The 9 Best Transfer Boards

Updated October 16, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

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We spent 47 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. For hospitals, nursing homes or private home use, these transfer boards make it much easier to move someone from a bed or seat to a wheelchair and vice versa. They enable individuals and caregivers to navigate tricky maneuvers, like getting someone into the shower, with less risk of hurting themselves or their patient. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best transfer board on Amazon.

9. Drive Medical RTL7047

The Drive Medical RTL7047 is made from Baltic birch wood that has a 600 lb. capacity, so if the caregivers are strong enough for the transfers, this board is too. It has a slight bevel on both ends that makes it easier for patients to slide on and off.
  • attractive lacquered finish
  • extremely lightweight
  • may have some rough spots
Brand Drive Medical
Model RTL7047
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Beasy Bariatric Easy Grip

The Beasy Bariatric Easy Grip comes in a bright orange hue that helps it stand out among other boards in an assisted living home. It boasts antimicrobial properties that make it sanitary, easy to clean, and stain-resistant.
  • horizontal and vertical hand slots
  • 35 inches for long transfers
  • finish can crack easily
Brand BeasyTrans Systems, Inc
Model pending
Weight 4.9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Mobility Transfer Systems Double-Notched

The Mobility Transfer Systems Double-Notched has inlets in the wood that can be used to grab onto wheelchair handles or bathtub rails for added safety, making the process much easier. It works well for both left- and right-side transfers.
  • easy to slide under patients
  • made of sturdy plywood
  • difficult to use for self-transfers
Brand Mobility Transfer Syste
Model 28879855
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Mabis DMI

The Mabis DMI has a thin profile so it can easily be stored under a bed or in the backseat when not in use. It's a good model for tricky maneuvers, and physical therapists love it. Unfortunately, the corners aren't rounded and can be sharp.
  • stays stable during transfers
  • only weighs four pounds
  • wood is sanded smooth and sealed
Brand MABIS DMI Healthcare
Model 518-1756-0400
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Reliance RTB30

The Reliance RTB30 has finger grooves running along the sides of the top for more handling options, and a high-quality protective finish. The grip cutouts feature an ergonomic, curved design, as opposed to the straight ones found on most other models.
  • made in the usa
  • designed by a paraplegic
  • nonslip coating on the bottom
Brand Reliance Transfer Board
Model RTB30
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. MTS SafetySure

The MTS SafetySure is extra long to help span gaps between transfer points and give the person being transferred full body support. It also has twelve integrated handles so it can be grabbed from several angles when multiple people are performing the maneuver.
  • antistatic coating
  • slides easily on stretcher pads
  • cutouts can be used for hanging it
Brand MTS Medical Supply
Model 5010
Weight 8 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

3. Duro-Med DMI Bariatric

The Duro-Med DMI Bariatric is made of an attractive yellow pine that is durable and blends nicely into any room without drawing too much attention. It has nonslip grip pads on the bottom that help it stay securely in place during transfers.
  • cutout handles on both ends
  • has no rough edges
  • can support up to 735 lbs
Brand Duro-Med
Model 518-1800-0000
Weight 7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Drive Medical RTL6046

The Drive Medical RTL6046 is made out of a non-absorbent plastic, making it a good choice for bathroom use as it can be easily wiped clean as often as needed. Plus, it won't soak up bacteria or grow mold, so it is a very sanitary option.
  • ribbed for added strength
  • material is easy to slide on
  • can survive a lot of abuse
Brand Drive Medical
Model RTL6046
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Beasy Board Original

The Beasy Board Original is an ingenious way to transfer somebody from a bed to a wheelchair. It features a sliding seat design that is less labor intensive for the caregiver than other options and provides a smoother movement for the user.
  • ideal for heavier patients
  • curved for easy gliding
  • makes self-transfers easier
Brand Beasy Board
Model pending
Weight 7.7 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Who Needs A Transfer Board

Transfer boards are one of the safest and most convenient methods to transfer patients. They are typically made from wood or some type of rigid plastic and used to bridge two surfaces of roughly equal height. The main benefit of a transfer board is that they allow a patient to move themselves, or be moved, without having to use their legs. They also break the transfer up into many small movements instead of one big, jarring motion.

Transfer boards are integral in independent and assisted transfers. An independent transfer is when the patient performs all of the actions involved in the transfer. This includes setting up the board, lifting themselves off of the current surface they are sitting or lying on, and sliding themselves across the board. In assisted transfers, the aide will perform some of the actions and the patient will perform others. For example, the aide may set up the board, but the patient does the work of sliding themselves across it. Another example would be when the aide and the patient work together to slide the patient across the board, thereby making it easier for the aide and also making the patient feel useful.

The best candidates for transfer boards are those with good upper body strength, but who have difficulty standing, such as paraplegics or hemiplegics. Paraplegics are often capable of completing fully independent transfers, whereas hemiplegics will generally need an assisted transfer. Patients who have recently had a knee replacement, ankle surgery, or who are in a cast for a broken leg are also good candidates for transfer board use. Any patient that is combative, cannot sit independently, or suffers from any form of dizziness or disorientation is not a candidate for board transfers.

Benefits Of A Transfer Board For Caregivers And Patients

Transfer boards are not just beneficial for the patient, but also for the caregiver. Physical injury of caregivers while turning, transferring, of lifting a patient is actually quite frequent. Studies have found that nearly 52 percent of caregivers have experienced some form of musculoskeletal injury when moving a patient, usually affecting the back. This is because the spin provides the majority of the support for the human body and is one of the most vulnerable areas to injury caused from repetitive lifting of heavy objects.

A recent survey of 46 non-professional caregivers admitted to hospitals in West Yorkshire, England for care-related injuries found that 36 of them had injured themselves while lifting their loved one. The study found that toileting was one of the most difficult tasks, most likely because it involves a succession of lifts and awkward movements on both the caregiver's and patient's part. The timing is often unpredictable, as well, so there is rarely a chance that the caregiver is able to ask for additional help.

It is not just the caregiver that is at risk of injury during transfers, but the patient, too. Of the 46 caregivers surveyed, 16 admitted to accidentally injuring their loved one at some point during a transfer or other handling. If a caregiver injures their back during a transfer or doesn't use the proper stance and loses their balance, both the patient and caregiver may fall, resulting in additional injuries. In addition to reducing the possibility of patient injury, a transfer board can provide a sense of independence. A disabled person who previously required aid to move from their wheelchair to their bed or toilet may be able to use a transfer board to accomplish these tasks independently. This results in a higher quality of life and increased dignity, which are vital to mental well-being.

There are a number of other accessories that can also help to minimize the chance of patient or caregiver injury. Securely installing grab bars near the toilet or in the shower give the patient more ability to assist the caregiver during transfers. Toilet seat risers reduce the need for the caregiver to lean over as far when setting a patient onto the toilet, reducing strain on the back. You can also purchase an adjustable shower bench to make transfers to and from the tub easier.

Independent Transfer Board Usage And Safety Tips

You should only use a transfer board for transfers between two surfaces of roughly equal height. If there is more than a half-inch height discrepancy between the two surfaces, performing a transfer is significantly more difficult and there is an increased risk of injury. If you find that your wheelchair and your bed, couch, or any other surface that you would like to perform independent transfers to are more than a half-inch apart in height, install risers on your furniture to make them level. The two surfaces must also be relatively close to each other. A transfer board should always significantly overlap the edges of both surfaces. Never try and perform a transfer over a span that is too large for the transfer board you own.

During the transfer, use one hand to hold onto a stable surface to provide support. This may be an armrest on the wheelchair, a strategically placed grab bar, or the frame of a bed. Whenever transferring yourself from a wheelchair, always check to make sure the brake is securely locked into place. If performing the transfer with the help of a caregiver, you can use their shoulder for support.

Move slowly as you transfer yourself across the board. Perform your transfer in a series of small movements, rather than one or two large motions. This makes it safer and also gives you a chance to regain your balance between each movement. Always pay attention to the placement of your body parts during the transfer. You may need to move your upper body in one motion, and then individually slide each of your legs into the correct position.

If possible, you should always wear clothes or some other type of covering during transfers. This can be as simple as wrapping yourself in a sheet when transferring out of bed. Do your best to avoid dragging your buttocks to reduce the possibility of chafing caused by excessive friction.

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Last updated on October 16, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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