Buyer’s Guide to the Best Power Wheelchairs
Power Wheelchairs are developed for those who don’t have the upper body strength to get into a wheelchair manually. With several options and versions of wheelchairs to choose from, it’s important to concentrate on getting a chair that accommodates your requirements. Electric Wheelchairs should be bought as per your lifestyle and custom preferences, in addition to aspects like the surface you’ll be riding on, if transporting the chair in your vehicle is essential, and what your workplace and home are like.
Several power chairs work efficiently outdoors but are too bulky to use indoors. Some power wheelchairs are small enough to fit in a large car’s trunk but have lackluster operation. There are electric wheelchairs that can get around easily indoors, but not so efficiently outdoors.
The primary benefit of an electric wheelchair is that it warrants minimal effort to operate and regulate on the user’s end.
The fundamental queries to inquire about prior to purchasing a power wheelchair include the following:
- Will the electric wheelchair be used mostly inside, outside, or both?
- Will your wheelchair warrant transportation?
- What is the slimmest width your chair needs to get through?
- What is your weight?
- What style of seat is most comfortable: solid pan, captain’s, or rehab?
- What kind of speed and range do you intend to achieve?
By addressing the above queries, you can properly gauge each power wheelchair. By looking for the right model and class, along with the information provided in this guide, you can assess any power wheelchair.
Power Wheelchairs can be categorized into nine broad categories:
- Front-Wheel Drive Power Wheelchairs
- Folding Travel Power Wheelchairs
- Rear-Wheel Drive Power Wheelchairs
- Center-Wheel Drive Power Wheelchairs
- Standing Power Wheelchairs
- Four Wheel Drive Power Wheelchairs
- Pediatric Power Wheelchairs
- Heavy-Duty Power Wheelchairs
- Travel Power Wheelchairs
Front-Wheel Drive Wheelchair Manual
The drive wheels will be found in front of the passenger’s placement. Front Wheel Drive Wheelchairs are quite stable for off-road usage or unbalanced surfaces and can climb minor obstacles. The passenger has to be mindful of turning since a majority of the chair’s body is in the seat’s rear. The wheelchair’s total speed is slow since, during high speeds, it usually over-steers. The typical high speed is approximately between 5 to 5½ mph. The total turning radius is approximately 25" to 28".
Rear-Wheel Drive Wheelchair Manual
For the most part, the most stable chairs are Rear-Wheel Drive Wheelchairs. They have the greatest top speeds you can get (which are approximately six mph). However, they are troublesome to get through tight spots due to a 33” turning radius. That said, when driving up hills that are steep, the chair usually leans backward on its anti-tip tubes (stopping the chair from falling back).
Center-Wheel Drive Wheelchair Manual
With Mid-Wheel Drive Wheelchairs or Center-Wheel Drive Wheelchairs, the passenger’s gravity center is balanced with the driver wheel’s middle. When in small spaces, Center-Wheel Drive Wheelchairs are easy to maneuver. The top speed is approximately five mph, while the total turning radius is approximately 24" to 26". The downsides of center-wheel drive wheelchairs are the potential of the rear or front caster getting caught when driving on unbalanced surfaces. There is also the potential of center wheel drive suspension when driving down curb cuts with a steep turn (so no contact with the ground is made).
Standing Power Wheelchair Manual
Standing Power Wheelchairs let the occupant heighten the chair to a standing position from a seated one. Standing Power Wheelchairs come in adult and pediatric versions. Standing Wheelchairs allow the passenger the ability to stand on their own, sit, tilt in space, recline, lift, and relax in the wheelchair. They are purposely developed for those with quadriplegia/paraplegia, cerebral palsy, advanced multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and polio. Standing at normal breaks has several benefits including encouragement of urinary drainage, enhanced circulation, decreased skin breakdown, contracture prevention, and more.
Pediatric Power Wheelchairs Manual
Each parent must think about their child’s independence and mobility. Kids with special requirements desire normal treatment. It is the responsibility of parents to offer their loved ones freedom by selecting the proper wheelchair. Pediatric Power Wheelchairs come in a few different versions. Pediatric rear-wheel drive wheelchairs are quite sought after because they move quicker, but are troublesome to turn. Front-wheel drive wheelchairs have sharper turning abilities and have moderately reduced pace (in comparison to rear-wheeled wheelchairs because they tend to turn quite suddenly). Mid-wheel drive wheelchairs have the sharpest turning abilities of them all and are usually unbalanced when the passenger is about to start or stop.
Heavy-Duty Power Wheelchair Manual
Bariatric Power Wheelchairs (aka Heavy-Duty Electric Wheelchairs) are developed for passengers who need more weight capacity; as much as 650 lbs. Heavy-duty electric wheelchairs typically have greater capacity batteries. This permits an extended range of 11 to 16 miles. These wheelchairs come in various versions, such as center-wheel drive, folding frame, rear-wheel drive, and more.
Power Wheelchair Seating Systems Manual
Power Wheelchair Seating Systems are designed to accommodate the passenger’s growth and functional seating requirements. Custom Wheelchair Seating Systems usually come in frame widths that range from 10" to 16". For seat depths, they range from 8" to 20", allowing sufficient growth space. Many modern power wheelchairs permit stock seating system changes on advanced personalized wheelchair seating systems, allowing the wheelchair to be more customized and efficient for the passenger. Modern Power Wheelchair Seating Systems permit the passenger to recline, tilt, elevate, recline, or a mix of them all.
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