A recent walk through a rehabilitation center with patients carrying their cell phones on their laps reminded me to write this article. Moving around in a wheelchair is difficult and having to worry about your phone while doing it makes it worse. So here we go with some suggestions for cell phone mounts for wheelchairs.
Although there are a few exceptions, most wheelchairs are built similarly. They are constructed of metal circular bars with padding added to the armrest. The diameter of the round bars are typically in the .75 to 1.25 inch range. You will see some mounts out there with a spring-loaded clamp to grip a flat surface. Avoid those as they can easily slip off of a round bar. The mount should either bolt over the round bar or clamp via a vice type of attachment.
It’s difficult to find mounts made specifically for wheelchair use. However, the diameter of the round bars that are used to construct a wheelchair are similar to that of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. So this is a good place to start. A lot of motorcycle cell phone mounts are made to fit flush to the handlebar. This is unlikely to work well on a wheelchair as the armrest will be in the way. You will need a mount that will attach just below the armrest and then extend so it can be viewed by the person seated in the wheelchair. Be sure to measure the diameter of the bars on the wheelchair as well as the width of your phone before shopping for a mount.
A good motorcycle cell phone mount that has an extension to lift it above the armrest is the RAM X-Grip mount. We wrote a very detailed article on the X-Grip cradles which you can read here. The mount includes a u-bolt to fit bars with a diameter up to 1.25 inches. Constructed of metal, this includes a three-inch arm that lifts the cradle above most armrests. There are adjustment points at the base and the cradle. These easily open to fit phones up to 3.25 inches wide. If you have a phone wider than 3.25 inches, such as an iPhone 6 Plus, then look at the same mount with a larger cradle.
Another great option is a gooseneck mount. Most gooseneck mounts come with a clamp or vice type of attachment. I mentioned before that you should avoid a clamp, and go with a vice. Consider the Arkon Clamp Mounting Pedestal with 12 inch Gooseneck along with an Arkon Mega Grip Universal Phone Holder. These are both made by the same company and are made to fit together. The mounting base has two tabs which fit two slots on the back of the cradle. This is a nice combination for a wheelchair. The bottom vice opens to over 2 inches and the 12″ gooseneck is stiff enough to hold up when you are using your phone. A nice feature of the gooseneck is that you can bend it out-of-the-way when getting in and out of the wheelchair. Avoid buying components from different companies as sometimes these will not fit together too well.
If your wheelchair has an unpadded area where a flush mount can be placed out the Arkon Bike Handlebar Phone Holder Mount that will work real well. This mount is normally used on motorcycles. It features a bolt on attachment that fits diameters to 1.25 inches. The included cradle opens to 3.4 inches. A safety bungee is also part of the package which s a nice feature to keep your phone in the mount. The bungee is optional and can be removed if you would prefer to leave it off.