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Bariatric Medical Equipment Buyer's Guide

By CME Corp Staff | May 28, 2024

According to the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), 41.9% of adults in the United States are considered obese1. And there is more, statistics from the CDC show that 22 of 50 states have an obesity prevalence at or above 35%2.

It is no surprise then that healthcare facilities are investing in bariatric medical equipment to accommodate the growing number of patients suffering from obesity.

This article will review how bariatric equipment is defined, the types of bariatric medical equipment available to healthcare facilities, and offer recommendations for evaluating bariatric equipment prior to purchase.

CME Corp has established relationships with leading bariatric equipment manufacturers and can help medical professionals navigate the process of purchasing this medical equipment.

CME Corp branded logoExplore CME’s selection of bariatric medical equipment.


Article Contents

What is Considered Bariatric Equipment

Bariatric medical equipment is designed to address the unique challenges and requirements related to caring for people weighing over 350 pounds or with a BMI≥40. The criteria required for medical equipment to be classified as bariatric is typically related to weight capacity, physical dimensions, and construction.

Here are several features that distinguish bariatric medical equipment from standard medical equipment.

Specification Category

Distinguishing Feature

Weight Capacity

300 - 1,000 lb capacity

Wider Dimensions

Seats 24-30”, Beds 54”, Exam Tables 30”

Reinforced Constructions

Reinforced Frames, Additional Supports,


Lower Heights

Safety Features

Anti-Tip, Sturdy Braking Systems, Side Rails, Pressure Redistribution


Types of Bariatric Equipment

From scales and mobility aids to beds, seating, patient lifts, and exam tables, bariatric counterparts to the standard medical equipment are widely available to healthcare facilities. Bariatric equipment is important for administering the proper care to larger patients as well as assuring their safety and comfort despite the unique challenges of caring for them.

The following table presents bariatric equipment commonly found in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, general specifications, features, and benefits. It is important to note this is a representative table. Weight capacity, features, and capabilities may vary by manufacturer or model.

Mobility Equipment




Walking Aids

  • Supports 400-600 lbs.
  • Steel or aluminum construction
  • Reinforced construction
  • ·Weight 10-20 lbs.
  • Wider frames
  • Stronger material
  • Adjustable Height
  • Padded Handgrips
  •  Padded seat
  • Helps patients maintain mobility.
  • Helps patients maintain independence

Bariatric Scooters

  • Supports 400-600 lbs.
  • Steel and/or aluminum construction



  • Stronger Motors
  • Wider seats
  • Larger wheels/tires
  • Higher ground clearance
  • Adjustable seats & armrests

  • Travel longer distances
  • Safety
  • Comfort
  • Maintain mobility.
  • Maintain Independence


Bariatric Wheelchairs

  • Supports 300-1,000 lbs.
  • Reinforced construction
  • Weighs 40-100 lbs.
  • 20”-30” seats
  • Heavy duty wheels/tires
  • Reinforced arm, foot, and back rests
  • Maintain mobility.
  • Maintain Independence

Patient Lifts

  • Supports 500 – 1,000 lbs.
  • Heavy-duty, reinforced construction
  • Larger slings or harnesses for even weight distribution and comfort
  • Adjustable straps
  • Available in power or manual
  • Versatility for use in multiple types of patient transfers
  • Safe method of transfer for both patient and caregiver

Bariatric Transfer Benches

  • Supports 500- 600+ lbs.
  • Reinforced construction


  • 24”-36” wide seats
  • Adjustable height
  • Handrails
  • Non-slip rubber tips on legs
  • Safer, comfortable bathing
  • More independent bathing
  • Caregiver safety

Bariatric Recliners

  • Supports 500-700+ lbs.
  • Reinforced steel frame
  • 24 – 40” seat width
  • Adjustable reclining angles, footrests, and head rests
  • Easy clean surface
  • Locking mechanism to secure chair for transfers
  • Comfort and support for larger people
  • Support for healthcare procedures
  • Facilitates patient care

Bariatric Hospital Beds

  • Supports 500+ lbs.
  • Reinforced construction

  • 42” – 48” wide sleep surface
  • Integrated side rails
  • Height adjustability
  • Electric controls
  • Pressure redistribution mattresses


  • Designed to facilitate transfer in and out of bed.
  • May be used in several healthcare settings.
  • Improved Caregiver assistance

Bariatric Exam Tables

  • Supports 500-800+ lbs.
  • Reinforced frame
  • 30”-40” wide surface area
  • Adjustable height
  • Lower entry points
  • Handrails
  • Non-slip surfaces
  • Adjustable headrests and leg support
  • May be used for multiple types of exams or procedures.
  • Patient Safety
  • Healthcare professional safety

Bariatric Phlebotomy Chairs

  • Supports 400-800+ lbs.
  • Reinforced frames
  • 26”-40” seats
  • Lower height
  • Adjustable backrests, headrests, and footrests
  • Safety belts
  • Safe blood collection
  • Ease of accessibility
  • Comfortable seating for blood collection

Bariatric Stretchers

  • Support 500-1,000 + lbs.
  • Reinforced frame


  • 32”-48” wide surface area
  • Extra padding
  • Hydraulic or electric lift system
  • Safety straps
  • Side rails
  • Adjustable backrests
  • Ease of maneuverability
  • Reduced injury risk to patients and caregivers
  • May be used for a variety of medical uses

Bariatric Scales

  • Supports 400-1,000 lbs.
  • Some scales can support more than 1,000 lbs.
  • Heavy duty steel frame
  • Additional support bars
  • Cross Bracing


  • 22”-36” wide platform or seat
  • Non-slip platform surface
  • Lower platform surface
  • Handrails
  • Heavy duty wheels on portable models


  • Safe and stable means of weighing larger people.
  • Accurate weight measurement
  • Better patient experience


CME Corp branded logoFind a comprehensive selection of bariatric equipment from leading manufacturers at CME Corp.


Important Considerations for Bariatric Equipment

Equipping healthcare facilities with bariatric equipment is important as obesity rates continue to rise in the United States. This equipment is vital to helping assure the safety of both patient and caregivers.

To ensure larger patients receive the care they need there are several details to consider during the process of selecting the best bariatric medical equipment for a facility.

Weight Capacity

Weight capacity is the first and most important feature of bariatric equipment that should be considered. Bariatric equipment is designed to support higher weight limits. However different manufactures offer equipment with differing weight capacity ranges. It is best practice to look at the actual weight limits for the equipment under consideration to ensure the weight range will safely and comfortably support the patient population served by the facility.

There are weight standards and guidelines for bariatric medical equipment established by regulatory bodies, industry organizations, and local governments. Familiarity with these standards can help ensure quality bariatric equipment is chosen.

Safety Features

Coming in a close second to weight capacity in importance are safety features. Attributes such as reinforced frames, locking mechanisms, extra support handles, and belts are important considerations.

In some cases, these safety features must meet standards set by regulatory bodies. Understanding these regulations and standards is valuable for evaluating bariatric equipment offered to healthcare facilities, especially if the facility itself holds special certifications such as those awarded by The Joint Commission.


Obesity itself is not considered a disability by the ADA. However, the reality is that severely overweight patients can face the same mobility challenges experienced by people with recognized disabilities.

Bariatric equipment that is height adjustable and features lower accessibility points designed for potential transfers from wheelchairs or patient lifts is the best choice. Equipment certified ADA compliant can help assure the safety and comfort of the bariatric patient and even the caregiver.

Patient Comfort

In many ways patient comfort and patient satisfaction go hand in hand. Choosing bariatric equipment that is ergonomically designed, offers adjustable components, and extra cushioning is important to both.

Size and Dimension

By design bariatric equipment is bigger than standard medical equipment. It will require more physical space and more space to maneuver. Consider the space available for larger equipment like beds and exam tables as well as accessible storage for equipment like wheelchairs, walkers, and patient lifts. Another best practice is to look for features that augment the stability and maneuverability of heavier bariatric equipment.


All medical equipment should be durable in terms of withstanding frequent cleaning and being bumped. Bariatric equipment should have the added durability of extra legs (if applicable), steel reinforced frames, or H-Braces. Annual preventive maintenance and inspections can help extend the service life of medical equipment in general and even more so for bariatric equipment subject to the added strain of greater patient weights.


As they say “last but not least” … cost is an important consideration. Bariatric equipment can be more expensive than standard medical equipment due to the materials needed for sturdier construction and the increased size.

Like its standard counterparts, some bariatric equipment may be considered capital equipment and as such, evaluation of this equipment should include identifying the total cost of acquisition, smart financing, annual maintenance and service. Also look at the warranty and support available from the manufacturer, this equipment will see continuous use.

Investing the time required to thoroughly evaluate the features and specifications of bariatric medical equipment is worth the indirect cost. Choosing the best bariatric equipment for the facility and the patients served is the last step in the purchase process.


Choosing the Right Bariatric Equipment for Your Needs

Consulting with the healthcare professionals who assist patients daily before finalizing bariatric equipment purchases is a valuable best practice. Staff can offer recommendations about the features that contribute the most to efficiency of care and share feedback from patients about the comfort of the equipment. It may also be helpful to seek out reviews and testimonials of the specific bariatric equipment under consideration.

For new construction projects or renovations consultation with architects or equipment planners can help ensure adequate space for bariatric equipment is available in the facility.

With staff and patient satisfaction top of mind, choosing bariatric equipment that complies with applicable industry standards and guidelines such as those set by ASTM and ISO as well as regulatory bodies can add a layer of assurance that the equipment meets safety and performance standards.

Finally, in a world where cost and space constraints can have the biggest influence on medical equipment purchases choose bariatric equipment that offers the flexibility of being used for multiple purposes. For example, a bariatric stretcher can be used for transportation as well as some medical procedures.

Carefully evaluating and selecting bariatric equipment suited for the specific needs of a facility and patient population is important, choosing the right partner to source that equipment is invaluable.


CME Corp. Can is Your Partner for Bariatric Medical Equipment

In addition to helping source the best bariatric equipment for your needs and budget, CME Corp. is the only medical equipment distributor to offer logistics, direct-to-site, and biomedical services.

Our Logistics and Direct-To-Site service teams can receive, inspect, assemble (as needed), deliver, and install your bariatric medical equipment when it is convenient for you.

Inspecting and testing new equipment can drain the resources of a healthcare facility’s biomed team and delay putting new bariatric equipment into service. For over 35 years Biomedical services have been at the heart of CME. With this expert experience we are ready to support your biomed team to ensure your medical equipment is ready for service quickly.

Our BMETs can also work with your facility to establish equipment maintenance and repair plans focused on ensuring the reliability of your bariatric equipment and compliance with applicable regulations.

Click CHAT to begin a conversation about your bariatric medical equipment needs with one of our medical equipment experts.



FAQs About Bariatric Medical Equipment

What is the minimum weight limit for bariatric equipment?

The exact minimum weight capacity for bariatric equipment can vary depending on the specific type of equipment. Generally, minimum weight capacities start between 350 and 500 lbs. Always check with the manufacturer for accurate weight limits.

How does the equipment used for Bariatric customers differ from other medical equipment.

Bariatric equipment is constructed to accommodate weight greater than 350 lbs. Surface areas are generally wider and additional support rails are common features.

What is the average lifespan of bariatric equipment?

The lifespan or service life of bariatric equipment can vary depending on the specific type of equipment, how often it is used, and the frequency of preventative maintenance.





  • https://www.tfah.org/report-details/state-of-obesity-2023/#:~:text=Nationally%2C%2041.9%20percent%20of%20adults,in%20urban%20and%20suburban%20areas.
  • https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2023/p0922-adult-obesity.html


About CME: CME Corp is the nation’s premier source for healthcare equipmentturnkey logistics, and biomedical services, representing 2 million+ products from more than 2,000 manufacturers. With two corporate offices and 35+ service centers, our mission is to help healthcare facilities nationwide reduce the cost of the equipment they purchase, make their equipment specification, delivery, installation, and maintenance processes more efficient, and help them seamlessly launch, renovate and expand on schedule.

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