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Differences Between Walkers & Rollators

By Steve Jonathan ; Updated January 09, 2018

Walkers and rollaters are equipment used to help people with mobility issues, or injured people undergoing rehabilitation. They are not the same and there are distinct differences between the two. A walker is typically built with aluminum supports and does not have wheels. The user has to lift the walker as he moves forward. It is lifted, advanced forward and then set down again with each step the user takes. A rollater is a rolling walker as it comes equipped with wheels and does not require lifting and setting down.

Stable Walkers – No Wheels

Stable walkers are available in two types: folding and non-folding models. The folding model is very compact and easy to store in a vehicle. The standard walker is much lighter in weight than the rollater with wheels. To use the walker, the user needs to have sufficient arm strength and a strong back, because the walker needs to be lifted up and set down as the person moves forward. There is another requirement to use the walker, the user needs to be stable enough on her legs because the act of lifting and setting down the walker requires stability.

Maneuverable Rollator – Four Wheels

The maneuverable rollater with four wheels is a great energy saver. It differs from the walker in that the user does not need to use arms and back muscles to lift it up and set it down one step at a time. The front wheels swivel to make turning in small spaces easy. The rollater comes equipped with a padded seat and ergonomic brakes. It is much faster than the walker because of the wheels.

3 Wheel Rollator

Rollators with 3 wheels are available as opposed to the 4 wheel models. These are smaller with better maneuverability in tight spaces and smaller apartments. The rollator features a front center wheel and two wheels at the back to provide balance. Soft touch brakes and stability are the other features that make this model safe to use. It is good for people who constantly have to maneuver in tight spaces and, unlike the walker, does not require great arm and back strength to be lifted up and set down with every step.

Two-Wheel Folding Walker

This is the simplest of all rollator models and is a sort of combination walker/rollator. It has two wheels in the front and rubber stoppers at the back similar to a walker. The model is stable and suited for people who are steady on their feet. There is no need to lift up and set down the rollator like the walker because technically it is termed a rollator and moves with the smoothness of one. The model can be folded for easy storage.

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