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Power Wheelchair

Electric wheelchairs, also called power chairs, are often a more suitable option for those who are physically unable to self propel a manual wheelchair. Before purchasing an electric wheelchair be sure to consult with an occupational or physical therapist. Electric wheelchairs are available in a wide variety of seat widths, depths and heights, and feature a number of armrest, legrest and seating options. Power wheelchairs allow users of every strength to control the electric wheelchair with a joystick, but higher end models offer a multitude of alternative control options – such as proximity switches, sip-n-puff, head arrays, infrared switches and magnetic angle sensors just to name a few. The three most common types of electric wheelchairs are front-wheel drive, mid-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive.

Front Wheel Drive

  • drive wheels are placed forward of where you sit
  • very stable for uneven terrain or up and down hills
  • climbs over small obstacles well
  • slower overall speeds (about 5 - 5 ½ mph) because front-wheel drive tends to "fish tail" at higher speeds

Front wheel drive powerchair

  • feature six wheels, including two rear anti-tip wheels
  • because they turn from the center like a top, they are considered the most maneuverable power wheelchair, even in tight spaces
  • the power base is usually separate from the seat and will accept any number of seating or power seating options, depending on wheelchair features

Rear-Wheel Drive Electric Wheelchair

  • excellent outdoor high-speed performance and maneuverability
  • some models incorporate a folding feature
  • base is separate from seat and can accommodate a variety of seating and power seating options