Rollator vs. Walker: What’s the Difference?

Rollator vs. Walker: What’s the Difference?

Contrary to popular belief, a rollator is not a fancy word for a walker. So what is the difference – and what does Johnnie Walker have to do with it?

Walkers and rollators are very different, but people often confuse them, since they are both walking aids with a similar structure and use.

Behold, the true story of Johnnie Walker:

Johnnie is a little red rollator with a bit of an identity crisis, but he’s a great rollator nonetheless. He’s very stable, he folds easily and he has a handy pouch, too.

When his owner was looking to buy him, she called her doctor to get a prescription.

Since she did not know – or care – about the difference between a walker and a rollator, she asked for a walker with a seat… and her doctor filled out a prescription for a walker with feet! Obviously, had she not corrected that misunderstanding, she would have received a completely different product than the one she was looking for – and they say old ladies have hearing problems!

Despite the mix-up her misnomer caused, Johnnie’s owner continued to refer to him as a walker – hence the name Johnnie Walker.

So, what is the difference between a walker and a rollator?

A rollator is sometimes referred to as a rollator walker, which pretty much encapsulates the biggest difference between these two walking aids: a rollator is a rolling walker, or a glorified walker.

Here are the basic differences:


1. The look.

Walkers are more plain and “medical-looking” – hence the name medical walker, while rollators are usually more sleek, modern and fashionable.

2. The seat.

Walkers with seats are not very popular, because of their medical look. There are therefore very few walkers on the market that come with a seat. Walkers that do come with seats usually have seats that flip up to allow individuals to step inside the frame to use the walker in the traditional way. Rollators, on the other hand, are always equipped with a seat, unless it’s a 3-wheeled rollator. Most rollator seats are padded for increased user comfort.

3. The wheels.

Walkers usually have no wheels or two front wheels, while rollators are always equipped with either 3 or 4 wheels. Walkers without wheels need to be lifted and moved forward before each step, while rollators roll forward easily with swivel wheels that make maneuvering easy. Rollators are generally preferred by people with less arm strength, as the wheels eliminate the need to lift – but they do offer less stability than basic walkers do, and are only recommended when the user needs minimal support.


Depending on your needs, a walker may be the right fit for you, or you may require a rollator. Whatever it is, feel free to call it Johnnie Walker – just be careful what you call it when you’re ready to buy a new one…


Disclaimer: No information presented on this website or in this guide is medical advice or intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician. All information on this website concerning medical conditions is from publicly available sources.

By | 2019-03-04T13:47:01+00:00 September 26th, 2016|Guides|Comments Off on Rollator vs. Walker: What’s the Difference?