How to Weigh Someone in a Wheelchair: The Best Ways, and Steps to Take

We discuss different ways and what equipment you need to weigh someone who can't walk, and how to make the process safe and the figures accurate.
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Last updatedLast updated: June 15, 2022
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Regularly weighing yourself is essential for staying healthy. This is especially true for someone in a wheelchair. Standard weighing equipment cannot be used to weigh someone in a wheelchair because they aren’t designed for that purpose.

As a result, people that can’t walk face the challenge of searching for effective methods to monitor their weight. Luckily, there are different alternative weighing tools for people who cannot stand.

So, if you’ve ever wondered how to weigh someone in a wheelchair, we’ll provide all the answers below. We’ll also examine the different weighing equipment you can use to weigh someone who can’t walk.

What Can You Use to Weigh a Person in a Wheelchair?

How to Weigh Someone in a Wheelchair: The Best Ways, and Steps to Take

You can weigh someone in a wheelchair with specialized scales Trusted Source Manipulating measurement scales in medical statistical analysis and data mining: A review of methodologies - PMC like a wheelchair scale and a chair scale. A wheelchair scale is a weighing scale that is big enough to accommodate a person in a wheelchair.

This scale displays the person’s weight on the wheelchair or only the individual’s weight if Tare is used. It is relatively convenient to use a wheelchair scale to weigh someone who can’t stand. A wheelchair scale – like Angel’s scale – allows the patient to sit comfortably on their wheelchair and roll onto the platform to get weighed.

Moreover, the best lightweight wheelchairs make rolling on the weighing scale easier to obtain the most accurate weight reading.  Another way to weigh a person in a wheelchair is using a chair scale.

A chair scale is a wheelchair equipped with a weighing scale. This scale enables the person to be weighed instantly and comfortably. Chair scales typically come with an indicator located behind the chair that shows the weight and calculates the person’s  BMI Trusted Source Calculate Your BMI - Standard BMI Calculator Standard Body Mass Index calculator. .

Moreover, chair scales have the advantage of providing the patient’s actual weight without the weight of the wheelchair influencing the weight figures. This allows you to track not only weight fluctuations but also actual weight.

However, it is less convenient to use a chair scale over a wheelchair scale. This is because the patient needs to be carried from their wheelchair to the weighing scales. We understand this process can be inconvenient and time-consuming. Therefore, we recommend using wheelchair scales to weigh someone in a wheelchair.

The best electric wheelchairs ensure that the weighing process is even quicker for more comfort and mobility.

Do You Need Specialized Scales?

According to a study Trusted Source Obesity and Disability - PMC , people who cannot walk themselves are more likely to be obese. It can be challenging for someone who can’t walk to consistently weigh themselves conveniently. This can be an issue because weighing helps with controlling weight.

Standard scales are not intended to handle heavy loads and are very difficult to use for someone in a wheelchair. As a result, specialized scales are the only effective option for monitoring weight. You can find specialized scales in different hospitals across the country. However, not everyone can visit a hospital to check their weight regularly.

Luckily, people who can’t walk do not need to visit the hospital. There are various specialized scales you can buy to use at home. So, are you wondering how to weigh someone in a wheelchair at home? Simply order a specialized wheelchair scale online.

Are There Any Alternatives?

How to Weigh Someone in a Wheelchair: The Best Ways, and Steps to Take

Asides from using a wheelchair scale and chair scale, there are other alternative scales that someone who can’t walk can use to monitor their weight. Here are two effective alternatives if you’re searching for how to weigh someone who can’t stand.

Medical Beam Scales

Medical beam scales work by rolling a wheelchair onto them. This scale offers impressive maneuverability and easily be stored because of its size. Beam scales measure the weight of the person and the wheelchair. Furthermore, some wireless models allow wheelchair users to conveniently weigh themselves without bothering about cables.

Hoist Scale

Another alternative for weighing someone in a wheelchair is a hoist scale. Hoist scales dangle from the ceiling and come with a sling where someone can sit to get weighed. These scales are accurate while taking up very little space, making them ideal for facilities with limited space.

However, this option is the least comfortable, and you may be better served using the other options if you want more comfort.

Can You Weigh Someone in a Wheelchair Without Specialized Scales?

Regular weighing equipment is not recommended to weigh someone in a wheelchair. A big reason is these regular weighing scales are very uncomfortable to use, and they are typically not designed to handle too much weight. Therefore, specialized scales remain the best option.

However, if you don’t have any specialized scales available and don’t want to buy ones, the video below shows a method you can use to weigh yourself while in a wheelchair.

Steps to Weigh a Person in a Wheelchair

Fortunately, weighing someone in a wheelchair is not that complicated. Let’s look at the steps to weigh a person in a wheelchair.

How To Weigh Using a Wheelchair Scale

If you use a wheelchair scale to determine a person’s weight and a BMI, you must first subtract the wheelchair’s weight from the total weight figure.

  • Firstly, place the empty wheelchair on the scale and select the Tare button.
  • After removing the wheelchair from the scale, the indicator will show a minus reading.
  • Afterward, with the user seated, roll the wheelchair onto the scale. Once on the scale, the patient’s weight will show on the indicator.

Alternatively, you can use the numeric keypad to subtract the wheelchair’s weight.

  • To begin, turn on the scale and wait for the indicator to display zero.
  • Then, select the Tare button and use the numeric keypad to input the wheelchair’s weight.
  • Once you’re done inputting the weight, press the Hold key. Afterward, a minus reading will appear, and you can now begin weighing the patient.

How To Weigh Using a Chair Scale

  • To obtain an accurate weight reading from a chair scale, ensure that the patient’s feet and arms are properly placed on the adjustable armrests and footrests.
  • When the patient is seated on the chair scale, their weight will instantly be displayed on the indicator at the back of the chair scale.

How to Get More Accurate Weight Readings

The Tare/Preset Tare function is the simplest way to get more accurate weight readings. The Tare/Preset Tare function removes the wheelchair’s weight from the display, allowing you to see only the user’s weight.

Even though using this function is the best way to get the most accurate readings, you may want to skip this step if you are only interested in tracking weight loss or gain. Before weighing the user, the empty wheelchair must be positioned on the scale, and the weight reading should be taken.

On the other hand, Preset Tare is much more convenient because it automatically subtracts the wheelchair’s weight that you entered into the scale.

The weight of the wheelchair can then be entered using the numeric keypad on the indicator. When you select Tare to confirm, the indicator will show a minus reading.

Knowing the weight of the wheelchair makes weighing much easier and faster, and it eliminates the need to weigh the wheelchair alone before each weighing session. Moreover, you can find the wheelchair’s weight on the wheelchair’s packaging or on the manufacturer’s website.

Furthermore, you can turn on the scale by pressing the ON/OFF button. Load Tare can be pre-set by holding the Tare button for about three seconds, then pressing the Tare again until the left digit flashes.

Lastly, does your wheelchair require upgrading? Consider one of the best manual wheelchairs available.

Final Thoughts

It can be difficult and frustrating for people who can’t walk to check their weight. Because regular weighing scales aren’t suited for this purpose, wheelchair users are always looking for other ways to weigh themselves at home.  Fortunately, specialized scales make it easier to weigh someone in a wheelchair. We hope this article has educated you on the types of weighing scales you can use and how to weigh someone in a wheelchair.


Manipulating measurement scales in medical statistical analysis and data mining: A review of methodologies - PMC
Calculate Your BMI - Standard BMI Calculator
Standard Body Mass Index calculator.
Obesity and Disability - PMC
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