A patient transfer belt (alternately called a gait belt or physical therapy belt) is essential for keeping older adults safe when assisting their movements. Designed to prevent injuries from falls, these simple accessories give caretakers a simple, safe way to help people with mobility issues.
However, as any hospital worker can attest, patient transfer belts vary in quality and features. We researched some of the most popular belts available to help caretakers make the best possible decisions for their patients. If you’re still having trouble choosing a belt, we’ve also included a buying guide at the end of this list.
Note: Speak with your physician before using any mobility assistance device. Some products may pose dangers to certain individuals, and proper usage is important to ensure the safety of patients and caregivers.
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The Best Patient Transfer Belts
Secure SGBM-60S Patient Transfer And Walking Gait Belt
Made with 100 percent cotton webbing, this patient transfer belt doesn’t pack on unnecessary features; it’s simply a high-quality belt with practical considerations for caregivers. It’s expandable to either 60 or 72 inches dependent on the model, with a built-in loop to keep the excess portion of the belt out of the way. A metal buckle keeps the belt securely in place while allowing for quick administration.
While fashion isn’t a crucial consideration with this type of product, the SGBM-60S is available in several patterns. For patients up to 350 pounds, this simple belt is a trustworthy and affordable addition to a caregiver’s toolkit.
- 60 or 72 inches in length, 2 inches in width
- Loop holds excess belt length
- Metal buckle adjusts quickly and easily
- Several colors and patterns available
- Supports patients up to 350 pounds
- Brand: Secure Safety Solutions
- Model: B00YW8USKI (Amazon Serial Number)
- Dimensions: 60 or 72 x 2 inches
- Simple but practical transfer belt
- Machine washable for easy sanitation
- Cotton webbing is both durable and comfortable
- No hand support loops on base model
- Some caregivers might prefer a wider belt
- Lower weight limit than some other options
Vive Gait Belt Transfer Assist Device
Vive’s gait belt is a simple, durable option designed for professional caregivers (but appropriate for home use). The quick-release buckle allows for easy adjustments, and the woven cotton supports weights up to 500 pounds. That’s a significantly higher limit than most of the transfer assist belts on the market.
An integrated elastic loop keeps excess material out of the way, and the buckle has locking teeth to prevent slippage.
- Quick-release latching buckle with locking teeth
- Supports up to 500 pounds
- Machine washable for easy sanitation
- Manufacturer offers a 60-day guarantee
- Brand: Vive
- Model: BD15847
- Dimensions: 60 x 2 inches
- High maximum weight limit
- Simple design with durable materials
- Quick-release buckle for easy administration and removal
- Only one color/pattern option available (black)
- Manufacturer only guarantees product for 60 days
- Belt material isn’t as soft as pure cotton belts
LiftAid Transfer & Walking Gait Belt
LiftAid’s gait belt features high-strength cotton webbing, a 60-inch maximum length, and an integrated elastic loop for excess belt material.
The manufacturer provides a one-year warranty through EBP Medical against defects in craftsmanship, and some reviewers note that they’ve used this gait belt for years without issue. It has a lower weight limit than some of the other options on this list (300 pounds), but for the vast majority of caretakers, that’s not an especially important factor.
- High-strength metal buckle and cotton webbing
- Accommodates a weight capacity of up to 300 pounds
- Full one-year warranty through EBP Medical
- Several color options available
- Brand: LiftAid
- Model: B01N1PPH42 (Amazon Serial Number)
- Weight/Dimensions: 60 x 2 inches
- Durable, affordable belt with quality components
- High-temperature machine washable up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit
- Easy to adjust and remove
- Low weight capacity compared to other options
- No hand support loops
- Limited color options
Vive Transfer Belt With Handles
Granted, hand loops aren’t a necessary feature on patient transfer belts, and when poorly implemented, they can cause more issues than they solve. Still, handles can be useful when assisting patients with certain mobility challenges, and this gait belt from Vive utilizes handles effectively without sacrificing comfort.
Six padded handles (four vertical and two horizontal) allow helpers to provide their patients with assistance from various angles, and the wide belt ensures stability and comfort by dispersing pressure. The nylon material isn’t quite as comfortable as woven cotton, but that’s the only real drawback.
- Durable metal buckle with locking teeth keeps belt secure
- Six comfortable handles for easier ambulation
- Constructed with extra-strong nylon webbing
- Manufacturer provides a 60-day guarantee
- Accommodates waist sizes of up to 51 inches
- Brand: Vive
- Model: 4332460058
- Weight/Dimensions: 55 x 4 inches
- Handles make movement easier for caregivers
- Wide belt disperses pressure and improves comfort
- Metal latch allows for quick adjustments
- Nylon material might be uncomfortable for some users
- More expensive than other options
- Shorter than many other patient transfer belts
Mabua Transfer Gait Belt
Designed by occupational and physical therapists, Mabua’s transfer gait belt is designed to provide comfortable leverage for patients along with plenty of ambulation options for caregivers. Seven loops (three horizontal and four vertical) provide secure grips at every angle, while a plastic buckle ensures hassle-free attachment.
The belt is made from a cotton-polyester blend, which can be sanitized easily. Granted, this is one of the more expensive belts we found, but it’s a secure and comfortable option for physical therapy and patient transfers.
- Seven handle loops provide options for ensuring comfortable ambulation
- Made with high-quality cotton and polyester blend
- Plastic buckle allows for easy fastening and removal
- Designed by occupational therapists
- Brand: Mabua
- Model: GB-T-P
- Dimensions: 60 x 5 inches
- Seven handles provide plenty of options for caregivers
- Materials are easy to clean
- Wide belt helps to disperse pressure evenly
- More expensive than some other options
- Handles might be unnecessary for some users
- Not as easy to adjust as belts with metal buckles
TKWC Transfer Belt With Handles
This soft nylon belt has six padded handles (two horizontal and four vertical), an oversized metal buckle for quick adjustments, and an extra-wide, four-inch back to improve comfort during movement. Each handle attachment point is cross-stitched for added security, and the nylon webbing is both comfortable and durable.
Some caregivers may prefer a plastic buckle, but otherwise, this is a great patient transfer belt that should last for years with proper care. Unfortunately, it’s not machine washable, but it can be washed by hand and air dried.
- Rolls up for easy storage
- Lightweight, flexible nylon webbing for durable comfort
- Six handles (two horizontal, four vertical) for versatile leverage
- Simple metal buckle allows for quick, secure adjustments
- Accommodates waist sizes up to 51 inches
- Cross-stitched attachment points for every handle
- Brand: TKWCT
- Model: B07RGLP3H6 (Amazon Serial Number)
- Dimensions: 55 x 4 inches
- Six handles provide plenty of options for caregivers
- Oversized buckle makes adjustments easy
- Wide back distributes pressure for added comfort
- Not machine washable, but can be hand washed
- Fairly expensive compared to other patient transfer belts
- Handles might be unnecessary for some applications
Patient Transfer Belt Buying Guide And Usage Tips
A quality gait belt will reduce the risk of patient falls and give caregivers more flexibility when assisting their patients. For older adults, a transfer belt can also provide a sense of security. When choosing a belt, keep the following factors in mind:
Handles can make gripping easier and can make movement less awkward, but they don’t necessarily improve the utility of the gait belt. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommends belts with padded handles, as the padding can improve grip and control.
With that said, a standard belt can provide plenty of functionality, particularly when a patient has limited mobility issues. As handled belts are typically more expensive than standard belts, you should carefully consider your needs before making your purchase.
If you decide to purchase a belt with handles or hand loops, check the quality of the stitching. Never trust a handle if the stitching appears loose or frayed.
Most gait belts either use metal clasps or plastic buckles to secure patients. Either option can provide a dependable closure, so your purchasing decision will depend on your personal preference. Metal clasps can often allow for quicker adjustments, while plastic buckles can be released quickly.
Nurses and therapists who work with multiple patients tend to prefer metal clasps, but if you’re on the fence, try both options. Regardless of which you choose, make sure to tuck any excess belt length back into the belt to prevent the fabric from dangling. Many belts have integrated loops to make this easier.
Quality of Materials
Belts are typically made from woven cotton, canvas, or cotton-nylon blends. Evaluating the quality of the materials can be difficult when shopping online. Look for weight ratings to determine whether a product will meet your expectations; most belts support weights of 300-500 pounds.
Regardless of which product you choose, you should carefully inspect patient transfer belts prior to each use. Replace any belt that shows obvious signs of wear. Don’t attempt to repair them, even if the necessary repairs seem fairly straightforward.
When using a patient transfer belt, remember that you’re using a mobility assistance device, “assistance” being the operative word. Never use the belt to move a patient outright. The purpose of a gait belt is to help patients move on their own power, and using a gait belt improperly may result in an injury.
Likewise, you should talk to the patient’s physician before using a gait belt. Belts can interfere with catheters, feeding tubes, and other medical devices, and you’ll need clearance from a physician before using these devices on patients with these apparatuses.
OSHA advises against using a gait belt if a patient is uncooperative or if they do not have strength in their upper extremities. When moving patients, transfer their weight to their strongest side using a rocking-and-pulling motion (as opposed to a lifting motion). Make sure that the belt is fastened securely and always keep a layer of clothing between the belt and the patient’s skin. Keep your back straight and stay close to the patient during movement.
Remember, while patient transfer belts are exceptionally useful devices, they require proper care and usage. If you haven’t received training, ask a nurse, therapist, or physician for guidance.