Wheelchair Slope Maximum: All You Need to Know

If you or any of your beloved ones are in a wheelchair, you know that there are some places you just can't go, which is frustrating. That's where a ramp comes to the rescue. With a wheelchair ramp set in place, you should be able to go anywhere you want. 

However, if you're planning to buy or build a new ramp, you need to ensure it's right for you. The most important factor will be the slope of the ramp. It's important that your ramp slope is comfortable for you to move up and down, whether by hand or by using a power wheelchair.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about the wheelchair slope maximum, including what it is, what to know before installing a wheelchair ramp, and how to push a wheelchair up a ramp.  

How to Measure Wheelchair Ramp Slope

The slope of a wheelchair ramp is measured in terms of its rise (the vertical distance between the top and bottom) over its run (the horizontal distance between the two points). The rise is typically expressed as a percentage. For example, a 5-foot ramp that rises 2 feet would have a slope of 10%.

If you don't have access to an inclinometer (or if you're not sure how much your angle changes), it's easy to measure these distances with a tape measure. Simply place one end at the ground level and stretch it across until it touches both sides of the wheelchair ramp. Make sure there are no obstructions on either side before taking this measurement!

What Is the Maximum Slope for a Wheelchair Ramp?

The maximum allowable ramp slope for a wheelchair ramp is one that allows you to safely navigate the ramp without any additional assistance. Most ramps are built at 1:12 or a 20% slope, but some can be steeper depending on the type of equipment used to build it and where it's being built.

For every 1" rise, there must be a ramp that is at least 12" long (a 1:12 ratio). This is for the new buildings. This rule of thumb guarantees that wheelchair ramps aren't overly steep for handicapped people. 

The ratio limits are somewhat different in older structures with limited space and may be as restrictive as 1:8. Even though it's not ideal, a steeper ramp is preferable to no ramp at all, and it may have a significant influence on where a wheelchair user can go.

In addition, for every 30" rise (which would need a 30ft ramp based on the 1:12 ratio), there must be a landing/turning zone of at least 60"DIA to provide a level place to take a break. This is particularly useful for lengthy ramps with several turns - wheelchair users will have enough room to take a break and turn their wheelchair to face the next stretch of the ramp.

If you're planning on building your own wheelchair ramp, make sure that you follow these guidelines along with ADA wheelchair ramp requirements so that they are safe for anyone using them.

What Can I Do If My Wheelchair Ramp Is Too Steep

If your wheelchair ramp is too steep and you don't want to install a wheelchair ramp extension, then there are a few things that you can do.
  • You can make your wheelchair ramp narrower by using railings or handrails to create a smaller area for wheelchairs to navigate through. This is helpful if the slope of your driveway isn't too steep, but there is a step at the end that prevents wheelchairs from being able to roll over it easily.
  • You also have the option of adding more risers under each riser on stairs to create additional space between each one so that wheelchairs can easily get up without encountering any problems with their mobility or safety. 

What Do I Need to Consider When Installing a Wheelchair Ramp?

In a perfect world, we would all have the perfect wheelchair ramp for us. A ramp that is easy to use, safe to use, and comfortable to use. A ramp that is easy to maintain and durable. And most importantly, an affordable one too! But unfortunately, that does not exist in reality.

So, what do you need to look out for when purchasing a new wheelchair ramp? 

Well, firstly it should be made of high-quality materials so that it doesn't deteriorate quickly under normal usage conditions as well as extreme weather conditions like rain or snow, etc... Secondly, it should be stable enough to avoid any risk factors involved whatsoever.

Here are some things you need to consider: 

  • The slope of the ramp is important. We've specified the wheelchair slope maximum previously. However, you'll also have to make sure that it is within the maximum legal limit for your state. Check with your local zoning commission to find out exactly what this maximum slope is, as it may vary from place to place.
  • The length of the ramp needs to be sufficient for its intended use. If you are installing a wheelchair ramp for someone who has physical disabilities or mobility issues to easily access their home, then you need a longer ramp than if you were using it for something else (such as getting in and out of a vehicle).
  • Width also matters when installing a wheelchair ramp because it affects how safe and secure people feel while walking on it. In general terms, wider ramps provide more stability and peace of mind than narrow ones do; however, if there isn't enough width available due to space limitations or other factors, then narrower may still be acceptable, provided they're not too steep - remember safety first!
  • You'll want to make sure that your ramp has an angle—or incline—that will allow users easy access into their homes without having to exert too much energy on their part. 
  • Finally, it's important that you choose surfaces that won't cause your loved ones any harm while they're using them in their wheelchair or mobility scooter.

How to Push a Wheelchair Up a Ramp?

Assuming you are pushing someone in a wheelchair up a ramp: 

  1. Line the wheelchair up at the bottom of the ramp. Make sure the person in the wheelchair is secured, and the brakes are engaged.
  2. Grab the handles of the wheelchair and begin to slowly push it up the ramp.
  3. As you get closer to the top of the ramp, begin to apply more pressure to ensure that the wheelchair doesn't roll back down.
  4. Once you reach the top of the ramp, help the person in the wheelchair to exit and then secure the wheelchair, so it doesn't roll away.


We are all different. We have different needs and different preferences, and we can be a little fussy about the things we like. Your wheelchair ramp should be no exception!

Also, you shouldn't require much skill or force to push a wheelchair up or down a ramp. You shouldn't need to break a sweat, and you certainly shouldn't need help from others.