Finding used medical equipment for the home in San Francisco is relatively simple to do, you just have to make sure that it is clean and safe to use.
You also don’t always have to pay for the used medical equipment. Many non-profit organizations and community groups offer the equipment for free, either on loan, or permanently, in addition to a number of online platforms where you can find it both for sale, and for free, in your area.
It may not seem obvious, at first, where all the opportunities are to be found, so let’s dive in.
In San Francisco, you can get used medical equipment from –
- Ability Tools, the California State Assistive Technology Program
- reuse centers for used durable medical equipment and assistive technology devices “Recares” or “ILR of Solano and Contra Costa Counties”
- community medical equipment loan closets, such as “A Soldier’s Dove” or “NorCal SCI”
- independent living center medical equipment loan closets, such as the “Independent Living Resource Center, San Francisco”
- used medical equipment suppliers
- thrift stores, such as “The St Vincent de Paul Thrift Store”, or “Little Shop of Hoarders SF”
- Goodwill stores
- Salvation Army stores
You can also find used medical equipment, in San Francisco, using online platforms and social media sites such as –
CONTENTS - Overview & Quick Links
California State Assistive Technology Program and refurbishing programs (mostly free)
Independent Reuse programs and loan closets (most loan closets are free)
- Area Agency on Aging
- Social Services
- Lions Clubs
- Rotary clubs
- American Legion Posts
- Catholic Charities
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul
- The Jewish Family Service
- Local Churches and faith groups
Buying used medical equipment from medical supply stores and thrift stores
Online listings and social media sites
Throughout this article, I will be referring to “assistive technology devices”, as wells as “durable medical equipment” and “home medical equipment”.
An “assistive technology device” is a device which is used to accomplish a task, without which, an individual with a certain disability, medical condition, or injury, is unable to complete.
Assistive technology devices can be as high-tech as a voice device for speech assistance, or low-tech as a jar opener, or a walker.
Organizations working with the redistribution of assistive technology devices, durable medical equipment and home medical equipment, will be considered as a sub-category of assistive technology devices.
Used medical equipment from “Ability Tools”, the California State Assistive Technology Program
Each state in the US has a program to increase public access to assistive technology devices.
In California, the program is called “ABILITY TOOLS”.
The Ability Tools program, to fulfill its mandate, contracts with a number of agencies and non-profit organizations –
1) It works with a coalition of “Reuse Programs” called the CATRC – The California Assistive Technology Reuse Coalition – to organize all the refurbishment and re-allocation of used medical equipment which it is donated.
The CATRC website is here.
These reuse centers are spread throughout California.
2) Ability Tools runs a “Device Lending and Demonstration Center program” across California, by contracting with different agencies to provide these services in their area of California.
ABILITY TOOLS offers, in San Francisco, to those in need who qualify –
- free short term loans of new or used durable medical equipment
- free long term loans of new or used durable medical equipment
- lend new or used durable medical equipment indefinitely for free
- the opportunity to those who don’t qualify for free durable medical equipment, to purchase refurbished durable medical equipment at a very low cost
The Ability Tools AT Exchange
Ability Tools has an online Assistive Technology Exchange.
The participating CATRC members, post their inventories of the refurbished used medical equipment on the AT Exchange, so that everyone can see what is available – the different reuse centers and the public.
Anyone can take a look at what is posted on the AT Exchange.
The Assistive Technology Exchange is here – http://abilitytools.org/services/at-exchange-transition.php
I have an illustrated article with instructions on how to use the AT Exchange included, “Free Medical Equipment In California: How And Where To Get It”.
CATRC medical equipment reuse programs in San Francisco
To find out if you qualify for free, or low cost durable medical equipment on a loan or a permanent basis, just contact the CATRC center in your area.
Below, I have listed the CATRC Reuse Center for San Francisco.
ReCares (formerly Home Cares)
ReCares is the CATRC center for San Francisco, and also for the East Bay Area.
Their website is here – http://homecares.org
The center collects and refurbishes “gently” used medical equipment, such as the items listed below –
- adult briefs
- shower chairs
- tub/transfer benches
- chux (disposable underpads)
You can give them a call to find out how you qualify for any equipment loans, or alternatively, contact Ability Tools at the website address I gave earlier
The ReCares head office is in Oakland –
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510 251 2273
They also have satellite offices –
The alleyway of 63 Dorland St
Phone: 415 487 5405
Marin Medical Equipment Recyclers
3100 Kerner Blvd
Phone: 415 388 8198
The Marin Medical Equipment Recyclers site has equipment such as –
- companion chairs
- transfer benches
- shower chairs
- orthopedic supports
- blood pressure machines
- wedge pillows
- therapeutic cushions
Ability Tools Device Lending and Demo Center for San Francisco
The Ability Tools Device Lending and Demonstration Center in San Francisco is run by the Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco.
The center provides “short term loans” (up to 30 days) of assistive technology devices – the loans are really there to help a user to determine if a piece of equipment is right for their needs, before they buy it, or as a stop gap before the equipment they have purchased arrives.
Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco (ILRCSF)
825 Howard St, Street Level,
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: 415 543 6222
Centers for Independent Living (CILS) In San Francisco
For individuals with disabilities, Centers for Independent Living, or CIL’s, provide support and services, so that they may live in the community independently.
CIL’s very often maintain free medical equipment loan closets for their members.
If you are a person with disabilities, you can contact the CIL in San Francisco and see if you qualify for any short-term or indefinite term loans of durable medical equipment.
There is one CIL in San Francisco –
Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco (ILRCSF)
825 Howard St, Street Level,
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: 415 543 6222
To find other CIL’s in the Bay Area, there is a list here –
Community medical equipment loan closets
Community medical equipment loan closets are a fabulous resource, and most cities have them, but you have to do a bit of digging to find them.
Typically, the loan closets are free to use, and available to all those in the community who have a need to loan an item of durable medical equipment.
Very often hidden away in their communities, they are a resource that not too many people are aware of, so I have included a section further down this article, in which I outline where you can start digging and asking about loan closets, and other resources in your neighborhood of San Francisco.
I have only been able to find 2 loan closets, so far, in San Francisco which I find rather surprising, but there are doubtless many more.
Medical equipment loan closets in San Francisco
A Soldier’s Dove
A Soldier’s Dove is an SF Bay Area nonprofit organization where non and under-insured individuals in need, can receive donations of sanitized, and repaired, gently used medical equipment.
The organization donates, to those in need, items such as –
- bedside commodes
- shower chairs
- wheelchair cushions
- quad canes
- other bathroom safety equipment
You can use the contact info below to find out about if you qualify for their help –
Email at – firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 650 590 9111
NorCal SCI (Northern California Spinal Injury)
The organization loans out used medical equipment such as –
- power wheelchairs (no older than 3 yrs)
- manual wheelchairs
NorCal SCI has an online gallery of free equipment where they post donated equipment here.
To receive their help with equipment, you must make a request for particular items, and show how you qualify as “a person in need”.
To make a request for equipment, you need to go to this website page here.
You can also contact NorCal SCI by email and ask any questions you may have – email@example.com, or just give them a call at the number below.
Phone: 408 458 9863
Senior Centers in the San Francisco area
Senior centers in the San Francisco area, may well have their own free medical loan closets for their members, so you may just be able to join one which does.
But if they don’t have a loan closet, don’t give up there, as senior centers and their staff will have a lot of information, as well as all the seniors.
Someone is likely to have information about free community medical equipment loan closets in the area, or some other way of obtaining some used durable medical equipment for the home, either free or cheaply.
Make some few calls, and where it is safe with Covid, visit centers to see if you can’t find loan closets that way.
Veteran Centers in San Francisco
For veterans and family members of veterans, you may need assistance with finding out about what you are entitled to, here are the Veteran Centers in San Francisco which you can contact to make inquiries.
How to find used medical equipment near me in San Francisco ?
So, as I promised earlier, here’s the section about finding those hidden resources in your community.
All the organizations and administrations below work with, and support, individuals and families in need, and have collected a vast amount of information through providing, and running all the different services.
I would contact any of them, and ask them about the resources in your area, including medical equipment loan closets, until you get results –
- The Area Agency on Aging for San Francisco
- The social services in San Francisco
- Lions Clubs in San Francisco
- Rotary Clubs in San Francisco
- American Legion Posts
- The Catholic Charities of San Francisco
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul, San Francisco
- The Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco
- The Lutheran Social Services
- Local church communities in San Francisco
Area Agency on Aging in San Francisco
The area agencies on aging for San Francisco –
San Francisco Department of Disability and Aging Services
875 Stevenson St #3,
Phone: 415 355 3555
San Mateo County Area Agency on Aging
225 37th Ave,
Phone: 650 573 3900
The website – https://www.smchealth.org/services-aging-and-adult
Call local Lions clubs in San Francisco to see if they know of a loan closet for free medical equipment in the area, as they do a vast amount of charitable work and run many programs. I have found many Lions clubs with loan closets for the local community.
They will also have a lot of information about other resources in your area of San Francisco
Use their locator tool to find clubs – see my quick illustrated guide outlining how to find a Lions Club near you in San Francisco, which you can read here.
Do the same with Rotary Club’s in your area of San Francisco, use their locator tool to find a club near you, and find out about any community medical equipment loan closets near you, that they may be aware of.
To locate a Rotary club near you in San Francisco – take a look at my quick, illustrated guide on how to locate a club near you with the Rotary club locator tool, here.
American Legion Posts in San Francisco
American Legion Posts sponsor lots of “wholesome” programs, both for veterans and for members of the community.
I have found many American Legion Posts who have durable medical loan closets for members of their community, across the US.
So, find the American Legion Posts in your area of San Francisco and give them a call to see it they have a loan closet, or know of any organization near you which does.
To locate a Post near you, just type into your browser window “American Legion Posts San Francisco”, and you will get a list of all of them, and you can then just select the closest to you.
The Catholic Charities of San Francisco
The Catholic Charities of San Francisco covers 3 areas –
- San Francisco
- San Mateo
1555 39th Ave,
Phone: 415 972 1200
The Catholic Charities of San Francisco’s website is here – https://www.catholiccharitiessf.org/
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, San Francisco
If their thrift stores don’t have what you are looking for, they may be able to tell you who does.
1175 Howard St
Phone: 415 977 1270
Website – https://svdp-sf.org/
The Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco
Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco
The Miriam Schultz Grunfeld Professional Building
2150 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: 415 449 1200
Lutheran Social Services
Lutheran Social Services of Northern California (San Francisco County Offices)
191 Golden Gate Avenue,
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: 415 581 0891
Website – https://www.lsssc.org/
Your local church or faith groups
In addition to the faith based nonprofit organizations I have already listed above, your local churches and faith communities are a source of lots of information.
Small local churches will also very often run their own programs to help the surrounding community –
- food closets
- clothes loan closets
- medical equipment loan closets
With that in mind, I would make a tour of small local churches in your area, and get asking questions about any free resources for equipment – you can go in person or call them.
Bear in mind, if it is safe to go and have contact with people, it’s always best to go in person, so that people can put a face to the person making these inquiries, so it becomes more personal and human.
Buying used medical equipment in
Now that we have dealt with most of the free sources, let’s take a look at where you can buy used medical equipment.
Stores in San Francisco which are going to sell used medical equipment –
- medical supply stores
- Goodwill stores
- Salvation Army stores
- small independent thrift stores
Online sites where you can buy used medical equipment are another great source for used medical equipment of all types, and a very easy one to use.
You can find used medical equipment on sites with classified listings and on social media platforms.
You will find a lot of free equipment online as well.
To do this, you just have to know where to look –
- Used Home Medical Equipment
- Facebook Sellers Groups and Marketplace
Stores selling used medical equipment in the San Francisco area
If you buy used medical equipment, take the time to inspect it properly, checking it for any cracks, faulty joints, rust etc.
Some shops refurbish the equipment and properly sanitize it, whereas many do nothing at all, and sell the used items in the condition they received them with no guarantees.
Reuse centers tend to refurbish and sanitize the equipment, but you still need to ask if that is the case.
Medical equipment suppliers who sell used medical equipment should in theory be checking and sanitizing the equipment that they sell.
Thrift stores on the other hand accept donations of items, but they generally do not treat them in any way and sell them “as is” – you accept the equipment and have no recourse if it is faulty.
Here’s a list of stores selling used medical equipment in San Francisco.
Little Shop of Hoarders SF
Here you can find –
2610 Bayshore Blvd,
Phone: 415 797 8402
This thrift store seems to sell everything under the sun, including walkers and crutches.
952 Howard St,
Phone: 415 543 6833
Pick Of The litter Thrift Shop
The Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA runs this thrift store.
Call to check that they have any durable medical equipment, as it can change.
The website page for the shop is here – https://phs-spca.org/pick/
1127 Chula Vista Ave,
Phone: 650 344 1662
Society Of St. Vincent De Paul
In the San Francisco area, the society has 3 thrift stores where you can find medical equipment such as –
- quad canes
South San Francisco
344 Grand Ave
South San Francisco, CA 94080
Phone: 650 589 8445
40 North B St,
San Mateo, CA94401
Phone: 650 294 8912
728A Willow Rd,
Menlo Park, CA 94025
The society has another 3 stores in the East Bay Area in Contra Costa County.
The stores sell the same types of used durable medical equipment.
2210 Gladstone Drive,
Phone: 925 439 9064
Brentwood Help and Hope thrift Center
8890 Brentwood Blvd,
Brentwood, CA 94513
Phone: 925 635 3214
2815 Contra Costas Blvd,
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
Phone: 925 934 5063
Cheap used medical equipment at Goodwill Stores in the San Francisco
Items in Goodwill thrift stores are sold “as is”, and the stores don’t accept any liability for breaks, or the consequences thereof.
Goodwill stores only accept items if they are clean and gently used, but they don’t do any work, or sanitizing, before the items are put on sale, so you need to inspect their condition thoroughly.
Not all Goodwill stores accept home medical equipment, so it’s a good idea to call the stores in your area before you waste your time for no reason.
Goodwill stores in San Francisco
Goodwill has 13 stores across San Francisco
To locate a store near you in San Francisco, use their locator tool here.
Salvation Army stores also sell used medical equipment in San Francisco
The Salvation Army accepts donations of all kinds of durable medical equipment, so you will be able to buy used medical equipment in most of their thrift stores.
To find a Salvation Army thrift store near you, go to the website page below –
How to find used medical equipment for sale, or free, online near me in San Francisco
It won’t be hard to find used medical equipment for sale, or for free, online in San Francisco, if you know where to look.
It’s important to show a little caution with regard to a number of things –
- you shouldn’t give out your personal information if you are at all vulnerable
- if you are caring for a vulnerable person, it is again best not to give out your address or have the used equipment dropped off
- make arrangements to meet the people offering items you wish to buy, or are getting for free, in public places – malls, coffee shops, supermarket parking etc.
- properly inspect that any used equipment is in good condition before you make any decisions, as you will not be able to do anything if the item breaks during use
- be aware of scammers, and particularly in cases of items offered for free – if the person starts to say there are charges to pay, just start to look at other items
You will find a large amount of used medical equipment both for sale, and for free, near to you in San Francisco, here –
- Facebook Marketplace
How to find used medical equipment for sale, or free near me in San Francisco, on Craigslist
On Craigslist, anyone can post local advertisements, and find items locally, pretty much anywhere. In San Francisco, you will find lots of used medical equipment for sale, or for free.
Craigslist has created a special category called “free stuff”, within which you can search for the item you are looking for !
To do the searches on Craigslist is free, it works on all devices, and no membership required.
To find out how to do local searches in San Francisco on Craigslist, and to find used medical equipment for sale, or for free, you can take a look at my short illustrated guides, here –
Screenshot of Craigslist listings page
Screenshot example of a Craigslist garage sale page
How to find used Medical Equipment for sale, or free, near me in San Francisco, on FreeCycle.org
On Freecycle.org, you’ll find only free items in San Francisco – no buying or selling.
It is a free platform of groups of individuals offering items for free to anyone else in that group.
You join groups in your area, and then have access to the items which are being gifted in those groups, as well as being able to post requests for items you need.
You can make Freecycle.org as local as your nearest group in San Francisco.
To see how it is done, you can read my quick illustrated article on how to find free used home medical equipment near you on Freecycle.org – “How To Get Free Medical Equipment Near Me On Freecycle.org ? A Quick Illustrated Guide”
Screenshot of Freecyle.org page
How to find used medical equipment for sale or free, near me in San Francisco, on usedHME.com
UsedHME.com is another website where you will find lots of advertisements for used medical equipment near you in San Francisco.
The site is exclusively for listing sales and donations of used home medical equipment.
It is free to use and search for items, and you have nothing to sign up to.
You search using zip codes, so it is as local as you wish to make it in San Francisco, or further away depending on the zip code you enter zip codes.
If you want to know how to use the site to find used medical equipment in San Francisco, you can look at my illustrated articles –
How to find used medical equipment for sale, or free, near me in San Francisco, on Facebook
To look for used medical equipment in San Francisco, you have to have an account, but it is free and easy to do.
On Facebook you will be able to look for used medical equipment which is for sale, or for free, in your area by using –
- buying and selling groups
- the Facebook Marketplace
To see how you can do all this in San Francisco, you can read my illustrated guides on how to find used medical equipment on Facebook –
Screenshot of Facebook Marketplace page
How to find used medical equipment for sale, or free, near me in San Francisco, on Nextdoor.com
Nextdoor.com is another social media platform, on which you can find more used medical equipment near you, in San Francisco.
Once you become a member, the members you will see are people who also live in your neighborhood, along with their offers of equipment.
Nextdoor is available on mobile with the app, and on desktop.
If you want to see how to set up, and use Nextdoor, to find used medical equipment, read my quick illustrated guides –
Screenshot of Nextdoor.com “All Listings” page
How to find used medical equipment for sale, or free, near me in San Francisco, on OfferUp
With OfferUp you can also find used medical equipment for sale, or for free, in San Francisco.
OfferUp is a “mobile first” system, but it’s also available on desktop – OfferUp.com.
It is free, and you just have to give your email to join.
I have linked to a very good video below, which explains how to use OfferUp. Just watch the video !
How to find used medical equipment near me in San Francisco, on eBay
eBay is another site on which you can find used medical equipment for sale near where you live in San Francisco.
There is no free equipment on eBay.
To use eBay, you will have to join, which just involves giving your email.
To be able to do searches locally, and not all over the US, you have to set the search results so that you can only show items in your area.
To learn how to make local searches in San Francisco on eBay, look at my illustrated guide, – “How To Find And Buy Used Medical Equipment Near Me On eBay ?”
I’m Gareth, the author and owner of Looking After Mom and Dad.com
I have been a caregiver for over 10 yrs and share all my tips here.