Skip to content
(858) 560-8177 Kearny Mesa Store         (760) 993-5444 Vista Store
(858) 560-8177 Kearny Mesa Store
(760) 993-5444 Vista Store
How to Choose a Power Wheelchair

How to Choose a Power Wheelchair

The greater mobility of an electric wheelchair can bring a new level of independence for persons who need to use a wheelchair, whether for a short or long time.

An array of electric (or power) wheelchairs for any number of mobility requirements are available on the market, ranging from compact travel models that fit on planes to strong, highly agile wheelchairs for daily use. High-powered wheelchairs are even available for riding off-road at significantly faster speeds. It's critical to choose the right electric wheelchair for your needs.

 

Is it portable, full-size, or heavy-duty?


    Consider how often you will use the chair while choosing the correct sort of electric wheelchair. Will you spend the whole day in it? Will you simply need it on occasion? Do you travel by automobile on a regular basis?

     

    Travel/portable

    Power wheelchairs for travel are typically front or rear-wheel drive. They fold or can be quickly disassembled by removing the seat, battery, and base to fit in a vehicle trunk or aircraft luggage. These chairs are often smaller in size, making them ideal for use in residences, shopping malls, or even on cruise ships. There may be less cushioning on the seat, making it uncomfortable for persons who spend most of their day in the chair or who need more support. Normally, the weight capacity is approximately 300 lb.

     

    Full-size

    If the user will be in a power wheelchair for most of the day, a full-size chair may be a preferable option. Full-size power chairs often include bigger seats, armrests, and footrests, as well as more cushioning for comfort. Because the battery is bigger than that of travel/portable power wheelchairs, it offers a wider travel range (the distance it can go before needing to be recharged). Normally, the weight capacity is approximately 300 lb.

     

    Heavy-duty

    People weighing more than 300 pounds will need a heavy-duty motorized wheelchair with a strengthened frame and a larger sitting space. These sorts' wheels and casters will also be broader in order to support the chair while the user is sitting in it. Most heavy-duty power wheelchairs have a weight capability of 450 lb.; more specialized wheelchairs have a weight capacity of 600 lb., and some manufacturers create a 1,000 lb. power wheelchair.

     

    Power wheelchair seating and placement


      Because most users spend a significant amount of time in their power wheelchairs, seating and placement are critical for their health and comfort. For people who want more support, the motorized wheelchair will need to accept special backrests and seat cushions constructed of contoured forms, gels, and other materials. Individuals who are unable or have limited capacity to shift their weight should choose a motorized wheelchair with tilt-in-space or reclining capabilities to alleviate pressure and promote blood flow. These chairs can also help caregivers with transfers and manage the user's posture.

      Tilt-in-space—adjusts the chair's position without modifying the angle of the lower body.

      Adjusts the degree of reclining for the backrest while raising the legs.

      To guarantee that all of the rider's demands are addressed, the motorized wheelchair must be correctly sized and fitted. An improperly fitted power wheelchair may cause pressure sores and aggravate pre-existing illnesses. An occupational therapist working with a pre-qualified dealer in your region may assist in selecting the best fit electric wheelchair.

       

      Choose the proper driving system


        Front-wheel drive

        Front-wheel drive electric wheelchairs can easily move around tiny obstacles. They have a good turning radius and are simpler to maneuver around the house or in small locations. Although these chairs are noted for their stability, they have a tendency to fishtail when turning at fast speeds. Front-wheel drive power wheelchairs can be used both indoors and outdoors.

         

        AWD (all-wheel drive)

        These chairs have the narrowest turning radius of the three drives and are ideal for usage in flats, malls, and other small spaces. They are relatively simple to navigate inside or on level ground outside, but they do not handle slopes or rugged terrain very well.

         

        RWD (rear-wheel drive)

        Rear-wheel-drive power wheelchairs can easily navigate tough terrain, making them an excellent alternative for those who like being outside. Having the propulsion system at the back provides for more mobility, even at high speeds. Because they have wider turning radiuses, they may be difficult to maneuver inside.

         

        Environment


          It is critical to examine your living situation.

           

          Indoors

          Confirm that the power wheelchair can fit and navigate indoors. Measure the entrances in your house (don't forget to account for hinged doors, which might lower the opening by 2 inches). If the motorized wheelchair protrudes beyond the chair's base, the doorway opening should be big enough to accommodate it, as well as the armrests and joystick. You should also be able to explore halls and turn 90° inside rooms. Bathroom space is generally limited, so evaluate if the motorized wheelchair can move past the toilet and sink. Consider a wheelchair lift if your house has more than one level, and keep in mind the weight of the chair with you in it (many wheelchair lifts have a weight capacity of 750 lb.).

           

          Outdoors

          The chair's range will be affected by the terrain. Larger and wider wheels and casters will go more smoothly over uneven terrain. Porches and/or decks on homes may benefit from the installation of a porch lift.

           

          ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

          Wondering where to buy a power wheelchair in San Diego? Harmony Home Medical Supplies is your go-to home medical equipment distributor.

          We boast the experience and knowledge to excellently address the unique needs of our customers. We offer power wheelchairs with excellent workmanship and features geared to offer our clients quality, long-lasting service.

          Turn to us for affordable, durable, reliable power wheelchairs, accompanied by a friendly environment and unsurpassed customer services.

          ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

          Did this article answer your questions about choosing a power wheelchair? Read these next:

          Previous article Benefits of Power Lift Chairs
          Next article What is an Oxygen Concentrator and How Does It Work?