Wheelchair 101: Hemi Wheelchair vs Standard Wheelchair

Written By Cardiologist
Wheelchair 101: Hemi Wheelchair vs Standard Wheelchair

When it comes to buying a wheelchair, there are many different options. In addition to regular wheelchairs, there are also special ones with optional features.

The Hemi wheelchair vs standard wheelchair comparison is one that many people do not think about until they have to.

However, these two wheelchairs provide two very different experiences and cater to different needs.

Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and choosing between them is personal for each user.

Dual-axle capabilities mean that your wheelchair can transform from standard to hemi height. Hemi height is about 2″ lower than standard seating. This allows the user to more easily self-propel and is also beneficial for residents shorter than 5′ tall.

Find out what makes them different and which one might be best for you or someone you know who uses a wheelchair.

What Is A Standard Wheelchair?

A standard wheelchair is the most basic and common type of wheelchair. This type of chair has a closed back and typically includes armrests, a footrest, and a seat belt to keep the secure user while in the chair.

Along with these standard features, back, seat, and footrest adjustments are familiar with this type of wheelchair.

Hemi Wheelchair Vs Standard Wheelchair

The back, seat, and footrest are adjustable to accommodate various users. People with varying heights, weights, and needs will find this type of wheelchair to be useful for their needs.

What Is A Hemi Wheelchair?

A Hemi wheelchair is a particular type of wheelchair designed for people with paralysis on one side of their body..

This type of wheelchair has a large open space on the side where the paralyzed leg is supposed to be.

The open space allows the user to put their portion in it while sitting in the chair. Due to the open and accessible design of this chair,

What Is A Hemi Wheelchair?

it is also sometimes used to accommodate people with amputations or other disabilities that affect only one side of the body.

A Hemi wheelchair has a much higher seat than a standard wheelchair. It allows the person sitting in it to see over the leg inside the chair.

Benefits Of Standard Wheelchairs

Standard wheelchairs come in many different types and can be customized to suit a person’s specific needs and preferences.

Standard wheelchairs also come in many sizes, making them an excellent choice for people of all ages and sizes.

Benefits Of Standard Wheelchairs

Since standard wheelchairs are so familiar and easy to find, you can often find many different options for renting or borrowing one if you don’t have the money or physical ability to purchase one.

Furthermore, they are relatively inexpensive compared to other wheelchairs and can be used for various purposes.

Benefits Of Hemi Wheelchairs

Hemi wheelchairs come in many different types as well. The main advantage that Hemi wheelchairs have over standard wheelchairs is that they are much easier to use.

Due to the design of a Hemi wheelchair, a person only needs to lift their leg enough to get it inside the chair.

Benefits Of Hemi Wheelchairs

It makes getting into a wheelchair much easier for people with difficulty lifting their legs high enough over their other legs.

Hemi wheelchairs also have higher seats than a standard wheelchair, making it much easier to see things around you.

Drawbacks Of A Standard Wheelchair

One of the most significant drawbacks of a standard wheelchair is that it only works for people who have some use of their legs.

Drawbacks Of A Standard Wheelchair

This means that it is not an excellent option for older adults or young children with no mobility in their legs.

If someone needs to use a standard wheelchair, they may find it uncomfortable and challenging to use due to their lack of leg use.

Standard wheelchairs cannot often get in and out of the chair independently. They also usually do not have the space to accommodate a walker or crutches, making it harder for people to get around.

Drawbacks Of A Hemi Wheelchair

One of the drawbacks of Hemi wheelchairs is that they are expensive and often not covered by insurance. However, there is also a significant difference in cost between a Hemi wheelchair and a standard wheelchair.

Drawbacks Of A Hemi Wheelchair

A Hemi wheelchair is a special wheelchair built to suit someone with paralysis on one side of their body.

As such, it will likely be more expensive than a standard wheelchair, which many people can use. Another disadvantage of a Hemi wheelchair is that some people may find them to be uncomfortable.

It can be difficult for someone else to use Hemi wheelchairs since they are usually built for a single user.

If a person in your life is considering getting a wheelchair, it is crucial to ensure they get the right one.

Standard Wheelchair Vs Hemi Wheelchair Differences

There are several significant differences between a standard wheelchair and a Hemi wheelchair. These differences can be attributed to the design of the two types of wheelchairs. These two types of wheelchairs differ significantly in some significant ways.



Standard wheelchairs have a back that is typically around or below the level of the seat. Hemi wheelchairs, on the other hand, have backs that are higher than the level of the seat and often extend past the seat itself.



The seat in a standard wheelchair is typically around the level of the user’s hips. On the other hand, the seat of a Hemi wheelchair is usually higher than the user’s hips so that they can easily see over the leg inside the chair and around them.


Seat Width: 

The seat is usually more expansive in a Hemi wheelchair than in a standard wheelchair, so a person’s legs will fit easily inside the chair.



Armrests on Hemi wheelchairs are often more comprehensive than those on standard wheelchairs. This is because they need to be wide enough to accommodate both of a person’s arms.


Side Rails: 

The side rails on a standard wheelchair are typically shorter than the ones on a Hemi wheelchair. They are more straightforward, so they do not get in the way of a person’s leg.

Why Choose A Standard Wheelchair Over A Hemi?

One of the significant advantages of a standard wheelchair is that a wide variety of people can use it. Many people with different physical abilities or recovering from an injury may not need a Hemi wheelchair.

Why Choose A Standard Wheelchair Over A Hemi?

This is because many people who use a standard wheelchair could quickly transfer into and out of it. Standard wheelchairs are also often larger so that people of different sizes can use them as quickly.

Standard wheelchairs also often have more space to store things such as books, bags, and supplies. Since standard wheelchairs can be used by many people and for many different situations, they are a significant investment that will last you for many years.

Why Choose A Hemi Wheelchair Over A Standard One?

One of the significant advantages of a Hemi wheelchair over a standard wheelchair is that they are specially designed for people who have paralysis or limited mobility in their leg.

A Hemi wheelchair has a large open area on one side where a person’s leg would go. This makes it much easier to put their leg in and out of the chair because they don’t have to try to lift it high enough over their excellent leg.

Hemi wheelchairs are also often more comprehensive than standard wheelchairs. Doing this allows a person’s legs to move around more easily without being cramped. Additionally, it makes it easier for people with limited leg mobility to fit their legs inside the chair.

Other Options Besides Hemi And Standard Wheelchairs

There are many options for wheelchairs other than the two we have looked at here. Finding the best wheelchair for you is a personal decision and something that you should take the time to think about carefully.

The wheelchairs that we have discussed have some significant advantages and disadvantages, but there are many other types of wheelchairs out there as well.

For example, a power wheelchair is a type of wheelchair that is motorized and can be driven like a vehicle with a driver’s license.

Specialized wheelchairs are available for people with special needs, such as those with limited hand mobility. There are many different types of wheelchairs available today. These are just a few examples.

It is essential to consider your needs and how each type of wheelchair can help meet them. You can also talk to a medical professional to help you decide which kind of wheelchair might be best for your situation. When you start looking at wheelchairs


What are the three basic types of wheelchairs?

There are three basic types of wheelchairs: manual, electric, and power. Manual wheelchairs are the most common type of wheelchair and are typically used by people who can use their upper body strength to propel themselves. Electric wheelchairs are powered by a battery and can be operated by a joystick or other control device, making them ideal for people with limited mobility. Power wheelchairs are similar to electric wheelchairs but are powered by a motor, making them suitable for people who need assistance with propulsion.

What is the best type of wheelchair?

There is no one “best” type of wheelchair, as the needs of each individual vary greatly. Some people may need a wheelchair that is lightweight and easy to maneuver, while others may need one that is more heavy-duty to accommodate their specific needs. Some wheelchairs are designed for indoor use, while others are better suited for outdoor use. Ultimately, the best type of wheelchair for each individual is the one that meets their specific needs and requirements.

Tiny Nair

Article by

Tiny Nair, MD, DM, FACC, FRCP, is a cardiologist and head of Dept of Cardiology at PRS Hospital in Trivandrum. He is also an author, fluent in Middle English and offers consultations on finding the best wheelchair according to individual needs.