Motorized wheelchairs, also referred to as power or electric chairs, are best suited for individuals who do not have strength or functionality in the upper torso and arms to operate a manual chair.
Power wheelchairs come in an array of models with different features, and are suited for both indoor and outdoor use. You will find front, center and rear-wheel drive models and each offers specific attributes for handling.
Front-wheel drive models are easily maneuverable and are best for a combination of indoor and outdoor use at lower speeds. Large wheels are positioned just in front of the seat, which allow the chair to traverse bumpy surfaces.
Center or mid-wheel drive wheelchairs are best for indoor use and navigating smaller spaces. These power chairs have six wheels -- two larger wheels affixed to the based and 4 smaller wheels surrounding them.
Rear-wheel drive wheelchairs are not as maneuverable as front-wheel or mid-wheel models; though, they provide a stable ride and are good for all-purpose use.
While these mobility chairs feature the largest turning radius, they can be used at higher speeds, are able to handle additional weight, and more easily navigate inclines.
In addition, motorized wheelchairs offers a range of seating to accommodate individual needs.
Some models look more like manual wheelchairs with a sling-style seat and frame, while others have a thickly cushioned captain’s chair with padded armrests.
Before considering a purchase…
Beginning the Purchase Process
When you are ready to start looking at power chair models, make a list of two or three power chair sellers (retail and online) to contact. Identify the chair sellers based on reputation, years in business, referrals and/or references, and selection options.
It is important that you personally "test drive" a number of motorized models to evaluate and compare their ease of use, level of comfort, functionality and available features, as well as pricing.
Then, learn as much as possible about the the terms of sale, chair servicing, accessories and options.
Questions to Ask the Seller
Types of Mobility Chairs
Wheelchair Sports Activities
Helpful Resource Organizations
Mobility Scooter Buying Tips
Portable Ramp Options