Both rollators and walkers are designed to help people with mobility or balance issues.
These aids can provide additional stability, safety, and independence – but which is right for you?
The Difference Between Rollators and Walkers
Simply put, the difference between rollators and walkers lies in the number of wheels that each device has.
Rollators have wheels on all four legs, while walkers have wheels on only two of their four legs if they have any wheels at all.
To use a rollator, you can wheel the device forward, controlling it with brakes.
This makes for a smooth motion, providing support as you walk.
If you have a walker with wheels, you’ll need to lift the back legs to engage the wheels.
Walkers without wheels need to be picked up and set forward, but they provide a sturdy, stationary aide that you can confidently lean on.
Rollators are ideal for people who:
Can walk steadily but need some help with balance
Want to use their mobility aid both indoors and outdoors
Walkers are ideal for people who:
Aren’t weight bearing on one or both of their legs, and need more support than a cane
Need both weight support and balanced assistance
Need to navigate narrow spaces, like home hallways
You’ll find that both rollators and some walkers have seats, which can be convenient and can help to prevent excessive fatigue.
How to Decide Which Is Right for You
Whether to purchase a rollator or walker will partially depend on your balance, strength, and mobility needs.
Walkers offer a sturdier support base, while rollators are easier to move but don’t offer you the ability to lean on them as walkers do fully.
If you’re questioning which option is right for you, it’s best to ask your doctor or physical therapist for advice.
Keep in mind that your needs may change, too, so if you ever feel like your current equipment isn’t the right fit for you, be sure to consult with your doctor.
In rehabilitation settings, patients often start with a walker and progress to a rollator as they gain more strength.
And rollator users who experience a loss of strength of an injury may find they need the extra support of a walker.