The 10 Best Folding Walkers
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in April of 2016. Whether you have a permanent disability that makes it difficult for you to get around or are recovering from an injury or surgery, one of these folding walkers can give you some independence and mobility. In addition to providing the support to stroll with confidence, they also pack down easily for compact storage and transport. Some even come in fun and eye-catching colors, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 02, 2020:
When selecting our folding walkers, we put safety first, so durable materials, along with features that enhance control like brakes and locking frames, were a priority. Beyond that, we looked for components that would make the day in the life of someone who is reliant on a walking aid a bit easier.
One of the first changes we made was to remove the Nova Mighty Mack because its handbrakes are not reliable, which poses a major safety concern. However, we like a model from the same manufacturer -- the Nova Zoom -- which has good hand brakes and all-terrain wheels for added stability. The HealthSmart Euro Style boasts plenty of space between the wheels, minimizing the chances of tripping, and even has a holder for one's cane, so we appreciated that option, too.
As for products that are useful even when individuals aren't on their feet, we like the Health Line Stand Assist, with its smart design that helps users get up from a seated position. The Medline Freedom and the Hugo Mobility Elite, both of which have padded seats and backrests, provide a comfortable place to take a load off.
Since this list focuses on foldable walkers, we looked for models that can collapse into quite small shapes for portability. The Stander EZ Fold N' Go and the Able Life Space Saver 4200 both fit that bill and can squeeze into small storage spaces with ease.
June 19, 2019:
While it may not be necessary, we'd like to quickly point out three issues to take note of regarding the safety of our top picks. First, you must always follow the directions provided by the manufacturer, especially when it comes to models with seats. Most are not made for pushing the user while he or she is seated; using these in such a manner could lead to damage, or worse, injury. Second, not all walkers are equally suited to all individuals and their disabilities and needs. Be sure to follow the advice of your doctor or physical therapist in making a selection. Third, you should inspect the item regularly for damage or weaknesses that could lead to a failure during use.
That said, we still think the Nova Zoom and Hugo Mobility Elite are fine choices for a variety of users. They have the padded seats and backrests that you'd expect for comfort, and neither is unnecessarily expensive. The latter comes with a bonus saddle bag, but the former is slightly easier to unfold, so you'll need to decide which feature is more important to you. We also added a bariatric model, the Nova Mighty Mack, for anyone who needs a walker that can support weight in excess of the common 250 to 300 pound limit. It is slightly tougher to get through doorways than some, although this is to be expected due to the size. Finally, after some debate, we have decided to keep the Stander EZ Fold N' Go. This is an ultra-portable model, but it's not great at providing heavy-duty support, so don't consider it for those with profound mobility or balance issues. Instead, choose it for those who only need a small amount of help getting around.
Rollz Motion 2 The Rollz Motion 2 can be converted from a rollator into a wheelchair with a nicely-padded backrest you're ready to sit in it, and reversible handles that allow for an aid to push the unit when you prefer to be wheeled around. It comes with a generous five-year warranty on the frame and is available in four colors. rollz.com
Trionic Veloped Trek Lovers of nature who need a walking aid can still enjoy the great outdoors, safely, with the Trionic Veloped Trek. It has 12-inch wheels, designed to take on large obstacles, aluminum brake levers, and a 330-pound weight capacity. With plenty of storage pouches, it also makes it easy to bring hiking essentials along. trionic.us
How To Choose A Walker
It's also crucial that the breaks are highly responsive, so the user never feels that they lose control of their walker.
People who need walkers any time they're on their feet bring this device with them everywhere they go, from public buses to restaurants, and to friends' homes. Having one that folds is very important for these individuals, so they can easily pack it into the trunk of a car, stow it in a crowded subway car, or simply check it with their coat at a restaurant. Since one of the most common reasons people need walkers is difficulty balancing themselves, you should look for a walker that doesn't require you to bend over to fold it up. Many can collapse into a compact shape with one push of a button.
Carrying a purse or bag in addition to handling a walker can be too strenuous for some people, which is why many models come with generous cargo areas for one's belongings. If you need to keep personal valuables on you, look for a walker with a covered cargo area so people cannot look into it. Many places where a person must wait in line, like a pharmacy or grocery store, don't have chairs for their customers. Fortunately, many walkers have built-in seats, so you can rest your legs whenever you need to. Since those needing walkers already struggle with posture issues, it's important that a walker has handles that are high enough so that the user doesn't need to bend over.
It's also crucial that the breaks are highly responsive, so the user never feels that they lose control of their walker. Some models allow for one-handed break operation, for people who have a weakness in one of their hands. If you have a caretaker, make sure they're familiar with how your device works, and are knowledgeable on helping someone with a walker. Also look for a model that is lightweight, so your caretaker can easily carry it when necessary.
A Brief History Of Mobility Aids
Walkers have been in use for as long as the wheelchair, which dates back to the 6th century; historians found a piece of stone with an image of a wheelchair carved into it from this time. The first U.S. patent for a walker, however, wasn't awarded to anyone until 1953. It was given to an English man named William Cribbes Robb. Robb's invention is allegedly the first version of a walker to offer wheels. Five years later, a man named Charles E Murcott was given a patent for his collapsible walker.
At this point, walkers still did not have cargo spaces, cup holders, or other convenient additions found in today's models.
Robb's walker only had two wheels, but in 1978, a Swedish inventor named Aina Witalk who lived with polio came up with the four-wheel version, which would become known as the "Rollator." Today, the term rollator is no longer associated with a brand but just a basic name for this device. At this point, walkers still did not have cargo spaces, cup holders, or other convenient additions found in today's models.
In 1983, two inventors received a patent for a walker with a pivotal seat. This was the first walker with a seat that could be rotated to stand vertically, for when the user doesn't need it, and horizontally, for when a person wants to sit down. Since then, various intelligent additions have been made to walkers, including air-filled tires that create less vibration on the user's hands and quick-release tires that allow the user to rapidly remove their tires, and replace them with another pair better suited for the terrain.
Tips For Safely Using Your Walker
People who use walkers need to put some thought into what they wear. Sleeves that are too long or loose might get entangled in the breaks, and can be hazardous. That being said, sleeves that are too tight can restrict one's movement, and make it difficult for them to push on their breaks quickly enough. If you already need to use a walker for balance issues, you should wear shoes with soles made from a non-skid material like leather or rubber to prevent falls.
Stand in front of it, with the back of your body facing the front of the seat, and do not sit down until you feel the seat against your legs.
Walker users should also keep the floors of their home clutter-free. Rolling the wheels of your walker over even a small item can cause you to trip and fall. Make sure you have solid threshold ramps at all of your main entrances, too. If you are going to stay with a friend or relative, make sure that they know how to prepare their home for someone with a walker. Pay attention to the glide skis on your walker, too, since these can wear down over time and become ineffective.
If your walker has a cargo area, do not overload it because doing so can cause it to break off, which can be very dangerous when you are moving. If your walker has a seat, it's important to be careful when getting in and out of this, too. Whenever possible, push your walker against a sturdy surface like a wall. Stand in front of it, with the back of your body facing the front of the seat, and do not sit down until you feel the seat against your legs.