Tracked stair climbers ensure a safe ride for disabled people
Wheelchair stair climbers with tracks transfer the disabled person’s weight to the stairs. This means the operator does not have to keep the wheelchair balanced. This is the main difference between tracked and wheeled stair climbers, where the weight of the disabled person in the wheelchair has to be kept balanced while travelling up and down stairs. Safety is one of the key aspects to take into consideration when buying a tracked stair climber. The risk of tipping over is negligible.
However, as we will see below, there are considerable differences between the various types of tracked stair climbers on the market.
The wheelchair stair climbers are portable
Wheelchair stair climbers with tracks are portable and can be used on both indoor stairs and outdoor steps. Unlike lifts and stair lifts, they are not fixed to the stairs [or stairwell] and can be used anywhere without the brackets. They are also extremely easy to transport. However, they are not folding, and a van or 4×4 with a large trunk (boot) is needed to transport them.
The load capacity of tracked stair climbers
A motorized wheelchair stair climber with tracks is often selected on the basis of its load capacity.
What is the ideal load capacity of a powered stair climber with tracks for the disabled? The minimum capacity is the weight of the disabled person plus the weight of the wheelchair. It is important to consider that a manually operated wheelchair may only weigh around ten kilograms, whereas an electric wheelchair (for example, a Meyra) can weigh in excess of 120 kg. The load capacity of a tracked stair climber should have a tolerance of 10%, which means 10% more than the combined weight of the disabled person and the wheelchair. The weight capacity of a stair climber for the disabled is obviously important, but it would be a mistake to consider this the only parameter when making a choice. In fact it is important to consider not only the weight capacity of the stair climber, but also and above all safe transport on stairs when carrying disabled or elderly people in wheelchairs.
Tracked stair climbers for the disabled are electric powered
Almost all stair climbers with tracks are electric powered. Electric motors are an indispensable pre-requisite, as this type of stair climber is quite heavy. Without an electric motor it would be extremely hard to move one manually on the stairs! However, again there are important differences between the various types of motorized wheelchair stair climbers.
Examples include battery life, normally measured in the number of steps per charge, and load capacity and speed, which also impact battery life. It is important to point out that the speed of a powered stair climber for the disabled is much less important than the speed of an electric wheelchair, as the former travels up and down stairs rather than on flat surfaces. In this case electric motors, together with electronic technology, mainly serve to guarantee the safety of the disabled or elderly person in the wheelchair. The best tracked stair climbers, such as Domino People and Domino People Slim, have two motors: each track is powered by an independent motor, which enables the wheelchair to be fully rotated up to 360°.
The safe tracked stair climber with a maximum capacity of 400 Kg.
Technology and features of tracked wheelchair stair climbers
As we have already said, tracked stair climbers are not all the same, and this is reflected in the wide variety of differences in price between different brands and models. It can be difficult for a person without experience to understand the importance of the individual features of this type of stair climber. Let’s take a look at some features in more detail.
Not all tracked stair climbers have a speed regulation system. In fact this is an important feature, as it may be preferable (or necessary) to slow down or speed up the stair climber for transport reasons.
For example, you would normally slow down when changing direction or navigating uneven steps, and speed up when the stairs are straight.
A good tracked stair climber allows the speed to be regulated while travelling up or down stairs.
Changing direction and rotation
The most economical tracked stair climbers only move in two directions, forwards and backwards. A tracked stair climber for the disabled should be able to changedirection and also to rotate. This is particularly important when reaching the stairwell, but also for entering a room, or when the stair climber is used outdoors.
Tilting the wheelchair
Being able to tilt thewheelchair is a key feature for improving the comfort of a disabled passenger and ensuring they are moved safely. Some very advanced motorized stair climbers with tracks, like those in the Domino People range, are fitted with an automatic wheelchair tilting system. Thanks to this mechanism, the passenger sits in a position that is almost perpendicular to the ground rather than experiencing the unpleasant sensation of falling into a void when travelling downstairs. The wheelchair tilting feature is equally important for the operator, as it enables them to maintain the correct posture while guiding the powered stair climber for the disabled up and down stairs.
The pictures below show how the inclination of the wheelchair in the stair climber works on an external stone staircase with irregular steps.
Automatic wheelchair tilting is a very important function, which only the best quality tracked stair climbers for wheelchairs have. It is also very useful for the driver, because he does not have to manually adjust the inclination of the wheelchair every time he climbs up or down a different staircase, or when walking down a corridor.
The video shows the automatic tilt function of the wheelchair when climbing the stairs with the tracked stair climber for disabled people Domino People Slim.
Technology makes the difference
The choice of stair climber depends on various factors. The different brands and models of tracked stair climbers on the market vary in price, depending on quality and features, which should be considered together rather than separately. For example, load capacity alone is not a guarantee of safety.
The technology used in the stair climber is what makes the difference for passenger comfort and safety.
The speed at which the motorized stair climber travels is not a key feature in our view, whereas a wheelchairtiltingmechanism, especially when automatic, is crucial when transporting disabled people in a wheelchair up and down stairs.
Obviously in a tracked wheelchair stair climber the tracks are very important. Their width, but also the rubber mix, determine the grip, which is essential when travelling on irregular steps and for transport outdoors.
In addition, two electric motors rather than a single motor mean the tracks can be controlled independently and the motorized wheelchair stair climber rotated 360°, a manouevre that is often necessary on very narrow landings.