheelchair Ramps of various sizes and styles to ensure that there’s something that perfectly fits your specific need. This page is designed to help you understand the differences between each type of wheelchair and scooter ramp so that you can make an informed buying decision. Please contact us if you have any additional questions regarding Wheelchair Ramps, and one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives will be glad to assist you!

Wheelchair Ramp Styles

Wheelchair Ramp Styles
1

Modular Handicap Access Ramps

Designed to fit any home or business applications and meet ADA codes, these ramp systems can be custom-ordered in a variety of different configurations to ensure that the ramp meets your exact needs. These ramps are not considered to be portable but can be disassembled and moved as needed.

2

Portable Wheelchair Ramps

Lightweight, compact, and easy to set up, the portable wheelchair ramps come in multiple varieties (see below) so you can find one that fits your style, budget, and storage constraints. Portable ramps are most commonly used for loading onto porches and steps and into vans.

3

Solid & Threshold Ramps

Perfect for maneuvering manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, and mobility scooters over short rises or through doorways around the home or office. These ramps have been thoroughly tested to withstand daily, repetitive use.

4

Wheelchair Van Ramps

Designed to assist you with loading a scooter or power chair into a full-size van, minivan, or SUV, and available in multiple styles. The wheelchair van ramps can mount inside the rear of your vehicle. Portable folding ramps are available for rear and/or side door loading and are available with handles for portability.

Portable Wheelchair Ramps Styles

Portable Wheelchair Ramps Styles
1

Single Fold Wheelchair Ramps

A more affordable option and available in 2'-8' lengths, these ramps are sometimes referred to as Suitcase Ramps because they look like a suitcase when being carried by the handle. Commonly used for short inclines or loading an unoccupied power chair into the side of a minivan.

2

Multi-Folding Wheelchair Ramps

Lightweight, compact, and easy to set up, the portable wheelchair ramps come in multiple varieties so you can find one that fits your style, budget, and storage constraints. Portable ramps are most commonly used for loading onto porches and steps and into vans.

3

Multi-Folding Manual Wheelchair Ramps

Designed for manual wheelchairs only, telescoping wheelchair ramps slide into themselves to offer adjustable lengths up to 10' for loading onto various vertical heights. They are compact and light for ease of transport.

4

Wheelchair Track Ramps

Designed for manual wheelchairs only, track ramps are sets of two narrow ramps that are placed parallel to each other, similar to railroad tracks. They are much more compact and therefore easier to store than full-width wheelchair ramps.

Purpose

First, how are you going to be using your ramp?

Consider the following questions to pinpoint exactly why and where you need a wheelchair ramp:

  • Will you be using the ramp indoors or outdoors?
  • Is this for a home or a business? A commercial application requires an ADA compliant ramp.
  • Do you need a ramp for a threshold, to go over stairs, to go over a landing, or for use with a vehicle?
  • Do you need a permanent or temporary installation?
  • Do you need a ramp that’s portable?
  • What type of traffic will be on the ramp? Do you need a ramp to accommodate a manual wheelchair or a power wheelchair? Will it only be used by someone using a walker or cane or just struggling with steps? Does the ramp need to accommodate a caregiver as well as a wheelchair user?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search for the perfect wheelchair ramp.

Specifications

Next, we need to consider some specifications of the mobility device being used and the ramp placement to determine the appropriate size for the wheelchair ramp. This is a little more technical, but don’t worry – with a few measurements you can make sure your ramp is the right fit for your needs and will be safe to use.

First, you need to know some information about your mobility device.
  • Width
  • Weight
  • Weight of any accessories used with the device, the person using the device, and the caregiver if applicable
  • Tire width (if using track ramps)
  • Are you using a 2-wheel or 3-wheel scooter? This can determine if track ramps are an option, or if a hinge on a folding ramp would cause interference.
  • Maximum allowable incline indicated on device
Next, think about where exactly the ramp will be placed.

You will need to know some measurements in order to make sure the ramp will fit properly:

  • Width of ramp placement surface or opening (like a doorway)
  • Vertical rise (measure from the ground to the surface the ramp will rest on) – This will help you determine the proper length for the correct slope, or angle of the ramp. Different situations require different slopes – see our article “How to Determine Proper Wheelchair Ramp Length” for more information.
  • Available distance or clearance needed – Think about factors such as: Are there features in the environment that may interfere with the ramp, such as a curved sidewalk or non-moveable elements? Will there be room to maneuver the wheelchair at either end of the ramp? Is clearance for a door swinging open a factor? If the ramp has side rails, make sure they are cut at the top or it has a long enough lip to accommodate the door.

With these measurements, you should be able to determine the requirements for the wheelchair ramp:

  • Overall width - Must be less than the width of the ramp placement surface/opening and (for ramps without side rails) greater than the width of the mobility device + any room for maneuverability or comfort
  • Inside width (for ramps with side rails) - Must be greater than the width of the mobility device + any room for maneuverability or comfort
  • Length - Use our handy mobility ramp calculator with the vertical rise. See our article “How to Determine Proper Wheelchair Ramp Length.”
  • Weight Capacity - Must be greater than the weight of the mobility device + person + caregiver if applicable + any other items being transported
  • If storage is important, make sure the size of the ramp, including its folded dimensions if applicable, will fit into the intended storage area.

Special Features

Once you know the required size, consider any other features that would make your ramp easier to use.
  • Is portability important? Look for features like handles, a carrying bag, folding features, and lightweight construction. Some ramps will separate into smaller pieces for even lighter weight carrying.
  • Surface type - Most wheelchair ramps have a non-slip surface. Do you prefer an integrated traction surface, grit coat surface, or a punch plate surface for heavy duty traction?
  • Mounting pins - Some ramps include mounting holes and pins for a permanent or semi-permanent installation. This adds stability to the ramp, but requires drilling into the loading surface.
  • Adjustable - Some ramps have an adjustable length or height or allow for extensions to be added.
  • Handrails - This provides extra stability and can be important if used by someone walking or using a mobility aid such as a cane or walker.
  • Side rails – This added safety feature helps the user stay on the ramp.
  • Lip extension – This accessory helps clear bumpers on a van or SUV.
  • Modular ramps require a detailed evaluation. See our article “Modular Site Evaluation” for additional information.
These considerations can help you find the best ramp for your situation. If you need additional help, please contact our friendly customer service staff.

Additional Questions to Consider