There are many types of walkers and rollators to choose from. Each one has it’s unique features and benefits and are better suited to support various needs, so it is worth getting an overview of each before moving onto looking at specific models in our Top Picks section later on in this guide.
Types of Walkers & Rollators
Let’s begin by clarifying the difference between the two main types of walkers since there seems to be a bit of confusion about them – Walkers and Rollators.
The terms walker and rollator are sometimes used interchangeably to refer to the same thing, but there is a key distinction to make between the two.
The principal difference between a walker and a rollator is a walker consists of a frame with legs and handles only, so you need to lift it as you move forward. In contrast, a rollator has wheels (anywhere from two to four) and is easily pushed along as you move.
Rollators often have seats for you to rest in if needed and braking systems (as discussed earlier in this guide) to help you bring your walking aid to a halt.
Walkers are typically best for moving within your home, where it isn’t practical to use a rollator every time you want to go to a different room. Still, many seniors can also use their walkers outside and don’t need the additional assistance a rollator provides.
As rollators are more advanced than walkers and have several additional features, they are more expensive than their less sophisticated counterparts. However, many users find them to be well worth the extra cost.
Standard Walking Frames
Standard walking frames are the simplest types of walkers, consisting of four legs and two handles which the user holds onto and uses to lift the frame with every step forward.
While their simple, no-frills design makes them quite affordable, they are challenging to use for many seniors, as they require pretty good coordination and strength. As you have to lift the walker slightly further ahead of you before moving forward, using this type of walker can be very tiring, as you have to repeat the same motion again and again.
Lightweight walkers are great for seniors who aren’t strong enough to use some of the more common types of walkers. Their frames are built from lightweight materials, such as aluminum instead of steel, saving several pounds of weight and making them considerably lighter than other more widely used models that weigh around 20lbs.
Most of the other types of walkers on this list can also be lightweight, including some of the rollators.
Read: Best Lightweight Walkers
Front Wheel Walkers
Front-wheel walkers have the same basic design as standard walking frames, with the addition of wheels on the two front legs. This means you can gently push your walking aid along instead of having to lift it countless times even just to travel a pretty short distance, so they can be a strong contender if you have low endurance and weak arms.
However, because they have wheels, they can be more difficult to control than other types of walkers, especially if you apply too much load onto the front wheels when moving forward.
They are generally more expensive than standard walking frames but are still a chunk cheaper than most rollators. However, depending on your individual needs and preferences, you may find spending a bit more on a rollator to be a worthwhile investment.
Heavy Duty Walkers
Heavy-duty walkers (also known as bariatric walkers) are specially designed and built to support heavier users. To achieve this end, they are made from more robust materials and are often larger than other types of walkers.
There isn’t a set weight over which you should only use heavy duty models, but as a general rule, if you weigh over 300lbs, you should consider using a heavy duty walker.
Side (Hemi) Walkers
Side walkers (sometimes referred to as hemi walkers) are similar in their design to standard walking frames, particularly with regards to simplicity. The key difference between the two is side walkers only have a single handle for you to grip with one of your hands.
Hemi walkers offer more support and stability than a walking stick, as they have four legs to provide additional support and balance. Still, if you need a more significant amount of assistance with your mobility, then you should consider some of the other types of walkers on our list.
Upright walkers are wheeled walking aids that allow users to walk while maintaining a better posture safely.
Instead of gripping handles with your hands, you place your forearms on the elevated armrests, reducing the pressure exerted on many parts of the body, which seniors often experience pain in, such as their knees, back, hands, and wrists.
Four Wheel Rollators
Four wheel rollators offer much better mobility than non-wheeled walkers – and as you don’t need to lift them every time you move a few inches forward, they are great for seniors or patients with very limited endurance and weak upper body strength.
Such rollators are equipped with brakes to slow you down and have a seat for you to take a rest in if needed. The wheels can be locked to prevent the rollator from rolling away when you come to a standstill, and only the front wheels do the steering on most models (just like in automobiles.)
Four wheel rollators can vary a great deal in price, depending on the materials they are built from and the features they have, which can include a cane holder, a basket, and a phone or bottle holder.
Three Wheel Rollators
Three wheel rollators offer many of the benefits of their four-wheeled sisters and typically provide even better mobility due to the wheel arrangement (one at the front, two at the back). However, they don’t have seats and are smaller, so they usually have fewer features.
Below you can find some of our top picks. Save yourself hours of research and go straight to some of the best, most cost-effective models being sold by trusted sellers on Amazon today.
UPWalker Lite Original Upright Walker (Stand Up Rolling Mobility Walking Aid with Seat)
UPWalker Original Upright Walker (Stand Up Rolling Mobility Walking Aid with Seat)
ELENKER Upright Walker (Stand Up Folding Rollator)
Drive Medical RTL10266-T Nitro Euro Style Walker Rollator
This adjustable four-wheel rollator can be conveniently folded and has large wheels for comfort and stability. It has several useful features that improve its functionality in addition to a comfy seat for you to rest in.
Drive Medical Four Wheel Walker Rollator
This rollator is also from Drive Medical and is considerably cheaper than most other rival models. It has a padded seat, adjustable handles, and deluxe loop-lock brakes, plus a pouch to store small personal belongings in.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I Assembly My Walker By Myself?
Most of the walkers in our Top Picks section can easily be assembled, so you can save a chunk of change as you should have no trouble doing this by yourself and therefore won’t need to pay an assembly fee.
Furthermore, many of the models don’t require any tools as part of the assembly process.
Do I Need To Pay For Shipping?
This varies depending on the individual store you are buying from. Still, most sellers on Amazon offer free shipping, and many even offer next-day delivery if you have an Amazon Prime subscription, so you can begin using your walker asap.
How Can I Clean My Walker?
You can easily clean your walker or rollator with soap and water or wet wipes. The seat, handlebars, and frame are the areas that you should focus your cleaning efforts on.
Can I Pay in Installments?
Many Amazon sellers allow you to pay for large purchases bit by bit. For example, if you purchase a rollator for $179.99, you may be able to pay for it by setting up a monthly direct debit of about $30 for six months.
Should I Buy a Used Walker?
There are plenty of bargain, second-hand walkers and rollators on Amazon, which can be helpful if you are on a fixed or low budget. However, we recommend buying a new one, as second-hand walkers may have faulty components or may have already used up their warranties.
With many established Amazon sellers offering finance packages that allow you to pay in installments, everyone can afford a fantastic brand-new walker or rollator to give them their independence back!