Four Important Factors In Choosing An Electric Power Wheelchair

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Four Important Factors In Choosing An Electric Power Wheelchair

12 June 2017
 Categories: , Articles

An electric or power wheelchair is a sensible solution for an individual with mobility or medical issues. It's a good way to maintain one's independence while being able to get around at home and within the community. If you choose a portable model, you can easily transport it for travel. If this will be your first time using an electric wheelchair, you may be confused at how to make the right selection. Ultimately, you may want to speak with a consultant or sales representative who has the expertise to help you make the best selection. In the meantime, here are a few important aspects to consider when choosing your new electric powered wheelchair.

1. Consider the Weight Capacity of the Wheelchair

Not all electric wheelchairs can accommodate all weights. Consider the user's weight and compare. For instance, a lightweight person with a small body frame may not require an electric power wheelchair with the heaviest tubular frame. On the other hand, a larger individual may require a power chair with a heavier weight capacity and extra wide seat. A heavy-duty wheelchair can accommodate a weight of several hundred pounds.

2. Determine How the Wheelchair Will Be Used

Will the electric wheelchair be used primarily indoors, or will you need to transport the chair for travel? If you expect to be transporting your electric powered wheelchair on a regular basis, you will probably do best with a model that is lightweight and portable. This type of wheelchair may be taken apart, allowing the user to transport it more easily. Keep in mind that a portable model is not meant to be heavy duty or accommodate larger individuals. It is also best suited for indoor use rather than on tough outdoor terrain. If you do not mind the extra cost, a full sized electric wheelchair may be a good choice for all-around use. You can use the full sized power chair indoors and out.

3. Choose a Wheel Drive That Suits Your Needs

Electric powered wheelchairs are available in various wheel drives. You will have front wheel drive, mid wheel drive and rear wheel drive to choose from. So, what does this mean and how do you choose the right one? Here's what you need to know:

Front Wheel Drive: This is a good choice when you need to maneuver in and out of tight spaces. The front wheel drive model offers a decent turning radius. You should bear in mind, however, that you will not be able to achieve top speed with a front wheel drive electric wheelchair, so it may not be the best option for outdoor use.

Mid Wheel Drive: If you want to have better turning ability around tight corners, this model may be the way to go. However, if you plan on driving your motorized wheelchair over rocky or uneven ground, this is not an ideal choice.

Rear Wheel Drive: If you need to travel fast outdoors, consider the rear wheel drive option. It will allow you to achieve the fastest speed. It is not intended solely for indoor use, however, due to its inability to negotiate tight corners and sharp turns.

4. Determine the Wheel Type You Need

Electric wheelchairs are driven by either pneumatic tires or foam filled polyurethane tires. To a novice, this can seem confusing. Basically, pneumatic wheelchair tires are filled with air. Pneumatic tires are made with a deep thread, allowing the user to drive the power chair over uneven or rocky ground and surfaces. Pneumatic tires will absorb shock as you ride, thus making your ride more comfortable. There is one thing to keep in mind, however: pneumatic wheelchair tires need to maintain the proper air pressure. You may need to measure that air pressure periodically and refill it with air as needed to prevent the tires from flattening out.

Polyurethane foam filled tires will not lose air as you use your wheelchair, so they will not flatten out. This means they are virtually maintenance free. The drawback however is they are not as stable or smooth riding as the pneumatic tires tend to be. If you're using the wheelchair on smooth surfaces, however, they can be a good choice.

If you have any questions or concerns, consult with a dealer who can advise you on making the right selection. For more information, contact a professional in your area or visit a website like