Drive Medical Walker Rollator Review
This walker easily clears door thresholds and is amazingly stylish
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For several years, my mother, who has Parkinson’s, has required a walker to move safely around her home, the senior center, and anywhere else she travels. She has tried several walkers over the years, but there always seemed to be some aspects of their design that made them unnecessarily difficult to use for owner and caregiver alike. In that sense, the Drive Medical Nitro Euro-Style Rollator Walker has emerged as a luxurious solution to past woes.
The structure of the wheels on her previous walker meant hair kept getting picked up from the floor and stuck in them, causing the cheap casters to jam up. Because the wheels didn’t swivel, turns were problematic even when they weren’t jammed, because my mom would have to make many small turns to successfully navigate corners.
Going over thresholds, even those that were only a quarter-inch high, could take a long time for my mom to get over, so my sister and I often lifted the walker over them for her. Additionally, for at least nine months, my mother tended to drift to the left with her walker, constantly running into things, but we could never figure out why.
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Not only did her constant drifting, bumping, stopping, stalling, and sluggish turns impede her walking and slow her down, but it also became a huge problem for her caregivers. My sister and I would spend a good chunk of our day accompanying our mother to various rooms in the house or to appointments, all of which highlighted her issues with thresholds.
We were constantly rushing around to care for her or our own kids while working full-time jobs, so this inability to move quickly and efficiently had been a constant source of stress for our family.
While at an airport, watching travelers seamlessly roll their swivel-wheeled suitcases around, I had an epiphany and wondered if a swivel-wheeled walker would help my mom walk more smoothly and confidently. I came across the Drive Medical Nitro Euro-Style Rollator Walker online and decided to give it a shot.
About the Drive Medical Nitro Walker Rollator
The Drive Medical Rollator is a rolling walker with a padded seat, brakes, and a storage compartment below the seat. It has four wheels, two of which are large 10-inch front casters, intended to make transitions over bumps, thresholds, and uneven terrain smoother.
This adjustable-height walker weighs 22 pounds and can support persons up to 300 pounds. It’s 28 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 33 inches high. The adjustable nature of the walker means users can finetune the handle height and backrest height with ease.
What I like about the Drive Medical Nitro Walker Rollator
Its large front wheels make for smooth, confident walking
Not only has this walker helped my mom walk smoothly and confidently on flat stretches where she used to drift, stumble, and bump into things, it’s also been a game changer in more difficult scenarios. Turns are so much easier, and she’s able to push the walker over most thresholds without assistance.
Because the front wheels are so big, it does sometimes take a moment for her to manipulate the walker to get its wheels facing the right direction, but she’s always able to solve the problem on her own.
The walker has brakes, but they’re not always necessary
A frequent problem my mother had with a previous wheeled walker was that, unless the brakes were applied, she felt as though it would roll away even if it were only lightly touched. Obviously this was a safety concern, so she was constantly having to take the brakes on and off, which required quite a bit of hand strength and dexterity.
Even though the Drive Medical walker has wheels on all four of its legs, we haven’t felt there’s been a safety risk. My mother is able to get up from a bed, chair, or toilet without the walker rolling away, but she sometimes likes to put the brakes on for added safety anyway.
Its Euro style is very attractive
While purely cosmetic, there's no denying the Drive Medical Walker Rollator is a stylish walker. My mom said she likes that her walker looks different from most walkers. “It’s special,” she told me. This compliment suggests a huge upgrade over her previous walkers, and she even joked that she’s the envy of everyone at her senior center.
As this walker goes with her absolutely everywhere, every day, it was crucial that it works well, but we also wanted her to be happy with how it looks. She’s told me many times how proud she is to own the walker and how grateful she is that I found it.
No assembly required
I just pulled the Drive Medical Walker Rollator out of the box fully assembled, and my mom started using it immediately.
What I don’t like about the Drive Medical Nitro Walker Rollator
There’s no getting around it: this Nitro device is a very expensive walker. I balked at the price and dragged my feet for weeks before finally taking the plunge to buy it. The reviews online were good, and I expected it to be worth the price (we believe it is), but for some people, the high cost might make this walker inaccessible.
It’s a bit unwieldy
Since all of my mom’s previous walkers were roughly the same size, it didn’t occur to me to check the measurements of the Nitro Walker Rollator before ordering it. We realized during her first trip to the bathroom, however, that the extra few inches of length made it a lot harder to navigate the tight turn from the toilet to the sink and then back out of the bathroom.
While my mom can, technically, make this turn herself, I usually help her since it takes her so long and, honestly, I don’t have the time to stand there holding her gait belt for a few extra minutes every time she uses the bathroom.
For a caregiver time is a precious commodity, so I would confirm these larger dimensions suit your situation before ordering. We’ve made it work, and, for us, the benefits of the Nitro Rollator far outweigh its negatives. But, if you live in a very cramped living space, this walker might not work well.
The depth of the walker may make it more challenging for seniors and caregivers to carry downstairs and transport in a vehicle. At 22 pounds, the walker isn’t too heavy for me to lift, but it’s certainly too heavy for my mom to lift.
And while I’m accustomed to carrying her walker down the front step when we leave the house, I’m no longer able to hold my mom’s gait belt with one hand and lift the walker down the step with the other hand. Now, I need to make sure she’s secure waiting on her own before I carry the walker down with two hands.
The Nitro Walker is similarly bulky in vehicle transport as well. It still fits in the backseat, it’s just a bit more cramped. Again, this hasn’t been a big problem for us, but it’s worth a mention. In short, this walker can’t exactly be praised for its ultra-compact size.
The storage bag is hard to reach and doesn’t have multiple compartments
Not only does the low placement of the removable zippered storage bag make it harder to reach items, but, since it isn’t subdivided into separate compartments, everything jumbles together and needs to be sifted through. If you only plan to keep a sweater in there, no problem. But if you want to also keep medication, magazines, glasses, a magnifier, pocketbook, calendar, tissues, briefs, spare clothes, snacks, or other items, it can become challenging and time consuming to find them all in one place.
To make it easier to find things, we divided my mom’s belongings into several, multi-colored bags within the main compartment. This way, if she wants a rubber band, paper clip, pen, highlighter, or tweezers, she knows to grab the small black “tool bag” we made.
The brakes are effective but require strength to operate
Like many walkers with wheels, this walker includes brakes that require some strength and dexterity to operate. While my mom is usually able to lock and unlock the brakes on her own, sometimes she can’t muster the strength, or her hands just aren’t cooperating with her, so she needs some assistance.
Should you buy the the Drive Medical Nitro Walker Rollator?
If you can afford it and if your living space (and the places you frequent) can accommodate a slightly longer walker, then, yes, you should absolutely consider the Drive Medical Nitro Euro-Style Rollator Walker. It provides a very safe, steady walk for indoor and outdoor use, and, according to my mom, she’s delighted by all the compliments she gets at her senior center. This walker is as functional as it is beautiful.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.