Guide for Measuring Manual Wheelchair


Guide for Measuring Manual Wheelchair

Always measure using only straight lines with the user in a seated position and wheelchair positioned on a hard surface.


A. Seat Depth
Measure from the most rear point of body right up to the inside of the knee. Minus at least two inches. Some like to have more leg over hang for their hand when lifting the leg.

B. Back Height
Measurement should start from seat base to top of the wheelchair back. It will depend on how much upper back support is required. Also impacts freedom for the upper body to rotate.

C. Rear Seat-to-Floor
Measurement should start from the ground and move up to edge of the rear seat. This is relative to the front seat-to-floor measurement and determines rearward slope of wheelchair seat.

D. Hanger Angle
It is measured from the horizontal and determines how far the toes stretch away from the body. A tighter angle will increase the wheelchair’s flexibility to turn around in limited space. Determined in part on the knee’s ability to bend towards the perpendicular.

E. Seat Width
This is determined by measuring the widest point of the body from knee to hip. Keep in mind bulky clothing and add an inch for maneuverability.

F. Wheel Camber
A daily-usage wheelchair has three degrees of camber. This involves measuring the wheel’s angle corresponding to the vertical. More camber means improved stability and smoothness but also means restricted access through narrow spaces.

G. Front Seat-to-Floor
Measure leg starting from back of the knee to the foot’s sole. Minus a cushion’s thickness, when compressed, from it. If wheelchair is not foot-propelled then add a minimum of two inches for foot-rest clearance.

H. Footrest Width
Determine the desired distance between leg-rests by measuring from the inside length of each leg-rest tubing.

I. Center of Gravity
Measure distance between the front of the seat back post and the rear axel’s center.

J. Seat-to-Footrest Length
Measure distance from the seat upholstery edge to the top rear of footrest.

K. Backrest Angle
Measure angle of the back post to the floor. Ninety degrees will be perpendicular to the floor. To determine angle from the back post to the seat, minus two degrees for every 0.5" of dump.