Rollator or Walker: Similar but Different

Rollator or Walker: Similar but Different

By Kevin Cleary


                As we age we sometimes require a little help to maintain our stability and mobility. The last thing we want is to fall and have an injury occur to ourselves or a loved one. How do you choose the piece of equipment that is right for you or your loved one? Rollators and walkers can seem like the same piece of equipment, but actually there are subtle differences. When deciding on which one is right for you, the user’s stability and physical abilities can dictate which one is correct.

Rollator or Walker: Similar but Different

Differences… Subtle, But Differences

                At first glance a rollator looks very similar to a walker and vice versa, so why two names? By standard definitions, a walker has four legs that contact the floor and needs to be lifted to be advanced during walking. It is used for partial weight-bearing and the user must be able to lift the walker to advance it. Where people might get confused is when they see a rollator and they think it’s just a walker with wheels. A rollator may have four legs with wheels (some pivot) and a brake and does not require the user to lift it in order to advance it while striding. This is beneficial for those that do not have the strength to lift a walker repeatedly in order to walk.

Rollator or Walker: Similar but Different


Rollator or Walker: Similar but DifferentFor those with the ability to lift a device forward in order to walk a walker may be all you need. There are many styles and features that may be important to you. One top feature is being lightweight; the Invacare I-Class Dual Release Paddle Walker is both stable and only 5 lbs. 5 oz. This makes it easy to maneuver and lift while still offering many height adjustments for every user. The ability to fold and store your walker can be extremely convenient. Medline offers patients the Guardian Heavy-Duty 2 Button Folding Walker that can be folded with your palm, finger, or even arm. Even though it can fold to a 4.5 in profile, its contoured vinyl handgrips make it easy to use and sturdy. For bariatric patients, the Drive Bariatric Aluminum Two Button Folding Walker can help you get up and about with a wider and deeper frame and can support up to 500 pounds. The fear of walking (or falling) should not be keeping you a prisoner, by working with a physical therapist and the right walker, regain your independence!!


Rollator or Walker: Similar but DifferentAlthough they may seem just like a walker, a rollator has wheels and allows the user, who may not be able to lift a walker without being fatigued, the freedom to walk while having their weight partially supported. Many rollators offer the user a seat so they can rest. The Invacare ProBasics Economy Rollator not only offers a seat, but it’s padded. It offers the user adjustable handles for a custom fit and folds easily for storage or during transportation. Every person is different and the ability to adapt to them is crucial for proper functionality and the Drive ACS Aluminum Breast Care Awareness Four-Wheel Rollator adjusts in 1 inch increments and promotes female breast care awareness with its pink color. Its serrated edge brakes provide a firm hold when applied and has a removable and hinged backrest that can be folded up or down. Bariatric patients up to 375 pounds can opt for the Mabis DMI Extrawide Heavy Duty Steel bariatric Rollator. A large flip up padded seat and sturdy hand brakes can keep you in touch with friends and family, which can be crucial to overall health and mental well-being.

Just to Confuse You Further

                Okay, now that you know the difference between a walker and a rollator there are options on the market that will confuse you. There are walkers with wheels, as well as rollators with just three wheels. It’s never easy is it? These “hybrids” can be functional for the right user or in the right environment. For instance, the Invacare I-Class Dual Release Adult Paddle Walker with Wheels is just like its cousin without the wheels, but the user might not have the strength or endurance to constantly keep lifting it to advance it. The wheels make it just a little bit easier, but it performs just like a standard walker other than that. One way to navigate in tight spaces is to use the Karmen Healthcare Tri Walker Three Wheel Foldable Rollator. Rollators with three wheels are a little more maneuverable in tight spaces, such as small apartments, hallways, or anywhere where space is limited while maintaining stability and weight support. The best way to determine which is better for you (walker or rollator or even a hybrid model) is to work with a good physical therapist who understands the benefits and pratfalls of the each type.