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What are the differences between walking frames, wheeled walkers, Zimmer frames, and rollators?

There are loads of mobility aids available if you’re needing a little help with walking. Walking frames and wheeled walkers, Zimmers and rollators – they could all be of use!

But what’s the difference between walking frames, wheeled walkers, Zimmer frames, and rollators? And which one suits your needs?

What are walking frames and wheeled walkers?

The terminology is all different, but wheeled walkers, walking frames, Zimmers, and rollators do have things in common.

Walking frames offer support for people when they’re walking around both indoors and outdoors. They provide stability and balance to those who are a little less steady on their feet.

Wheeled walkers are a bit different because, as the name suggests, they’re fitted with wheels. They come in lots of different configurations and provide stability whilst being easy to move.

Walking frames and wheeled walkers side by side.

Walking frames and wheeled walkers are very different and are suited to people of varying abilities.

What’s the difference between walking frames and Zimmer frames?

When it comes to walking frames and Zimmer frames, there isn’t any difference. Zimmer is actually a brand of walking frame – a bit like the Hoover is a brand of vacuum cleaner.

Walking frames, in general, are good for people who are recovering from an injury or for someone when they’re having difficulty staying mobile.

Walking frames can have three or four legs (depending on how much stability or assistance you need). There are rubber ferrules attached at the bottom of each leg to give you some grip on the ground and hold the frame in place.

You can get walking frames in all sorts of sizes, and lots of them will be height-adjustable so it can be set up to match your needs perfectly. Wider walking frames are more stable than narrow ones.

An important thing to remember if you’re looking to use a walking frame is that you must have reasonable arm strength and balance so you can lift the frame with every step.

Walking frames with wheels

If you’re finding it too difficult to move your walking frame, it is possible to get one fitted with wheels which makes it easier to move. With a two-wheeled walking frame, the wheels are fitted to the front legs whilst the back two legs have the same rubber ferrules.

This means that you only need to tilt the frame forward and lift the back two legs to be able to move around. This is ideal for using around the house.

What are the differences between wheeled walkers and rollators?

Wheeled walkers and rollators are slightly different to walking frames and suit different users. These mobility aids have wheels fixed on every leg to provide complete mobility.

In terms of the differences between wheeled walkers and rollators, they’re actually the same thing. The terms are used for both three-wheeled and four-wheeled walking frames.

Walking frames and wheeled walkers look fairly different because wheeled walkers are often designed for people who have better strength and balance. Wheeled walkers can also include extra bits like seats and shopping baskets.

Wheeled walkers and rollators also tend to have large tyres rather than the smaller, moulded wheels you’d see on a walking frame. Larger wheels are easier to manoeuvre, have better grip, and do better with outdoor use (which is mostly where you’d use a rollator).

They’re available in three-wheeled and four-wheeled models and they are a bit smaller than walking frames. Wheeled walkers can be folded up for easy storage.

Wheeled walkers are also different from walking frames because they’re fitted with brakes. With rollators and wheeled walkers being fitted with wheels on each leg, brakes are needed to ensure that it stays steady and stationary when you need it to.

A brake lever on a wheeled walker.

Wheeled walkers are fitted with brakes so that you can lock the walker in place when you’re wanting to stay stationary.


Walking frames and wheeled walkers offer different levels of support and mobility to people who have varying needs. If you need help staying upright when walking around then a walking frame would be a good option; but if you’re steadier on your feet and wanting something that will help you carry your shopping around town, then a wheeled walker is the better option.

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Lucie Hudson
Lucie Hudson

Lucie is our Marketing Manager, meaning she coordinates and writes some of our blogs, magazine articles, and brochures amongst many other resources. She also takes care of all our social media profiles, so feel free to send her any blog ideas you have!

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