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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.
- 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.
Here are some important considerations you should make in order to select the best electric wheelchair type for your unique needs.
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.
The most well-known producers of electric wheelchairs are Drive Medical, Pride Mobility, and Merits Health. These manufacturers offer great products with exceptional manufacturer warranties.
Pride Mobility is one of the biggest brands in the mobility industry. They were established in 1986 and have a long history of developing designs with cutting-edge technology. Many of their products also have unique features exclusive only to their brand. They carry a wide range of products, including lift chairs, mobility scooters, as well as electric wheelchairs. Some of their most popular electric wheelchairs are the Passport, Go Chair, and Jazzy Elite HD models.
Merits Health offers dependable solutions for almost every requirement in the mobility industry. Years of expertise and research have gone into their cutting-edge designs in order to completely understand people's unique needs. They have years of consultations, personal interactions, and studies under the belt, in order to properly fulfill consumer needs and demands. With the most modern production facilities at their disposal, they provide high-quality medical items at reasonable pricing. Some of their most popular electric wheelchairs are the P322, P310, and P101 models.
Drive Medical has been around since 1984 and is situated in New York. They offer high-quality products at great prices. They are also known for offering great customer service and service contracts with each purchase, which include the first year of in-home care. Some of their most popular electric wheelchairs are the Cirrus Plus, the Titan AXS, and the Trident HD models.
These three brands are of the most popular ones for power wheelchairs. They have more than 70 years of combined expertise, and they keep innovating in the powerchair sector.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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