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Best Electric Wheelchair Buying Guide For 2024

February 20, 2023 9 min read

Best Electric Wheelchair Buying Guide Article

For users who don't have enough upper body strength to push a manual wheelchair, electric wheelchairs are available. The fundamental benefit of an electric wheelchair over its manual equivalent is that it requires the user to exert relatively little effort to use and control.

Finding a chair with all the necessary characteristics for your specific needs is important, given the wide variety of electric wheelchair models and choices now on the market.

When buying an electric wheelchair, it's important to consider your lifestyle, personal preferences, the type of terrain you'll be traveling on, whether or not transportation in a car is necessary, and the characteristics of your home or where ever  you’ll use the device most.

Some electric wheelchairs operate incredibly well outside, but are too big to use indoors. Other electric wheelchairs are less powerful yet are small enough to fit in the trunk of a car. While yet other electric wheelchairs are adequate for light outside use, but are not as easy to maneuver inside.


The Basic Questions To Ask Before Buying A Power Wheelchair Are:

- Will you typically use the electric wheelchair indoors, outdoors, or both?

- Will your wheelchair be transported?

- What is the narrowest width your chair must pass through

- What is your weight?

- What kind of driving range and speed are you aiming for?

The best way to evaluate any power wheelchair is to respond to the questions above and then use the information in this guide to determine which class and model will give your lifestyle the greatest freedom.


Additional Things to Consider When Buying an Electric Wheelchair

Here are some important considerations you should make in order to select the best electric wheelchair type for your unique needs.

Chair Size

The wheelchair's footprint must be compact enough to fit through small entrances and tight corners if it is to be used both indoors and outdoors.


One of the most crucial things to take into account while regulating chair use is maximizing battery life. To avoid being stranded without the capacity to recharge the chair, it is essential to plan ahead and make sure there is enough charge to complete the day's responsibilities.


The user's comfort and wellbeing also depend on the seat design and cushioning. The right seating and cushioning will reduce the chance of pressure damage (bed sores or ischemic ulcers), lower the risk of falling out of a chair, ensure that the pelvis is positioned correctly, and help manage the user's posture as a whole.


Which Electric Wheelchair Brands Are Considered The Best?

The most well-known producers of electric wheelchairs are Pride Mobility, Merits Health, and Golden Technologies. These manufacturers offer great products with exceptional manufacturer warranties.

Pride Mobility

Discover the leading authority in powered mobility: Pride Mobility. With an impressive range of power wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and lift chairs, we are dedicated to improving lives. Their mission is simple: design and manufacture top-quality, easy-to-use, and innovative mobility solutions.

What sets them apart is their unwavering commitment to exceptional customer support. They understand your journey and offer compassionate problem-solving with lightning-fast response times. Their team of skilled professionals proudly represents their company ethos of compassion and respect.

At Pride Mobility, they push boundaries without compromising on quality or usability. They strive not just to meet but to exceed your expectations, embracing their motto: "Making quality mobility products is our business; helping people is our passion." 

Merits Health

Experience exceptional engineering and customer-focused design with Merits Health Products, a renowned brand in the powered mobility industry. For years, they have been delivering reliable and innovative mobility solutions that cater to a wide range of consumer needs.

Their success stems from their deep understanding of their clientele. Through rigorous research, consultations, and personal interactions, they ensure that they meet the unique demands of their customers with professionalism and compassion. Their team of industry-leading engineers drives the development of top-tier products, bringing unrivaled precision to their craft.

At Merits, every mobility scooter and power wheelchair is created in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, guaranteeing a level of quality that surpasses the competition. When you choose Merits, you're not just getting a product; you're getting a partner dedicated to enhancing your mobility and improving your quality of life.

Golden Technologies

Experience enhanced mobility and improved quality of life with Golden Technologies, the leading US manufacturer in the industry. Their wide range of high-quality products, including lift chairs, mobility scooters, and power wheelchairs, are designed to provide ultimate comfort, durability, and functionality.

At Golden Technologies, they pride themselves on their meticulous craftsmanship and innovative solutions. Their power wheelchairs offer precision, their mobility scooters operate smoothly, and their lift chairs provide a comforting embrace. They are committed to ensuring customer satisfaction at every level.

What truly sets them apart is their exceptional customer support and generous warranties. They understand that purchasing a mobility device is a significant decision, which is why they offer a one-year in-home service contract on all of their products. With Golden Technologies by your side, you can have peace of mind knowing that we will take care of you every step of the way.

The Different Types of Electric Wheelchairs

Best Folding Power Wheelchairs



If you are active and want to travel with your powerchair, you might want to consider a folding power wheelchair. These may be folded to fit into small locations like a storage cupboard or the trunk of a car. Because the structure is built of lightweight material, folding electric wheelchairs are known to have lower weight capacities. However, there are a few exceptions, and those units tend to be heavier for the user to lift but also have more features.


  • Easily portable and can fit into any vehicle
  • Lightweight for easy carrying and transportation
  • Convenient, one-step folding process
  • No need to break down into smaller parts for transport
  • Saves time and effort compared to traditional power wheelchairs


  • Most models don’t have headrest options.
  • Most models are not designed for driving over rough terrain.
  • Most models don’t have a locked storage space for your valuables.

Best Front-Wheel Drive Electric Wheelchairs



The wheels on these chairs are located in front of the seating area, allowing the chair to effectively pull itself over terrain and obstructions. This setup is incredibly stable on uneven terrain or when going up and down hills. A front-wheel drive chair is good at tackling softer terrains like grass because it pulls from the front rather than pushes from the back.

Additionally, as there are no front casters to obstruct foot location, so it may be simpler to position the feet. The user's feet can remain closer to the body because of the front-wheel drive configuration. These electric wheelchairs have slower top speeds than others because they can fishtail at higher speeds.


  • Stable on diverse surfaces
  • Increased traction
  • Smaller turning radius
  • Easy maneuverability through narrow spaces and corners
  • Larger tires with wider wheelbase for more ground clearance
  • Low seat-to-floor height for easier foot shifting
  • Wide selection of front-wheel drive electric wheelchairs to choose from based on individual needs and budget.


  • Most models are not designed for driving over rough terrain.
  • Most models don’t have a locked storage space for your valuables.
  • Most models require a larger vehicle or car lift for transportation.

Best Heavy-Duty Power Wheelchairs



For someone who enjoys both indoor and outdoor activities, heavy-duty power chairs are a fantastic solution. They are also designed to accommodate larger individuals. The different models available have a weight capacity ranging from 400 to 700 pounds.

These powerful models typically include far greater torque to boost performance and have longer-lasting batteries. Most importantly, most heavy-duty power chairs have solid or flat-free tires, making them strong enough to travel through most difficult terrain without issue.


  • Designed for both indoor and outdoor activities.
  • Can accommodate larger individuals with weight capacity up to 700 pounds.
  • Greater torque for better performance.
  • Longer-lasting batteries for extended adventures.
  • Solid or flat-free tires for easy maneuverability on various terrains.


  • Most models don’t have a locked storage space for your valuables.
  • Most models require a larger vehicle or car lift for transportation.
  • Most models have no option for adding an overhead canopy.

Best Mid-Wheel Drive Powerchairs




The driving wheels on mid-wheel drive wheelchairs are located in the center of the chair, not at the front or the back. Mid-wheel drive chairs are very maneuverable, moving through doorways or turning in small spaces since they can essentially spin in position. Because the drive wheels are located beneath the seat, which simulates the position of our feet when we walk, these types of power wheelchairs are also seen to be easier to operate, especially by users who have previously been able to walk.


  • Easy maneuverability in small spaces.
  • Stable and secure for outdoor use.
  • Equipped with 6 wheels for better grip on surfaces.
  • Able to navigate side-slopes and inclines confidently.
  • Provides independence and confidence for the user.


  • Most models are not designed for driving over rough terrain.
  • Most models have no option for adding an overhead canopy.
  • Most models require a larger vehicle or car lift for transportation.

Best Portable Power Wheelchairs



Portable powerchairs are much lighter than conventional power chairs and can easily be stored and transported when traveling because they can be disassembled into smaller components. They typically have smaller body frames as well, which makes it easier for them to fit through narrow openings like doorways or corridors.

These kinds of power chairs are a terrific choice for someone who has an active lifestyle and is constantly on the go, even though the chairs might not last as long as most ordinary or bariatric power chairs.


  • Lightweight and easily transportable for travel
  • Compact size allows for easy navigation through narrow spaces
  • Ideal for those with an active lifestyle
  • Disassembles into smaller components for convenient storage
  • Perfect for individuals who may not need a heavy-duty power chair
  • Can be easily maneuvered in tight spaces such as doorways and corridors


  • Limited storage space on most models.
  • Not designed for driving over rougher terrain.
  • Many models don’t have a headrest option.

Best Rear-While Drive Powerchairs



Rear-wheel drive wheelchairs are known for their power. They are also well liked by people who are outdoorsy or who frequently travel over rough terrain. If you have to cover a lot of ground, then a rear wheel-drive is great as they are able to provide the fastest top speeds. They are also known for having the best overall steadiness in different environments.

Rear-wheel drive chairs have a greater turning radius than front-wheel drive chairs though, which results in larger footprints because the entire chair must clear the corner before turning. Because the power comes from the back, rear-wheel drive chairs may be more difficult to learn to use for some.


  • Powerful drive for outdoor and rough terrain use
  • Fastest top speeds
  • Excellent stability in various environments
  • Greater turning radius for larger footprints
  • May require some additional learning to use efficiently


  • Limited storage space on most models.
  • Not designed for driving over rougher terrain.
  • Many models don’t have a headrest option.

Best Standing Powerchairs



Standing Power Wheelchairs, as the name suggests, enable the user to raise the chair from a seated to a standing position. Standing wheelchairs allow the user to sit, rise, recline, lie flat, tilt in space, stand independently, and relax all on the same wheelchair.

People with paraplegia/quadriplegia, advanced MS, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, and polio are the target demographic for stand-up wheelchairs. Standing up frequently has various benefits, including improving circulation, reducing skin deterioration, preventing contractures, and encouraging urine discharge. These power wheelchairs are also available for kids.


  • Promotes better circulation and overall health by allowing users to stand up regularly.
  • Helps prevent contractures and muscle tightness.
  • Adjustable seating positions for comfort and support.
  • Compact and versatile design for ease of use in indoor and outdoor settings.
  • Suitable for individuals with various disabilities such as paraplegia, quadriplegia, MS, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, and polio.
  • Easy maneuverability with power controls.


  • More expensive than other electric wheelchair options.
  • No option for overhead canopy.
  • No locked storage space for valuables.

Financing Available

Are there financing options available?

Yes, most of the mobility devices in our online store are eligible for financing through our partnership with Klarna, which offers 0% interest rates and great terms for those who qualify! This makes it easy and affordable to get the mobility device that you need to stay independent and connected as you age or deal with a disability.

Whether you need help covering the cost of your initial purchase or simply want to make monthly payments, mobility devices are accessible for most budgets.

So, if you're looking for an electric scooter or wheelchair that can help you maintain your independence, be sure to explore the financing options available for each model. At the top of each product page, you’ll find a financing button. Simply click on it to learn more and prequalify!

To talk to our friendly team of experts, simply call: 800-498-2560




Abby Haukongo
Abby Haukongo