Solid Tires VS. Air-Filled Tires
- Frequently we get questions from patients wondering about the differences of tire choice when it comes to knee walkers. You can go with a knee scooter that has solid knee walker tires or a knee scooter that may have air filled tires.
Both tire models will certainly get you to where you want to go. So, what is the difference between the two? Well like anything there are advantages and disadvantages to both. This is great information to have when considering what your preference is when choosing a knee scooter.
Advantages Of Solid Knee Walker Tires
These are some of the most common types of tires you will see on knee walkers. These tires are not air-filled meaning they won’t go flat at any time. They are solid tires made of various rubber composites and they come in all different sizes and quality depending on the knee scooters.
When traversing inside the home or outside you want to make sure the tires have a decent enough grip level to prevent the knee scooter from slipping. The groves in the tires help with this so when rounding corners, it will provide a much more stable feeling than if no groves existed. If there were no groves the tires may just slip, with no real grip to the floor, so a good tire goes a long way in preventing this.
Solid knee scooter tires also have the benefit of being more narrow than conventional air-filled tires. This means the turning radius of the knee scooter models are usually much greater than their air-filled counterparts. Take for example The Swivelmate Knee Walker. It has the ability to turn 90 degrees and this is something a knee scooter with air-filled tires could not do.
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Because the solid tires are rather skinny this allows a more compact feel of the model. By keeping the wheels as close to the model as possible the turning radius increases. The tighter the turns the better getting around the house can be. It might not always be a thought, but this can be a great feature and save you time and energy. Models that don’t have as tight of a turning radius might take a long time to turn around. Some larger models like The KneeRover All Terrain can take over 16 feet to turn compared to The Swivelmate which only takes 4 feet.
Disadvantages of Solid Knee Scooter Tires
There is only one downside to solid knee scooter tires is the fact that when using the walker outdoors you can easily feel bumps. These tires don’t have any give and will jump over seams in concrete, bumpy surfaces etc. That’s why you see many athletes and people who are active using all-terrain models to give them the versatility since they will be using them mostly outdoors.
Advantages Of Air-Filled Tires
The advantage of having air-filled tires is the cushioned ride experience that the user will have. These tires look like bike tires. Bike tires usually offer a cushioned ride due to the high outdoor usage of them. The same goes for these models. When using the models outdoors the user is going to want some type of cushion so the tires easily go over bumps, sticks, and other debris that may impede solid knee walker tires.
These knee walkers are typically used for people who like to do a lot of traveling outside. Traveling with a knee walker is one of the great benefits that these great medical devices offer. We have had people go all over the world with their Orthomate-All Terrain Knee Walkers.
These tires not only offer a great comfort outdoors but the surfaces they can be utilized on also make these models stand out. The tires allow to traverse grass, gravel, asphalt, and other uneven surfaces which make use of the model easy.
That goes without saying there are some disadvantages to air-filled tires.
Yes they can get punctures and loose their air no difference from a car tire. While they will handle most situations, you still need to be careful as to not to puncture them depending on the terrain used.
While they can provide a smooth ride these tires are often bulky and will make your knee walker heavier not only physically but in the effort needed to steer them. Knee scooters that use air-filled tires are often more difficult to fold and pack into a car for transport than knee scooters with solid tires.
Air filled tires have a tendency to leave scuff marks on your hard wood / tile floors. So if you don't want to clean off small black marks and streaks, an air-filled tire model may not be best for you.
In fact, while many models come per-assembled with no tool setup like The Swivelmate some models like The Knee Rover All-Terrain come in pieces and can take an extended amount of time to assemble. This is something many would find almost impossible to do once you have one injured foot and have started your recovery.
Not all knee scooters are like this and The Orthomate All Terrain Knee Scooter provides a quick and easy tool free setup. The air-filled tires also take up more space on this knee scooter since they are smaller.
In general the turning radius of air-filled tires is not going to be as great as a model with solid tires.
Which Tire Choice Is Better?
It all comes down to personal preference. We highly recommend that if you will be doing a lot of outdoor use with a knee scooter to potentially investigate getting an All-Terrain Orthomate model . These models excel outdoors which is great news for people who are into staying active.
For people who will be spending more time indoors and traversing around furniture, kitchens, small spaces and tight hallways it is recommended you get something with a good turning ability. Models like the Swivelmate offer some of the best turning radius on the market today. They can easily be used outdoors as well so the versatility of the models is second to none.
If you have floors in your home that could potentially scuffed easily, we would recommend going with solid knee scooter tires. This is because the tires are often small and don’t leave a large rubbery scuff that air-filled tires potentially can leave. The air-filled tires are larger rubbery tires, and this means with more surface area making contact with the floor there is the potential for scuff marks. This is something to consider and be weary about when getting a model with larger tires.
No matter if you are using the models indoors or outdoors there are plenty of options out there. If unsure of which knee scooter is the right fit, you can take our help me choose quiz. This is a quick quiz that will help you best choose the knee scooter that will help you with a happier and healthier recovery.