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Mobility Aids

Best Electric Power Wheelchairs

Introduction

Electric wheelchairs make it easier for users to move around their home and perform essential tasks. However, buying one can be a daunting task compared to buying a manual wheelchair. That’s mainly because power wheelchairs are a lot more expensive and involve complex electronics and parts. We have already covered types of manual wheelchairs as well as guide to electric wheelchairs to help people make an informed buying decision.

This post covers some of the best electric wheelchairs, but users still need to consider their own requirements as there isn’t any one-size-fits-all kind of wheelchair. It’s also strongly recommended to consult a professional before investing in an electric wheelchair as he/she can better access needs and recommend the most appropriate type of an electric wheelchair.

Important Things to Consider Before Buying an Electric Wheelchair

Electric wheelchairs provide freedom to move around and enhanced maneuverability and are a phenomenal upgrade over manual wheelchairs. But they are also priced accordingly and cost a lot, which makes it important to consider a few basic things that simplify the buying decision.

Wheelchair Type and Drivetrain

All electric wheelchairs are not equal as each is designed to serve a specific purpose. Determining the type of wheelchair mainly depends on user’s physical condition, the environment/terrain and personal preferences. Three most common types of power wheelchairs include:

  • Full-sized/Standard Wheelchairs
  • Heavy-duty Wheelchairs
  • Transport/Travel Wheelchairs

Three types of electric wheelchairs by drive system are:

  • Front-wheel: Better obstacle avoidance, good maneuverability
  • Mid-wheel: Smallest turning radius, great maneuverability, stability on inclines
  • Rear-wheel: Higher top speed, directional stability, more suitable for outdoors

Max SWL (Safe Working Limit) or Weight Capacity

SWL limit is the amount of weight a wheelchair can accommodate. Full-size/standard power wheelchairs can support up to 300 lbs./135kg so SWL is not an issue for most people. But oversized or people weighing more than that should consider heavy-duty wheelchairs.

Putting more weight on a wheelchair than what it’s designed for is not only a safety risk, but can also affect performance. It’s recommended to keep a gap between user’s weight and the max SWL i.e. user’s weight should be reasonably less than the maximum capacity.

Speed and Battery Range

An electric wheelchair that moves slow does not work well for users who have to travel long distances on a regular basis. Traveling very slowly on an electric wheelchair can become tiring and cause fatigue in the long run. Rear-wheel drive electric wheelchairs suit people who want greater top speed and have to travel long distances on a routine basis.

A user who has travel a lot on a daily basis such as on the university campus or outdoors needs an electric wheelchair with high capacity batteries. This ensures that the user is not put in a challenging situation because the battery ran out of juice. Different electric wheelchairs come with varying battery capacities and have a travel distance of something between 10 to 25 miles on a single charge. 

Weight also affects performance and ultimately battery runtime so this factor also needs to be considered. It’s better to go for batteries larger than anticipated as they degrade over time and loose capacity.

Wheelchair Dimensions

Knowing the dimensions is essential in knowing how well a wheelchair will accommodate a user, especially when buying one online. Most wheelchairs are designed keeping size of standard doorframes and hallways in mind. But it’s better to be on the safe size and match these sizes with wheelchair dimensions, especially when they will be used in narrower homes.

Drivetrain and Tires

Wheelchairs come with front-wheel, mid-wheel and rear-wheel drive systems, each having its own pros and cons. The pros and cons have already been covered in detail in a separate post, but here is a quick summary.

  • Rear-wheel drive wheelchairs can achieve greater top speeds
  • Front-wheel drive wheelchairs are more suitable for uneven terrains, but move slowly than other types
  • Mid-wheel drive wheelchairs are more maneuverable and have the smallest turning radius

Tires of an electric wheelchair can be solid or air-filled. Air-filled tires offer more comfort and absorb the shocks pretty well, but are more prone to puncturing on unpaved roads. Solid tires are puncture-resistant, but don’t usually provide the level of comfort air-filled tires do. You might also want to consider carbon-fiber spoke wheels, which are lighter and much more durable than standard spokes.

Other things to consider include:

  • Frame: Steel (heavy, costs less), aluminum (lightweight, good balance between weight and durability), carbon and titanium (expensive, lightweight, durable)
  • Seating/positioning: custom backrests, tilt-in-space for pressure relief, recline adjustment
  • Controller: joystick control, speech control, head control, sip and puff, foot control, chin control
  • Carbon fiber vs. standard spokes
  • Anti-tip wheels, prevent the wheelchair from tipping over, but can be a hinderance to others
  • Adjustable footrests and armrests
  • Personal preferences and aesthetic choices

Best Electric aka Power Wheelchairs

Product
Visual
Where to Buy

Forcemech Voyager R2

ComfyGO Foldable Electric Wheelchair

Innuovo N5513A Dual Mode (Manual and Electric)

Porto Mobility Ranger D09 XL Heavy-duty

Golden Technologies GP162

 

Forcemech Voyager R2

Key features and specifications

  • Portable and lightweight @ 43 lbs. / 20 Kgs (without battery)
  • Transport-friendly portable design
  • FDA certified, airplane travel approved
  • Detachable joystick (all directions)
  • Electromagnetic break
  • 32-inches turning radius
  • PU wheel (non-flat)
  • Strengthened aluminum alloy frame
  • Weight capacity: 265 lbs. / 120 KG
  • Dual 200W brushless motors
  • Dual 6.6Ah batteries (Lithium-ion)
  • Up to 16 miles / 26KM travel distance on a single charge
  • Shock-Absorption Springs
  • Ergonomic design
  • Rear reflective lights
  • 4 MPH travel speed
  • Dimensions (folded, in inches): L x W x H 26x13x30
  • Dimensions (unfolded, in inches): L x W x H 35x23x05
  • Seat height: 20-inches (from ground)
  • Seat size (inches): 17×17 (Width, Height)

ComfyGO Foldable Electric Wheelchair

Key features and specifications

  • Foldable, transport friendly, FDA approved
  • Weighs 64 lbs. / 30 kg with battery (58 lbs. without battery)
  • Bluetooth remote controller
  • Dual 250W motors
  • Seat size (inches): height 20-inches, width 19-inches, depth 18-inches
  • Weight capacity: 365 lbs. / 165 kg
  • Arm rest height: 29-inches (from ground), can be raised
  • Left/right mounting of the joystick
  • Anti-tipper tires
  • Up to 13 miles / 20KM travel distance on a single charge
  • Battery capacity 12Ah
  • Max. speed 4 MPH
  • Supports secondary battery (sold separately)
  • Electromagnetic brake system
  • Removable back and seat cushions, breathable

Innuovo N5513A Dual Mode (Manual and Electric)

Key features and specifications

  • Lightweight @ 50 lbs. 23KG (with batteries)
  • Aviation-grade aluminum frame
  • Left/right side placement of the joystick
  • Dual mode, can operate as a manual or electric wheelchair
  • Weight capacity 295 lbs. / 133kg
  • Up to 13 miles / 20 KM range, dual Li-ion batteries
  • Solid, puncture resistant tiers
  • Dual 200W motors
  • Dual 6Ah batteries (li-ion)
  • Flip-able armrests
  • Anti-tipper
  • Breathable cushion
  • Seat size: width 19-inches, height 20-inches, depth 16-inches
  • Dimensions (in inches): 35.4×23.6×34.6

Porto Mobility Ranger D09 XL Heavy-duty

Key features and specifications

  • Weight capacity 400 lbs. / 180 Kg
  • Seat width 21-inches
  • Air-travel approved
  • 33-inches turning radius
  • Foldable design, lightweight @ 50 lbs. / 23 KG (without batteries)
  • 12-inch rear and 8-inch front puncture-resistant PU wheels
  • Max speed 5MPH
  • Travel distance 16 miles/ 25 KM
  • Dimensions (unfolded): 38x25x37 inches
  • Aluminum alloy frame
  • Dual 6Ah batteries (li-ion)
  • Dual 250W brushless motors
  • Detachable 360-degree joystick

Golden Technologies GP162

Key features and specifications

  • Relatively more affordable than other options
  • Under seat storage
  • Up to 15 miles / 24KM travel distance
  • Max speed 4MPH
  • Dual 22AH batteries
  • Weight capacity 300 lbs. / 136 KG
  • Dimensions (in inches): L x W x H 33×22.5×34
  • Total assembled weight: 116 lbs. / 53KG
  • Seat size: width 17 inches, depth 16 inches

Product
Visual
Where to Buy

CTM Mobility Mid-wheel Drive

Shoprider Jimmie Rear Wheel Drive

Drive Medical Cirrus Plus Foldable Rear Wheel

Foldawheel PW-1000XL

Drive Medical Trident HD - Heavy Duty

 

CTM Mobility Mid-wheel Drive

Key features and specifications

  • Weight capacity 300 lbs. / 136 KG
  • 19-inches seat
  • Adjustable headrest and footplate
  • Max speed 4MPH
  • Dimensions (in inches): length 41.5, width 23, height 41.7, wheels front 5, mid 10, rear 8
  • Total weight with batteries 206 lbs. / 93 KG
  • Turning radius 22.4 inches
  • Electromechanical brakes
  • Seat width 19 inches
  • 420W motor
  • 36 Ah batteries, battery weight 54.5 lbs.
  • Travel distance on a single charge 14.4 miles / 23KM
  • Semi-reclining seat

Shoprider Jimmie Rear Wheel Drive

Key features and specifications

  • Weight capacity 250 lbs. / 113 KG
  • Foldable seat, can be disassembled into 3 parts for easier transportation
  • Adjustable seat angle, width, height, foot-place and armrests
  • Weight with batteries 105 lbs. / 48 KG
  • Max speed 3.75 MPH
  • Dimensions (in inches): H36.5 x W 35 x D 35
  • Weight 106 lbs. / 48 KG
  • Height: 36.5-inches (Floor to top of the wheelchair)
  • Side-to-side width 22.5 inches

Drive Medical Cirrus Plus Foldable Rear Wheel

Key features and specifications

  • Foldable design
  • Weight without battery 90 lbs. / 41 KG, total weight 146 lbs. / 66 KG
  • Dimensions (inches, LWH): 42.5 x 26 x 36
  • Steel frame
  • Weight capacity 300 lbs. / 136 KG
  • Seat width 18-inches, seat depth 16-inches
  • Seat-to-floor height 18.5 inches
  • Max speed 5.5 MPH
  • Anti-tip wheels
  • Dual batteries
  • Electromechanical brake
  • Max range 15 miles / 24 KM
  • Dual motors 320W
  • 32-inches turning radius
  • ANSI RESNA passed

Foldawheel PW-1000XL

Key features and specifications

  • Long range @ 18. miles / 30KM
  • Up to 28 miles / 45 KM with an additional battery (sold separately)
  • Fold-open-lock for easier transport
  • Weighs 53 lbs. / 24 KG without batteries (each battery weighs 3.5 lbs.)
  • Max speed 5 MPH
  • Weight capacity 330 lbs. / 150 Kg
  • Aviation-grade aluminum frame
  • Brushless motors
  • Solid 10-inches rear tiers
  • Four spring suspensions
  • 18-inch seat cushion
  • Storage bad

Drive Medical Trident HD – Heavy Duty

Key features and specifications

  • 24-inches width
  • Weight capacity 450 lbs. / 204 KG
  • Slide-out battery tray
  • Semi-reclining seat
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Turning radius 29-inches
  • Dimensions (inches, L x H x W): 48 x48x25.5
  • Max speed 4 MPH
  • Estimated travel range 15 miles / 24 KM
  • Seat dimensions (W x D x H): 23x20x20
  • 450W motor @ 2700 RPM
  • 50Ah battery set
  • Electromagnetic brakes
  • Total weight 212 lbs. / 96 KG (98 lbs. base, 66 lbs. batteries, 48 lbs. seat)

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