During my four years in a wheelchair, I’ve gone through more wheelchair “drink holders” than I can count.I ordered almost every item I could find on Amazon, but despite each item’s claims of being “universal” (i.e., will work on ANY wheelchair), they absolute never ended up being so. I’d either install it, and a few weeks later it would inevitably break or become unusable, or I’d immediately return it upon realizing it wouldn’t work for me.
Since discovering the SnapIt! Wheelchair Adjustable Drink Holder (I purchase it from LivingSpinal), I’ve been pretty happy – I feel like I’ve finally found a somewhat reliable, working drink holder. And its installation couldn’t be easier (I will admit that my lack of tech-savvy may have contributed to previous product failures…). Although I think this product is one of the better of its kind out there, it is not perfect in any way. In fact, I’m probably on my tenth SnapIt! Drink Holder as we speak, and it just happened to break yesterday (a chunk of plastic broke off the all-important snapping mechanism)! So, on to the 11th…
The main problem with this drink holder is also one of its benefits – the fact that it is easy to install makes it come off rather easily. It clips right on to your wheelchair frame (I have a lightweight aluminum rigid-frame Ti-Lite wheelchair), and it can be rotated to stick out away from your legs, or if preferred, rotated inward. When it’s rotated outward, beware of banging it into doorways (a common occurrence for me), because it can easily come off (along with the drink in it!) When it’s rotated inward, this is less of a problem, but for someone like me who has leg spasms and not that much room between my legs and the frame, spillages can still happen.
Another common problem I experience is the drink holder coming off while I’m taking apart my chair and bringing the frame in/out of my car. The drink holder can easily come off in the process, and many times, it has rolled under my car – beyond my reach. And whenever I drop something under my car, I either forget to retrieve it and drive off (this happened once with this drink holder – I was leaving traffic court, so I was extremely anxious to get out of there!), or I back my car up carefully, and try to maneuver myself into a position where I can lean out my driver side door and grab the item (this has led to me running over and smashing several cosmetic products, as well as – you guessed it – one of my SnapIt! Drink Holders). Also, there have been one or two instances in which one of my friends knocked the thing off my wheelchair while they were loading it in and out of my car (I’ve now gotten the habit of pointing it out to them, just in case).
I discovered a solution to these issues when I was traveling in the UK and Germany last summer. I found a leg strap that I used to use with my wheelchair, and I decided to loop it around the drink holder, thus securing it in place. (This worked great until I lost the strap somewhere in an English hotel room, and then promptly lost the drink holder in a restroom at some bar in Berlin). I’ve also been advised by some of my handy friends that hardware stores may carry some sort of clamp or other gadget that can be used to secure the drink holder. I also thought about tying it down with some kind of wire or rope. I highly recommend looking into this if you decide to purchase the SnapIt! Drink Holder. Unfortunately, doing this will make it no longer adjustable, so find a position that works really well for you.
One of the things that is so appealing about the SnapIt! Drink Holder is that it the actual “cup holder” part of it can be adjusted to hold a wide variety of cup sizes/circumferences. This is especially important if you’re a boozer like me – tumblers, tall glasses, rocks glasses, pint glasses – I have diverse needs! If you’re a wine drinker, however, you may need to switch to stemless wine glasses. The only wine glasses this drink holder may be able to accommodate are those with short stems. Also, coffee mugs are not so easy unless they’re on the taller side. Unfortunately, the adjustable circumference is not the most reliable, and this has led to many tragic cocktail spillages and glasses breaking. The screws need to be tightened quite frequently, and it still doesn’t quite hold up to heavier glasses. It turns out tiny metal screws don’t hold up very well to thick durable plastic.
In conclusion, this is a truly universal and great product idea, but there are many glitches, some of which can be addressed (i.e., using a strap or gadget to hold the drink holder in place), and others that beg for a smarter redesign. 3/5
Written by Julia Hodge (California)