A character or a playable character in Happy Wheels is an interactive entity within a level controlled by a player. Usually a character representing a human-like ragdoll is bind to its corresponding vehicle. However there are levels where the character is just a ragdoll without a vehicle or rides a custom vehicle. Some characters have only one ragdoll (for example, Wheelchair Guy, Segway Guy) - they are called single playable characters. Other characters have several ragdolls (for example, Irresponsible Dad, Santa Claus) - they are called multi playable characters. Each level has a dedicated character or characters it can be played with. A player selects the character on a special character selection screen that appears after having chosen the level to play. In total there are 25 slots on the character selection screen, some of the slots being empty. Empty slots mean that those characters have not been created yet. As of July 2013 in the full version of Happy Wheels (v1.70) there were 10 filled slots on the character selection screen, 10 vehicles and 15 ragdolls.
A character is controlled using the keyboard. Used keys are arrow keys, "space", "ctrl", "shift", "z", and "c" keys. A character responds to the control keys when he/she is both on its vehicle and out of its vehicle (he/she may fall out of the vehicle or be intentionally ejected from it). The actions that a character can perform depend on his/her state: ejected (is out of the vehicle) or not. Also different characters may perform different actions - see character controls for more details.
Besides playable characters there are also non-playable characters (NPCs) in Happy Wheels. They look exactly the same as playable characters ragdolls, but can not be controlled by a player. They are found in user-made levels and are accessed via the level editor. There are also so called custom non-playable characters - NPCs created by users.
 Released Characters
Here is the full list of released characters in the full version of Happy Wheels (v1.70) with their characteristics as of July 2013.
in the Game
|Character Name|| Ragdolls
|1||Wheelchair Guy||1||Medium; Fast with Jet||Medium|
|2||Segway Guy||1||Faster than medium, but not fast||Medium (A bit larger than other medium)|
|3||Irresponsible Dad||2||Medium||Medium (Primary); Small (Secondary)|
|5||Moped Couple||2||Faster than medium, but not fast (without boosting)||Medium (Both)|
|6||Lawnmower Man||1||Fast, low acceleration||Large|
|7||Explorer Guy||1||Very Fast||Medium|
|8||Santa Claus||3||Little bit slow||Large (Primary); Small (Secondary)|
|10||Irresponsible Mom||3||Medium||Medium (Primary); Small (Both secondary)|
 Unreleased Characters
Akira Bike is an unofficial name for the character accidentally found by users in the level editor in June 2010 and removed from the game after the release of the Moped Couple. Akira Bike represented the Irresponsible Dad on a red bike based on the bike from the Japanese manga film Akira.