How we pick our products
A good rollator must not only be light, but also stable and suitable for everyday use. The choice on the market is huge, which is why the decision is often not so easy. To make your decision as easy as possible, we have summarised all the information about rollators in this article.
In our large rollator test 2022 we present all the rollators that we have tested in detail. In addition, you will learn everything about the topic, such as the different types, the advantages and disadvantages and much more. In addition, we have included important buying criteria that can help you find the right rollator for you.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 The Best Rollator: Our Picks
- 3 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a rollator
- 3.1 What is a rollator?
- 3.2 What are the advantages of a rollator?
- 3.3 Which rollator is best for travelling?
- 3.4 What does a rollator cost?
- 3.5 Does health insurance cover the cost of a rollator?
- 3.6 Can I buy a rollator without a prescription?
- 3.7 Can I design my rollator myself?
- 3.8 What do I have to consider if I want to buy a rollator used?
- 3.9 What are the alternatives to a rollator?
- 4 Decision: What types of rollators are there and which is the right one for you?
- 4.1 What distinguishes a standard rollator and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
- 4.2 What distinguishes a lightweight rollator and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
- 4.3 What distinguishes an indoor rollator and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
- 4.4 What distinguishes an outdoor rollator and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
- 4.5 What distinguishes an XXL rollator and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
- 5 Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate rollators based on these factors
- 6 Facts worth knowing about the rollator
- Rollators are walking aids that are becoming increasingly popular. With these you can regain mobility and independence in case of physical limitations.
- In general, four types of rollators can be distinguished: Standard rollators, lightweight rollators, outdoor and indoor rollators.
- Standard rollators and lightweight rollators are all-rounders that can be used indoors and outdoors. Outdoor rollators are specialists that can be used on difficult terrain, while indoor rollators are perfectly adapted to indoor spaces.
The Best Rollator: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a rollator
Before we show you more about the different types of rollators, you will first get some basic information about your new rollator.
We will show you what advantages a rollator can offer you and how the process with your health insurance works.
You will also find out where you can buy your own rollator and what you should consider when travelling.
What is a rollator?
Because it always stays on the ground and is not lifted into the air like a walking stick, the support function is permanent and can thus provide more safety when walking.
If you need support when walking, you can easily resort to a rollator. This can be the case for various reasons:
- Advanced age
- Operations on the hip
- Illness (Parkinson’s, arthritis)
The walker is easy to use and offers you more safety than a simple walking stick, for example.
You can find out whether a rollator is necessary and the best choice for you by talking to your doctor or physiotherapist.
What are the advantages of a rollator?
The rollator can be a support not only when you go for a walk. It also fulfils other useful functions.
- Mobility: The rollator gives you back your mobility. It doesn’t matter whether you are indoors or outdoors. Leaving your home to go shopping or visit friends is no longer an incalculable risk for you.
- Fall protection: The risk of falling can be reduced. Especially in older age, a fall often has bad consequences.
- Walking: Thanks to the rollator’s seat, you can easily take a break when going for a walk. With a basket on the walker, you can also easily transport things.
A rollator is therefore a great relief for many people in coping with everyday life.
If you need support when walking, a rollator can help you. It offers more safety than a walking stick and allows you to carry things in the basket.
Which rollator is best for travelling?
When they go on a trip, they naturally take their walker with them. If this applies to you, you should pay attention to two things in particular.
In principle, lightweight walkers are better suited for travelling. In any case, you should choose a foldable model, as they are much easier to transport.
Some rollators are even double-foldable and thus take up even less space. This feature is included in the product descriptions.
If you are travelling with Deutsche Bahn, you can take your rollator with you free of charge. As a rule, it is also no problem to take it with you on a plane.
Whether you can take your walker with you on the plane or whether you have to check it in as luggage depends on the airline.
It is best to find out directly on the airline’s website. Long-distance buses also take rollators free of charge.
Registration may be necessary. It is best to check the website of the provider in advance. A lightweight, foldable model is better suited for travelling.
What does a rollator cost?
As with any product, the desired quality and your own requirements ultimately determine the price.
Some models cost up to 1000 euros. On average, however, the prices are much lower. Important: The health insurance company can subsidise the purchase of the rollator.
|From 50 euros||Less high-quality, but offers everything necessary|
|From 100 euros||Mostly made of aluminium and plastic|
|From 400 euros||Made of carbon, Very light, Optional accessories possible|
Does health insurance cover the cost of a rollator?
However, the health insurance usually only covers simple standard rollators with little comfort.
If you only want to use the rollator for a short time or do not want to spend so much money, this is a good option for you.
You should first contact your health insurance fund for more information. Every health insurance company has different conditions. Then make an appointment with your family doctor.
If necessary, he or she will issue you with a rollator on prescription. On the prescription, the doctor should state as precisely as possible if you have special requirements for the device for medical reasons. Otherwise, you will receive the standard model.
You can then either redeem the prescription for the rollator directly at the medical supply store or send it to the health insurance company.
A delivery company will then send you the device. Whether you go to a medical supply store or a delivery company depends on your health insurance.
Unfortunately, you have almost no choice between the devices. The rollators provided by the health insurance companies are often older standard rollators and so heavy in weight and handling.
The comfort can therefore be significantly lower compared to other models.
Furthermore, the rollator does not belong to you, but is usually only lent by the health insurance company or the dealer. Often you only get a used rollator.
If you want a better and more comfortable rollator, get a prescription from your doctor. Then choose the rollator you want from the medical supply store / delivery service.
You will then have to pay the difference between the health insurance rollator and the rollator of your choice.
However, the investment in this everyday aid can be worthwhile, especially for long-term use. But here too, the rollator is often only a loan model.
Can I buy a rollator without a prescription?
Rollators are freely available and you can buy them without a prescription.
However, in contrast to a rollator on prescription, you will not receive a co-payment from your health insurance.
Without a prescription, you also have no help with the correct adjustment of your rollator.
In this case, go to your family doctor and have them check the correct adjustment of the device. If in doubt, make sure you have help setting it up.
Can I design my rollator myself?
If the trend continues and the market continues to grow, it cannot be ruled out that more customisable models will be available in the future.
When a patient has special needs, manufacturers design a rollator adapted to the patient to meet the difficulties.
What do I have to consider if I want to buy a rollator used?
Check the device carefully for any damage. In the case of used rollators, you usually do not have a guarantee.
It is best to check the device with someone who knows about walkers.
You should also disinfect the used rollator thoroughly, as you cannot know whether the previous owner was ill. This way you can prevent possible infections.
For reasons of safety and hygiene, it is better to buy a new rollator.
If you cannot be sure that the device is in perfect condition, you may risk your health.
What are the alternatives to a rollator?
Depending on the degree of immobility, one alternative is more suitable than the other.
As mentioned above, you can also use a walking stick as an alternative to a rollator.
A walking stick is of course easier to handle and not as bulky as a rollator, and is therefore ideal for short trips.
So if you are not completely dependent on a rollator and are safe and mobile even with a walking stick, you can use it.
A walker is very similar to a rollator – it just doesn’t have its wheels, but has four rubber feet.
It is often called a walking frame. Unlike a rollator, fluid movements are not easily possible with a walker.
Due to the rubber stoppers, it cannot be moved forward and must be lifted to do so.
It is therefore more suitable as a support and only for short distances within your home. However, it is also available in a version with two wheels and two rubber stoppers for a little more mobility.
If you are a little more mobile and do not need too much support, simple forearm crutches are also sufficient to move around.
In most cases, they are used after operations or accidents to slowly restore the patient’s mobility and provide support.
Nevertheless, a crutch can also be used for mobility difficulties in old age.
Decision: What types of rollators are there and which is the right one for you?
There is no such thing as the best rollator that is equally suitable for everyone. The decisive factor is when and where you need a rollator.
There are different types of these walking aids that are tailored to specific needs.
Your choice ultimately depends on your needs. Although there is no uniform definition, five types can be distinguished:
- Standard rollator
- Indoor rollator
- Outdoor rollator
- Lightweight rollator
- XXL rollator
Criteria for the rollator that is suitable for you can be, for example: Do I use it exclusively in my home? Or do I also take it shopping? Do I want to be able to walk in the forest?
We will introduce you to the different types and tell you about the respective areas of use.
General note: Regardless of the type of rollator, make sure you choose the right size. Almost all rollators are available for every body size.
What distinguishes a standard rollator and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
The standard rollator is the cheapest and most undemanding option. The devices often have a high weight because they are made of steel.
You can use the standard rollator indoors as well as outdoors. As a rule, they are not very manoeuvrable. In addition, the standard rollator is usually a transverse folder.
The folding mechanism works at right angles to the direction of travel and has to be operated with two hands. In addition, the stand of the device is unstable if it is not parked quite correctly.
The high weight is a decisive disadvantage. Standard rollators therefore offer little comfort compared to other models.
At least they have a basket that is suitable for carrying groceries, for example. You will also find a seat to rest on.
What distinguishes a lightweight rollator and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
Thanks to the fact that they are made of aluminium instead of steel, such a rollator is light with the same stability. The low weight makes it comfortable to lift.
This proves to be a great advantage in everyday life when it comes to obstacles such as kerbs or getting on the bus.
The lightweight rollator can be considered a further development of the standard rollator.
You can use a lightweight rollator both indoors and outdoors. The weight is usually around seven kilograms, and some models even weigh as little as five kilograms.
These models also have a basket or net so that you can use the walker for shopping. Unlike standard rollators, lightweight rollators are longitudinal folders.
The mechanism allows them to be folded without effort and with one hand. Unlike cross folders, there is no danger of crushing your fingers.
In addition, they take up less space when folded and are easy to transport.
If you want to stow the device in the boot, pay attention to the dimensions when folded.
The advantages of the lightweight compared to the standard rollator are reflected in the higher price.
There is no generally binding definition of a lightweight rollator.
We include models that weigh less than eight kilograms and can be used indoors and outdoors.
What distinguishes an indoor rollator and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
The indoor rollator is narrow as well as manoeuvrable and thus specialised for use in the home.
The width is usually less than 60 cm, so you can easily pass through any door. The small tyres make it very manoeuvrable.
The rollators for flats are usually foldable so that they can be stored easily and take up little space.
Consequently, they are also very suitable for small flats. Since another seat is not necessary in the flat, an indoor rollator is instead equipped with a basket or tray.
This allows you to safely transport dishes, for example, indoors.
The rollator for the home thus helps to reduce the risk of falls within your own four walls.
Some designer models are even made mainly of wood, which means they can be integrated well into the home.
What distinguishes an outdoor rollator and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
You can stay mobile with an all-terrain rollator not only on flat roads, but even on cobblestones or at the beach.
The large wheels and solid suspension make it possible to use the rollator outdoors.
Even on difficult surfaces, such as forest paths, the walker remains stable and does not tip over.
Thanks to an outdoor rollator, you don’t have to miss out on walks in the great outdoors.
This type of walker generally has a seat and a basket. This way, you can take a breather during a longer walk and carry everything you need with you.
Good brakes are especially important so that you can walk downhill safely or the rollator is stable when you want to sit down.
The tyres on outdoor rollators can be either rubber or pneumatic.
Pneumatic tyres have the advantage over rubber tyres that they make it even easier to drive on uneven terrain.
The disadvantage of pneumatic tyres is familiar from bicycles: Occasionally they lose some air and need to be serviced. This is not the case with the undemanding and low-maintenance rubber tyres.
What distinguishes an XXL rollator and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
Special XXL rollators are available for heavy people that can carry loads of up to 200 kilograms or even more.
Other models are usually only designed for a total weight of up to 130 or 150 kilograms.
In addition, the seat is significantly wider and thus also offers overweight people a high level of comfort.
Despite the higher load capacity, there are also XXL rollators on the market whose tare weight is only slightly higher than that of conventional devices.
Among the XXL rollators, foldable models are also available.
Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate rollators based on these factors
In this section, we would like to introduce you to the criteria you can use to compare and evaluate the different rollators.
This will make it easier for you to decide which rollator suits you best and meets your needs.
In summary, there are these nine factors:
- Application area
- Load capacity
- Height adjustability
- Folding mechanism
In the following paragraphs we will look at the sub-points in more detail and you will know better how to classify the criteria.
The first elementary question for you is where you want to be mobile with the walking aid.
We have already discussed this above in the section on types of rollators. Let’s summarise once again:
Indoor rollators are only suitable for use indoors.
On the other hand, there is the outdoor rollator, which even masters forest paths or beaches as a specialist.
Standard rollators and lightweight rollators, on the other hand, are all-rounders for indoors and outdoors.
The specialists for the home are characterised by high manoeuvrability due to their small wheels.
They are also very narrow. Anyone who is sure that they only want to walk at home is very well advised to use such a model.
Visually, the difference to the outdoor rollator is obvious because of the tyres.
These models have much larger wheels, which makes it easy to drive over obstacles.
They are particularly unsuitable in narrow flats because the larger tyres make them not very manoeuvrable.
|Type of rollator||Area of use|
|Indoor rollator||Exclusively indoors|
|Outdoor rollator||Due to its robust construction, especially suitable for pavements or even forest paths|
|Standard/ lightweight rollators||Suitable for indoors and outdoors|
If you want to travel indoors and outdoors, you can either buy an indoor or an outdoor rollator.
The cheaper options are standard rollators and lightweight rollators that can do both, although not quite as well as the specialists. However, these models are usually sufficient for everyday use.
The weight of the rollator is an important criterion. Especially if you no longer have so much strength, a lower weight should not be underestimated.
In many everyday situations you may have to lift your rollator. For small obstacles like curbs, for example, but also larger ones like stairs or to stow the rollator in the boot.
A lightweight rollator has an advantage over a standard rollator. When travelling, devices with a low weight are more comfortable.
Rollators vary in weight between about six and ten kilograms. Older standard rollators can be even heavier.
It can be said that walking aids have become lighter on average. This is mainly due to the material.
Whereas steel used to be the main material, the lighter aluminium is now slowly being used more and more.
In the future, the weight will no longer decrease too much, as only the somewhat lighter carbon can be used as an alternative.
Some carbon rollators are already on the market. You should also bear in mind that accessories can make the rollator heavier.
As mentioned, rollators made of steel are heavier than those made of aluminium. Despite the differences in weight, both versions are equally stable.
Regardless of whether your walker is made of steel or aluminium, you do not have to worry about your rollator in the rain.
Both materials are rust-proof and give your rollator a reasonable durability in this respect.
In order for the rollator to match the interior, it was often made of wood. However, this is a very heavy material and therefore particularly impractical.
A rollator made of steel can be an indication of an older age of the device.
If you buy a steel rollator second-hand, be especially careful and check the weight, width and condition.
For various reasons, the dimensions can be very relevant. For example, if the rollator is very wide, it is problematic to use it in a narrow flat.
Doors are more difficult to pass through and you run the risk of damaging furniture by bumping into it frequently. Rollators for flats are generally very narrow.
On the other hand, outdoor rollators are wider. This does not have to be a disadvantage as they are less likely to tip over on uneven surfaces.
As a tendency, lightweight rollators are somewhat more compact compared to the standard model.
In general, you should pay attention to the height of the rollator, which is adjustable to a certain degree.
In this context, make sure that the device is suitable for your height.
The load capacity indicates how many kilograms the rollator can withstand. For the most part, the values vary between 100 and 150 kilograms.
A higher weight of the walker does not necessarily mean a higher load capacity. The decisive factor is the construction.
For many people, these weight limits are sufficient. You should not only consider your body weight, but also your clothing and possibly a handbag or similar.
It is better not to calculate too close to the limit, because a possible collapse of the walking aid while sitting can have very serious consequences for you.
For heavier people, special XXL rollators are available that are even designed for loads of 200 kilograms or more.
As a rule, a rollator is height-adjustable. This is of great importance so that you can adjust the device perfectly to your height.
Stepless rollators are better for this purpose than those that can only be adjusted to different levels.
A basket or net is part of the basic equipment of almost every rollator.
In the case of indoor rollators, they are important for transporting crockery or similar in the home.
With the outdoor models, you can easily do your shopping with the basket.
The advantage of a net is that it weighs less than a metal basket. In case of doubt, however, the metal basket should have the advantage in terms of stability.
The load limit is often five kilograms for both, and up to ten kilograms for some, which means that even larger purchases are possible.
However, don’t forget that you will also have to lift the additional weight, for example at kerbs.
The way the rollator folds can be an important criterion for you. Longitudinal folders are generally more comfortable than transverse folders.
However, the difference in price is also noticeable. Longitudinal folders are more expensive on average.
Longitudinal folders can be folded with one hand without effort, which is not always the case with cross folders.
Cross folders take up more space when folded, which you should take into account when transporting them.
Longitudinal folders are more stable, while cross folders can topple over more easily if they are not set down correctly.
The common standard rollators are predominantly transverse folders. The newer lightweight rollators are almost exclusively longitudinal folders.
If you travel frequently and want to transport your rollator, the longitudinal folders, which are more comfortable to fold, are a good choice for you.
Similar to a net or basket, most rollators have a seat.
This is ideal for taking a break to catch your breath. With the seat, the maximum load capacity of the walker is central.
Unlike devices that can also be used outdoors, indoor rollators are usually equipped without a seat.
However, since you probably have enough seats at home, this is not a serious disadvantage.
On the other hand, it is an advantage for you if the seat is secured by a back belt.
This minimises the risk of tipping backwards while sitting. You will find this device especially on outdoor rollators and lightweight rollators.
Sometimes they are not included in the basic equipment, but have to be purchased additionally for a surcharge.
Facts worth knowing about the rollator
Finally, you will learn a few useful tricks for using your new rollator and more about the history and development of the rollator.
How do I set up a rollator correctly and how do I walk with it?
First of all, it is very important that the height of the rollator handles is set correctly. To do this, you have to stand upright behind the walker and let your arms hang loosely.
The optimal rollator height is now at the height of your wrist bones.
If the device is set too high, there is a risk of falling because you are pushing the rollator in front of you. Instead, you walk in the rollator, so to speak.
Your ankles are at the height of the rear wheels. Your gaze is directed forwards. If the handles are set too low, you run the risk of back pain because you are walking too hunched over.
Who invented the rollator and how long has it been around?
The rollator is a true Scandinavian. It was invented in 1978 by the Swedish woman Aina Wifalk.
She herself suffered from polio and regained her own mobility through her invention. With the dawn of the 1990s, the rollator gradually became widespread.
However, the inventor Wifalk did not experience the big breakthrough. Her rollator is a further development of the walking frame.
This was a four-legged frame that was initially equipped without tyres. This meant that the walking frame had to be raised and lowered again before each step.
The modern rollator, on the other hand, has the advantage that it is much easier to handle.
How many people use a rollator?
In 2015, the German Seniors’ League estimated the number of rollator users at around two million, according to a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
In the meantime, the four-wheeled walking aids have become an integral part of the everyday street scene and it is hard to imagine life without them.
The number of users has increased considerably in recent years, and not only in terms of perception. This assessment is supported by information from the Deutsche Angestellten Krankenkasse (DAK).
According to the DAK, 38% more rollators were prescribed by doctors in 2013 compared to 2009.
Due to demographic change and the increasing number of older people, a continuation of the trend can be assumed.
The triumph of the rollator is therefore not yet over and the number of users will continue to rise.
Image source: 123rf.com / 4828970