Electric Wheelchair Buying Guide

When buying an electric wheelchair, it's important that you get the best one that fits your needs, budget, and your lifestyle. It's not enough that you just buy whatever you think is good - there has to be a set of guidelines to ensure that you only make the right decision. With this, we bring to you this electric wheelchair buying guide that can help you make the right purchase.

So, if you're one step away from purchasing your electric wheelchair, make sure to check out this full buying guide. In detail, we'll cover the following topics:

  • How do you operate a Power Wheelchair?

  • Why Should You Get an Electric Wheelchair?

  • Electric Wheelchairs vs. Mobility Scooters

  • Choosing the Best Electric Wheelchair

  • Types of Electric Wheelchairs

  • Best Brands of Electric Wheelchairs

Let's first cover the basics by understanding the concept of an electric wheelchair.

The Concept of a Power Wheelchair

If, for some reason, you have no idea about what an Electric Wheelchair actually is or what it looks like, then let’s have a trip to Holywood movie characters – Professor Charles Xavier or Professor X from X-Men. Professor X cannot walk so he's always in his wheelchair, which he drives through the joystick. Then we also have a more realistic example in the persona of the late Stephen Hawkings. Can you visualize now? If yes, then that's exactly what power chairs are.

Electric Wheelchairs or power wheelchairs are those that you can control simply through their joystick control. This is in contrast to a regular or manual wheelchair wherein you need to push the wheels manually. Typically, these electric-powered wheelchairs are more heavy-duty than the traditional ones since they can pass through challenging terrains that the regular ones cannot.

Why Should You Get an Electric Wheelchair?

Purchasing an electric wheelchair should be a good choice whether you're suffering from a leg injury or any physical impairment that hinders your mobility. But other than that, there are so many other reasons why getting a power wheelchair is a wise move.

  • You’re looking for an automatic wheelchair that does not require manual exertion or effort

  • You’re looking to take back your independence

  • You’re looking for a wheelchair that’s capable of riding even on rough terrain without much difficult

  • You want to enjoy a more active lifestyle

  • You want a wheelchair that’s not strenuous and is very easy to use and control 

Electric Wheelchairs vs. Mobility Scooters

There's no doubt that Electric Wheelchairs and Mobility Scooters serve the same audience – the elderly and those with physical disabilities or physical impairment. The problem is, that most people do not really understand the difference between the two. So, if you're one of them, don't skip this section and make sure to read the these significant distinctions between a power wheelchair and a mobility scooter, which we’ve discussed below:

PURPOSE

With everything said and mentioned, you need to take into consideration that those who use Electric Wheelchairs are primarily disabled, so they are the ones who need a wheelchair to move around. This is unlike Mobility Scooters which are built to be an alternative ride for the elderly and persons with disabilities, offering the utmost convenience and comfort when driving and riding for long periods like when going to Subic.

BUILT

In terms of built, Mobility Scooters are more humongous than Electric Wheelchairs. Other than that, the main distinction lies in the tiller or steering wheel. Mobility Scooters come with a tiller that allows you to drive in the direction that you want. On the other hand, Electric Wheelchairs do not have a tiller, but instead, it comes with a joystick that allows you to control your movement.

COMFORT

If we’re talking about the level of comfort, both rides offer the same. Mobility Scooters and Electric Wheelchairs come with a padded captain seat with a full backrest and armrest that gives you utmost comfort when riding.

EASE OF USE

Electric Wheelchairs are a lot easier to use than Mobility Scooters. That’s mainly because you only need one hand to control all your movement, unlike with a Mobility Scooter that you can only control in a driving position – with two hands.

RANGE

In terms of range, Mobility Scooter leads the race. This is because Mobility Scooters are designed to take on trips indoors and outdoors, while Electric Wheelchairs are built for short-distance trips that are mostly indoors. Of course, who would take their wheelchair to go long distances?

MANEUVERABILITY

Making a turn is much easier with a power wheelchair than that of a mobility scooter since the latter comes with a bigger build and tiller that offers limited maneuverability, especially in narrow spaces. On the contrary, electric wheelchairs are built for narrow spaces, which means that you can make a 180-degrees turn without much fuss.

WEIGHT CAPACITY

Since Mobility Scooters are more extensive, of course, it comes with a bigger carrying capacity. This is unlike Electric Wheelchairs, which are designed only to carry the weight of the person riding them, and may not have extra space for your essentials. However, you can always add accessories for power chairs that will allow you to maximize the use of your power wheelchair.

Choosing the Best Electric Wheelchair

Before paying for that power wheelchair, here are some questions that you should ask to ensure that you'll only choose the best electric wheelchair that’s suited for you:

What are the key features?

An electric wheelchair is powered by a battery and a motor, which requires charging from time to time. This is the only downside to an electric wheelchair compared to a regular wheelchair, which you can use anytime at your convenience. The key here is to ensure that you’re only getting an electric wheelchair that can offer outstanding range and carry the user’s weight on any kind of terrain.  

Is it comfortable?

For patients dependent on a wheelchair, it’s of utmost importance to only get an electric wheelchair that can provide maximum comfort. You can check this by knowing the details of the seat, including seat width, cushioning, armrests, backrests, and adjustment features. It’s also better if you have grippy footrests for better stability.

Does it come with safety features?

Patients need extra security and safety since they tend to be more accident-prone. That’s precisely why it’s essential to only invest in an electric wheelchair that comes with several safety features that can avoid accidents and injuries from happening.

Types of Electric Wheelchairs

There are five different kinds of electric wheelchairs depending on your needs, and we’ve discussed them one by one below:

BARIATRIC ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR

A bariatric electric wheelchair is designed for users who are heavy-weight or obese. This electric scooter comprises more significant and heavy-duty components to make it more durable. It usually comes with a broader seat to accommodate its users better.

Best-selling Bariatric Electric Wheelchair

Merits Health 12V/50Ah 400W Heavy Duty Electric Wheelchair P183

This Merits Health Electric Wheelchair is one of the most spacious units that you’ll ever see – it’s so huge that it can carry up to 700-lbs weight load. It features an extra-wide 6-inch wide seat that allows for some space for your bag and other personal essentials. But don't worry, there’s no need to worry about its length as it can still fit through standard doors. As for the range, it has a 25-mile range, which is more than enough for the entire day. You also get to choose where to mount the joystick, whether on the right or left-hand side.

HEAVY-DUTY ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR

A heavy-duty electric wheelchair is engineered to survive even in harsh environmental conditions. For instance, this kind of electric wheelchair is the better choice if you live in the countryside where you’ll be passing through rough roads more of the time.

Best-selling Heavy-Duty Electric Wheelchair

Merits Health Vision Ultra 12V 200W Mid-Wheel Electric Wheelchair P325

This Merits Health Vision Ultra is one of the Best Heavy-Duty Electric Wheelchairs that offer the best value for money. It has valuable features designed for ultimate mobility and functionality. For one, it comes with oversized wheels that give you the flexibility to navigate surfaces that can be challenging for the other models. This electric wheelchair comes with full suspension, which makes every ride comfortable. In terms of maneuverability, this heavy-duty power chair comes with a mid-drive motor, making each turn effortless.

FOLDING ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR

A folding electric wheelchair is designed to be portable and handy. This electric wheelchair is the perfect choice for travelers who are always on the go. With this kind of electric wheelchair, you can conveniently travel when riding any type of vehicle, while on the boat or even on an airplane.

Best-selling Folding Electric Wheelchair

Vive Health 24V/10Ah 250W Compact Folding Electric Wheelchair MOB1029S

This Vive Health 24V/10Ah 250W Compact Folding Electric Wheelchair MOB1029S is a perfect choice for those looking for a secure, safe, lightweight, and comfortable ride. In terms of performance, this Vive Health electric wheelchair is powered by a 250-watt motor that’s powerful enough to carry up to 220-lbs. of weight. Patients will be able to move around quickly with a safe speed of up to 4mph and an extended range of 12 miles on every charge. In addition, it comes with a powerful motor and a lightweight aluminum frame that makes it portable even for traveling.

MID-WHEEL ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR

A mid-wheel electric wheelchair has its drive wheel right under the seat of the wheelchair, with four caster wheels that give it a stable foundation. This electric wheelchair offers maximum maneuverability, making it the best choice for indoor use.

Best-selling Mid-Wheel Electric Wheelchair

Zip'r PC 12V/35Ah 320W Mid-Wheel Electric Wheelchair ZIP07

If you're looking for an electric wheelchair that you can take indoors and outdoors without worrying too much about its maneuverability, then this Zip'r PC 12V/35Ah 320W Mid-Wheel Electric Wheelchair should be your first choice. This Zip’r electric wheelchair comes with a compact yet comfortable design with its plush cushions and armrests that give you a relaxed feeling for every use. The best part is that it’s equipped with puncture-proof tires that give you a worry-free feeling whenever you’re outside. In terms of capacity, it can carry up to 300-lbs of weight and has an outstanding mile range of 15 miles.

REAR-WHEEL ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR

A rear-wheel electric wheelchair has its drive wheel and only comes with two front caster wheels. This electric wheelchair offers excellent performance in an outdoor setting but typically takes a bigger turning radius.

Best-selling Rear-Wheel Electric Wheelchair

ComfyGo Majestic IQ-7000 12Ah 250W Auto Folding Electric Wheelchair

For those who are looking for a powerful yet lightweight electric wheelchair, then this ComfyGo Majestic IQ-7000 12Ah 250W Auto Folding Electric Wheelchair should be your first choice. This lightweight electric wheelchair can easily transport you to your work or school easily. But what's really good about this rear-wheel drive chair is that it comes with advanced features that will make your ride insanely convenient. For one, it comes with an auto-folding frame where you can instantly fold it with a touch of a button. It also comes with wireless remote control, so the caregiver/nurse can control it.

Best Brands of Electric Wheelchairs

Merits Health Electric Wheelchairs

Merits Health Electric Wheelchair is one of the mobility products offered by Merits. Merits Health Products LTD started in 1985 in Taichung, Taiwan. It expanded to Southwest Florida ten years later, establishing the Merits USA. Merits has two plants in Taichung, Taiwan, a plant in Suzhou, China, and two bicoastal US warehouses to ensure that all its customers’ needs are met across the globe.

EWheels Electric Wheelchairs

EWheels or Electric Wheelchairs USA was created to provide secure, reliable, and safe mobility equipment for the elderly and those who suffer from obesity, physical injuries, or disability. Electric Wheelchairs USA is the brainchild of Robert, who, in 2013, was faced with the need to have a reliable mobility aid for his close friend, who lost the ability to walk due to an accident. This prompted Robert to be in the business of electric wheelchairs.

Vive Health Electric Wheelchairs

Vive Health is a well-known provider of various patient care products from mobility equipment, home care equipment, and other kinds of patient care tools. Its mobility lineup includes electric wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and various patient mobility tools. Essentially, Vive Health specializes in offering medical-grade equipment to help improve the lives of patients who receive care at home. One of its subcategories in mobility aid is the Vive Health Electric Wheelchairs.

Zip’r Electric Wheelchairs

In 2004, Zip’r started as Zip’r Mobility with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of life of its customers without spending a fortune. Zip’r remains one of the best mobility brands in the market that offers cost-effective and innovative mobility equipment. The company is well-known for manufacturing various mobility aid, including mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs. What sets Zip’r Mobility apart from other brands is its stringent quality control standards to ensure that each product they manufacture is registered with the FDA as a Class II Medical Device.

ComfyGO Mobility

ComfyGO Mobility is an industry leader in manufacturing mobility solutions. The company is headquartered in the United States and caters to a wide range of customers in need of a reliable mobility aid. The company manufactures mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs, manual wheelchairs, and lifts. What really makes ComfyGO stand out from the other brands is that all of its products are equipped with advanced features that are designed to challenge the status quo in the mobility industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose an electric wheelchair?

When choosing an electric wheelchair, it's not enough that you automatically go with a popular brand. There are many other factors to consider such as the purpose of your wheelchair, your lifestyle, and the right type of electric wheelchair that you should get. Plus, make sure that you take into consideration its key features, comfort, safety,

How long does an electric wheelchair battery last?

When it comes to battery life, an electric wheelchair's battery can last up to two years. As for charging, it's recommended that you charge your electric wheelchair for at least 8 hours every after use, depending on the battery size. Of course, this goes without saying that the bigger the battery is, the longer the charging time will be.

What is the average cost of an electric wheelchair?

On average, good power wheelchairs will cost around $2,000 up to $3,000. However there are power chairs that cost as low as $800 while there are those power chairs that cost up to $!4,000. The price generally varies depending on the features, brand, and style of the power chair.

Are power wheelchairs covered by Medicare?

As provided on the website of Medicare - Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers power-operated vehicles (scooters), walkers, and wheelchairs as durable medical equipment (DME). Medicare helps cover DME if: The doctor treating your condition submits a written order stating that you have a medical need for a wheelchair or scooter for use in your home.

Getting the Best Electric Wheelchair

If you need any help choosing the best electric wheelchair, let our customer agents guide you. Our team is equipped with the right skills and knowledge to advise you on the right choice that will certainly fit your needs and preferences to ensure that you get the best value for your money.

If you're looking for more options for electric wheelchairs, then make sure to check out all other power chair categories here at Electric Bike Paradise. To make your life easier, make sure to check out these categories: