Should Walker Wheels Be Inside or Outside? (WHERE To Install The Wheels?)
Want to add wheels to your existing walker or purchase a wheeled walker? The wheels can be installed inside or outside, but it is essential to understand the pros and cons of wheel positioning.
You may ask yourself whether installing the wheels inside or outside your walker is best.
- With wheels inside, a walker will be about 2 to 4 inches narrower.
- It is easier to operate in tight places but less stable.
- With wheels outside, a walker will be about 2 to 4 inches wider.
- Your walker is stable and safer but more challenging to maneuver in tight places.
- Manufacturers usually suggest installing wheels on the outside as it gives more stability.
We have provided you with all the information you need to make an informed decision on how the wheels should be on your walker based on your specific needs.
Walker Wheels Inside or Outside?
Benefits of Wheels Being Inside
The most significant benefit of installing your wheels inside is that your walker will have a smaller base, which is perfect for homes with smaller hallways or doorways.
The walker’s base will be about 2 to 4-inches narrower with the wheels installed on the inside.
The next benefit of installing wheels inside your walker is that they won’t catch on items as you walk past them.
If you live in a home with kids and pets that could get in your way or have furniture that your device could hit, then we recommend installing the walls on the inside.
Negatives of Inside Position
The biggest con of your wheels being on the inside is narrowing the base of the device, which makes it less stable and potentially more dangerous to use.
Again, your base will be about 2-4 inches smaller, so you must operate the walker properly.
Benefits of Wheels Being Outside
The most significant benefit of installing wheels on the outside is that it will make your walker more stable by increasing its base, which means it will be safer.
The base will increase from 2 to 4-inches in size.
Negatives of Outside Position
The biggest negative of installing wheels on the outside is that this increases the width by approximately 2 to 3-inches on most standard walkers.
If you regularly walk, or expect to walk, through small spaces, then we recommend installing the wheels on the inside.
Can You Add Wheels On A Standard Walker?
Yes, it is usually possible to add wheels to a standard walker.
However, whether or not you can add accessories depends on the type of device and what kind of wheels it supports.
So before purchasing accessory wheels, check the manufacturer’s rules and guidelines.
Typically, accessory wheels are standard-sized casters with adjustable legs. You can adjust the correct height for your device when installing the rollers.
You can easily convert a standard walker into a rolling walker with the universal Vive replacement wheels, which you can find reasonably priced on Amazon.
You can choose to install these rollers inside or outside. Installed inside it’s easier to go through tight doorways, outside you have a wider base for stability.
Walker Width vs. Door Width
Walkers come in various sizes and styles, but the typical width of a standard walker without wheels is 22-24 inches.
A standard walker with wheels can range from 24 inches up to 28 inches.
Therefore, consider the width of narrow doorways.
There is a ton of variety in door sizes and styles as well. Most interior doors come in widths ranging from 28 to 32 inches. On old apartments, they can be even 26 inches.
What to Consider When Changing the Position of Walker Wheels?
Before you even look at the wheel placement on your device, there are several considerations to keep in mind.
Is My Walker Configurable?
You should check the manufacturer’s manual to ensure your device is configurable and meets your needs (you can read more about how to choose a walker for older adults on WebMD).
Some walkers can only have their wheel placements in one position. It can cause safety issues or break your device if you attempt to install the rollers in any other position than intended by the manufacturer.
Standard walkers will have their base customizable with different metal legs based on the need. You can quickly change from a classic stopper leg to a leg with wheels. This configuration is usually compatible with installing the rollers in either the inside or outside position.
Other walkers will have a solid base where the casters install into the legs, going in a specific direction. These configurations rarely allow you to install the wheels in either position.
Having the wheels installed on the outside of the leg is typical with this type of configuration.
Will My Warranty Be Voided?
Your device manual should state the terms and conditions of its warranty.
You must ensure that installing the casters in a different position or installing replacement parts that didn’t originally come with the device doesn’t void your warranty.
How Many Wheels?
Your walker could come with two, three, or four wheels. The first question you should ask yourself is how many will be on your device?
Let’s look at the typical configurations.
Front Wheels Only
The front-wheels-only frame is the most common type you will see people use. There will be two casters on the front legs and two stopper pegs or gliders on the back legs.
All Four Wheels
A walker with four rollers provides the most mobility but is also potentially the most dangerous. It might roll out from underneath you if you lean into it improperly or put too much weight on it.
However, a four-wheel walker with a parking brake (like this Drive Medical Nitro) is a safe option if you’re looking for a four-wheel walker.
Walker manufacturers make glider mechanisms that you can install on the back legs of your frame to make your operation a lot easier. How these differ from a standard peg leg is how you operate it.
With a classic peg leg frame, you must lift the back legs as you walk forwards or backward. A glider mechanism allows you to push or pull the walker easily by taking full advantage of the rollers.
The Bottom Line
So, should have your walker wheels inside or outside? Generally, when you install wheel rollers inside, it’s easier to go through tight doorways. But, when installed outside, you have more stability.
It is also important to consider how much a walker weighs. Wheels help you move it, but it can be challenging to pick up or push a device that is too heavy.