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Which transfer boards are best?

If you have any kind of injury that requires the use of a wheelchair, you may want to consider purchasing a transfer board. This handy, affordable device allows you to safely and more easily move to and from your wheelchair.

When shopping for a transfer board, you’ll want one that is lightweight but also rugged enough to handle your full weight. The best wheelchair transfer board should have a textured bottom and a smooth top for secure placement and ease of movement. The DMI Bariatric Transfer Board is a top choice because it is manufactured to have a 735-pound weight capacity and it features tapered ends, which make it easier for the patient to get on and off the board.

What to know before you buy a transfer board

What is a transfer board?

A transfer board is simply a short, portable board that is used to help individuals move from a wheelchair to a bed, toilet seat, car or any other seated surface that is of equal height to the wheelchair. Alternatively, a patient transfer board can be used to help an individual move back into a wheelchair. A transfer board is a better option than other devices, such as a gait belt, because it places less strain on both the individual and the helper. 

In some instances, a transfer bench may be a more appropriate tool for transferring patients. To learn more about these items, check out BestReviews buying guide for transfer benches.

Transfer board benefits

Anyone who is suffering from a condition or an injury that makes a wheelchair a necessity could potentially benefit from a transfer board. This includes individuals with arthritis, osteoporosis, someone with a leg or back injury, bariatric patients or individuals suffering from any condition that results in a diminished ability to move their lower body.

Types of transfer boards

While the most common transfer board is a well-crafted, straight and durable piece of wood that provides a simple bridge from one seated surface to another, there are a number of other designs. Some models are made of plastic and feature a seat that actually slides along the board. While these models might seem to be the best and do nearly all the work, they are often not recommended because they do not help the patient maintain or increase muscle strength and mobility. Additionally, some models feature an angled board. While some individuals prefer the contoured design, others do not like these transfer boards because it can be easier to misjudge the shape and slide off the edge of the board. 

What to look for in a quality transfer board

Weight capacity

The most important feature of a transfer board is its weight capacity — if it cannot handle the patient’s weight, then it is not safe to use.


Most transfer boards are around 30 inches long. This allows the board to receive adequate support without requiring the patient to slide very far. However, longer models will necessitate a greater effort on the patient’s part and be more difficult to transport, while shorter models might not be long enough to offer a secure overlap at both ends of the board.


The lighter the transfer board weighs, the easier it will be to bring with you.


Many transfer boards have oval holes that serve as handles. In general, it is better not to use these as the patient’s hands can become trapped while sliding. However, for some individuals, these handles can provide a sense of security.


A few transfer boards feature notches in the design. While these notches can help secure the board to the frame of a wheelchair, they can also snag clothing and make the transfer more difficult if the user is not careful.

How much you can expect to spend on a transfer board

You can spend anywhere from $20-$100 for a transfer board with a few specially designed models costing over $200. The average user will typically be satisfied with a model in the $30-$50 price range.

Transfer board FAQ

Can a transfer board be used when you are alone?

A. If you have never used a transfer board before, you will want to have help on hand to support you. As you grow stronger and more confident, it is possible to use a transfer board independently. However, it is essential to first talk with your health care provider to learn proper and safe techniques for using the transfer board.

How do you clean a transfer board?

A. The best cleaning method for a transfer board can vary depending on the material. In general, a damp (but not wet) microfiber cloth with a dollop of mild detergent is a good option. However, it is important to note that some manufacturers have very specific cleaning and sanitizing instructions, so it is highly recommended that you consult the owner’s guide that came with your transfer board to obtain the best results.

What’s the best transfer board to buy?

Top transfer board

DMI Bariatric Transfer Board

DMI Bariatric Transfer Board

What you need to know: If you are looking for a sturdy transfer board that is capable of supporting a high weight capacity, this is your best option.

What you’ll love: This transfer board is manufactured using ¾-inch yellow pine, and it is able to support up to 735 pounds, making it suitable for bariatric patients. It features two cut-out handles, tapered ends and a non-slip bottom for safety.

What you should consider: The top surface isn’t quite as smooth as some models, which can make it slightly more difficult to slide.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Top transfer board for the money

Mabis DMI Transfer Board

Mabis DMI Transfer Board

What you need to know: This is an affordable 30-inch transfer board that can support a great deal of weight. 

What you’ll love: This transfer board features tapered ends for ease of getting on and off of the board. It has been sanded smooth and sealed to prevent cracks, chips and snagged clothing. The board only weighs 1 pound, but it is capable of supporting up to 440 pounds.

What you should consider: A few users felt the ends of this board could have been a little more tapered to make sliding on a little easier.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Worth checking out

Lopton Slide Transfer Board

Lopton Slide Transfer Board

What you need to know: This board features a slightly different design that makes it stand out from other models.

What you’ll love: This transfer board has one handle which runs horizontal to the board rather than vertical, offering a different grip. There are two notches in this board, so the frame of a wheelchair can be slipped in for additional stability. It is capable of supporting up to 500 pounds.

What you should consider: While the notches can be desirable for securing the transfer board to a wheelchair, care must be taken that clothing does not snag in the slots.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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