Updated May 2022
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Buying guide for Best quad canes

Many individuals look for a cane to help when regaining stability after surgery or experiencing other balance challenges. Unfortunately, standard canes may actually increase their risk of falling. Studies show that a quad cane is a better choice for those who need help with balance and stability.

Quad canes resemble standard canes in terms of shape, but they have four small feet instead of one larger tip. The extra feet spread the user’s weight over a larger area, providing a larger base of support than a standard cane and keeping the user more balanced as they walk. Many quad canes are so well balanced that they can stand up by themselves. This is an advantage for users, who can risk falling when attempting to pick up a standard cane that has slipped to the floor.

A cane can be a powerful tool that improves the user’s lifestyle, but using and choosing a cane are very personal decisions. The best cane for you is the one you’ll actually use.

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If a loved one who needs a cane resists using one, remind them that it’s likely only a temporary measure until they regain some strength, and that further injury will only lengthen the time they need assistance.

Key considerations

True quad vs. quad-pod

  • True quad canes: These canes have four large feet that are several inches long. This gives the user a wide base of support. If stability is your biggest concern, this should be your first choice, but quad canes are not without drawbacks. The larger feet add to the cane’s weight; making it heavier than other options. Some quad canes may have too wide a base to be used on stairs. Also, the larger feet can pose a trip hazard or get caught on stationary objects.

  • Quad-pod canes: These canes have four smaller feet at the bottom, often in a shape resembling a cloverleaf. One of these might be a better choice for those who need extra support but not as much as that provided by a full-size quad cane. Quad-pod canes allow you to move more quickly. They can fit on most stairs and are less likely to get caught on furniture than a full-size quad cane. However, you do sacrifice some stability for the smaller, more streamlined footprint.

Right hand vs. left hand

If you think all canes are ambidextrous, you’re probably not a lefty. Many tools are designed for right-handed people since most people are right-handed. Canes are no exception, but this is not an area where you can afford to compromise. Canes are designed with features and angles to improve balance and may not do their job if used with the wrong hand. If you’re a southpaw, look for a cane that is specifically labeled as reversible or designed with lefties in mind.


There are many tips for choosing the right cane height: seeing that your elbow is bent about 15° when you hold the cane, or measuring from the floor to the crease of your wrist. But these methods aren’t always foolproof, and a cane that’s too tall or too short can jeopardize your balance further. Adjustable canes can remove the guesswork and let you experiment and find the best length for your posture and gait. Many canes can adjust from 28 inches to 38 inches, appropriate for users 5’0” to 6’5” tall.

Weight limit

Quad canes are intended to redistribute the user’s weight, but canes are designed to support a certain amount of weight. If you weigh more than the cane’s intended weight limit, it may not support you if you lose your balance. Most quad canes have a weight limit of 250 to 300 pounds. Check to make sure the cane you choose can give you the support you need, and look at bariatric models if necessary.


It’s not unusual for someone who has balance challenges to have pain in their joints. Users with a wrist brace might want to choose an offset cane or a model with a horizontal handle. These design elements can help redistribute body weight or reduce pressure on the joints of the hand and wrist without sacrificing stability.

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Did you know?
Most quad canes are made of aluminum to be both strong and lightweight.

Quad cane features


A quad cane’s feet aid stability, but only if they don’t slip. Look for feet with rubber tips to help keep a grip when walking on slick surfaces.

Some canes have a base that pivots slightly to help the user adjust to the terrain. A pivoting base gives you more traction and allows you to adjust your posture without losing your balance or moving the whole cane.

Convenience and comfort

  • Foldable: Keeping your balance is critical when you’re traveling and away from familiar places and doctors, but quad canes can be bulky, particularly the base. Some quad canes can be collapsed to fit in a suitcase, purse, or compact vehicle.

  • Wrist strap: Bending to pick up a fallen cane can jeopardize your balance. A wrist strap can make sure you don’t lose your cane even if you lose your grip on the handle.

  • Lights: Many falls happen in dimly lit areas where steps or uneven terrain can be hard to see. Some canes come equipped with lights that help illuminate dark corners, so you can see where you’re going and adjust.

  • Ergonomics: Maintaining your balance sometimes requires you to keep a tight grip on your cane, a tall order if you have arthritis or other inflammation in your hands or wrists. An ergonomic grip and cushioning can help reduce pain in case you must hold the handle tightly.


No longer drab and dull, many quad canes come in a variety of vibrant colors and patterns. Not only can this brighten your mood, but it also makes it easier to pick out your cane from a group or spot it from a distance in a dim room.

Quad cane prices

Inexpensive: You can find basic quad-pod canes for under $25. Canes in this price range don’t come in fancy colors, but they should adjust to heights most individuals can use. Many have a weight limit of at least 250 pounds and may feature an offset handle to increase stability and reduce pain. They may also have rubber-tipped feet for stability.

Mid-range: These quad canes cost $25 to $30. You can find both full quad canes and quad-pod canes in this price range. They are adjustable in height and may support up to 300 pounds.  You can find specialized grips that increase hand and wrist comfort and rubber-tipped feet for stability at this price.

Expensive: These quad canes cost $30 to $40. Both traditional quad canes and quad-pod canes in this price range are exceptionally stable. They’re adjustable, and many are built for users weighing up to 350 pounds. These quad canes help ward off joint pain with ergonomic, padded grips and an offset handle. They work for both righties and lefties and may include desirable features like LEDs and interesting colors.

Expert Tip


  • Practice. Learning to walk with a quad cane takes practice. Give yourself plenty of time and be patient. If you’re getting a cane ahead of surgery, practice walking before your operation so you can face one fewer challenge as you recover.

  • Make sure that all four feet of your cane touch the floor as you step. If you don’t, you won’t get the full benefit of the cane’s support, and the cane may slip.

  • Look for quad feet with good traction. If you live in a colder climate and must venture outside in the winter, look for a quad cane with feet designed for good traction on ice. Such a cane is also helpful at other times of the year on uneven ground or grass, too.
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Using a cane can decrease the weight and pressure on an unstable leg by up to 25%.


Q. In which hand should I hold a quad cane?

A. A quad cane is meant to compensate for instability in one of your legs. Hold the cane in the opposite hand of your weaker leg.

Q. How tall should my quad cane be?

A. Adjustable quad canes take the guesswork out of ordering, but you still need to set it up at home. It’s easiest to work with a partner who can observe you. Pick up your cane. Your arms should hang loosely at your sides, and the top of the cane should be about level with your wrist. Your shoulders should be even. If the shoulder of the arm holding the cane is higher than the other, the cane is too long. If the shoulder droops lower than the other shoulder, the cane is too short. A cane that’s adjusted correctly is a powerful tool, but one that’s poorly sized can lead to pain and further compromise your stability.

Q. Can I use a quad cane on stairs?

A. Yes, although it might take some time to master. When ascending steps, lead with your stronger leg. When descending steps, lead with the cane. Be patient, and give yourself as much time as you need to practice.

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