Wheelchair armrest covers provide additional insulation, padding and enhance the life of your wheelchair. In this article, we review the best wheelchair arm rest covers for you. If you are in a hurry, the table below presents a quick snapshot of our selected wheelchair arm rest covers.
Once you get settled in a wheelchair you often come across situations where you may need enhancements or accessories for your new mode of transportation. For many wheelchairs, the arm rest is one such area which can do with an arm rest cover. Let us look at how a wheelchair arm rest cover can improve your experience of using a wheelchair.
Why Do You Need Arm Rest Covers for Your Wheelchair
Wheelchair arm rest covers can be really helpful if you use your wheelchair for long periods of time. Wheelchairs, self propelled or electric, come with arm rests that are made of foam with a covering that can range from vinyl to leather to synthetic leather.
All these arm rest materials that cover the foam inside are, unfortunately, start to feel a bit too firm over prolonged usage. Also, some material tends to rip or become brittle with time. Another issue in colder climes is that this material does not insulate too well. Therefore, during winters, the cold arm rests may make your wheelchair a less desirable place to be in.
On rare occasions, your wheelchair arm rest may come with fabric upholstery covers. In this case, even though they will not be cold to the touch, they also may not be too comfortable for long periods of use. In addition, fabric is prone to stains and marks from spills, and you may find it very difficult to wash and dry. Due to these reason, you may consider arm rest covers a good buy.
Wheelchair arm rest covers are a one time investment which not only significantly improve your wheelchair experience, but also make it very convenient to maintain your wheelchair. They can reduce the number of instances of wheelchair cleaning. Wheelchair arm rest covers are generally very easy to detach and attach and are easily machine washable.
Other Benefits of an Arm Rest Cover
- Some wheelchair arm rest covers, may help in against excessive perspiration as they trap a lot of air between the elbows and the arm rest. This makes long wheelchair use more bearable especially if you are prone to skin sores or skin irritation or suffering from conditions like pain at the nerve ends.
- Often a much less appreciated benefit of arm rest covers is the fact that they act as good shock absorbents. Wheelchairs may not have the best shock absorbing mechanisms due to small springs attached to the bottom of the seat. Also, a significant portion of your weight is supported by your elbows on your arm rests. However, the arm rests are often hard and too firm (even though they have foam padding, the outer surface is firm) for comfortably putting a lot of weight on them in case of jerks. Your arm rest covers act as a savior in this case with extra padding and naturally ventilated material.
- The arm rest cover also allows a longer life for your arm rests, which can be expensive to replace.
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What to Consider While Buying Wheelchair Arm Rest Covers
Do ensure that you have considered the following factors when buying a wheelchair arm rest cover.
Length of the arm rest
Arm rests can be full length or desk length and are generally about 14 – 16 inches in length if they are full length. Sometimes this may vary if you are using a customized wheelchair. You must accurately measure your arm rest before buying the right arm rest cover. If you are on a motor wheelchair, you should consider the joystick on one arm rest and then plan for the cover (You may not customize it yourself by cutting it in the middle to make space for the joystick, as this will leave rough edges prone to cause abrasion). And, as with all covers, a little bit longer should not be an inconvenience, but a short cover may not do the trick.
Material of the cover
The material of your arm rest cover will make a big difference in cold weather.
Your arm rest cover should be easily washable, preferably machine washable
The grip of the cover on the under side where it is in contact with the arm rest of the wheelchair matters; If the grip is not strong or the material is not anti-slip, chances are that the arm rest cover will gradually slide down the arm rest and require intermittent adjustments.
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Best Wheelchair Arm Rest Covers Reviewed
Below we have reviewed a the best wheelchair arm rest covers and we are confident that these reviews will help you in arriving at a decision on which cover to buy. Request you to not go by the number of pros and cons of each review, as a cover with many pros may not be suitable for you because of the one con that is very relevant to you. Or a product with a few cons may just be the right fit for you as none of those cons are applicable in your specific situation.
#1 Vive Wheelchair Armrest Cover
This product is made up of memory foam and therefore has added cushioning of its own. The outer layer is made up of synthetic sheepskin which provides a further layer of soft support. The cover is 12.75 inches or over a foot long and fits arm rest with circumference of up to 8.5 inches, which is sufficient for most wheelchair arm rests.
- Very suitable for people with nerve or joint pain
- Easy to attach to the arm rest and detach if you want to clean it. Attaches on velcro
- Fits most standard sized wheelchair arm rests; double check if you have customized wheelchair arm rest
- Made from anti-perspirant material
- Comes with 60 day guarantee, but watch out for shipping policy
- Cost effective solution
- May require intermittent adjustment if the anti-slip layer on the under-side is not effective
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#2 Crutcheze Wheelchair Arm Rest Comfort Covers
This arm rest cover is made of abrasion resistant fabric and has a thin layer of removable foam. The fabric is stretchable and locks with easy hook and loop attachment mechanism. The cover is 10 inches in length and fits most self propelled wheelchairs.
- Makes your arm rests comfortable and cosy in the winters
- Easy to install on your wheelchair arm rests and can be easily removed for cleaning
- Compatible with all manual wheelchairs, unless your arm rests are customized
- Washable for repeated use and dryer friendly
- Not suitable for power wheelchairs
- You may find them to be a bit on the shorter side if your arms are longer
- May slip down the arm rest under your weight
#3 Nova Sheepskin Fleece Armrest Covers
The arm rest cover is made up of thick synthetic sheepskin fleece material and is 11 inches long with circular diameter of up to 10 inches. There is one layer of soft foam inside and it attaches with velcro. The product is machine washable, but you must remember to use mild detergent and dry on low heat.
- Provides good comfort and support, especially for skin sores and nerve pain
- Very easy to attach and remove
- Machine washable and dryer friendly
- Good responsive customer care
- No anti-slip material on the bottom which may lead to sliding under your arm weight
- Longevity may depend on frequency of washing
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#4 DMI Wheelchair Arm Pads by Duro-Med
This arm rest cover comes with pouch on both sides for added utility of storing essentials for your wheelchair ride. The length of the product is 10 inches and it attaches with velcro with the pouch hanging on the outer side of the wheelchair. The arm rest part is made up of fleece and the pouch is made up of denim material. The pouch is 4.5 inches deep and is perfect for storing spectacles, mobile phones, notebooks or a small bottle of water. These are lightweight considering they have pouches along with arm rest covers at just over 7 ounces for both.
- Protect from the cold arm rest pads in the winter
- Very high on utility with pouch designed for storing essentials
- Machine washable and dryer friendly
- Lightweight and does not add much to wheelchair weight; not a drag on battery life
- Compatible with most wheelchairs
- The pouch may hang too low on some self propelled wheelchairs, thereby making it difficult to manually operate the wheelchair
- Too much weight inside the pouches may make the velcros loose over time
#5 Allman Premium Fleece Wheelchair Arm Cushions
The product is made of synthetic sheepskin fleece with total length of 14 inches for full length arm rests. The covers together weigh just about 3.2 lbs. The cover attaches with 3 strips of velcro.
- Good for shock absorption and extra comfort
- Covers full wheelchair arms and
- Lets you avoid contact with cold arm rests in cold weather
- Easy to attach and maintain
- Lightweight and does not add much weight to wheelchair
- The fleece might lose softness with repeated washing. Take care to wash with mild detergent and dry in low heat
- Padding could have been thicker
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Best Wheelchair Arm Rest Covers – Our Conclusion
On a cost versus benefit basis, wheelchair arm rest covers are a minimal investment as compared to the comfort they provide. So, give those elbows some extra cushioning and comfort and buy one pair!
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