Wheel Chair Ramps – An Overview

Choosing wheel chair ramps that meet your needs requires an evaluation of your individual requirements, along with awareness of the variety of ramps available. The following information provides an overview of the types of ramps on the market to make it easier for you to choose the best fit for your home or other use.

Threshold Ramps

A threshold is a part of almost any exterior residential door. Even though most thresholds have a small elevation, it can be difficult for a wheel chair user to propel the chair over the incline without an appropriate ramp.

Threshold ramps are specially designed to cater to this problem and enable mobility chair users to easily and safely traverse in and out of doorways – and other uneven or rough surfaces. They can be permanently installed or moved to different locations to accommodate accessibility needs.

Modular Exterior Ramps

Modular exterior ramps consist of various modules or sections that are joined together by clamps and bolts to accommodate specific access points. Most models come complete with hand rails, flanges, supports and wheels. While some use modular ramps for permanent use, they can be moved to different locations with relative ease.

Vehicle Access Ramps

Vehicle access ramps facilitate the movement of wheel chairs into and out of buses and vans. They come in a variety of designs and materials. Some vehicle ramps are installed in the interior of the vehicle When needed, they unfold (either electronically or manually) to facilitate the movement of the wheel chair.

When interior space is a concern, some vehicle ramp models can be installed on the exterior of the van or bus where they are always visible.

Portable Wheel Chair Ramps

As the name suggests, portable wheel chair ramps can be easily transported from one location to another by the user or caregiver. These ramps are small, lightweight and compact. They offer flexibility and fold for easy storage and set up when required.

Portable Channel Ramps

Rather than a flat surface or platform, channel ramps consist of two tracks or channels on which chair wheels roll.

The channels feature a protection mechanism to prevent the wheel chair from toppling sideways.

One of the major advantages of channel ramps over platform-style ramps is that they weigh less and can be easily transported from one location to another.

Other Helpful Tips

  • To determine incline, landing space and ramp length for a given incline area, consult the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines at www.access-board.gov/adaag/html/adaag.htm. Companies that sell ramps may also have an ADA expert on staff who can assist you in this process.
  • Every ramp will have a weight limitation that is specified by the manufacturer. Before committing to a particular ramp, make sure the model safely supports your weight requirements.
  • If you are interested in building rather than purchasing a ramp, click here for information on ADA ramp requirements.

For more information on types of wheel ramps available for wheelchair and scooter users, along with some photos, please click here.

Related Information

Accessibility in Your Home
More on Wheel Chair Ramps
Mobility Resources


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Published by Jules Sowder



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