Wheelchair Ramps vs. Wheelchair Lifts

Toyota Sienna Rear

We’re thankful there are now so many wheelchair-accessible options to choose from, but finding the right one to meet your needs can be a chore. In general, people narrow it down to two categories:

  • Wheelchair Lifts: A mechanical device that raises a person in a wheelchair into the vehicle and back down. Side-entry is most common.
  • Wheelchair Ramps: A ramp is deployed, and the wheelchair is either pushed or powered up it. Rear-entry is most common.

We’re here to cover the pros and cons of each option to help you choose.

Wheelchair Platform Lifts

A wheelchair platform lift works wonderfully around space limitations or height requirements. They also tend to bring more ease and peace of mind since the entire process is mechanical. The user simply moves their wheelchair onto the lift platform and lets the machine safely take them into the wheelchair accessible vehicle.

They’re also easier to use and deploy with just one person. In addition, they usually bring people in through the side rather than the rear, making wheelchair lifts ideal for wheelchair users who want to drive their own vehicle.

The main problem with wheelchair lifts is that they have a lot of moving parts. This makes them larger and heavier than ramps, so they generally take up more space and burn more gas. There’s also more that can go wrong, and they tend to be more expensive.

2015 Toyota Sienna Silver

Handicap Ramps

One of the most compelling reasons to buy a wheelchair ramp revolves around cost. Handicap ramps are less expensive to buy, install, and maintain. You can even choose portable ramps that can be easily moved between vehicles.

Better yet, a ramp doesn’t take up nearly as much space as a wheelchair lift. This means you’ll have more room in your handicap-accessible vehicle. You’ll also notice stronger fuel economy scores and nimbler performance thanks to the weight reduction over a lift system.

That said, wheelchair ramps make parallel parking impossible since they must be attached to the rear of a vehicle, and some people don’t find them as secure.

2015 Toyota SIenna Red

Let Freedom Motors Deliver Your Perfect Wheelchair-Accessible Van

Whether comparing wheelchair ramps vs. wheelchair lifts or looking at newer solutions like the kneelvan, Freedom Motors can provide the tips you need to find the ideal wheelchair-accessible vehicle. We can even help you decide if portable ramps are a good fit for your lifestyle.