Athletes compete in manual wheelchairs that are specially designed for wheelchair rugby use. The rules of the sport include detailed specifications for the wheelchairs to ensure safety and fairness; in international competition, all wheelchairs must meet these requirements. To begin to play, any manual sports wheelchair may be used, although the game is easier when played in a specialized rugby wheelchair. Many players begin using wheelchairs adapted from wheelchair basketball.
There are two types of wheelchair rugby chairs: offensive and defensive chairs. Offensive chairs are set up for speed and mobility and contain a front bumper to prevent other wheelchairs from hooking it. These chairs are used by players with more function. Defensive wheelchairs, like the one pictured on the left contain bumpers set up to hook and hold other players. These wheelchairs are most often used by players with less function.
The game is played with a white ball identical in size and shape to a regulation volleyball. In addition to the ball, four cones, pylons, or other similar markers are required to mark the ends of the goal lines. A game clock and a 40-second score clock are also required; any clocks used for basketball, handball, or other similar sports will be sufficient.