The Best Electric Wheelchairs of 2019

Page Reviewed / Updated - November, 2019

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Hours of Research Electric Wheelchairs Reviewed Companies Considered Companies Selected

Independence and freedom are important to everyone. But for people with mobility problems, they can be difficult to achieve without the aid of an electric wheelchair.

An electric wheelchair can help people find the independence they seek. These durable and powerful devices make it easy to get around whether indoors and moving around the home or on long-distance trips outside. And, many of these wheelchairs are still lightweight and foldable, making it easy to pack them in a car for transport.

We’ve created a guide that profiles 10 of the best electric wheelchair companies and their stand-out products that are available in 2019. You’ll find details about features, design, pricing, safety, customization options, and more. As you shop, this guide can help you narrow down your options and find a wheelchair that fits your needs and budget.

How We Chose the Best Electric Wheelchairs

Value

An electric wheelchair isn’t a small investment. Shoppers can pay anywhere from $1,200 to well over $10,000 for their wheelchair. For this guide, we selected wheelchairs under $5,000 that provided the necessary features to travel both indoors and outdoors. While there are certainly more sophisticated wheelchairs available at higher price points, all of the wheelchairs in this guide are capable of providing the power and comfort needed for all-day use.

Battery Life

Electric wheelchairs are powered by rechargeable batteries. Depending on the model, these batteries can power wheelchairs for an average of 8 hours. We selected wheelchairs that met or exceeded this average drive range, ensuring that users have the necessary power to get through a normal day without worrying about needing to recharge at inconvenient times.

Warranty

Because electric wheelchairs are a substantial investment and the sole method of transport for many users, it’s important that they are built to last and backed by the company that makes them. Most electric wheelchairs have warranties covering the frame, electronic components, and faulty materials and workmanship. However, other components like the tires, seats, and armrests are usually not covered for normal wear and tear, leaving it up to the user to replace these parts when necessary. All of the wheelchairs on our list come with a standard warranty providing at least 1 year of protection.

The 10 Best Electric Wheelchairs in 2019

For a quick look at the top 10 electric wheelchairs, refer to the table below.

Company Model Price* Operating Range Warranty
Golden Technologies LiteRider Envy $1,450 15.5 miles Limited Lifetime
Drive Medical Cirrus Plus $1,499 15 miles Lifetime
Golden Technologies Compass Sport $3,000 19.5 miles Limited Lifetime
KD Smart Chair Standard $2,095 15 miles 5-year
Merits P183 Heavy Duty $3,100 25 miles Limited Lifetime
EV Rider Heartway Escape $1,800 20 miles 3-year
Pride Mobility Jazzy Passport $2,000 9.6 miles Limited Lifetime
Sentire Med Forza D09 $2,000 15 miles 1-year
Forcemech Voyager R2 $2,298 16 miles 5-year
Shoprider Jimmie Power Chair $1,450 10 miles 5-year

*Many electric wheelchair manufacturers do not list the pricing on their website as customers must purchase the wheelchairs through an authorized retailer. In these cases, specific pricing information isn’t available, and we’ve provided an estimated price based on the information available from third-party sellers.

Golden Technologies: LiteRider Envy

Best Mix of Functionality and Easy Transport

Golden Technologies is a family-owned and operated company that began manufacturing home healthcare products in 1985. It has a reputation for creating innovative and reliable products that users can trust. The LiteRider Envy is a lightweight and maneuverable option that’s easy to operate and transport.

Price$1,450.00
Weight96 lbs
Colors AvailableVariety
Top Speed3.5 mph
Operating Range15.5 miles
Weight Capacity300 lbs
Turning Radius26 inches

Weighing in at only 96 pounds, the LiteRider Envy is designed to be a comfortable and reliable wheelchair that is also easy to transport for everyday travel. In only a few easy steps, users can unassemble the wheelchair into several smaller pieces. The heaviest individual component only weighs 37 pounds, which makes it easy for users to lift into vehicles. The reassembly process is also quick and simple, allowing users to be on their way without any unnecessary delays.

The LiteRider Envy doesn’t sacrifice other comforts to achieve its lightweight profile either. The chair has two separate storage locations - an under-seat storage tray, and a pocket on the back of the seat, making it convenient for users to store whatever they need to bring along. The durable foam-filled wheels offer stability and a smooth ride on both indoor and outdoor surfaces and the standard stadium seat is designed for all-day comfort. Its agile design allows it to be easily maneuverable in tight spaces as well. With a 26” turning radius, it’s ideal for use in smaller indoor spaces.

Users can customize their LiteRider to reflect their personality with a selection of different color options ranging from standard black to vibrant red and orange. The joystick can be mounted on either armrest to accommodate both right-handed and left-handed users. A large footplate area allows for plenty of legroom. And for additional comfort, users can also choose to upgrade from the standard stadium seat to a wide seat or the premium seat for extra space and padding.

Pricing and Warranty

While Golden Technologies does not provide pricing information on its own website, it retails from third-party sites for an average of $1,450.00.

Golden Technologies provides a limited lifetime warranty on the structural frame components of all of its electric wheelchairs. The warranty also includes a 13-month guarantee on defective components such as drive train components and electronic assemblies. Normal wear and tear on components such as tires, tubes, upholstery, and brake pads are not covered.

Drive Medical: Cirrus Plus

Best for Outdoor Terrain

Since 2000, Drive Medical has been a leading provider of medical equipment including wheelchairs, scooters, personal care products, and more. The company is known for manufacturing durable equipment that is built to last while enhancing the user’s life. And the Cirrus Plus Power Wheelchair is designed to do just that.

Price$1,499
Weight146
Colors AvailableBlack
Top Speed5 mph
Operating Range15 miles
Weight Capacity300 lbs
Turning Radius30” - 33”

The Cirrus Plus Power Wheelchair by Drive Medical is an electric wheelchair that is designed to be both comfortable and durable while offering users the power and maneuverability they need while on a tight budget.

The wheelchair features durable foam, anti-tip wheels that are designed to provide a smooth ride both indoors and while navigating gravel and other uneven surfaces outdoors. Two 24V motors provide 4600 rpm of power, allowing users to reach max speeds of 5mph and easily climb 6-degree inclines. It’s capable of traveling up to 15 miles on a single charge, making it easy for users to go about their day without the need to stop and recharge.

Built with the user’s comfort in mind, the Cirrus Plus features a standard 16” seat with a 2” deep foam padded cushion. Users can choose to upgrade their seat to a wider, 20” size at an additional charge. The padded backrest and armrests are fully adjustable, allowing each user to find the right position for their personal preference and obtain the support the arms, legs, back, and shoulders need throughout a full day of use. The controller mount length can also be adjusted at any time.

Electromagnetic brakes allow users to stop quickly and reliably while the manual wheel locks will prevent it from moving when users need to stay in place. The wheelchair also includes swing-away footrests with heel loops and a positioning belt for maximum safety.

However, the Cirrus Plus does have a wide turning radius of 33”, meaning it may not be the ideal wheelchair for users who are frequently navigating tight indoor spaces.

Pricing and Warranty

Drive Medical does not provide pricing information on its website, but the Cirrus Plus retails for $1,499 at various third-party sellers.

The Cirrus Plus comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame, a 24-month warranty on drive train components and the electronic controller, and a limited 18-month warranty on the mattress and pump. The batteries are also protected by a 12-month warranty.

Golden Technologies: Compass Sport

Best for Maneuverability

With its second entry on the list, Golden Technologies’ Compass Sport provides users with outstanding all-around performance, stability, and comfort at an affordable price.

The Compass Sport is designed to excel in all performance areas, giving users a comfortable, consistent, and stable ride. It features fast speeds, tight-turning radius, a long operating range, high ground clearance, and all-around comfort.

Unique to the Compass Sport is the Patented Springless Articulating Chassis. This technology allows all 6 of the wheels to stay in contact with the ground, providing outstanding stability and maneuverability at all times. The turning radius is only 19.5 inches, which allows users to navigate tight spaces with ease compared to so many other electric wheelchairs.

The wheelchair also features the Dynamic Linx controller. This unique controller utilizes Dynamic Load Compensation, allowing the electronic components to control the speed of the motors which makes for a more natural, user-friendly driving experience. It continuously makes fine adjustments depending on factors like weight, incline, and terrain to allow for a smooth and comfortable ride at all times.

The battery is capable of powering the wheelchair for up to 19.5 miles on a single charge while reaching max speeds of 4.5 miles per hour. While some wheelchairs on this list are capable of reaching slightly faster speed or traveling for slightly longer distances, The Golden Compass Sport balances both aspects well, allowing users to get where they need to go quickly and without worrying about recharging at inconvenient moments. This power also allows it to easily drive up a 6-degree incline.

The Compass Sport is also designed with the user’s comfort in mind. The large foam wheels and high 3.25” ground clearance make it easy to navigate uneven outdoor terrain. And with an adjustable headrest, seat, and armrests, users can customize how they sit for all-day comfort.

Pricing and Warranty

Golden Technologies does not list pricing information for the Compass Sport on their website, but it sells for an average of price of $3,000 through third-party retailers.

The standard Golden Technologies limited lifetime warranty applies to the Compass Sport, protecting the structural frame components from all defective parts and faulty workmanship. The same warranty also includes 13-month protection for defective components including the drive train and the various electronic assemblies. Tires, tubes, upholstery, and brake pads are not covered by this warranty, and users will need to replace them on their own when they begin to break down from normal wear and tear.

KD Smart Chair: Standard

Best for Travel

KD Smart Chair is an innovative company specializing in the production of lightweight, compact, and foldable electric wheelchairs. While there are several different editions of the wheelchair available, the Standard provides all of the essential features at a great value to the customer.

Price $2,095
Colors Available Standard Aluminum
Weight 58 lbs
Top Speed 4 mph
Operating Range 15 miles
Weight Capacity 265 lbs
Turning Radius 31.5”

For users in search of a wheelchair that is lightweight and easy to transport, the KD Smart Chair delivers a compact and foldable option that still includes many of the features users desire for comfort and safety and is approved by the FDA as a mobility device.

Weighing in at only 50 lbs, The KD Smart Chair is one of the lightest electric wheelchairs available on the market. Its compact, foldable design makes it incredibly easy to transport for travel, or to store away in a small space when not in use.

For users that require a heavier weight capacity, KD offers a Heavy Duty option that can hold up to 330 lbs. There is also a Special Edition of the wheelchair available that comes with larger wheels, ideal for people who spend more time on uneven and rugged surfaces.

With a max speed of 4 mph and an operating range of 15 miles, the KD Smart Chair packs plenty of power to get users where they need to be. It’s also rated to climb 12-degree inclines which is a significantly steeper grade than most other wheelchairs can typically handle.

The chair features a storage tray under the seat, meaning users don’t need to sacrifice the convenience of storage space. But In order to achieve the lightweight design, KD Smart Chair does lack some comfort features that come standard on other electric wheelchairs. There is no headrest of neck support, and the seat padding is slightly thinner than average.

Pricing and Warranty

The KD Smart Chair is available directly from the manufacturer's website, and ships directly to the customer’s address. The Standard edition costs $2,095.00 and financing options are available, allowing customers to pay in installments of as little as $195 per month.

The company offers a 5-year warranty on the frame and a 1-year warranty on the battery and other electronic components of the wheelchair. If any of the covered components fail within that time frame, KD Smart Chair will replace them free of charge.

Merits: P183 Heavy Duty Power Chair

Best for Users Requiring a High Weight Capacity

Established in 1987, Merits has been manufacturing high-quality power chairs for three decades. Its Heavy Duty Power Chair makes our top 10 for providing a durable, sturdy option that is capable of holding 700 lbs while still remaining a budget-friendly option.

Price$3,100
Colors AvailableSilvertone
Weight190 lbs
Top Speed4 mph
Operating Range25 miles
Weight Capacity700 lbs
Turning Radius37”

For users requiring a wheelchair that is capable of holding heavier loads, the P183 Heavy Duty Power Chair is an excellent, budget-friendly option. With a weight capacity of 700 pounds, it can hold significantly more weight than other options on the market.

The programmable controller has a wide range of settings available to suit the needs and preferences of each individual user. Capable of traveling at 4mph for a maximum of 25 miles, this wheelchair has one of the longest operating ranges on the list, making it ideal for anyone who covers above-average distances in a single day. The brakes are intelligent, regenerative, and electromagnetic to provide an extra layer of safety while in use.

The P183 is built with the user’s comfort in mind. The armrests are totally adjustable and swing up and the adjustable footrests swing away. The controller bracket can also be moved out of the way and adjusted whenever necessary. Foam-filled tires and a high 4.8" ground clearance means that the wheelchair is capable of smoothly navigating rough outdoor terrain with ease.

While the 37” turning radius means that it isn’t the most ideal option in tight spaces, the wheelchair is still easy to maneuver and simple and intuitive to handle.

While the sturdy frame makes it heavier than other wheelchairs on this list, the folding design and folding battery tray do allow for simple transport and storage. Merits offers a number of add-ons at an additional cost for this wheelchair, including elevating leg rests, an oxygen tank holder, a gel seat cushion, and an additional back cushion to improve comfort and functionality. Cupholders, side arm bags, and weatherproof covers are also available.

Pricing and Warranty

Merits does not provide any pricing information for the P183 Heavy Duty Power Chair on its website. From research done on third-party websites, the wheelchair typically retails for $3,100 with additional features such as the elevation leg rests and oxygen tank holder costing more.

The P183 Heavy Duty Power Chair comes standard with a limited lifetime warranty on the frame covering the replacement or repair of any defective parts.

EV Rider: Heartway Escape LX

Best for Long Operating Range

EV Rider is a worldwide provider of scooters and power mobility products. Its Heartway Escape electric wheelchair secures on a place in our top 10 for its long operating range and overall performance.

Price $1,800
Colors Available Silvertone
Weight 145 lbs
Top Speed 4 mph
Operating Range 20 miles
Weight Capacity 300 lbs
Turning Radius 34”

For users who need an electric wheelchair that is capable of traveling long distances on a single charge, the Heartway Escape delivers. The lightweight frame, large wheels, and powerful battery allow it to travel up to 20 miles per charge, making it far less likely that a recharge will be needed midday. While the 3.8 mph top-speed isn’t the fastest speed on our list, it still packs enough power to keep users moving at a relatively quick pace for an extended period of time.

The foldable design and lightweight frame allow for easy transportation and storage. It also easily disassembles into 3 individual pieces for packing the wheelchair away for convenient travel.

The 34” turning radius isn’t ideal for navigating around tighter areas, but the joystick control is incredibly responsive, making it easier for users to have fine control over their movements. When paired with the durable foam tires, this means users have a smooth and controlled ride both indoors and outside on even rough terrain. It’s also capable of climbing 10-degree angle hills - fairly higher than the average for electric wheelchairs and ideal for users who spend a lot of time outdoors.

The armrests and seat both include comfortable padding. While the standard seat is 18”, users have the option to customize to a 16” or 20” seat if they prefer less or more room. And with safety as a priority, the Heartway escape includes a seatbelt as well as leg-straps.

Pricing and Warranty

EV Rider doesn’t offer any pricing information on its website. However, third-party retailers sell the Heartway Escape LX for an average price of $1,800.

EV Rider provides a 3-year limited warranty on all structural frame components of its wheelchairs including the platform, seat post, and frame. There is also a 1-year limited warranty on all electronic components and parts that are defective or non-functioning due to faulty workmanship. While EV Rider will replace the parts, it does not cover the cost of any delivery or labor.

Pride Mobility: Jazzy Passport

Best for Comfort

Pride Mobility has been manufacturing personal mobility products since 1986 and is considered a leading innovator in the industry. Jazzy Power Chairs are amongst its most popular products, and we selected the Passport for its exceptional comfort.

Price $2,000
Colors Available Variety
Weight 60 lbs
Top Speed 3.6 mph
Operating Range 9.6 miles
Weight Capacity 240 lbs
Turning Radius 24”

While many lightweight and budget-friendly electric wheelchairs include only the minimum features when it comes to comfort, the Jazzy Passport goes above and beyond the standard, ensuring that customers have everything they need to comfortably use their wheelchair for extended periods of time.

The padded seats are made out of a lightweight, breathable cushion the prevents the user from getting overheated and sweaty while still remaining comfortable during extended use. There is also a cupholder included, and the joystick rotates to accommodate personal preference. It’s up to the user as to which side the cupholder and the joystick are on, making it easy for both right-handed and left-handed users to enjoy this chair. The armrests fold up easily so the wheelchair can fit at desks and under tables. And with a larger-than-average footrest, users have plenty of room to comfortably position their feet.

While this wheelchair is on the lower end of the operating range average, it is incredibly responsive and easy to maneuver. With a turning radius of 24”, it’s an ideal option for users who are frequently in indoor spaces with tight corners.

The Jazzy Passport also includes an under-seat storage bag and back seat pocket so users can have personal items easily at hand, even when on the go. It’s also incredibly easy to travel with the Jazzy Passport. In just a few simple steps the chair folds down into a compact form that can easily be packed away into a vehicle.

Pricing and Warranty

Pride Mobility doesn’t offer pricing details on its website for the Jazzy Passport. The average price for the wheelchair on third-party websites is $2,000.

Pride Mobility provides extensive warranties on its electric wheelchairs. The company offers a limited lifetime warranty on both the mainframe and the fixed position seat post. A 2-year warranty covers defective electronic parts such as the controller and joystick as well as the mainframe assembly parts. The 18-month warranty covers the motor and gearbox assembly while a 1-year warranty protects the accessories and brakes.

Sentire Med: Forza D09

Best for Stability

Sentire Med creates power wheelchairs that are lightweight and portable. The Forza D09 combines folding functionality with a more-durable-than-average frame for additional stability and support.

Price $2,000
Colors Available Aluminum/Black
Weight 58 lbs
Top Speed 3.7 mph
Operating Range 15 miles
Weight Capacity 400 lbs
Turning Radius 33”

For users seeking a durable and stable wheelchair that still provides the convenience of the lightweight foldable options on the market, the Forza D09 delivers. The sturdy frame easily folds flat with no disassembly required for convenient travel and storage. The Forza also comes equipped with a black travel bag, making it simple to pack up the wheelchair for plane or train travel.

The Forza D09 comes with the Smart Touch joystick, which is incredibly responsive to the touch and makes it easy for users to maneuver exactly where they need to be. Dual positraction drive wheels make it easy to travel over rough, outdoor terrain including gravel, grass, and snow. And since the solid tires are punction free, users don’t need to fret about driving over sharp objects that may cause damage to other types of tires. The front casters and forks have a heavy-duty construction that makes them capable of handling the impact of uneven surfaces while carrying heavier loads of weight. And the 4.5" ground clearance is ideal for all types of terrain.

The dual lithium batteries have a quick recharging time, allowing users to get back out without worrying about a long waiting period.

A higher-than-average weight capacity sets the Forza D09 apart from most other lightweight wheelchairs as it is capable of carrying up to 400 lbs. This is accomplished by the strong high-grade aluminum alloy frame.

Pricing and Warranty

Like many other electric wheelchair manufacturers, Sentire Med does not provide any pricing information on its website. But the Forza D09 is available from third-party retailers for $2,000.

It comes with a 1-year warranty that covers all aspects of their wheelchairs, including the frame, drive-train, motor, batteries, and electronic components. While this warranty is considerably shorter than other wheelchairs on this list, Sentire Med stands by its products and encourages customers to reach out with any questions or concerns they might have about the Forza.

Forcemech: Voyager R2

Best for Lightweight Portability

Forcemech is a Houston-based company specializing in lightweight and innovative wheelchairs. Its newest wheelchair, the Voyager R2, makes our top 10 list for being the lightest model available on the market.

Price $2,298
Colors Available Yellow/Black
Weight 43 lbs
Top Speed 4 mph
Operating Range 16 miles
Weight Capacity 265 lbs
Turning Radius 32”

Despite being so light, the Voyager R2 still includes the comfort features, power, and durability found in other models. A comfortable padded seat, upholstered back, and adjustable armrests keep users comfortable during extended periods of use. The 16-mile operating range and 4 mph top-speed mean that users can travel along at a quick pace without the need to stop in the middle of the day to recharge the battery. The Super Lithium-ion LiFePO4 Battery charges in a matter of hours and lasts all day. The powerful motor also allows users to climb up to 10-degree inclines with ease.

For a smooth ride, the Voyager R2 features metal alloy core wheels and shock-absorbing springs. This allows the chair to safely navigate rougher outdoor terrain such as gravel, snow, dirt, and grass. The 3.5” clearance also ensures users that the wheelchair won’t get snagged on average objects in their path.

For safety, the wheelchair features a folding kickstand for stability, rear reflective lights for increased visibility, as well as anti-tipping rollers on the rear. Intelligent electromagnetic breaks allow users to stop quickly. Customers can also add an adjustable seatbelt to their wheelchair at no additional charge.

Pricing and Warranty

The Voyager R2 sells for $2,298. This model is available directly from the manufacturer's website and can be delivered directly to a home without the customer ever visiting a retail location.

The company offers a “Worry-Free” warranty on all of its wheelchairs which includes: 5-year warranty on the mainframe, 2 years of protection on motors, and 1-year protection on the controller unit, batteries, and joystick controller. This warranty does not cover cushions, tires, bearings or any regular maintenance and labor. Forcemech wheelchairs can also be returned within 60 days for a full refund for any reason.

Shoprider: Jimmie Power Chair

Best for Users Who Prefer a Large Sitting Space

Shoprider is a California based company specializing in power chairs and scooters. The Jimmie power chair makes our top 10 list for its convenience, reliability, and large sitting space for all-day comfort is a deep captain’s style seat.

Price $1,450
Colors Available Red
Weight 106 lbs
Top Speed 3.75 mph
Operating Range 10 miles
Weight Capacity 250 lbs
Turning Radius 15.5”

The Jimmie is designed for users who are on-the-go but crave a more comfortable, traditional type of electric wheelchair seat. The seat itself is 35” deep from front to back, allowing users to truly sit back and get comfortable while they go about their day. Wireless Take-A-Part technology and quick disconnect system allows users to easily disassemble their wheelchair into 3 individual pieces for convenient travel and storage. The heaviest piece when disassembled weighs only 35.8 lb, meaning the majority of users will easily be able to lift it into a vehicle or take it apart for storage.

The tight turning radius of 15.5” makes the Jimmie one of the most maneuverable electric wheelchairs available. It’s ideal for navigating narrow spaces and tight corners in home and office environments. Easy to use controls and foam wheels ensure users and smooth and intuitive ride both indoors and out.

But Shoprider didn’t skimp on the comfort features of larger wheelchairs for the sake of portability. The armrests are padded and can be adjusted to accommodate different heights and widths. The footplate and seat can also be adjusted vertically for maximum comfort. The back of the seat is adjustable, allowing users to choose the angle they find most comfortable.

Pricing and Warranty

Shoprider does not list any pricing information for its wheelchairs on its website. The Jimmie Power Chair retails for an average price of $1,450 from third-party websites.

The company offers a comprehensive warranty on the Jimmie Power Chair which covers the frame for 5-years, electronics for 1 year, the motor for 1 year, and the batteries for 6 months. The warranty only covers defective parts and workmanship and won’t cover any parts that are broken as the result of improper use or normal wear and tear.

How to Choose an Electric Wheelchair

Choosing an electric wheelchair can be a difficult task, and since there are so many different models and options available on the market, it’s hard to know where to begin your search. Using this buyer’s guide can help you narrow down your options and select the wheelchair that perfectly fits your needs and preferences.

Here are a few of the most important factors to keep in mind when selecting your power wheelchair:

Set Your Budget

With even the most basic models starting at $1,500, purchasing an electric wheelchair is no small investment. So it’s a good idea to determine your budget before you begin shopping to narrow down your options from the start. Many manufacturers also offer financing options, so it’s a good idea to not only determine your ideal total cost, but also the amount you’d be able to pay for monthly installments.

Identify Your Required Weight Capacity

It’s important to know how much you weigh and only consider electric wheelchairs that can support that amount of weight. The maximum weight capacity of an electric wheelchair exists for two reasons. For one, going over the maximum weight capacity can pose a serious safety risk for the user - brakes may not be able to stop the momentum, the wheelchair can tip over, and other safety features may not function as intended. The second reason is due to performance - a weaker motor won’t be able to power heavier loads and can cause damage to other essential parts of the wheelchair.

Determine Your Ideal Battery Range

The battery range of your electric wheelchair will determine how far it can drive before it needs to be recharged. While most electric wheelchairs have a battery range of between 10-20 miles, having a longer range can put your mind at ease knowing you won’t be stuck with a dead battery while you’re out and about. It’s even more important for users who cover long distances or frequently navigate rough terrain that can shorten the life of the battery. Most battery-powered electric wheelchairs can be fully charged overnight and ready for a full day of activity after 6-9 hours.

Consider Dimensions and Turning Radius

Every wheelchair is a bit different in how it navigates corners, but knowing the turning radius is important in determining whether or not the wheelchair will be ideal in your normal environment. If you live or work in a place with narrow corners and tight spaces, you should focus your search on wheelchairs with a tight turning radius. You should also look at the dimensions of each wheelchair to determine whether or not it can comfortably accommodate you and the spaces you’re typically in.

Decide Which Type of Wheels You Need

The wheels of each wheelchair play an important role in determining the type of terrain it can comfortably handle, how smooth the ride will be, and how long the battery will last. Take note of what the wheels are made out of - air-filled tires may allow for better speed but are susceptible to punctures and need more maintenance while solid tires are more durable.

You’ll also want to note whether the wheelchair is front, middle, or rear-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive wheelchairs are usually considered the best option for all-terrain types and can navigate rougher surfaces with ease. Mid-wheel drive typically provides better stability and maneuverability while rear-wheel drive wheelchairs typically have the most power and performance. No one type is better than the other, it just comes down to what kind of terrain you’ll most frequently be on.

Compare Your Design Options

While the color and appearance of your wheelchair won’t affect how it operates, it can make a difference in personal preference. Thankfully, there are many different designs available to accommodate everyone’s unique preferences. Many companies offer their wheelchairs in multiple colors, from classic black and silver to more vibrant colors like red, blue, and green. There are also many different frame designs available - from classic options to more modern, bold, and ergonomic looks. You’ll want to pick a wheelchair that reflects your personality and meshes with your personal style.

Think About Which Extra Features You May Want

Many wheelchair manufacturers have add-ons and accessories that can be purchased to enhance the user experience. Elevated leg rests, oxygen tank holders, cupholders, storage bags, travel bags, and headrests are just a few options. If you might need or want any of these features, check to see if the manufacturer offers them and how much they cost to have added on.

Do Not Overlook Portability and Comfort

For wheelchair users who are frequently on the go, it’s important that their electric wheelchair is easy to transport. If you’re frequently in a car or travel via railways and planes, it’s a good idea to look into wheelchairs that are lightweight and either fold down or disassemble for portability.

Comfort is important when you’ll be using your wheelchair for extended periods of time. Adjustable seats, armrests, footrests, and backs allow you to situate yourself in a position that you find comfortable. You should also look for padded seats, armrests, and a back to ensure you can sit in the chair all day without getting uncomfortable.

Check Warranty Details

Since you’ll be relying on your wheelchair to get you where you need to be, you want the peace of mind of knowing that you can easily get it repaired if one of the parts fails. While nearly all manufacturers offer some kind of standard warranty, it’s a good idea to read through the fine print before making your decision. Some will be totally covered from top to bottom while other companies only guarantee specific parts. You should also check to see if they cover labor and shipping in the warranty.

And remember… don’t be afraid to ask questions!

If you don’t understand something on the manufacturer’s website or want more information on a specific feature, don’t be afraid to call customer service and get the information you need to make an informed decision. Your wheelchair is an important part of your life and you should feel comfortable communicating any questions or concerns with the company who makes it.

FAQ

What is an electric wheelchair?

An electric wheelchair is a mobility device intended to aid people who have trouble walking. Unlike manual wheelchairs that are powered by the user's upper body, electric wheelchairs utilize a battery-powered motor and joystick to propel and steer. These wheelchairs usually have two large powered wheels and either 2 or 4 smaller caster wheels for stability. They come in a variety of styles and different models have different features equipped to accommodate the individual needs of different users.

What’s the most important electric wheelchair feature?

There is no one single important feature when it comes to electric wheelchairs. Each user will have their own needs and preferences, and different wheelchairs will be better suited for some people than others. It’s important to identify the qualities you want and need from your wheelchair before you begin shopping so you can easily eliminate the options that don’t fit in with your choices. With a little bit of research, you’ll be able to find an electric wheelchair that includes all of the functions and features you desire.

What’s the difference between an electric wheelchair and a power scooter?

The biggest difference between an electric wheelchair and an electric scooter is the design. Electric wheelchairs feature taller, padded backs and cushioned seats so users can sit comfortably for long periods of time. They usually resemble traditional wheelchairs but are controlled by a joystick that is mounted on one of the arms.

Power scooters, on the other hand, are designed for users to easily get in and out of them. While they’re intended to help users cover long distances, they aren’t intended to be used all day. They often only have 3 wheels and are controlled with handlebars instead of a joystick. These scooters are typically bulkier than wheelchairs and most of them aren’t meant for indoor use around a living space.

Will Medicare cover the cost of an electric wheelchair?

Electric wheelchairs are covered under Part B Medicare as medical equipment. In order to purchase your wheelchair through Medicare, you’ll need to visit your physician who will need to write you a prescription stating that an electric wheelchair is a medical necessity. You’ll be able to choose whichever chair you’d like, but it will need to be approved and purchased through a Medicare supplier. Depending on the wheelchair and its original cost, you may be responsible for covering a portion of the total cost.

Can electric wheelchairs get wet?

While most wheelchair manufacturers recommend that you avoid water while in your wheelchair, rain and snow are sometimes unavoidable. The electrical components of powered wheelchairs can be damaged by rain and other inclement weather, so it’s ideal to seek shelter from the elements whenever possible. You should also avoid large puddles and other sources of moisture whenever possible and take the time to thoroughly dry your wheelchair when it does get wet. If you must venture out in the rain, take precautions by carrying a plastic bag to cover the joystick and an umbrella to cover the frame.