The Ultimate Guide to Aluminum Wheelchair Ramps

Man on a wheelchair going down using the WHEEL-A-BOUT PORTABLE SINGLE FOLD WHEELCHAIR AND SCOOTER RAMP BY PVI | Wheelchair Liberty

 

An aluminum wheelchair ramp is an entry solution that helps people with disabilities gain easy access to their homes and public spaces. 

Aluminum ramps come with several perks such as durability, long warranty, and cost effectiveness when compared to other options like wood ramps. For example, aluminum wheelchair ramps do not succumb to environmental elements, with some options like EZ Access even offering a life-long warranty. 

That said, installing a wheelchair ramp isn't just a convenient decision, the ADA (Americans for Disabilities Act) guidelines require that all public spaces install ramps according to particular specifications. For example, here is an image from the ADA guidelines about the specifications of the maximum slope required of a ramp:
Graph with ADA Guideline for Maximum Slope of a Ramps | Wheelchair Liberty

 

But how do you know the right wheelchair ramp to choose? And what are the available aluminum ramp options in the market?

This ultimate guide to aluminum wheelchair ramps will answer these questions and more.

Let's get started.

Options Available When Choosing an Aluminum Wheelchair Ramp

There are 3 major categories you'll come across when trying to choose a wheelchair ramp; Modular, Recreational/Vehicle, and Portable. These categories have tons of options within them and in this guide we will explore each option.

Modular Ramp - Popular Option

Man on a scooter going inside the house using the PATHWAY 3G MODULAR ACCESS SYSTEM WHEELCHAIR RAMP BY EZ-ACCESS | Wheelchair Liberty

PATHWAY 3G MODULAR ACCESS SYSTEM WHEELCHAIR RAMP BY EZ-ACCESS 

When it comes to modular ramps, there are two types, residential and commercial or business.  Here we will discuss residential and we will cover commercial further down.  

A modular ramp is built of individual factory-manufactured sections. This includes components for the ramp such as landings, handrails, and footings. The various sections are assembled at the location where they're needed. You can configure them to any length of your choice and they also come in varying widths. 

These ramps are an excellent solution for wheelchair access when constructing a permanent concrete or wood ramp isn't feasible. 

The great thing about modular entry ramps is that you can modify not just the length of the elevation but also extend it to a complex ramp with platforms and handrails. Plus, you can modify the ramp to comply with the ADA requirements. 

In short, modular ramps are customizable ramps manufactured for short-term or long-term use. They fall under  semi-permanent ramps. 

This type of ramp also offers a ton of benefits such as:

  • All modular ramps are manufactured to ADA standards
  • Modular ramps are extremely durable
  • Unlimited lengths (you can extend the length of a modular ramp to your specific use).
  • Modular ramps though they can be used for a longer period are also portable and can be relocated if needed. 
  • Modular ramp sections are primarily manufactured from sturdy aluminum
  • Excavation isn't required when installing modular ramps
  • Easy installation. Here's a video that shows how seamless it is to install the modular ramp by EZ Access.

Application

Modular ramps are best applied in residential settings where the strength of a permanent ramp and the flexibility of a portable ramp is required.

Types of Uses 

Modular ramps are used primarily for providing easy entry access for wheelchairs and scooters. 

Best Options

There are various modular ramp options but here are the recommended ones: 

 

Portable Aluminum Wheelchair Ramps

WHEEL-A-BOUT PORTABLE SINGLE FOLD WHEELCHAIR AND SCOOTER RAMP BY PVI

WHEEL-A-BOUT PORTABLE SINGLE FOLD WHEELCHAIR AND SCOOTER RAMP BY PVI

Portable ramps are usually used as temporary solutions for easy access. However, in certain situations like at the entrance of a home, portable ramps can be used long-term. 

These types of ramps are typically 30 inches wide and feature a 2-inch flange to keep the wheelchair's wheels on the ramp. Their standout build is that you can fold them up like a suitcase to move them from one location to another. 

The type of fold for portable ramps can differ as well. There are single-fold ramps, telescope ramps, trifold ramps, and the wheel about. Let's see each of them.

Single Fold Ramps

SINGLE FOLD PORTABLE WHEELCHAIR AND SCOOTER RAMP BY PVI

SINGLE FOLD PORTABLE WHEELCHAIR AND SCOOTER RAMP BY PVI

Single fold ramps are great for use at home or as you move from place to place. They are usually made from lightweight aluminum and are very easy to set up and carry around. Just as its name implies, the single-fold ramp folds in just 1 way - length.

Portable Telescopic Ramps

Telescopic ramps are versatile as they easily shorten and extend in length to the needed height. These types of ramps are sold in pairs and are very lightweight. You can also retract them to a compact size for proper storage. Like other portable wheelchair ramps, telescopic ramps are very easy to transport in a vehicle as aside from their compact feature, the telescopic ramp offers non-skid grips to help it stay in place during transit.

Trifold Ramps

SUITCASE TRIFOLD AS RAMPS BY EZ-ACCESS

SUITCASE TRIFOLD AS RAMPS BY EZ-ACCESS

This portable aluminum ramp makes it seamless to transport longer ramps as it features a three-fold design. So unlike the single fold design that folds in half once, the trifold design folds in half both in length and width making the ramp half as wide and long. This means that you can transport the ramp as a single unit and unfold it into 2 separate panels when required. Trifold ramps are ideal for large vehicles, raised landings, or entryways.

Application

Portable wheelchair ramps are best applied in both residential and commercial locations where permanent or modular ramps are not readily available. 

Types of Uses

Portable ramps are typically used for mobility devices like wheelchairs and scooters. 

Best Options

The Wheel a Bout by PVI is a recommended single-fold portable option. It comes with integrated wheels that make it easy to roll around. It also has a 600lbs weight capacity. 

Other portable options include:

 

Threshold Ramps

 TRANSITIONS ANGLED ENTRY RAMPS BY EZ-ACCESS

TRANSITIONS ANGLED ENTRY RAMPS BY EZ-ACCESS

These types of ramps are wedge-shaped sections of aluminum or rubber that sit beneath a small step, doorway, or any uneven surface to allow wheelchairs to easily roll across. Even slight 1-inch rises in the doorway threshold can be a huge barrier to wheeled mobility devices; and threshold ramps are the solution to the problem. Threshold ramps are typically portable and excellent for use both outdoors and indoors. That said, there are different types of threshold ramps as listed below:

Adjustable Threshold Ramp

ELEV8 ADJUSTABLE THRESHOLD ACCESS ENTRY RAMP FOR SCOOTERS AND WHEELCHAIRS BY PVI

ELEV8 ADJUSTABLE THRESHOLD ACCESS ENTRY RAMP FOR SCOOTERS AND WHEELCHAIRS BY PVI

 

This type of threshold ramp is typically built for single-step raises of up to 5 inches in height. Adjustable threshold ramps are great for situations where your door landing or threshold doesn't perfectly match the length of the ramp or when your threshold is lower or higher on one side. Its adjustable feature enables you to match the length of any threshold within a fraction of an inch. The average sizes of adjustable threshold ramps are 23, 12, 24, 36, 42, 32, or 48 inches long. 

Popular options include the ELEV8 Adjustable Threshold Access Entry Ramp for Scooters and Wheelchairs by PVI and the Transitions Angled Entry Ramps by EZ Access

Self-Supporting or Fixed-Height Threshold Ramps

These threshold ramps, unlike the regular aluminum ramp plates, do not butt up against a threshold, landing, or door plate and do not depend on the surface for support.  The Transitions Modular entry ramp and Transitions Angled Entry Plates are popular options.

Bariatric Threshold Ramp

Bariatric ramps are a unique type of threshold ramps as they are capable of supporting weights of 800 pounds or more. The weight of the individual using a wheelchair ramp matters as it can cave in and cause harm. Bariatric patients are people who have a body mass index of 40 and more and are 100 pounds or more above their target weight. 

Threshold Plates 

Threshold ramps can be made from different materials, however, the most durable ramps are usually made of aluminum. Aluminum plates  are very popular and are best for use on doorways requiring a ramp that rises 3 inches or less. The plates are attached with screws using the door's base plate. So you would want to use them when there's at least an inch of the plate to rest on. 

Rubber Threshold Mats

Rubber threshold mats are a unique and popular type of threshold ramps. They are typically made with recycled rubber and are ideal for use indoor or out. Unlike most threshold ramps that stay in place with screws and need drilling, rubber ramps just sit against your door sill. A non-slip rubber bottom is used to hold the ramp in place. Rubber threshold ramps are ideal for sliding doors as they won't interfere with door tracks. You can also customize rubber threshold mats to fit your doorway by trimming the width edges or using grooves on the bottom for a smaller height. An excellent rubber threshold mat option is the Transitions Rubber Welcome Mat by EZ Access

Application 

Threshold ramps are best applied in residential and commercial settings that have uneven doorway thresholds which make it difficult for mobility devices to roll over. 

Types of Uses 

Threshold ramps are best applied for ensuring easy access for wheelchairs or scooters over doorway thresholds. 

Best Options

There are various threshold ramp options but some of the best options include:

 

Curb Ramps

TRAVERSE CURB PLATE RAMP BY EZ-ACCESS

TRAVERSE CURB PLATE RAMP BY EZ-ACCESS

This type of portable ramp is built to provide easy accessibility at high curbs for wheelchairs. They come with 2 curb stops that prevent the ramp from sliding when in use. Curb ramps also have built-in handles for easy convenience and portability. 

Application

Curb ramps are best applied in commercial and government spaces where disabled individuals would need a ramp to easily access the sidewalk. ADA requirements necessitate the use of curb ramps in public spaces. 

Types of Uses

Curb ramps are best used to assist mobility devices of disabled persons to seamlessly climb the curb safely. 

Best Options

The recommended curb ramp option is: 

 

Vehicle Wheelchair Ramps

AUTO FOLD & MINI FOLD POWERED VAN FOLDING RAMP BY ROLL-A-RAMP

AUTO FOLD & MINI FOLD POWERED VAN FOLDING RAMP BY ROLL-A-RAMP

Vehicle wheelchair ramps are an excellent portable option for easy accessibility from automobiles like vans, RVs, etc. The top brands manufacturing vehicle ramps like Roll a Ramp usually feature a motorized and non-motorized version. Motorized vehicle wheelchair ramps just require a touch of the button to fold into your van and out without any heavy lifting. The manual folding vehicle ramps can also be installed into vehicles easily but will require some lifting to use. 

Application 

Portable vehicle wheelchair ramps are best applied in vehicles, boats, and RVs.

Types of Uses

These types of aluminum wheelchair ramps are best used for loading and unloading mobility devices from vehicles, RVs, and boats. 

Best Options 

There are various options available when you opt for an aluminum vehicle wheelchair from Roll a Ramp, PVI, and EZ Access. Roll a Ramp is currently a top choice and offers 2 types a motorized and non-motorized version. Here are a couple of options: 

Loading Ramps

SUITCASE SINGLEFOLD AS PORTABLE RAMPS BY EZ-ACCESS

SUITCASE SINGLEFOLD AS PORTABLE RAMPS BY EZ-ACCESS

Loading ramps are made of aluminum which makes them easy to lift and lightweight. They enable caregivers to easily load the wheelchair or scooter into a vehicle when there's minimal storage space. Most loading ramps also have raised side edges or two handrails to limit accidental wheel-offs and offer increased stability. 

Application

This is ideal for vehicle access.  

Types of Uses

Loading ramps are best used for loading and unloading mobility devices into residential spaces or for easy access to a location using mobility devices. 

Best Options

There are a couple of ramps that work great as loading ramps and these include:

Recreational Ramps

PORTABLE CAMPER / RV RAMP SYSTEM BY ROLL-A-RAMP

PORTABLE CAMPER / RV RAMP SYSTEM BY ROLL-A-RAMP

For travel lovers accessibility doesn’t have to be a limitation. There are ramps for walkers, wheelchairs, scooters, etc. that fit perfectly with your RV making it easier to travel. Recreation ramps, just like loading ramps, usually come with a handrail with the option of upgrading to 2 handrails. Also, these types of ramps are most times expandable to adjust to the required length. 

Application

This is best applied in loading and unloading recreation equipment as well as providing easy accessibility from the RV to the outside space for disabled individuals. 

Types of Uses

Recreation ramps are best used for RVs, mobile stores, and mobile clinics. 

Best Options

The best option for recreation ramps include:

Portable Entry Ramps

ONTRAC WHEELCHAIR AND SCOOTER ACCESS RAMP WITH HANDRAILS BY PVI

ONTRAC WHEELCHAIR AND SCOOTER ACCESS RAMP WITH HANDRAILS BY PVI

Portable entry ramps are built to be easily movable so they're ideal as semi-permanent or temporary solutions for home access. Most portable entry ramps also come with a 1-piece design so they're always ready to use. These types of ramps are also typically built to withstand outdoor weather conditions and the daily use of wheelchairs and scooters. Some of these types of ramps come with rails for extra ease of use and safety while others don't. 

Application

Portable entry ramps are best applied for semi-permanent or temporary home access. 

Types of Uses

These types of ramps are best for individuals using mobility devices to gain entry into residential buildings.

Best Options

There are a couple of portable entry ramp options such as:

Heavy Duty Commercial and Industrial Ramp

TITAN CODE COMPLIANT COMMERCIAL MODULAR ACCESS RAMP SYSTEM BY EZ-ACCESS\

TITAN CODE COMPLIANT COMMERCIAL MODULAR ACCESS RAMP SYSTEM BY EZ-ACCESS

Heavy Duty Commercial and Industrial ramps are installed when an access solution is needed for permanent buildings or temporary structures used for business and the general public. These types of ramps are usually manufactured compliant with local code guidelines/ADA requirements. They are also wider (48 inches rather than 36 inches) than the residential option. 

Commercial and industrial ramps are also easily customizable to your particular needs as you can add more length to your ramp if needed. 

Application

This is best applied to businesses and industrial spaces open to the general public.

Types of Uses 

HD Commercial and Industrial ramps are best used for permanent building structures. 

Best Options

The top recommended commercial and industrial ramp is:

How to Choose the Right Ramp for You?

When shopping for the right wheelchair ramp there are certain key factors to take into consideration as you make a decision.

Consider the Disabled Individual

Before choosing a wheelchair ramp, you would need to consider the person who would be using the ramp the most. And what to consider is their weight and type of disability. If the user's weight is on the high side you'll need to purchase a strong ramp like a modular ramp made of sturdy aluminum

Also, if the user's disability level is high, meaning they have very low mobility then you should opt for a ramp that offers safety measures like a traction pad or handrails. Modular entry ramps offer this option as well:

PATHWAY 3G MODULAR ACCESS SYSTEM SOLO KITS WHEELCHAIR RAMP BY EZ-ACCESS

PATHWAY 3G MODULAR ACCESS SYSTEM SOLO KITS WHEELCHAIR RAMP BY EZ-ACCESS

Know Your Mobility Device

If you don’t have specific information about your wheelchair or scooter you can end up choosing a ramp that is unable to handle the weight of your mobility device or one that is too small. 

So you would need to write down your mobility device's width and length and what you believe based on the data at hand that the combined weight of the user, caregiver, device, and accessories will be. 

You don't have to measure the device yourself, the weight and dimensions of the device can be found in the product information. 

Portability

Whether you're going on a road trip, camping, or down the street if you would need to take your ramp with you then you need to opt for a portable solution. Portable ramps can fold in quarters, half, or thrice and this makes them easily fit into most cars making transit seamless. 

For example, here’s how a single fold portable ramp in transition would look:

SUITCASE® SINGLEFOLD RAMPS BY EZ-ACCESS®

SUITCASE® SINGLEFOLD RAMPS BY EZ-ACCESS®

That said, if you want a more permanent but flexible option, modular wheelchair ramps cover longer lengths and taller rises. You can easily disassemble modular ramps and move them if needed but they aren't built to be a quick solution like the regular portable solutions. 

Vertical Rise 

The vertical rise is the height of the steps that your mobility device will be rolling on. Here’s an example:

ADA Slope Calculator | Wheelchair Liberty

With this information, you will be able to accurately calculate the needed ramp length to avoid having a steep incline. To do so you'll have to use a slope calculator.  Currently, the ADA guidelines state that for every 1-inch rise, you must have 12 inches of the ramp. 

That said, peculiar situations may require a steeper incline.

Location

Most aluminum wheelchair ramps can handle outdoor or indoor weather. So when we talk about the location it is more a concern about the environment. 

For example, if you need a ramp for commercial settings and lengthy rises, larger ramps like the HD Commerical and Industrial ramp would suffice. But if you need a small ramp to help home access over little steps and doorways, threshold ramps are a better fit. 

In both cases, you'll need to consider all environmental factors that could directly affect the placement of the wheelchair ramp like an angled patio step, awkward door, curved sidewalk, etc. If for instance, your ramp may butt against the threshold or doorway, then you need to ensure that your chosen ramp comes with an extended lip or flattened side rails which ensures that you can still open the door with the ramp installed. 

Side Features

Aluminum wheelchair ramps come in various styles. Some ramps come with lip extensions to help make the transition under the ramp and contact surface smoother. Others come with pins and mounting holes for a permanent or semi-permanent installation. 

Some ramps offer handrails as an option, which is a great addition if you intend to accommodate disabled individuals who need a caregiver to assist them.

What is the Difference Between Aluminum Modular Ramps and Portable Ramps?

We wrote a full guide here if you need help deciding between a temporary or semi-permanent solution.

Portable Ramps

  • Travel friendly
  • Can be relocated from your entrance when not needed
  • You can easily load a portable ramp into a van when on the go
  • Lightweight
  • Primarily for temporary use
  • Only go up to 12ft

Modular Ramps

  • You can use a modular ramp for both long and short-term
  • More durable than a portable ramp
  • Built primarily from aluminum
  • No limits on the length of the ramp
  • Easy to use for ADA Compliance

What is the Difference Between a Modular Ramp and a Permanent Ramp?

Modular Ramps 

  • You can easily modify modular ramps even if it is in a new location.
  • Users do not need to make permanent changes to their home or business site to install a modular ramp
  • Residential users can seamlessly relocate the modular ramp to a new location
  • All sections of a modular ramp are tailor-made to satisfy local handicap access codes.
  • Made of aluminum

Permanent Ramps

  • Permanent ramps cannot be modified or relocated 
  • Depending on your local building code, the contractor will require a building permit 
  • Permanent ramps can be more expensive
  • These are usually made of concrete or wood so construction knowledge is a must
  • They require a lot of maintenance.

They permanently alter the home and can have an impact on home value

Where Can I Buy the Right Aluminum Wheelchair Ramp?

You can buy the right aluminum wheelchair ramp at Wheelchair Liberty. We offer the top and recommended wheelchair ramps to suit all needs - portable, modular, threshold, etc. You'll also find a variety of mobility device ramps that adhere to ADA guidelines on Wheelchair Liberty as well. If you need more information before making a purchase check here to request a ramp quote

That said, before making a purchase ensure that you consider the factors listed in the 'how to choose the right ramp' section. They are extremely important and will ensure that you get the best value for your dollar.


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Highly recommended

We needed a 12' ramp that was sturdy and could be moved from the garage to the door by one person to accommodate regular visits from a wheelchair-bound relative,. Others I looked at (despite their advertising claims) were not rigid enough to accommodate the 550# combined weight of powered wheelchair and occupant. The folding mechanism on this ramp is well engineered and the wheels allow me to roll it from the door to the garage with only moderate effort despite its weight. I can install it in minutes and once installed it is perfectly rigid, comparable to a permanently installed ramp. I recommend it highly. It is more than worth the price difference between it and lower priced alternatives.

Can’t get lift into my car, so basically both lift and Solax are useless until I find another solution.

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Received on time no damage works in scooter reasonable price. Will use Wheelchair Liberty for future scooter parts and batteries. Thanks