When you are buying a wheelchair its worth pondering on what type of tyres you should select as they have a fairly important role to play in terms of comfort and safety. In addition they affect the manoeuvrability of the wheelchair for the user in a self propelled or manual wheelchair or the attendant in a transit wheelchair .Essentially there are just two types of wheelchair tyre; solid or pneumatic.
Pneumatic wheelchair tyres
Historically most wheelchairs have been supplied with pneumatic tyres however in recent years more wheelchairs are being supplied with solid tyres for many reasons. Pneumatic wheelchair tyres assist with the level of comfort because the air inside the tyre provides absorption of impact thus reducing bumps and jarring caused by uneven surfaces. However, pneumatic tyres are prone to puncture from sharp objects including stones nails or glass making for higher maintenance costs. Punctured pneumatic tyres can be repaired much the same as a bicycle tyre but are never as reliable once repaired meaning that they ought to be replaced regularly and maintained at the correct pressure. Both of these reasons can provide a headache to wheelchair users and sometimes people opt for solid tyres for peace of mind.
Solid wheelchair tyres
Solid tyres are sometimes refereed to as PU Tyres which are generally made from rubber or plastic. Being made of a solid material they cannot be punctured so will not deflate. The major downside of any solid tyre is their increased weight which makes the wheelchair heavier and less easy to lift and transport. Although they weigh more they are often preferred because of their extended durability. There are some solid tyres that are actually filled with polyurethane which helps to reduce the added weight. So its mainly down to personal choice and the compromise of reliability versus user comfort. If its comfort you are after then pneumatic tyres are preferable however if reliability is the key issue because you are generally in the wheelchair unattended then solid tyres will win the vote.
For this reason, more wheelchair manufacturers are offering the choice at the point of purchase. However some users will opt for owning a second set of wheels so that they have the choice. This is an ideal situation particularly when your wheelchair has quick release wheels, making the switch from one set of wheels to the other far easier and often tool free. If your budget doesn't allow this choice then a happy compromise might be to opt for PU Tyres which offer the comfort and performance of a Pneumatic Tyre but the benefit of avoiding punctures.
If you are still unsure which best suits you please call us before buying your wheelchair and we can advise you helping you to select the most appropriate tyres for your wheelchair.