In this article, we have reviewed the best wheelchair cushions for the elderly. If you are in a hurry, the table below gives a quick snapshot. Or you can scroll down for detailed product reviews.
Are you looking to buy a new wheelchair cushion for the elderly? There are several things to consider and a whole host of decisions to make.
When buying a wheelchair cushion for someone who is confined to a wheelchair for most of their day, it is important to keep in mind their particular problems and needs before going ahead and buying.
Even more so, when the person for whom you are buying happens to be elderly as they are more likely to have arthritis, lower back problems, skin breakdown, incontinence and other issues which make usage of wheelchairs for long periods difficult.
Why Does a Wheelchair Cushion Matter?
When you are confined to remain in a wheelchair for a large part of the day, it is obvious that you would want to be as comfortable as possible in that position. When the person who is using the wheelchair is elderly, there may be several other complications as well
A sitting position is not a natural position for a human being, and therefore those who have to sit in a wheelchair throughout the day are susceptible to all the problems associated with bad posture.
Another factor to consider is the formation of pressure sores – being confined to a bed or wheelchair can cause pressure combined with pulling of the skin, which can lead to painful sores. Some wheelchair cushions can help you avoid these sores.
When dealing with the elderly, there is a higher chance of incontinence-related problems as well. As we grow older, our control over the urinary and bowel functions is reduced, leading to involuntary leakage of urine or feces.
This can cause problems for a person who is confined to a wheelchair for a large part of the day since moisture and faecal matter can accumulate over a non-absorbent chair and lead to infections and skin damage among other things.
Below we summarize some important factors to consider which may vary from person to person:
- What kind of material is the cushion made of? (Foam/ Gel/ Air/Others)
- Does your loved one require posture correction? (Do you have a pelvic tilt? Do you slump forward? Is sliding support needed?)
- Is your loved one an amputee? Do they require positioning aids? (Arm support/Upper Body/Knees etc?)
- Do they require a special cushion for skin breakdown?
- Do they suffer from pressure sores, and therefore need a special kind of cushion?
- Does your loved one have issues with sliding on your seat?
- Is your loved one suffering from incontinence?
- Does your loved one need a bariatric cushion?
Apart from this, there are some general factors which need to be considered by everyone:
- Cushion comfort level (depends on the material used, gel/air/foam or a combination of these)
- Stability – helps reduce sliding and makes movements easier
- Skin protection – Cushions offering pressure relief and lower friction are always preferable
- Cushion Weight – Tradeoff between comfort and ability to move the wheelchair smoothly, portability of the cushion is used in multiple places should also be considered
- Cushion height – Has to be just right, to ensure reaching counter surfaces while fitting under the table
- Price: Budgetary constraints are always important!
In this article, we will be looking at the best wheelchair cushions available for the various types of users as listed above.
Reviews of the Best Wheelchair Cushions for Elderly
Without further ado, let us read detailed reviews of the best wheelchair cushions. All the cushions have been rated on their price versus features.
#1. DMI Seat Cushion for Wheelchairs
The Duro Med seat cushion is a high-quality, durable, no-nonsense, no-frills product which serves the one purpose for which it is made – for someone to sit on it, and serves that purpose well!
For starters, the DMI cushion uses a special high-density foaming material that allows the seat to remain in shape despite years of usage, without flattening out. It gives the user a good experience every time.
Portability is very important in a seat cushion especially when the user needs the support at all times due to skin conditions and/or posture ailments, and not just when they are sitting in a wheelchair. At 8.8 ounces, this is a fairly light-weight cushion and is easy to carry around.
There are multiple thickness options in 2,3 and 4 inches. The buyer can customize their experience basis their requirement, their specific wheelchair height or their height. Taller people may prefer the thinner option, whereas for shorter people the added height of a 3 or 4-inch cushion can help them easily reach above countertops
A poly/cotton cover is also included with the cushion, which is easily removable and can be machine washed and air-dried for cleaning and comfort.
The cushion is quite economical and is known to provide support for pain relief as well as prevent skin breakdown and pressure sores.
However, do note that the cushion is a non-returnable item on amazon, and comes only in navy blue as a colour option.
- Available in multiple thickness options
- Remains in shape for long periods
- The cushion can be slippery, so you may want to put in a safety belt in the wheelchair.
- No color options – only available in navy blue
- The cushion is not waterproof, so may not be useful for people suffering from incontinence.
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#2. Everlasting Comfort Memory Foam Wheelchair Seat Cushion
The Everlasting Comfort wheelchair cushion is made from pure memory foam infused with cooling gel to give the best comfort while sitting. There are strategically placed holes on the seat which ensure minimal pressure is applied on the skin, and cooling is enhanced.
The cooling gel ensures that the skin remains cool even after prolonged wheelchair usage.
The pillow can respond to body heat to acquire the right shape of the person who is sitting on it. This helps in ensuring lesser pressure points and therefore lower chances of skin breakdown.
The cushion is helpful in the treatment of ailments such as Sciatica, Arthritis, and pressure sores. The cushion comes with a machine washable and hypoallergenic seat cover. At only 3.2 pounds, this is an extremely portable seat cushion that can be carried anywhere.
The product comes with a lifetime warranty, which means peace of mind for the customer!
- Gel-infused Memory foam gives higher comfort and good
- Lower pressure points because of strategically put holes leads to lower skin breakdown issues
- Relative inexpensive option as compared to many others in this list
- Lightweight and portable, does not add much to the weight of the wheelchair
- Perfect size for most wheelchairs (18X17X3 inches)
- Some customers complained that the seat cushion is too hard.
- The cover is not waterproof, therefore not suitable for incontinence use
Here we have a Youtube video that features more information of Everlasting Comfort Memory Foam Wheelchair Seat Cushion.
#3. Vive Wheelchair Cushion
The Vive wheelchair cushion boasts of 4 layers of security and comfort to the user. The outer layer consists of a waterproof, machine washable cover, which also includes a non-slip base to ensure comfort as well as stability. The cover is durable enough to survive hundreds of washes.
Inside, there is another waterproof seal that keeps the foam and gel base safe. The dynamic fluid core in the cushion will apply the right amount of pressure on the person sitting and will make sure that the pressure is distributed evenly across the surface being touched.
This helps reduce the risk of skin breakdown and pressure sores.
At 5.6 pounds, the cushion is comfortably weighted and it can be easily picked up and transported as and when needed.
The Vive wheelchair cushion is perfectly sized to fit most wheelchairs or chairs (18X 16X 3 inches)
- Sturdy design and construction does not lose its shape or firmness for a long period of time
- Waterproofs the gel+foam combination, thus ensuring that the softness of the cushion is maintained for a long time
- Product is priced competitively
- The Gel + Foam combo can be too soft for some people
- The Gel tends to move around too much, thus causing the chair to bunch up between the legs.
- The Gel + Foam combo can be too soft for some people
- The Gel tends to move around too much, thus causing the chair to bunch up between the legs.
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#4. FOMI Premium All Gel Orthopedic Seat Cushion
The FOMI premium uses advanced column-buckling technology to distribute pressure across your back to make sure there is maximum comfort and pain points are protected. At the same time, it has an advanced cooling structure that improves air circulation and keeps you cool.
The high-quality gel is extremely durable and helps retain shape for a long time. The bottom surface uses a non-slip grip which is good for wheelchairs that tend to let the user fall over.
The cushion is very portable due to its small weight (only 2.2 pounds, one of the lightest on the list), and a built-in carry case cum cover.
It helps provide treatment for the following ailments: coccyx issues, lumbar strain, sciatica, to degenerative disc disorders, and others. This cushion has an easy to remove, zip-up external cover which is washable using a machine.
The cushion can work well with even individuals who have a heavier body type.
- Works well for users of all weight classes
- Retains its shape, durable
- Extremely easy to move due to its low weight
- The size can be too short (17X 15X 3inches)
- The gel can be a bit too firm.
#5. Essential Medical Supply Fleece Covered Wheelchair Cushion
The Essential Medical Fleece is a dense, heavyweight cushion with one side polyester & cotton and the other side with a heavy fleece cover (made of polyester/acrylic).
It is made to support people who sit for long durations in a wheelchair. The fleece cover provides warmth to the affected area, making it a comfortable sitting every time.
It comes in 2 sizes (16X16 inches and 18X 16 inches) and has a machine washable cover. The actual cushion inside is a square-shaped foam cushion, with a height of about 3 inches. The two sizes fit most wheelchair requirements and seats. Putting the cushion upside down on the fleece side ensures that the cushion will not slip from the wheelchair/seat.
- This cushion is very durable, it does not flatten out like many others.
- Available in multiple sizes
- Fleece covering effectively warms the affected area
- Due to the pure square foam inside, this is a harder cushion than what most expect
- The thickness may make it uncomfortable for use for taller people.
#6. CYLEN Home-Memory Foam Seat Cushion
The Cylen Home cushion provides a unique blend of a hard cushion that softens down upon sitting based on your body heat.
Another great feature is its characteristic ventilation ability which lowers the heat being generated by the person sitting and provides a comfortable experience for long sittings. This property is because of the infusion of bamboo charcoal in the main memory foam which is used to make the cushion. The air mesh cover provided with the seat further adds to this cooling effect.
The cover also has a non-slip feature which makes it more convenient to sit without the risk of falling out. It is a machine washable and removable cover.
The cushion claims to provide relief from pain due to lumbar, hip, tailbone and coccyx. It has a special design to support the hips and anal area (as opposed to square/rectangular designed seat cushions).
The product is available in two colours – Black and Blue. Its dimensions are 17.5 X 13.4 X 3.3 inches and weigh 1.8 pounds.
- Provides both comfort (soft seating, air ventilation) and support (hard base)
- Comes with a nice machine washable cover
- Available in multiple colours and has a non-slip feature
- The height is above 3 inches, which might be uncomfortable for taller people
- The memory foam tends to make this cushion warm to use for extended periods
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#7. FORTEM Seat Cushion
The Fortem seat cushion pillow is made from 100% premium memory foam. It has an ergonomic U-shaped design which frees up the spine and tailbone and avoids the buildup of pressure on those parts. This helps to reduce pain and reduces the chances of skin breakdown as well.
This seat cushion comes with an easily removable cover which can then machine washed. This makes it easy to keep the cushion clean.
At 1.4 pounds, this is one of the most lightweight cushions available in the market. It fits most major wheelchairs and seats, albeit at 3-inch thickness it does tend to make you a bit tall when seated.
This cushion also comes with an anti-slip bottom surface which protects the person sitting on it from accidental falls.
- Provides relief from pain in the spinal and sciatic areas.
- Easy to carry around, portable
- Fairly inexpensive option
- Memory foam tends to flatten out over time, thereby reducing the benefits.
- The U-shaped design, intended to keep the coccyx and spine comfortable can also cause discomfort in the front area, especially for men.
#8. Viteps Seat Cushion with Gel
The Viteps seat cushion is a hybrid product, having a cooling gel on the outer layer and memory foam on the inside, covered externally by a breathable soft mesh material.
The soft mesh cover is removable through a zipper and is machine-washable for hygiene purposes. There are non-slip dots at the bottom of the cushion which help stabilize the cushion on slippery seats.
It is ergonomically designed in a U-shape which helps reduce pain in the Coccyx, spine and sciatic areas.
This is one of the few cushions in the market available in 9 colours, to match your seating requirements as per your aesthetic tastes.
- Ergonomic design, useful for coccyx and spinal pain
- Gel + Memory foam combination gives a very soft feeling
- Available in multi colours
- The cushion tends to flatten after some time, making it less useful
- Smaller than most other cushions (17X 13.5X 2.5 inches)
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Best Wheelchair Cushion for Skin Breakdown
What is skin breakdown?
Skin breakdown is a condition where blood circulation is reduced due to pressure between soft tissue and the surface on which it sits. It can also be caused by friction. Patients who have difficulty changing their position (such as wheelchair-bound) are the ones most at risk of a skin breakdown.
Skin breakdown develops in stages, each stage being successively worse than the previous one. It starts with an area of skin that has changed in colour, develops into a blister or an abrasion, which further evolves into deeper layers of the skin and finally the ulcer is so deep that it may include damage to the muscles and bones as well.
Below are our picks for wheelchair cushions that help prevent skin breakdown & pressure sores
Roho Mosaic Wheelchair Seat Cushion
The Roho Mosaic is an air cell-based wheelchair cushion that provides a comfortable, customizable sitting at an economical price. The Roho cushion’s shape with 3-inch-high polyvinyl air cells helps reduce pressure between the skin and the cushion surface, thus helping reduce the chances of skin breakdown.
The cushion comes as a complete kit with its pump for filling it up, a seat cover and a patch kit. As the air fills up in the cushion, it becomes harder to touch, therefore the key to ensuring lower pressure is to keep the air slightly lesser than maximum, thus providing bounce to the person using the cushion, and reducing friction.
The cover is lycra with a non-skin mesh, and while not waterproof, it can be hand-washed and air-dried.
It is easily portable due to its low weight and size and is perfect for long sittings. The height of the cushion is about 2 inches, though it is recommended to not inflate it fully (as mentioned earlier)
- Excellent weight distribution, reducing pressure at all points and therefore lower risk of bedsores
- Economical (compared to other ROHO products)
- Comes as a complete kit, with pump and seat cover
- Easy to inflate and use
- Few complaints of the product not being able to hold air after a few months
- As the cushion material is slick, there is a possibility of sliding off the chair
- The cover is not water-resistant – therefore not recommended for people with incontinence
PURAP Seat Cushion for Wheelchairs and Recliners
The Purap seat cushion is built on an advanced fluid 3D flotation technology and has been clinically tested to help improve skin breakdown issues such as decubitus sores and pressure sores.
It consists of 3 different layers – a fluid layer, air and foam. The fluid layer is closest to the area of contact and helps distributes the pressure which gets accumulated on certain points in the body, towards the entire surface which is in contact with the cushion.
It is a lightweight product (only 2.4 pounds) and can take weights up to 250 pounds. A separate, waterproof cover is available for people who are also afflicted with incontinence. The PURAP seat cover comes in a size of 20 X 18 X 1.5 inches, which fits on to most wheelchairs.
Due to its lower thickness, the person sitting on it is not as high up as a chair and therefore is more comfortable.
- One of the few products which help heal pressure sores, rather than just prevent them
- Lightweight, very easy to carry around
- Comfortable to sit on for longer periods.
- Thin cushion, helps the person sitting to fit easily into smaller tables.
- Customer service and warranty replacement are excellent.
- Initially, it may feel hard to sit on due to the way the fluid inside distributes pressure.
- May not work in all cases to improve bed sores
- The waterproof cover is not included, unlike most other cushions.
- This is an expensive cushion as compared to others in the market.
Drive Medical Gel Wheelchair Cushion
The Drive Medical Gel’e’ consists of a gel-based bladder, covered on the outside by foam, which redistributes the pressure efficiently and reduces the chances of Skin breakdown and related problems.
The cover is water-resistant and low shear, thus making it useful for patients suffering from incontinence as well. The top is made of nylon whereas the bottom is made of vinyl for durability.
The overall height of the cushion is about 3 inches, making it a good pick for people who want to add height to their wheelchair. It weighs 6.7 pounds. It can carry weights of up to 275 pounds.
- Economically priced
- Gel filling helps distribute pressure evenly
- Waterproof cover, great for incontinence patients
- Some cases of the cushion flattening out in a few months
- Heavier than other option available
- 30-inch height may cause the wheelchair to rise above tabletop bottoms, making it difficult to roll in the chair.
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Best Wheelchair Cushions for Incontinence and Incontinence Resistant Cushion Pads
Incontinence is a lack of control over urinary or bowel functions, leading to sudden, involuntary leakage of faeces or urine, often without the patient being aware of it.
The most common cause of urinary incontinence is a problem in the muscles or nerves which help the bladder release or hold urine. Urinary incontinence can be of 5 basic types:
- Stress incontinence: When leakage happens due to coughing, sneezing, laughing or any action that puts stress on the bladder
- Urge incontinence: When you leak after a sudden urge to go.
- Mixed incontinence: Both stress and urge incontinence together
- Overflow incontinence: When you are unable to empty your bladder completely and therefore you leak small amounts when your bladder becomes full
- Functional incontinence: When a medical condition keeps you from reaching the bathroom in time.
The most common causes of faecal incontinence include:
- Old age
- Constipation: Watery stool may build up behind harder stool, causing it to leak
- Muscle damage
- Nerve damage: Conditions such as diabetes or MS can exacerbate faecal incontinence
- Physical Inactivity
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory bowel disease and lactose intolerance
While incontinence on its own is an embarrassing and difficult condition, managing it for a person who spends a majority of their time on a wheelchair is an even more difficult task. There are several tips to control and minimize the impact on daily life:
- Empty the bladder regularly
- Locate bathrooms at all the environments where you will be going
- Keep a bladder diary to know when your bladder becomes active
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid alcohol, smoking and caffeine
- Drink water regularly (while this may sound counter-intuitive, drinking water regularly at periodic intervals creates a regimen for your urination, which makes it easier for you to know when your body wants to go)
However, in the event of loss of control while on the wheelchair, it is often prudent to ensure that the wheelchair cushion/seat is protected by waterproof, absorbent pads. This is also good for skincare because if the urine/faecal matter is allowed to collect on the seat and the person moves around in it for a long time, it can create skin irritation, rashes and infections.
Below we discuss the best water-resistant cushion pads for dealing with incontinence.
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Americare Absorbent Washable Waterproof Seat Protector Pads
The Americare absorbent seat protectors are made of a waterproof velour surface, which can keep any surface dry for a long time while providing a soft, comfortable touch on the outside
It has a non-slippery inside lining which ensures that these pads do not cause slippage. The pads are very portable (Only 22X21 inch sized) and are easy to use on any surface.
The pads are easy to reuse and are capable of up to 300 full machine washes. They come in 6 colours making it easy to match the shade of your wheelchair and/or cushion.
- Easily Reusable
- Come in multiple colours
- Absorbency reduces with time
- Regular washing can cause damage to the product
RMS CP-600BL Washable Incontinence Seat Cushion
The RMS CP-600BL is a high absorbent 3-layer seat cushion cover for extra protection against incontinence. The 3 layers used are Quilted top fabric, absorbent inner layer and vinyl backing.
The soft quilted top (half cotton, half polyester) provides comfort to the person sitting on it, whereas the absorbent layers below ensure that incontinence does not impact furniture or wheelchair below.
The pad comes in 5 colours and is machine washable. The 22 X21 inch size is perfect for most chairs/wheelchairs.
- Very comfortable to sit on due to short-cropped vinyl top
- A large variety of colours and designs to suit your décor
- Tends to slip when used on a wheelchair
- Might be good to have a slightly smaller size as well.
Priva Ultra Plus Waterproof Pad
This waterproof pad has 4 layered protection to ensure that there is no leakage on to your seat of a wheelchair.
The first layer consists of a cotton/polyester blend, the second one polyester fiberfill, a high density absorbent 3rd layer and vinyl waterproof lining on the outside backside. The pad can absorb up to 8 cups of water in a single sitting.
As the name suggests, these pads are good for machine washing up to 300 times. They are available in multiple sizes to suit the size of your wheelchair or seat.
- 4-ply coverage
- Available in multiple sizes for different types of wheelchairs
- Washer and Dryer friendly
- Least expensive product in this list
- Thinner than most other products in the same range
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NewBeau Washable Seat Protector Pads for Incontinence
This is the second 4-ply pad on this list. The 4 layers are Cotton + Polyester, Quilted fabric layer and absorbent inner layer, followed by vinyl backing. The vinyl backing is slip-resistant.
The NewBeau are easy to wash and dry, durable, come in multiple colours (Beige, Grey and Coffee). They can be used on any kind of chair – wheelchair, sofa, futon etc.
- Easy to wash and dry
- Comes in convenient 2-packs and
- colour options
- There have been complaints of leakage in these pads when faced with high moisture
- Available only in 22X 21-inch sizes, may not fit every wheelchair/seat.
Best Bariatric Wheelchair Cushion
Why Do Wheelchair-Bound Bariatric Patients Need Special Cushions?
Bariatric patients who spend a large part of their day on the wheelchair are at a higher risk for pressure injuries, partly because of their extra weight. They develop pressure issues in unique locations such as hips, lower back, buttocks, and skinfolds, apart from the usual ones such as legs and thighs.
One of the risks that they face is wheelchairs that are too small for their size– a smaller size wheelchair can have side panels rubbing along the skin and creating pressure points. In many cases wheelchairs which have foldable seats which make the seats less sturdy. Such seats can cause discomfort and reduced support creating pressure points in the coccyx and lower back.
Bariatric cushions can reduce the risk of pressure injuries and improve posture, reduce risk of sciatica, leg pain, and muscle strain
Factors on the Basis of Which to Decide Which Bariatric Cushion to Buy:
- Weight capacity – Always choose a cushion that can easily support your weight, ie. Its upper weight limit should be comfortably higher than your own.
- Size – Ill-fitting cushions can result in discomfort and lead to incorrect weight distribution. The proper way to measure your wheelchair is to measure from side to side between the seat upholstery, and front to back along the side rail.
- Positioning – If your loved one needs help getting out of the wheelchair, contoured cushions are a better bet.
- Material – Foam, gel and air each provide a different type of comfort and impact.
- Ease of cleaning – Cushions with machine-washable covers makes life easier.
- Price – The most inexpensive item may often not be the best choice.
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NOVA Gel & Memory Foam Wheelchair Cushion
The NOVA Gel & Memory Foam seat has a wide range of seat sizes, including the extra-wide one (18X24 inches) which fits well for bariatric wheelchairs. This cushion can support up to a weight capacity of 400 pounds.
In the larger sizes, the cushion has a 3-inch thickness. It uses a Gel + Memory Foam combination for comfort, equitable weight distribution, support and pressure reduction. The outer cover is soft, comfortable on the skin, has an easy removal zipper, is water-resistant and easily washable by machine or hand.
A non-skid layer is provided at the bottom of the cushion, which helps to keep the cushion fixed and avoids chances of slipping from the wheelchair. This is further bolstered with Velcro straps for ensuring that the seat is held in place.
- Gel + Memory Foam combination works well to distribute the pressure across the cushion.
- A large variety of sizes to fit any wheelchair size.
- Comfortable for long use
- Non-skid layer + Velcro ensures no slipping.
- Heavy (>7 pounds). Not easily portable
- 3-inch height might be uncomfortable, especially for taller users
Desk Jockey Extra Large Seat Cushion
The Desk Jockey Extra Large Seat Cushion uses proprietary high-density memory foam to provide comfort and support for users between 200 to 500 pounds. It helps relieve pressure, nerve pain and improves circulation
Highly durable non-flattening cushion material provides support for the lower back, lumbar, hip, leg and body pain. There is a soft, machine washable cover on the cushion which is perfect for long sittings.
The product weighs 2.5 pounds and measures 18 X 16 inches.
- Durable does not flatten out quickly
- Stays in place, does not slip
- Ergonomic design for pain relief
- Lightweight and portable
- The cushion can appear to be too hard initially
- There is no product guarantee
ComfiU Extra Large Seat Cushion
The ComfiU cushion is another high-density memory foam product which was designed specifically keeping bariatrics in mind.
It provides very firm support to 200-500 pounds weight users who need to use the product for long periods at a stretch.
The product has a 30-day money-back guarantee and is available in a 19X17-inch size with a 3.5inch thickness.
It has a nice, machine washable cover made of soft clothing and it comes in a bag ready for use.
- Hard, durable support
- Comfortable, machine washable cover
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Too hard initially. Takes a long time to settle into right firmness
- There is a chemical odor initially in some cases
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Comfortanza Large Seat Cushion
The Comfortanza is a gel-infused memory foam cushion that provides comfort to people with tailbone issues and those who are confined to use the wheelchair for long periods.
The cushion is available in multiple sizes, and the top sizes (19X17 inches) are also useful for bariatric patients. They provide for firm support and can be hard to sit on initially.
The cushion has a non-slip bottom to ensure that you don’t slip off your wheelchair. It has a zipper-lock machine-washable cover for easy cleaning and a built-in carry handle for easy carrying around.
The product is heavy (nearly 3pounds) and carries a manufacturer warranty of 180 days.
- Holds shape and firmness for long periods
- The non-slip bottom fabric helps reduce slipping
- Zip-locked machine washable cover
- Inexpensive as compared to others on this list
- The cushion can be too hard initially
- The product does not carry a guarantee