Motorised wheelchairs are more than just a personal mobility aid (PMA) – they are an extension of the body and serves as an excellent way to help users regain independence and improve mobility. These electric wheelchairs are a modern innovation that enables you to perform your daily activities and hobbies with ease. They are also famed for their customisable, state-of-the-art features, which are designed with your comfort and support in mind.
However, before you purchase one of these power chairs, it is vital for you to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Not all wheelchairs are made equal in respect to each user’s needs, so there are several factors you must consider when choosing a suitable power chair. Let us guide you through some of the vital aspects you should bear in mind before making a purchase.
1. Your mobility needs around the house
If a wheelchair is a permanent addition to your life, you will need to consider the measurements of your living space before making your purchase. Think about how much room your power chair needs to manoeuvre around the house freely. For example, consider the height of your seat from the floor compared to your bed and the width of your chair against your doorways.
2. Choosing the right drive system
Determining where your chair is predominantly used will help you choose the right power drive for your chair. Electric wheelchairs are propelled by either front-wheel, mid-wheel, or rear-wheel drive, with each drive offering its distinct advantages.
Among the three, electric wheelchairs equipped with a front-wheel drive are the hardest to control, so you may require some time to get the hang of operating it. However, they perform well indoors and outdoors. This system can steer along uneven terrain with a smooth curb climb. It also has a decent turning radius and can be worked in compact spaces.
The mid-wheel drive has the best indoor performance due to its manoeuvrability and small turn radius. This is the go-to option for new users, as it is the easiest to use. It is also the most stable device among the three options as it has six wheels on the ground. The two caster wheels on the front and back of the base provide better balance, reducing the risk of the power chair tipping over.
If you spend most of your time outdoors, you may want to opt for the rear-wheel drive system. It moves quickly over rough pavements and remains stable even while travelling at fast speeds. On the other hand, it has a larger turning radius, which can be challenging to operate indoors.
3. Consider its portability
Most motorised wheelchairs are unable to be transported in a car. So if you own a vehicle, this might be something you want to keep in mind when making your purchase. However, there are portable, lightweight power chairs designed to be easily dissembled for ease of transport. Such chairs tend to be smaller, making them easier to control in crowded malls or homes. It is worth noting that these wheelchairs usually come with less padding, rendering them less comfortable. They are also generally less powerful and unsuitable for use on uneven or soft surfaces such as grass, sand, gravel or stoned/bricked pavements.
4. Go for additional comfort and support
Comfort is paramount in an electric wheelchair, especially if you spend most of your time in one. For instance, the seat that you choose will influence your overall comfort. Power chairs come in a standard seat size, which can cause discomfort as they might not be the “perfect fit” for you.
We recommend investing in extra padding and support to relieve pressure on your joints or going for higher-end configurable power chairs. The latter offers adjustable seat sizes and can be fitted with an array of backrests and cushions to suit your needs. You can also add on powered positioning alternatives, such as a seat riser or recliner.
Buying an electric wheelchair is a hefty investment, which is why choosing the right power chair is essential. After all, you want to select the best assistive device to carry out your daily needs.
If you intend to purchase a motorised wheelchair, do not hesitate to reach out to us. Falcon Mobility offers a diverse range of electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters to choose from. In addition, our products have unmatched manoeuvrability and are easy to operate. You can also visit our physical showrooms to view our products first-hand.