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What's the Difference Between a Walker and a Rollator? Finding the Right Mobility Aid for You

What's the Difference Between a Walker and a Rollator? Finding the Right Mobility Aid for You

If you or a loved one is reaching the point where you may need a mobility device, you probably have many considerations based on your unique circumstances. Walkers and rollators present many different options that can be beneficial for different conditions, but the terms are often used so interchangeably that many people don't know what product might be best for them. Read on to learn the differences between walkers, rollators, and hybrid rolling walkers!

Mobility Devices at Mountainside Medical Equipment


Walkers are stable mobility aids and you've probably seen them in use before. They're ideal for adults who need strength and balance support while walking or standing. Defining features include:

  • Four legs.
  • No wheels.
  • Helps maintain balance when walking.
  • Supports partial body weight.
  • Lightweight: often weighs between 5 - 8 lbs.
  • Compact, although larger bariatric models are available (these are also heavier, anywhere from 7-12 lbs).
  • Must be lifted up to move forward.
  • Folding design: many models offer this for convenient storage.
  • No seat.
  • Simple design, but a wide range of attachable accessories are available, including pouches, trays, and cup holders.

Walkers are a great choice for people with balance problems to remain stable while moving, and this is why they're often used by people recovering from hip or leg injuries or surgeries, as well as older adults with mobility issues. However, they must be lifted, so they may not be the right choice for users with limited arm strength. Many users incorporate tennis ball walker glides on the front feet to allow them to slide forward without being lifted.

 Rolling Hybrid Walker at Mountainside Medical Equipment

Hybrid Rolling Walkers

These are generally placed in the same category as walkers, but they're a hybrid between walkers and rollators. Defining features include:

  • Two wheels in front; two legs in back.
  • Can be lifted and then slid forward on two wheels.
  • Requires care when used to help support weight and maintain balance, as wheels can move forward quickly.
  • Moderately lightweight: usually weighs about 10 lbs.
  • Typically has no seat.
  • Many models offer a folding design for easy storage.

Hybrid rolling walkers can be a great solution for people who want the mobility of a rollator but have a tighter floor plan. Their maneuverability and smaller size makes them a great fit for a smaller home.

Rollators at Mountainside Medical Equipment


Rollators are mobile, wheeled stability aids. They're ideal for older adults who can remain balanced and need less support, but get tired easily. Adults with respiratory problems often prefer rollators, especially as they typically include a seat for resting. Defining features include:

  • Enhance mobility and movement speed while walking.
  • Wheels: typically four, but three-wheeled models are available.
  • Slides forward without need to lift.
  • Has seat for rest breaks.
  • Some models have seat back for stability when sitting.
  • Many models have basket for convenient storage and carrying.
  • Brake system to prevent falls and increase stability when sitting.
  • Not used to fully support weight while standing, as a fall risk is present.
  • Heavier: often up to 25 lbs.
  • Not used to maintain balance.

Four-wheel rollators are the most common, but three-wheel models can provide additional mobility and a smaller size for smaller floor plans.

Mountainside Medical Equipment Cash and Carry

Wholesale Medical Supplies Available at the Best Prices

Have you been to our storefront? Mountainside Medical Equipment offers wholesale medical supplies on a cash & carry basis. Get top brands for the highest quality assistive and mobility devices at the lowest prices right here!

Mountainside Medical Equipment’s storefront is located at 9266 Old River Road, Marcy, New York 13403. It’s open from Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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