The Ultimate Guide to Walkers and Rollators   (12 of your questions answered)

The Ultimate Guide to Walkers and Rollators (12 of your questions answered)

Before buying a walker or rollator it’s important that you find out the differences between them and which one is best suited for your needs. Hopefully this guide will give you all the information you need to making the right choice for you.

The Ultimate Guide to Walkers and Rollators 2022

( 12 of your questions answered )

Table of Contents

1) What are the five types of walkers for the elderly ?
2) What is the difference between a walker and a rollator ?
3) Are larger wheels better on a rollator walker ?
4) What should I look for when buying a rollator ?
5) What height should the handles be on a rollator ?
6) Who should not use a rollator walker ?
7) What are heavy-duty rollators ?
8) Which is better a steel or aluminium rollator ?
9) What are the benefits of suspension on my rollator walker ?
10) Are 3 wheel rollators safe ?
11) Can you sit on a rollator walker ?
12) What is the lightest 4 wheel rollator on the market ?

1) What are the 5 types of walkers for the elderly ?

Standard Walker

Standard Walker

A standard walker is a mobility aid designed with four legs with rubber tips or ferrules on the ends.

This is a basic type of walker that you lift to move forwards and then step forwards.

It has plastic hand moulded grips to hold onto,and is an ideal indoor walking aid for those who need a little extra help to mobilise.

perfect for those struggling to step through with a normal gait pattern, reduced mobility or balance issues.




Two Wheel Walker ( Rollator Frame )

Two Wheel Walker or Rollator Walker

The two wheel walker or rollator frame is it is known is similar to the standard walker except that it is wheels instead of ferrules at the front.

Rather than lift to move the frame or walker forwards, you push and walk beside it.

The individual can either use a step to gait pattern which you would use with a standard walker, or a normal step through gait pattern.





Three Wheel Walker (Tri walkers)

3 Wheel Walker

3 wheel walkers or tri walkers are the ideal mobility aid for those with limited mobility or long term health conditions.

They are normally an outdoor walking aid as they are light, have good manoeuvrability with a narrow turning radius, and fold down for easy storage and transportation.

They are narrower than the four wheeled walkers, lightweight and stable

Although normally an outdoor aid many people also use them inside their homes.

Four Wheel Walker

4 wheel walker

The 4 wheel rollator walker is generally a larger, steadier and supportive walking aid to help keep your independence. They tend to be wider and heavier than the 3 wheeled rollators.

They have a sturdy but foldable frame allowing easy transportation and storage, with supportive hand grips.

They don’t have the same small arc turning capacity as say the 3 wheeled version, but they do have the added benefit of a seat that allows you to stop and rest if fatigued (with storage space underneath the seat)

Knee Walker

Knee walker or Knee scooter

A Knee Walker, sometimes known as a Knee Scooter or a leg trolley, offers an innovative pain free alternative to using walking sticks, elbow crutches or rollator walkers.

This walker is similar to a foot-propelled scooter, but it has a platform for resting your knee.

They are designed to provide the users with increased freedom and safety when suffering from an injury or disability.


2) What is the difference between a walker and a rollator ?

Walkers and rollators are often used interchangeably but there are some noticeable differences and uses for each type.



Available in non wheeled and wheeled versions

Walkers provide similar support to rollators with the exception that rollators are fully wheeled with larger casters.

Walkers do contain wheels, as with the rollator frame or 2 wheel walker, but they tend to be a smaller type.

Most rollators, often called a ‘rolling walker with a seat’ also have other features that walkers don’t, such as handbrakes, a seat and backrest.


Rollators come in 3 or 4 wheel versions.

Rollators allow for an active lifestyle for those who can still walk and stand but need a little bit of extra support.

Many rollators have a built in seat with a convenient shopping basket underneath to store items.

3) Are larger wheels better on a rollator walker ?

rollator wheels 6' and 8'

Almost any style of rollator walker is available with either 6″ or 8″ wheels.

The greater the wheel diameter the fewer revolutions it turns, and as a result, less vibration is transmitted through the rollator frame, and common thresholds in doorways are not a problem.

The smaller 6″ size diameter wheel works better for those of a smaller stature (55 feet 2 inches or shorter 2″ or shorter).

The 8″ size wheels are better for those using their walkers outdoors over a variety of different terrains and inclines. Also, the larger wheels are best suited for those who are taller ( 65 feet 2 inches or shorter or taller).


4) What should I look for when buying a rollator ?


When buying a rollator walker it all depends on your own personal preferences and needs, as there is such a large choice of different makes, models and styles available.

Here’s a guide of things to consider before buying your walker.

Rollator weight

Rollator weight

The overall weight of the rollator can be substantial, especially with a heavy-duty one that can weigh up to 26 Ibs

If you opt for a lightweight one, typically made from aluminium they can be as light as 11Ibs which makes it very portable

and easy to move if you are travelling around.

3 wheeled or 4 wheeled rollator

3 or 4 wheel rollator walkers

I discussed earlier in the article about 3 and 4 wheel walkers but to summarise. If you need more support when walking then obviously having 4 wheels is better than 3. The 4 wheeled rollators don’t turn as quickly with a larger turning radius but are more stable and less likely to tip over.

If you need an outdoor aid then the 4 wheel walker is a better option.They are heavier, sturdier and have the added benefit of a seat which means you can sit and rest when you are tired.

The 4 wheeled versions have a greater choice of styles, weights and also have a backrest and seat.

Rollator seat

Rollator seat

If you prefer a rollator with a seat to rest on, you’ll want to ensure it’s comfortable. For optimum comfort, look for a rollator with a padded or sling seat.

Some rollators have unpadded plastic seats, which although are easier to clean can quickly become painful to sit on.

It is important to check the seat dimensions. Standard rollator walker seat are normally between 13″ and 18″ so it’s important to check that the one you buy is a good fit for you.

Rollator width

Check the width of your rollator walker

Most rollator walkers are between 22″ and 31″ in width.

A standard width door in the UK is 25 feet 2 inches or shorter 6″ ( 30″ ) wide, so the rollator should easily fit through door ways.

Try to get a rollator walker where the overall measurement is a couple of inches less than the width.

Rollator wheel size

Most rollator wheel sizes are normally between 6″ – 8″ in diameter. However, on larger size models you can get ones with 10″ size wheels.

Larger size wheels are ideal for those who use their rollator walker outdoors over different terrains. Although, normally the rollator is an outdoor aid. many people use them indoors so the smaller diameter 6″ wheel should be okay. In addition, the smaller size wheels will turn easier moving around inside your home.


Rollator handle height

Most of the rollator walkers have hand grips that are height adjustable. Look out for ones that have the option to lower or higher (generally they are set in 1″ changes).

Does the rollator walker fold ?

How to fold a 3 wheel wheeled rollator walker

Both 3 and 4 wheeled rollator walkers fold up to make smaller for easier transportation and storage.

The 3 wheel version fold in together and locks / unlocks with a clasp.

With 4 wheeled rollators you normally lift the seat and you lift the bar underneath to fold up, bringing the front and back wheels together.


5) What height should the handle be on a rollator ?

( How to measure correct height of handles on Rollator Walker )

How to measure the handle height correctly on a rollator walker
  • With your hands and arms by your sides and both feet in line with the rear wheels stand directly behind the rollator walker.
  • Adjust the rollator walker’s handles so that they are level with your hip joint.

( the height of the handles should be level with your wrists )

  • Ideally, when you stand straight gripping both handles your arms should be bent at the elbow by approximately 20 – 30 degrees.
  • Most normal rollator walkers have the option of adjusting the height by 4″ – 6″.


As a guide rollator walkers vary as follows –

Standard Adult-size rollator – Height ( 55 feet 2 inches or shorter 3″ up to 55 feet 2 inches or shorter 11″ )

Tall Rollator walkers – Height ( 55 feet 2 inches or shorter 11″ up to 65 feet 2 inches or shorter 4″ )

6) Who should not use a rollator walker ?

If you have issues with your balance, co-ordination or weakness while standing, or need a firm immobile support to help you walk, you should not use a 3 or 4 wheel rollator and you should use a walker instead.

Note – (The exception would be if you have been assessed by a health care professional, such as a physiotherapist (see my about me page), who can complete a full and comprehensive assessment with the walking aid first, and agree safe to use).

The walkers are slower to navigate and move around, but the key is that walkers allow you to partially support your weight safely whilst you are walking or standing.

A rollator is a great choice if you can balance yourself but need a place to sit frequently

Drive Medical Rolling Walker Rollator


7) What are heavy-duty rollators ?

Bariatric rollator walker or plus-size rollator

Heavy duty rollator walkers are designed to withstand a little more weight and wear and tear. Often, these height-adjustable rollators are ideal for larger people.

They are often referred to as bariatric rollator walkers or plus-size rollators.

Sturdy and strong, these walkers tend to have larger diameter wheels (10″) to accommodate the large frame.


8) Which is better a steel or aluminium rollator ?

You will find frames built with either steel or aluminum. Steel is a stronger, heavier material than aluminum and is designed to support greater body weight. Though, aluminum frames are lighter and more easily pushed for those weighing under 200 pounds.

Okay, let’s take a look at the benefits of an aluminium walker

Benefits of An Aluminum Rollator

Benefits of using an aluminium rollator walker
  • Strong and durable.
  • Lightweight but also strong.
  • Great for absorbing shock over rough terrain.
  • Superior corrosion resistance (in other words it is very difficult for it to rust) – so no need to worry about using in wet weather or leaving outside.

Benefits of A Steel Rollator

  • Stronger and heavier material.
  • Able to support a greater body weight.
  • Steel rollator frames are generally less expensive

9) What are the benefits of suspension on my  rollator walker ?

4 wheel suspension rollator walker

If you imagine walking with a normal rollator walker when out and about, then it is fairly certain that you have encountered that shock and vibration through your hands and into your arms and shoulders, causing pain and discomfort.

If you are one of those people who regularly use the rollator, up and down pavements and in / out of buildings or over uneven terrain, then you know how uncomfortable this can be on a regular basis.

If you suffer with rheumatoid arthritis in the joints of your hands, wrists,hip, knees or ankles then a shock absorbing suspension system on your rollator walker is a great way to help ease aches and pains. The idea behind it is that it will lessen the vibration you feel.

10)  Are 3 wheel rollators safe ?

Are 3 wheel rollator walkers safe ?

Like any form of walking aid if it is used correctly then it will be safe. The key is making sure that you have been assessed for the right rollator or walker for your own personal needs.

If you are unsure it is worth trying out different rollators (3 and 4 wheel versions) in your local mobility store. Alternatively, a physiotherapist could assess your walking and advise accordingly.

3 wheel rollator walkers are lighter and more portable than the larger 4 wheel rollators. They have a smaller turning circle and are perfect for indoor use where space is restricted.

The only consideration is that they usually have less support and a lower weight capacity, so are more likely to tip.


11) Can you sit on a rollator walker ?

Although a 4 wheel rollator walker is basically a mobility aid, most also have an integral seat.

The seat is perfect for those who find that walking or standing becomes difficult or tiresome at certain times.

Tips for getting on / off a rollator safely

  • Always ensure that you ensure both brakes are locked securely.
  • Ideally when you have turned if possible use the support of the handles as you sit down.
  • The rollator walker is not designed for comfort like a chair, so you may find you tilt forwards a little at the waist when you are sat down.
  • As an extra precaution it is a good idea to have the front wheels of the rollator walker against something, such as a wall. This is just in case the rollator slides forwards as you transfer on and off it.


12) What is the lightest 4 wheel rollator on the market ?

The Carbon Ultralight Acre rollator is only 4.8Kg making it the lightest outdoor 4 wheel rollator walker.

It is made from a carbon fibre frame that is lightweight, strong and the perfect shock-absorbing material when out and about over uneven terrain.

It has great support and stability given its lightness, and is only 250mm wide when folded for easy transportation.


If you want to read my own personal experiences of using 4 wheel rollators, then please read the following reviews –

HERE’S my Review of the Days 106 lightweight folding 4 wheel rollator walker

HERE’S my Review of the Drive Nitro four wheel rollator walker

Conclusion – The Ultimate Guide to Walkers and Rollators 2022

Hopefully this walker and rollator guide will answer all your questions about which mobility aid is best for you. If you need any further help or advice please free to email me at and I will be happy to help.

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