Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Welcome to ReviewBox! There are times when people are unable to move freely, either because they are recovering from an illness or disability, and it is advisable to transport them in an electric wheelchair.

An electric wheelchair has 2 or more wheels that are powered by a motor so that it can move. They are usually controlled by the people who use them, some have brakes and some can change the height of their seat.

There are several models of electric wheelchairs to choose from, depending on what you are looking for, and if you are interested in a particular one, you've come to the right place. Below we will explain the features and differences of each one so you can make a good purchase.




The Best Electric Wheelchair: Our Picks

Buying Guide

An electric wheelchair is a great alternative for people who want to move around effortlessly, as they are powered by a motor. If you are looking for a particular model, we explain their advantages and disadvantages so that you can get the most out of them.

An electric wheelchair helps people with disabilities to move around independently (Photo: Phakorn Kasikij / 123rf.com)

What is an electric wheelchair and what are its advantages?

An electric wheelchair is a means of transport for convalescent or disabled people, which has 2 or more wheels and is powered by a motor. They are usually controlled by a control system and have brakes.

The person using this chair can control its speed, movement and in some models the position of the backrest, seat, footrest and even the armrests can be levelled to make it even more comfortable.

A further advantage is that there are some models that can be controlled by mouth, in case users are unable to use their hands. They can be fitted with ABS brakes, satellite navigation and GPS.

Advantages
  • Easily manoeuvrable
  • Can be geared to the person using it
  • Some have GPS
  • Some are high performance
Disadvantages
  • Expensive
  • Some are very heavy
  • Can support up to 100kg

Indoor, outdoor or folding power wheelchair - what should you look out for?

The electric or motorised wheelchair was invented to make life easier for people with disabilities or who for some reason are unable to move around on their own. It is not uncommon then to find various models that can be adapted to your lifestyle and here we explain which ones they are.

Indoor power wheelchair. This model of power wheelchair has a very stable structure, but at the same time it is easy to move around indoors in a house, flat or hospital. Its design is narrow so it can be transported in corridors, elevators or bedrooms.

Outdoor power wheelchair. These chairs are heavy duty, with great suspension, thick and stable wheels that are usually shock absorbing no matter how uneven the surface they are moving on.

Folding power wheelchair. This model of electric wheelchair is able to fit into any space no matter how narrow or cramped it is, as its frame can be folded. It is lightweight and portable, making it a great choice for days out.

Indoor Outdoor Foldable
Material Steel Steel Aluminium
Type of control Joystick Joystick Joystick
Approximate weight 80kg 50-100kg 45kg

How much does a power wheelchair cost?

The cost of a power wheelchair is high for all the features it has, however, it is a great investment for those looking to make life more comfortable for a family member with a disability or physical injury.

The cheapest price for an electric wheelchair is around 25,000 MXN, as it surely has all the basic features to control it, however, you can find other models that cost 41,000 MXN, 50,000.00 MXN and up to 60,000 MXN.

An outdoor power wheelchair is heavy, but is capable of being transported on any surface (Photo: freestocker /123rf.com)

Where to buy a power wheelchair?

A power wheelchair can be found at various health and wellness-related retail outlets, such as Grupo Médica Store, Sunrise Medical or Muebles Médicos Nac-Medic.

However, there are also examples in the most famous e-commerce platforms such as Mercado Libre, AliExpress or Amazon where you can find a great variety and prices.

On the other hand, department stores such as Costco, Liverpool or Walmart also specialise in offering products of this type, with the intention that people visit the establishments and get to know them physically.

A person with a good electric wheelchair can go about his or her normal life (Photo: Vadim Guzhva / 123rf.com)

Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate different models of power wheelchairs

As we have mentioned, a power wheelchair is an ideal accessory for people with disabilities or injuries to have a better quality of life and to be able to move independently. If you are thinking of buying one, we recommend that you consider the following criteria.

  • Design
  • Type of traction
  • Attachments
  • Number of wheels

Design

The design of an electric wheelchair is very important because it depends on it whether the person using it feels more comfortable or not. There are designs in which you can modify the height of the seat or backrest, however, there are other more creative designs that we mention below.

With a car seat. There are power wheelchairs that have a car seat design that reclines or gives full back, shoulder and neck support to make the user feel more secure.

With an upright seat. Another impressive design is one whose seat can be straightened in such a way that the person using it stands completely upright. It is a great design for people to stretch their muscles.

Type of traction

The type of traction of a power wheelchair refers to the ability of the wheels to give it stability or to move it, and depends very much on where it is going to be used, either indoors or outdoors. There are 3 types of traction which are explained below.

Centre drive. In this type of traction, the traction wheel is in the centre of the wheelchair so it turns on its own axis. It is very easy to handle and is recommended for use indoors and on smooth surfaces.

Rear wheel drive. In this type of traction, the rear wheel suspension can be controlled in case of driving on streets, pavements or any other rough surface. It offers greater stability and is suitable for use on uneven terrain.

Front-wheel drive. This drive is applied to the front wheels and has more steering angle which helps to climb small heights such as steps on pavements. It is recommended for use indoors for better turning indoors and outdoors to overcome small obstacles.

Attachments

It is important to recognise the attachments of a power wheelchair, regardless of whether it is portable, indoor or outdoor. It is from these that it can be considered as a safe model for everyone.

Seat belt. The seat belt is very important as it gives support and firmness to the body. Just like in a car, it prevents a person from falling, hitting or being involved in an accident.

Driving controls. In general, the chairs are controlled by levers or buttons located on one of the armrests. They are intuitive and precise, providing comfort and safety for users.

Footrests and armrests. They can be adjusted in height depending on the individual or removed if they are not needed. They are usually removed when it is time to store the wheelchair.

Number of wheels

Generally, the front wheels of a power wheelchair are smaller than the rear wheels and the number of wheels changes depending on the intended use of the wheelchair. Here's why the number of wheels on each wheel changes.

6 wheels. This type of electric wheelchair has a central traction system, which means that it turns on its own axis to move easily in corridors, elevators or small areas. It has 6 wheels because the two middle wheels allow it to turn, while the other two stabilise it.

4 wheels. Most have 4 wheels and the difference is that their size can vary depending on the intended use. For example, chairs with small wheels at the front are front-wheel drive, while those with all wheels of the same size are all-terrain.

2 wheels. It is important to remember that chairs with 2 wheels are usually manual, i.e. the user will have to move the wheels with his or her arms or will have to wait for the wheelchair to be pushed.

(Featured image photo: Luca Bertolli / 123rf.com)

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