What Is the Difference Between a Wheelchair and a Transport Chair?

transport chair vs wheelchair

When it comes to being easily able to move a person from one place to another, wheelchairs and the transport chairs are often grouped together. The reason behind them being categorized the same because, at the end of the day, they do exactly the same thing, which is to transport a person.

However, some differences make a wheelchair stand out from the transport chair and vice versa.

And in this article, we are going to talk about the difference between a wheelchair and a transport chair. With that said, let us get right into it.

Transport Chair vs Wheelchair

As we mentioned above, some major differences set both the wheelchair and the transport chair apart. They are:


The first and the most important difference lies in the mechanism that both of these comes with. While the wheelchairs will enable the person sitting on it to access the brakes, most of the transport chair will have the braking mechanism on the handle, situated at the back.

That means the person who is sitting on the transport chair will not be able to apply the brakes. One the other hand, wheelchairs will have the braking mechanism located near the wheels, thus the person sitting on it will have access to it.


One of the easiest ways to differentiate a wheelchair and transport chair is to look at the wheels. If the rear wheels are the same as the wheels that are in the front, the chair is a transport chair. In contrast, the rear wheels on the wheelchair will be substantially larger than the wheels that are in the front.

The small rear wheels that are in a transport chair is quite impossible to reach for the person that is sitting on it. On the other hand, the person that is sitting in a wheelchair will be able to rotate the rear wheels to move forward or backward.


Neither of the two is meant to offer a comfortable sitting experience. However, as transport chairs are mostly used to move a person who is facing a short-term injury, they tend to be the least comfortable.

And as wheelchairs are meant for the persons that have relatively long-term mobility issues, they are a tad more comfortable to sit on when compared to a transport chair.


As the transport chairs come with smaller wheels in both the front and the back, they are the most difficult to maneuver when the surface is rough. That means navigating the transport chair through the outdoor terrains will be a bit of a challenging task.

Contrarily, the wheelchairs come with larger wheels on the back, which allows them to navigate through rough terrains easily. Having said that, when it comes to handling, wheelchairs are the ones that are easiest to maneuver.


In general, the wheelchairs will come with different adjustability options that will allow the person that is sitting on top of it to customize the chair according to their preference. Even though the transport chairs do come with some adjustability options, the amount of options is not that much when compared with a wheelchair.

When to Use Which One?

If the person that you are planning to move from one place to another has a temporary, short-term injury and there is an assistant around, then the transport chair would be a good choice. However, if there is no assistant around, the wheelchair should be the go-to choice.

Final Words

Knowing the transport chair vs wheelchair will allow you to make a proper decision when it comes to moving an injured person from one place to another.

With that said, we would like to conclude here by hoping that we were able to provide you with enough information that you can now differentiate a wheelchair from a transport chair.

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