Electric wheelchairs make excellent alternatives to mobility scooters, offering powered travel for improved independence using a smaller, more agile vehicle. Indoor and outdoor powerchairs are available, each with different features, and your choice depends on your lifestyle. Like mobility scooters, they also come with a range of accessories to help you get the most from your mobility aid.
A powerchair, also called an electric wheelchair, takes the strain out of using a self-propelled wheelchair or asking an attendant to push a manual wheelchair. Tight turning circles make them particularly useful in busy spaces, and many models can be disassembled for ease of storage and transportation.
A folding powerchair can make storage and transportation easier for those who don't want to disassemble and reassemble their chair. With lightweight folding frames, they can be wheeled easily as one single piece and then unfolded again at your destination. Some come with travel cases included.
A powerstroll is a clever attachment that transforms a manual wheelchair into a powered one. They are designed for use by a carer or attendant and make light work of pushing the wheelchair. They can be attached and removed quickly and easily, so they are a convenient option if a powered wheelchair is not always necessary.
Things to consider:
Max User Weight
Make sure the wheelchair is designed to comfortably support your weight.
Do you want to travel independently or with the help of a carer or attendant?
How far do you need to travel on a single charge? Smaller batteries are lighter but have less range.
Larger tyres are often found on outdoor electric wheelchairs for extra comfort and protection.
Things to consider before buying a Powerchair
You will most likely spend a large portion of the day with your electric wheelchair, so finding a model that matches your lifestyle and mobility is very important. The questions below should help you figure out what kind of powerchair you need and which features will make the biggest difference for you.
Will you travel mostly indoors, mostly outdoors, or a bit of both?
The type of ground on which you'll be travelling is very important when it comes to choosing a powered wheelchair. For outdoor travel, there are a few features you should definitely consider. Larger wheels and a higher ground clearance will offer a smooth ride over rough terrain. Some outdoor electric wheelchairs are also fitted with suspension systems, which dampen the force of impact through the frame to ease any aches and pains. For indoor use, electric wheelchairs with small turning circles are easier to use. An articulated front beam provides a smaller turning circle to navigate busy areas and narrow corridors and hallways. You might also like the benefit of a powered elevating seat, which will help you to reach high cupboards and shelves around your home. Features like padded captain's seats and armrests will keep you comfortable wherever you travel, so keep an eye out for those.
Do you need to transport your Powerchair?
Some electric wheelchairs use folding frames for transportation and storage, while others can be disassembled into smaller, lighter parts. An all-in-one folding electric wheelchair will be heavier than one which can be disassembled, but they usually have handles to help you pull and lift the chair. Disassembling a powerchair simply involves separating the frame, removing the battery pack and detaching the seat. These lightweight electric wheelchairs are perfect for those with limited storage or car boot space. Travelling abroad with your wheelchair? Lithium-ion batteries are airline-approved (check with your specific airline before flying, just in case), which takes all the hassle out of hiring a powerchair or mobility scooter at your destination.
What is the difference between rear, mid and front wheel drive Powerchairs?
Most of the electric wheelchairs in our range are rear wheel drive. Rear wheel drive powerchairs are easy to control, but they do have a larger turning circle. Mid wheel drive powerchairs use three sets of wheels – one at the front, one at the back and one in the middle – which adds stability and provides a small turning circle. The extra manoeuvrability of a mid wheel drive electric wheelchair means they can be controlled easily in small spaces, allowing for larger seats to be fitted. Front wheel drive powerchairs are popular for indoor use, as their design lets them get closer to tables and desks.
Extras and accessories for Powerchairs
The right extras and accessories can make a world of difference to the comfort and functionality of your electric wheelchair. Our memory foam pressure relieving cushions are available in a range of colours and sizes. You'll also find waterproof gear like ponchos, macs and aprons, designed to keep you in control of your powerchair and protected from the wet and windy weather. Pannier bags and backpacks can be attached to your electric wheelchair for extra storage and safekeeping of your valuables, while walking stick and crutch holders for wheelchairs can be very useful.