If you’re in the market for an electric wheelchair, buying an electric wheelchair can be essential for greater independence, enhanced maneuverability, and allowing you to get around in your home in doing essential daily tasks. You can also use an electric wheelchair outdoors or when traveling, especially if you struggle with lots of walking or strenuous terrain. An electric wheelchair can be a phenomenal upgrade, however, the decision to buy one should not be taken lightly. Buying an electric wheelchair can be considerably costly, because of that, you will want to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.
What To Consider When Buying An Electric Wheelchair
Choosing an electric wheelchair can be a daunting task, there are quite a number of different types of electric wheelchairs available in the market and that number keeps on increasing by the day. To lighten the weight in making that decision, here are five things you need to consider or keep in mind when buying an electric wheelchair that is right for you.
Weight Capacity or Maximum Safe Working Limit (SWL)
If you’re looking to buy your electric wheelchair, one of the most paramount factors you need to take into consideration would be the maximum amount weight they can support or the maximum safe working limit (SWL). This is a vital specification of an electric wheelchair because it can not only affect performance but also put the safety of the user at risk too. Most electric wheelchairs generally support up to 300 pounds depending on the model, while others can accommodate weights of up to 450 pounds. If you’re below the specified weight capacity of the wheel, that is ideal, there always should be a significant gap between the user’s weight and maximum support capacity of the wheelchair.
Getting the dimensions of the electric wheelchair will not only let you know how large the chair is but also inform you of how well it accommodates or fit you. Even though most electric wheelchairs are designed to fit most hallways and doorframes, if you live in a particularly narrow home, taking into account the dimension of the chair will be vital for manoeuvrability.
Battery Range and Speed
If you’re planning on using your electric wheelchair outdoors, knowing how far you travel can before your battery is drained is an important consideration. This serves to ensure that you’re not put in challenging situations. Battery range varies significantly between models. Generally, most electric wheelchairs allow for anywhere between 10 – 25 miles of coverage on a single charge. Other vital factors to keep in mind that influence the battery range include the weight of the user, the type of terrain being travelled, and the age of the batteries.
In terms of speed, it is also an essential factor to consider when purchasing a power wheelchair. For example, if you’re planning on traveling long distances, speed is essential and opting for a rear drive power wheelchair is an excellent option.
Portability and Adjustability
Portability is key, especially for users with an active lifestyle. Taking into consideration of electric wheelchairs that are foldable and easy to transport in a vehicle, or can be quickly dissembled and reassembled with no-hassle is vital for ease of use.
In terms of adjustability, buying an electric wheelchair with add-on features has many benefits to the user. A number of electric wheelchairs come with optional add-ons that allow for added functionality such as allow you to tilt, recline, and elevate the seat for enhanced comfort. This ability has been linked to a number of physiological and psychological benefits such as preventing pressure sores, strengthening the cardiovascular system, and improving quality life.
Wheels play an important role in allowing for greater speed, stability, manoeuvrability, and tracking through uneven terrain or bumpy surfaces amongst other surfaces. Important features to take note of include factors such as the location of the driving wheels i.e. whether it’s in the front, middle, or back of the wheelchair. Mid-wheel drive electric wheelchairs are considered to be most manoeuvrable, rear-wheel drive electric wheelchairs allow for greater speeds, and front-wheel drive chairs are phenomenal for driving through uneven terrain, even though they tend to be the slowest of the bunch. Wheels maybe pneumatic (air-filled) or solid. It is also important to be mindful of the size of the caster wheels as well. The smaller the caster wheels the less suitable the electric wheelchair is for bumpy or uneven surfaces.
Having this checklist is essential when looking for an electric wheelchair that best suits your needs. Here is a review of the Top 10 Best Electric Wheelchair based on consumer reports.
1. 2019 Upgraded FDA Approval Electric Wheelchair by Innuovo – N5513A
This brand new electric power wheelchair from Innuovo is a marvel in aesthetics, engineering design, and superior comfort and mobility. The wheelchair features a durable aerospace-grade aluminum frame design made to be exceptionally strong while keeping the overall construction extremely lightweight (50 lbs with battery). Batteries on the N5513A are certified meaning that the wheelchair is safe to bring on an airplane trip.
The N5513A supports weights of up to 330 pounds. The front and rear wheels of the N5513A are made of solid rubber, making it virtually impossible to get a flat tire, and breaking allows the user to come to a full stop within a 3-foot range. Other features include effortless elevated footrests, easy to operate brakes, and an electric joystick controller that can be placed in either armrest i.e., for both right or left-handers.
- Very lightweight and portable (50 lbs with battery)
- Easily foldable to be put in trunk or backseat
- Can safely be carried on an airplane
- Great controls and stable traction
- Great customer support
- Can be a little tricky to get into small size car trunks
2. Forcemech Voyager R2- Ultra Portable Folding Power Wheelchair
Weighing only 43 pounds without battery, the Forcemech Voyager R2 is a product of superior craftsmanship and excellent design. The wheelchair is highly portable and can be folded compactly for storage when not being used. The Forcemech Voyager R2 can fold and unfold within seconds with little to no effort. It also comes with a warranty from the manufacturer, as well as 24/7 on-demand customer support service and assistance should any problems arise.
In travel, the Forcemech Voyager R2 works particularly well for airplane and cruise travel. It has a strengthened and enhanced alloy metal frame that is lightweight and extremely durable. All the wheels have been built with metal alloy core to further enhance its structural integrity, and shock absorption springs have been installed in the front for a smoother riding experience. It also has rear reflective lights for added visibility.
- Convenient, lightweight and easy to use
- The seat area is roomy, and the cushion is comfortable
- The wheelchair design is an eye-catcher
- FDA Certified – approved for air and cruise travel
- High capacity batteries and very power friendly in consumption
- Easy to use joystick – Although it takes a learning curve to get used to
- The arms rotate all the way back for easy side access
- Supports users of up to 265 pounds
- Easy to set up and great for indoor use
- Outstanding customer support
- The footrest doesn’t come off – It only folds up or down
- Few reported cases of battery issues
3. EZ Lite Cruiser Heavy Duty (HD) Deluxe DX12 Light Weight & Foldable Personal Mobility Aid
Beautifully design and extremely well crafted for comfortable riding, the Deluxe DX12 is the next generation of lightweight and fold-able mobility aids in EZ Lite Cruiser line-up. The wheelchair has one of the easiest and quickest folding and unfolding action of its kind on the market. It is designed to work exceptionally well on all types of terrains, but it is particularly useful on outdoor surfaces. It has rugged 12-inch rear wheels that are supportive and stable for all surfaces.
The Deluxe DX12 weighs 58 pounds (without battery) and 64 pounds with battery. The lithium-ion battery on board has the ability to cover 10 miles on one charge, or a 20 miles range with 2 batteries connected, and supports users of up to 305 pounds. The Deluxe DX12 is perfect for travel since it folds easily and can be stored in a small space when it’s not being used.
- It is lightweight and portable (58 pounds without battery)
- Easily foldable and fits into most trunks
- Quiet and nimble
- Supports users of up to 305 pounds
- Easy to maneuver indoors
- Great performance and great battery life
- Excellent customer service
- Since it doesn’t have a solid pan seat, it flexes on uneven surfaces
- The controller can be a bit unsteady after continuous use – it takes a learning curve to get used to
- Small footrest
- Not suitable for off-roading
4. Golden Technologies GP162 – LiteRider PTC 162
The LiteRider PTC 162 is a powerful electric power wheelchair that makes economic use of space. The LiteRider PTC 162 has a unique under-seat storage basket that is roomy and can hold items while shopping or keep other essentials at hand without sacrificing comfort. This wheelchair features a strong tubular frame that is lightweight, comes in a stylish red color, and can support persons of up to 300 pounds in weight capacity.
The comfortable stadium-style seat on the LiteRider PTC 162 is designed for full size support. The black tires of the wheelchair are designed to be non-scuffing so that you can use them anywhere. It also has a 26-inch turning radius and can be easily disassembled into three pieces for storage or transportation.
- Flip-up leg and armrest – for comfort and easy side access
- Off-board charging system
- Easy to disassemble for transport
- Slight smaller size and small turning radius – making it a little easier for getting around indoors
- Easy joystick control system
- It takes some practice to be used to the joystick
- The seat is not so comfortable for use in extended periods of times
5. Compact Mid-Wheel Drive Power Chair by CTM Mobility Scooter.
The Compact Mid-Wheel Drive Power Chair is a powerful, lightweight and durable electric wheelchair made by CTM Mobility Scooter. The mid-wheel drive power chair features a patented Anti-Tip wheel design that is integrated to keep users safe on different types of surfaces. It also has an extra-tight turning radius for navigating tight spaces and corners with ease. The flat-free tires installed allow users to move more freely and effortlessly both in outdoor and indoor terrain, taking you wherever you desire to go.
The compact mid-wheel drive power chair has a shark controller with joystick installed for easy movement and navigation. The wheelchair has a 19-inches mid-back seat with an adjustable headrest. It is also equipped with a seat belt to ensure safety at all times. This wheelchair has a maximum support weight of 300 pounds and a maximum speed of 4MPH.
- Easy to assemble and use
- Has a long battery life
- Supports weights of up to 300lbs
- Does a nearly 360 degrees turning radius
- Comfortable seating – Cushioned seat, backrest, and padded armrest
- Great customer service
- Little or no suspension
- Footrests are hard to elevate
- Very sensitive controls
6. Shoprider Jimmie Power Chair
Designed and built by Shoprider, the Jimmie Power Wheelchair is made to be one of the reliable electric wheelchairs in the market. The seat comes in a cushioned captain-style design that is made for maximum comfort. The height is adjustable, and the armrest can also be adjusted too to fit your desired height, width, or angle. Moreover, the Shoprider Jimmie Power Chair provides you with a sturdy sitting space thanks to it’s 35” overall depth from front to back.
Performance wise, the Shoprider Jimme Power Chair can support a maximum weight capacity of up to 250 pounds, with a top speed of 3.75 miles per hour. The chair itself weighs 106 pounds. For storage or transportation, the Shoprider Jimmie Power Chair features a simple disconnect mechanism, that allows you to remove the seat with ease and proceed to disconnect the front and rear portions for storage or travel.
- It is smooth and gets around pretty fast
- Compact and easy to move around in tight spaces
- Nice and easy to use controls
- Adjustable back seat design – Making it easier on your back
- Portable – Can easily fit in the trunk of a family car after disassembly
- Can get uncomfortable after sitting for extended periods
- The footrest is somewhat ungainly
7. Drive Medical Cirrus Plus Folding Power Wheelchair
The Folding Cirrus Plus EC Power Chair is a powerful electric wheelchair by Drive Medical. The wheelchair comes with a steel cross-brace frame that is lightweight and foldable making it ideal for transport. On board, the Drive Medical Cirrus Plus Folding Power Wheelchair has a programmable controller that is fitted with an adjustable length mount for comfort. The chair is also equipped with adjustable armrests that are padded, for maximum comfort.
Moreover, Folding Cirrus Plus EC Power Chair by Drive Medical has an adjustable tension and padded back for comfort. The chair comes with a cushioned seat for support and a storage pouch for keeping your essentials at hand. The power wheelchair also has swing away footrests with heel loops for security.
- It is easily foldable – And folds up to a small enough size to fit into the trunk of your car
- Superb comfort level – Thanks to its cushioned and padded design
- Powerful and gives more distance on the batteries
- Sturdy for off-road terrain
- Has a solid feel when you’re in it
- Supports weights of up to 300 pounds
- It’s a little heavy (Weighs 90lbs without battery)
- Can be a little jerky when trying to manoeuvre in tight spaces – Turn down the speed for greater control
8. Merits P321 Travel-Ease / EZ-GO Power Wheelchair
The Merits P321 Travel-Ease / EZ-GO is a robust and lightweight power wheelchair that is ideal for transportation. Weighing only 99pounds and the heaviest piece being 35pounds, the EZ-GO powerchair is easy to disassemble and convenient for transportation. The Merits P321 Travel-Ease comes with a fully padded seat for support and adjustable armrest to fit your personal or desired height and width. It also has a fully adjustable footrest which further makes the EZ-GO a versatile chair.
Performance wise, the Merits P321 Travel-Ease power wheelchair supports a maximum weight capacity of up to 250 pounds. This electric wheelchair has a turning radius of 23 degrees and comes in either red or blue. Moreover, the EZ-GO has a maximum speed of 4 MPH and cover up to 9 miles on one battery charge.
- Easy to manoeuvre
- Ideal for close quarters and narrow hallways
- Has a tight turning radius
- Goes in and out of normal doorways and small rooms with ease
- Batteries don’t seem to hold charge for long
- The seat is not comfortable enough for use in extended periods of time
- The back is not high enough for taller persons
9. Pride Mobility Go-Chair
Re-engineered from the ground up, the Pride Mobility Go-Chair is a sleek, bold, and eccentric power wheelchair. Offered in veritable contemporary colours, the electric wheelchair is designed to provide enhanced performance and comfort, alongside feather-touch disassemble, allowing users for light-weight travel and independence while on the go. The wheelchair disassembles into 5 lightweight pieces that are convenient for storage and transportation; the heaviest piece weighs only 36pounds.
Performance wise, the Pride Go-Chair Travel Power Wheelchair is designed to support users of up to 300pounds and includes dual swing-out storage bins fitted under the seat for keeping your personal items close at hand. The electric wheelchair has a compact turning radius of only 25.4inches, with an 18 amp batteries onboard and allows for speeds of up to 3.7mph. With the Pride Mobility Go-Chair, you can choose from up to 6 six colours to suit your preference. The wheelchair also comes with a 60inches lap belt, a large footplate, and height and width adjustable armrest.
- Well-built and high-quality design
- Easy to assemble – although the manual is not of much help
- Very stable and easy to manoeuvre in tight spaces
- Easy to rotate with little effort or space needed
- Has a small turning radius 25.4inches
- Outstanding customer support
- Can’t fit into anything smaller than a mid-size SUV without first disassembling it
- Might require assistance to lift (if you want to load it without disassembling)
- The footrest needs to be lifted to get into the chair, thus can be a little difficult to reach down and lower it
10. Folding Electric Power Wheelchair ED09
The Folding Electric Power Wheelchair ED09 is a lightweight and portable electric wheelchair with a frame made up of durable aluminium of aircraft quality. Weighing only 59 pounds the power wheelchair ED09 makes an impeccable companion and its small folding size ensures that can easily fit into trunks of various cars for transportation. The Folding Electric Power Wheelchair ED09 supports users of up to 396 pounds and has a maximum speed of 6km/h.
The ED09 is an ideal choice not only for its price, but also for those who make regular drives in cities, towns and in the countryside. Its front suspensions combined with solid tires help the user navigate through various terrains whether it’s a flat, rugged, grassland, uphill, or downhill, cutting comfortably through all without worrying of flat or soft tires. The wheelchair also comes fitted with extra safety specifications such as the intelligent electromagnetic braking system (electronic regenerative disc brake) and extra ground clearance.
- Supports weights of up to 396 lbs
- Has a Durable, lightweight, fold-able frame (59 pounds with batteries)
- Solid front and rear tires – puncture proof
- The seat covers and backrest are removable and easy to clean
- Has a small folding size – easily fits into various car trunks for transportation
- It is an ideal choice for its price (Costs 1699$)
- Minimal shipping delays