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The Best Gel Wheelchair Cushions For 2020

 

If you experience mobility issues, using a wheelchair can give you the freedom and flexibility to get around independently. With more than 3.6 million wheelchair users in the U.S., a small but significant proportion of the population use wheelchairs on a regular basis.

However, being in a seated position for long periods of time can cause a range of issues. People may experience poor blood circulation, skin problems, and general discomfort if they aren’t properly supported while using a wheelchair, for example.

Due to this, it’s essential that wheelchair users have access to the right range of accessories. By using a gel wheelchair cushion, you can reduce the risk of experiencing any negative effects from your wheelchair use and significantly increase your comfort and improve your quality of life.

What is a Gel Wheelchair Cushion?

A wheelchair cushion is placed atop the seating area of a wheelchair in order to increase comfort. In addition to this, a wheelchair cushion can effectively redistribute a person’s weight and encourage postural alignment. This reduces the risk of developing sores, skin irritation, and discomfort when you’re using a wheelchair for lengthy periods of time.

In addition to this, some wheelchair users also place cushions against the backrest of their wheelchair. These provide additional support and help wheelchair users to sit in a comfortable position, thus enhancing their posture and minimizing the risk of associated ailments.

A gel cushion for wheelchairs is, as the name suggested, a wheelchair cushion with a gel insert. Depending on the exact model you use, the cushion may have a relatively thin gel insert or it may be predominantly composed of gel.

What are the Benefits of Wheelchair Gel Cushions?

Wheelchair cushions can be made from various different materials but gel cushions for wheelchairs are particularly popular because of the benefits they offer, such as:

Pressure Distribution

A wheelchair gel cushion offers enhanced pressure distribution, particularly when compared to wheelchair cushions made from alternative materials. When using this type of cushion, the gel core offers firmer resistance than other materials. This prevents the cushion from sagging and ensures it continues to provide adequate support, even after long periods of use.

The Best Gel Wheelchair Cushions For 2020

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As wheelchair gel cushions offer this increased resistance, they are able to distribute the user’s weight more effectively and for longer periods of time. This ensures that too much pressure is not placed in one area and decreases the risk of people suffering from pressure sores or related problems.

Cooling

Using a wheelchair for a long period of time can sometimes be uncomfortable, particularly if you’re unable to change the position of your body without assistance. Depending on the material the wheelchair seat is made from, users can feel hot fairly quickly and may experience increased sweating. This, in itself, can be a cause of skin irritation and may increase the likelihood of developing other skin-related issues, such as rashes.

A gel cushion for wheelchairs is the ideal solution to this issue. As gel is cool to the touch, this reduced temperature transfers through the cushion and helps to increase comfort. By enabling individuals to remain cool and comfortable, it also reduces sweating and, therefore, the risk of subsequent skin irritation.

Firmness

If wheelchair cushions are made from materials that lose firmness quickly, they won’t provide adequate support. People may use a wheelchair for hours a day, so it’s vital that wheelchair cushions can retain their firmness when they’re in near-constant use.

Fortunately, a good quality gel seat cushion for wheelchairs will do just that. Even when it’s being used all day, every day, a wheelchair gel seat cushion retains its firmness and provides a decent level of support. In contrast, other materials, such as foam, can lose their firmness relatively quickly, which leads to sagging and an insufficient level of support.

Stabilizing Support

As well as effectively redistributing pressure, the right gel seats for wheelchairs can also increase stability. Many gel filled cushions feature stabilizing bases which take pressure off the spine. A significant proportion of wheelchair users experience muscle atrophy, particularly if they need to use a wheelchair permanently. When the muscles in the body are unable to support the spine, the individual is unable to stabilize themselves, which generally leads to discomfort.

The Best Gel Wheelchair Cushions For 2020

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By stabilizing the individual’s posture, gel cushions prevent this from happening and provide the support that the atrophied muscles no longer can. This increased stability can prevent wheelchair users from experiencing discomfort or pain and enables them to remain in a comfortable seated position.

Contoured Support

Although gel wheelchair cushions provide a high level of support, they also contour to the wheelchair user’s natural body shape. This is one of the reasons why they’re such a popular choice. As well as increasing comfort, this contouring significantly reduces the risk of skin irritation, such as chafing. When the skin is irritated or broken by prolonged wheelchair use, it can be extremely painful and may increase the risk of an infection developing.

The Best Gel Wheelchair Cushions For 2020

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By choosing a solid gel cushion, however, users can access the firm support they need, while benefiting from the pliable nature of the gel which allows it to mold itself to the shape of their body.

Durability

Wheelchair users may use their chair continually, so it’s important that any accessories they use are long-lasting and durable. While some materials, such as foam, tend to lose their shape relatively quickly, gel wheelchair cushions are highly durable. When they’re not in use, they tend to gently return to their natural shape, which preserves the structural integrity of the cushion. The next they are used, the will once again mold to the shape of the user’s body.

Reduced Skin Shearing

Skin shearing occurs when there is downward pressure and friction on the skin, which means wheelchair users have a particularly high risk of skin shearing. When this happens, cell deformation and cell death in the deep layers of the skin’s tissue occurs. The skin then breaks down, which allows infections to take hold and ulcers to form.

To reduce the risk of skin shearing, it’s essential that wheelchair users have access to the right type of cushion. A top-quality gel cushion may offer the best protection against skin shearing. Some gel wheelchair cushions are made from gel which mimics natural skin, for example, which significantly minimizes friction. By doing so, it reduces the risk of skin shearing and the subsequent problems it can cause.

With so many benefits associated with gel filled seat cushions, it’s easy to see why so many wheelchair users prefer them to other types of cushions. Indeed, you only need to take a look at gel wheelchair cushion reviews to see how popular they are. To get a clear idea of the benefits, check out how gel wheelchair cushions stack up against other materials:


Gel Cushions

Foam Cushions

Air Cushions

Pressure Distribution

Lightweight

Durable

Minimal Maintenance

Cooling

Enhanced Stability

Low Cost



Do Wheelchair Gel Cushions Have Any Drawbacks?

Gel cushions are extremely popular because of the benefits they offer. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the right choice for everybody. Although there aren’t any specific drawbacks associated with gel seats for wheelchairs, there are one or two features that may mean they’re not best suited to your needs.

Some gel wheelchair pads need to be ‘kneaded’ prior to use, for example. This helps to keep the gel in place, ensures the cushion offers maximum support, and maximizes the cushion’s durability. Although the process only takes a second or two, some people may find that this is inconvenient. If you lack strength or dexterity in your hands, for example, and want to be able to use your wheelchair independently, you may not want to choose a cushion that requires ‘kneading’ in this way.

In addition to this, some gel wheelchair cushions can be relatively heavy. When compared to foam wheelchair cushions, for example, gel wheelchair pads are typically heavier. This adds weight to the chair, which could be an issue for some people. If you’re using a manual wheelchair, for example, the extra weight of a thick gel cushion could make it more difficult for you to maneuver your chair.

In general, however, most people find that the benefits of using wheelchair gel cushions far outweigh any perceived drawbacks. With increased comfort, additional stability, extra support, and enhanced skin protection, gel filled cushions are often seen as the best type of in-chair support for wheelchair users.

The Best Gel Wheelchair Cushions For 2020

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What Are the Different Types of Gel Wheelchair Cushions?

To ensure you select the right wheelchair gel seat cushion, it’s important to understand the different types that are available. To learn more, take a look at some of the different types of wheelchair gel cushions on the market in 2020:

Foam Gel Cushions

Gel foam cushions for wheelchairs use a combination of materials to deliver a wider array of benefits. The dual structure consists of either a gel insert atop a foam layer or features a gel insert in between two layers of foam.

Many wheelchair users find that gel foam cushions offer increased comfort and support. As the combination of gel and foam enables the individual to access the benefits of both foam and gel cushions, without any of the drawbacks associated with either material, they are one of the most popular types of wheelchair gel pads on the market.

Silicone Gel Cushions

Most gel wheelchair cushions are filled with either elastomer gel, pure silicone gel, or a blend of silicone gels. However, you may want to confirm that the cushion you’re going to purchase does contain one of these types of gel. Many of the benefits associated with gel wheelchair pads occur due to the properties of the silicone gels used. By confirming that your new gel cushion does, in fact, contain elastomer or silicone gels, you can ensure that you’re getting a great quality wheelchair pad.

The Best Gel Wheelchair Cushions For 2020

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Solid Gel Cushions

Although we’ve listed ‘solid gel cushions’ as a specific type of wheelchair pad, people do interpret this in different ways. For some people, a ‘solid gel cushion’ is one which does not decompress much when in use and offers a firm base. Take a look at wheelchair gel cushion reviews and you’ll see how many wheelchair users prioritize firmness when looking for the perfect cushion.

However, manufacturers sometimes use the term to refer to how much gel is contained within a cushion. A solid gel cushion may have a closely packed gel insert to increase firmness and support, for example. In general, you can assume that a gel cushion which is described as solid will offer increased firmness. Depending on your specific needs, the extra stability could be exactly what you’re looking for.

Bariatric Gel Cushions

If you’re above an average weight, you may want to consider using a bariatric gel wheelchair cushion. These are designed for heavier set people and have a higher maximum weight limit than other types of wheelchair gel cushions.

Using a cushion when you exceed the maximum weight capacity reduces the lifespan of the cushion and may even be dangerous. If it doesn’t provide sufficient support, for example, you may experience discomfort or feel unstable when using your chair. By checking the maximum weight limit and upgrading to a bariatric gel cushion if you need to, you can ensure that you get all the benefits of a gel wheelchair cushion, without having any worries about exceeding the weight limit.

Wedge Gel Cushions

Many gel wheelchair cushions are completely flat and are essentially a square or rectangular shape, depending on their dimensions. However, a wedge gel cushion features an incline, which tilts the pelvis forwards and can improve posture. By repositioning the body, a wedge gel wheelchair cushion removes excess pressure from the spine and provides the user with more comfortable positioning.

Wedge gel wheelchair cushions are available with varying inclines, so you may want to try out a range of different options to find one that’s best for you. Similarly, you may want to use different wedge cushions at varying times, depending on your needs.

Anti-Thrust Gel Cushions

When you don’t have sufficient support, you may notice that you gradually slide forwards when you’re sitting in your wheelchair. As well as increasing the risk of falls and injuries, this also places unnecessary friction on the skin and increases the risk of associated problems.

An anti-thrust gel wheelchair cushion prevents this from happening by featuring an ‘anti-thrust barrier’ at the front of the cushion. This helps to keep the pelvis in a neutral position and prevents the wheelchair user from slipping forwards.

Saddle Gel Wheelchair Cushions

Unlike flat gel cushions, saddle wheelchair gel cushions have clearly defined areas in which your thighs are placed. This curvature reflects the natural sitting position and many people find this style of cushion more comfortable than a flat pad. The contours of a saddle gel cushion help to maintain a healthy sitting position and keep the pelvis from shifting.

Although there are many different types of gel wheelchair cushions, it’s important to remember that some cushions fit in more than one category. You might want to use a silicone gel, saddle-shaped cushion, for example. Alternatively, a bariatric, saddle-shaped cushion may be the most suitable option for you.

Things to Consider When Buying Wheelchair Gel Cushions

Before you decide which is the best gel cushion for you, it’s important to consider the various specifications and features that are available. By having a clear idea of what to look out for, you can ensure that the wheelchair cushion you select is well suited to your needs. To get started, take a look at some of the things you’ll want to consider when purchasing a new wheelchair gel cushion:

Size

The size of the gel cushion you choose is, obviously, supremely important. If the cushion is too small, it won’t fill the seat of the wheelchair, which could be dangerous and uncomfortable for the user. Conversely, if it’s too large, it won’t fit into the chair properly and will not function adequately. If you want to get the benefits associated with gel seats, be sure to select the right size for your wheelchair.

The Best Gel Wheelchair Cushions For 2020

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Shape

The shape of the gel cushion you choose is entirely down to personal preference. If you find a saddle-shaped cushion more comfortable, for example, this might be the best option for you. Alternatively, if you like the firm support offered by a flat gel pad, this is the one to go for. If you’ve never used a gel wheelchair cushion before, it can be helpful to try a range of options. This enables you to experience how the differently shaped cushions support your body and determine which ones you prefer.

Material

Gel wheelchair cushions feature a gel insert or ‘pocket’ inside the cushion itself. Some gel cushions will have one or two layers of alternative material, such as foam, inside the cushion too. However, the material on the exterior of the cushion is also important. This is the part of the cushion that’s going to be in direct contact with your skin or clothing, so it’s vital that you find it comfortable and non-irritating.

Removable Cover

Choosing a wheelchair gel sheet cushion with a removable cover means it’s easy to keep your cushion clean at all times. Most removable covers can be removed and washed in a machine, so you’ll never have to worry about wiping it down and leaving the cushion to dry. Providing you have two or more covers to hand, you simply keep a clean cover ready to use whenever you need to wash the existing one.

Maximum Weight

Most people don’t give much thought to weight limits when thinking about wheelchair pads. However, it’s important to choose a wheelchair cushion that’s suitable for your size and weight. Every cushion will have a maximum weight limit, so it’s easy to find ones that are appropriate. Choosing a gel wheelchair cushion that’s suitable for your weight will ensure that you get maximum benefits from the cushion itself and will also increase its durability.

Finding the Best Wheelchair Cushions for 2020

With so many different styles, materials, and inserts out there, it can be tricky to find the best gel wheelchair cushion. In fact, there are so many varying factors to consider that there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to the best gel wheelchair cushion. To help you find the perfect cushion for your needs, take a look at the models that have made it into our ‘best-of-the-best’ list for 2020…

1.  Span-America: Gel-T

A gel foam wheelchair seat cushion, the Span-America Gel-T uses advanced technology to deliver exceptional comfort and support. The segmented gel inserts ensure that the gel remains in the sections it’s needed most. With two soft foam layers surrounding the gel, it’s a great pressure relieving gel cushion.

The vinyl cover is wipe-clean, so you won’t even need to throw it into the washing machine to keep it fresh. Furthermore, the cover accommodates a sling-fill base, so you can use optional extra inserts to enhance the support available.

The Span-America Gel-T wheelchair cushion is approximately 2.5 inches in height and comes in a range of sizes. From 15 inches x 15 inches right up to 24 inches x 18 inches, it’s easy to find the Gel-T cushion in the perfect size for your chair.

The Best Gel Wheelchair Cushions For 2020

2. Permobil: Comfort Saddle

The Permobil Comfort range of gel wheelchair cushions receives great reviews, which is always a sign of a top-quality product. This saddle-shaped cushion is available in three styles:

  1. Zero Elevation - which allows for a greater range of motion and freedom of movement.
  2. Anti-Thrust - anterior incline at the midline to prevent forward migration
  3. Wedge - slight anterior height to control forward leaning

The QuadraGel Pack inside the cushion redistributes pressure which significantly increases comfort, as well as regulating body temperature, which makes it a great cooling wheelchair cushion. What’s more – the Solace Fabric Cover is antimicrobial, fluid-resistant, and soft to the touch.

The Best Gel Wheelchair Cushions For 2020

The Permobil Comfort Saddle cushion is available in numerous sizes, ranging from 16 inches x 16 inches right up to 24 inches x 18 inches, regardless of whether you choose the zero elevation, anti-thrust, or wedge style cushion. With weight limits ranging from 250 pounds up to 400 pounds, there is a Comfort Saddle to suit almost everyone.

3. North Coast Medical: Ultra Gel-Cushion

Perfect for wheelchairs with hammock seats, this firm gel foam wheelchair cushion increases support and provides extra stability. Hammock or sling seats can increase the risk of discomfort and pressure sores. By adding the North Coast Medical Ultra-Gel Cushion to your wheelchair, however, you can increase comfort and functionality instantly.

High-density foam combined with a gel surface, ensures users benefit from more support, pressure redistribution, and body temperature cooling. With an optional Low-Shear wipe clean cover, you can even enhance the level of skin protection and reduce the risk of skin shearing even more.

The Best Gel Wheelchair Cushions For 2020

The Ultra-Gel Cushion is 4 inches in height, but it is only available in 16 inches x 18 inches dimension. While this is suitable for most hammock style seats, you’ll want to ensure that it’s the right size for your chair before you decide it’s the best gel seat cushion for you.

4. Span-America: The Equalizer

If you’re looking for the most advanced gel wheelchair seat on the market, The Equalizer might just fit the bill. Featuring three separate zones of gel-like polymer, The Equalizer offers enhanced pressure redistribution in three key areas: under the ischial/tailbone region, the greater trochanters, and the thighs.

In addition to this, The Equalizer features a viscoelastic ‘memory foam’ top which offers exceptional comfort. The contoured foundation layer ensures you can position your legs comfortably, while the extra-soft relief zone reduces the risk of irritation for high-risk bony prominences.

The Best Gel Wheelchair Cushions For 2020

If that wasn’t enough, even the cover is crafted with an outstanding level of precision. Fully moisture-resistant, the durable nylon bottom combined with the 2-way stretch fabric top maximizes comfort and longevity. Furthermore, the cover features a carry handle for ease of use, as well as space for an option sling-fill base.

Weighing just four pounds, The Equalizer doesn’t add an excessive amount of weight to your wheelchair, despite the fantastic composition and firm support it delivers. Available in four standard sizes, ranging from 16 inches x 16 inches to 24 inches to 18 inches, The Equalizer fits a wide range of chairs. You’ll also find The Equalizer available in bariatric sizes of 22 inches x 18 inches and 24 inches x 18 inches, so there are plenty of options if you want to try this outstanding gel foam wheelchair cushion.

5. Proactive Medical: Protekt® Ultra

Designed to deliver exceptional support and comfort, the Proactive Medical Protekt Ultra is a great option for sling seated or flat seated wheelchairs. Two layers of high resistant foam, along with two separate gel compartments, offer increased comfort. Additionally, the dual gel inserts prevent the gel migrating to other areas and ensure that users benefit from continued support where it’s needed most. The top layer consists of Visco memory foam, which gently molds to the user’s shape and provides added support and protection from pressure-related sores and irritation.

The Best Gel Wheelchair Cushions For 2020

With trochanter cut-outs, as well as lateral and medial side supports, the Proactive Medical Protekt Ultra gel cushion offers enhanced positioning and facilitates appropriate pressure redistribution. The stretch nylon cover is easy to keep clean, while the breathable fabric ensures it remains supremely comfortable when in use.

Approximately 3 inches high, the Protekt Ultra gel foam cushion is available in three different sizes: 16 inches x 16 inches, 18 inches x 16 inches, and 20 inches x 16 inches. In these sizes, the Protekt Ultra has a maximum weight capacity of 275 pounds. However, there is also a Protekt Ultra Bariatric Cushion which offers the same range of features in larger cushion sizes and a maximum weight capacity of 500 pounds.

Find the Best Gel Wheelchair Cushions at Scooters N’ Chairs

As you can see, there is a great range of gel wheelchair cushions on the market for 2020. Fortunately, we make it easy to find the best gel wheelchair pads. With an extensive range, you can find your preferred style right here at Scooters N’ Chairs. To get an idea of why we’re one of the most popular distributors of mobility aids in the U.S., take a look at some of the benefits of shopping with us:

Great Customer Care

At Scooters N’ Chairs, we pride ourselves on delivering consistently great customer care. If you have a question or query, simply get in touch with our friendly team and we’ll be happy to provide the help you need.

Exclusive Offers and Low, Low Prices

We understand that the cost of mobility equipment can be a worry for many people. However, we don’t believe that anyone should struggle to access the equipment they need. When you shop for gel wheelchair cushions or any other mobility aids, with us, you’ll benefit from budget-friendly prices and exclusive offers.

Norton Shopping Guarantee

If you’ve never shopped online before or you’re wary of sharing your details online, we can put your mind at rest. Our Norton Shopping Guarantee gives you the protection you need. With a secure website, satisfaction guarantee, and much more, we go the extra mile to ensure you can shop with us confidently and safely.

Credit Options

If you need a new gel wheelchair pad but you don’t want to pay upfront, no problem! Our credit options make it easy to spread the cost of your purchase. Whether you’re buying one item or multiple pieces of equipment, we can help you to match your budget and get your goods quickly.

Free Delivery

When you’re shopping for wheelchair pads, you don’t want to wait long for your item to get to you. Our fast delivery options ensure you’ll receive your goods quickly, while our free delivery promise for orders over $99 means you won’t even need to pay anything extra!

To find out more about gel seats for wheelchairs, contact Scooters N’ Chairs now at 1-800-674-8395, email us at [email protected] or submit an online enquiry here.

 





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