A Guide to Wheelchair Ramps: Which is the Best One?

At 101 Mobility®, we know firsthand that there is no “one size fits all” approach to wheelchair ramps. That’s why it can be difficult to answer when customers ask us, “which is the best one?” Basically, it all depends on your unique needs and circumstances.

There are a lot of things to consider when selecting a wheelchair ramp, including overall price, the difference between permanent ramps and rentals, going with a pre-owned option versus a brand new model, and whether this ramp will go inside or outside your home or business. Keep reading for a comprehensive guide to wheelchair ramps, courtesy of our mobility and accessibility experts.

The Cost of Installing a Wheelchair Ramp

Wheelchair ramp prices tend to vary based on factors like size, material, labor, and of course, the location where you are installing one. On average, you can expect to pay somewhere around $100-$250 per square foot of ramp space. Because price can vary in different area, contact your local 101 Mobility location for more accurate pricing.

Wheelchair ramp options and prices include:

  • Ready-Made Wheelchair Ramps: For a ready-made wheelchair ramp, measuring five feet in length, prices can start at as low as $210. This would be for what’s known as a “suitcase ramp.”
  • Portable Wheelchair Ramps (Single Fold, suitcase, or multi-fold ramps): A portable wheelchair ramp for a van is generally just over five feet long, but may cost around $500 - $600. Why the jump in price? It depends partially on the retailer, but it’s also because the function of van ramps tends to be more complex than your basic staircase ramp.
  • Aluminum Modular Wheelchair Ramps: Towards the top end of the spectrum there are aluminum modular wheelchair ramps. For one of these, you may be paying between $3,500 and $11,500 (that’s for a roughly 30-36 foot ramp.
  • Wood Ramps: A wood ramp from a professional carpenter meanwhile, can cost approximately $3,500 – $8,000, but this is before the cost of materials and labor.
  •  Threshold Ramps: So-called “rubber threshold ramps” are unlike conventional wheelchair ramps, and are more like rubber mats you place behind your front door to make entering your home or business easier for those who need mobility assistance. Depending on size, you can easily find one of these products for under $100, though larger, higher-end rubber threshold ramps can cost upwards of $950.

Although wheelchair ramps can be expensive, there are many companies that may help cover the cost of installation. You may want to look into local charitable organizations, in addition to talking to your insurance provider. Make sure you are also hiring a company that will work with you to find an option that meets your specific needs, and will ensure that the installation process is as efficient as possible.

The Best Way to Figure Out How Much Ramp You Need

The ramp length your property requires usually depends on what’s known as “rise measurement,” aka the measurement from the top step or landing the ramp will be going to from the ground where it starts. ADA guidelines dictate wheelchair ramps must adhere to a 1:12 ratio, which means that for every one inch of rise, the ramp must extend 12 inches in length. So if your home has three steps of front porch, equaling a total rise measurement of 21 inches, that means you would need to put in 21 feet of ramp length to meet ADA guidelines. These same regulations also stipulate that ramps should have 36 inches of width, at minimum, in addition to a level platform at the top and bottom.

When to Consider a Wheelchair Ramp Rental

Renting a wheelchair ramp generally costs about $150-$500 a month, though length of the ramp is also taken into consideration. While renting is not necessarily an option for some people, it can be a great way to at least test out a product first, and make sure it provides sufficient accessibility for everyone in your home or business. It’s also a good solution if you only need a ramp for a temporary amount of time, such as after an accident, during a family member’s recovery period, or when you have guests visiting who need mobility assistance. As we’ve talked about on our blog before, it is also a great idea to rent a wheelchair ramp for your holiday Christmas party, or even if you are hosting another holiday function at your home.

At 101 Mobility®, we offer a range of options for your short-term ramp needs. Aluminum modular ramps tend to provide the best solution for customers looking to use a ramp temporarily or test one out. Our rental package for these ramps includes set up, removal, as well as any cleanup required during or after these periods. We also offer ramps in both residential and commercial settings, and with our modular ramp rentals, there is never any permanent impact on your property. These ramps are a perfect way to make sure your home or business is completely accessible for a given length of time without disrupting larger layout. We also install and offer rentals for ramps to help out home and business owners dealing with emergency situations. This way, if someone on your property suddenly requires mobility assistance, you will not have to wait around to get the service you need.

What to Know About Pre-Owned Wheelchair Ramps

While purchasing a pre-owned piece of equipment can be risky if you are not going through a reliable company, 101 Mobility® offers a variety of lightly used wheelchair ramps at a discounted price that will meet all your needs. These units have most often been previously rented to home or business owners, but are still in almost-new condition. Our inventory of pre-owned wheelchair ramps may vary depending on when you call us, but if you talk to our consultants and express that you are interested in refurbished options, we promise to work with you to find the perfect unit for your needs. Cost varies based on the make and model, though if you are looking to install a wheelchair ramp rather than renting one, going with a pre-owned option may be the most cost-efficient way to receive a great product you can still trust to get the job done right.

What Is the Difference Between a Wheelchair Ramp and a Platform Lift?

At 101 Mobility®, we provide both wheelchair ramps and platform lifts for individuals using wheelchairs and other mobility devices. The most common places you will find platform lifts are in churches and restaurants. They sort of look like mini-elevators, with platforms designed to raise or lower the user from one floor to another. Some are fully open, while others are partially enclosed. While usually found in commercial settings, they can be installed in homes too, particularly in cases where the user needs access to porches or decks (in fact, these devices are sometimes referred to as “porch lifts.) They can also be useful in homes where there is a staircase leading up from the garage. They are not to be confused with stairlifts, however, as they rise directly from one level to another, rather than traveling up the wall along the same route as the stairs.

What makes a customer choose to get a porch lift versus a wheelchair ramp? It all depends on the needs of the user. Almost anyone in a wheelchair, motorized scooter, or powerchair can use a wheelchair ramp. However, for customers that may need long-term assistance using their wheelchair or other mobility device, a power lift may be better. However, it is important to also look at the cost when considering what is right for your home. For scenarios where the need for assistance is only temporary, a wheelchair ramp is better, as it is easier to just rent one of these devices.

Why DIY Isn’t a Great Idea

A lot of people assume that installing a wheelchair ramp isn’t much more complicated than just propping it up and making a bridge between one surface and another. Yet this could not be further from the truth. There are many factors that go into installing a wheelchair ramp, given that no two homes and businesses are quite alike, and you may need to make modifications depending on the size of your space. At 101 Mobility®, we highly suggest calling a professional for installation rather than trying to put one in yourself. With mobility experts like those employed by our company, your family members or employees will be able to enjoy easy access to your property, without worrying about getting a product that will last a long time and remain efficient in the future.

Contact us now for a free consultation, and we can schedule a time to talk about your wheelchair ramp needs and find the best option for your home.