Choosing the Right Powerchair for You

Icon One Powerchair

Your guide to choosing the best powerchair

Purchasing a powerchair may be a substantial investment, so you must choose the best one for your specific circumstances. Electric wheelchairs, sometimes called “powerchairs”, are mobile chairs propelled by electric motors. They are substantially shorter and more manoeuvrable than scooters, making them ideal for interior usage.

A powerchair’s seating can range from a simple scooter seat to an arrangement that has been carefully tailored to you. Some power chairs can be outfitted with power choices to meet your specific needs, improving your comfort, support and placement. Because of these characteristics, powerchairs are often better suited to more immobile customers with greater demands.

Who makes use of a powerchair?

People who use powerchairs are usually those who:

  • Have long-term illnesses and are unable to walk short distances without falling.
  • They have medical issues that formerly required them to use a manual wheelchair, but they can no longer be independent in a manual chair.
  • Can live a more independent life in a powerchair with the help of a caregiver.
  • Have been impacted by spinal injuries.

Quantum Stretto powerchair child in house

Types of powerchairs

Rear-wheel drive chairs

The majority of people are familiar with rear-wheel drive powerchairs. The frame of this powerchair varies in style; depending on the model, this kind of chair comes with a foldable or fixed frame. Rear-wheel-drive powerchairs are easy to use with the help of a joystick control located on the chair’s left or right side. Adjust the seating and comfort to your preferences, and a simple connection on the joystick will recharge most models. Since the drive wheels are located at the rear of the chair, rear-wheel drive chairs may need a longer turning radius.

Mid-wheel drive chairs

Mid-wheel drive powerchairs are distinct from rear-wheel drive powerchairs in that the primary drive wheels have been relocated from the rear to the centre of the wheelchair. Moving the drive wheels to the centre of the chair improves the way the chair drives (and the amount of space required for turning). Additionally, mid-wheel drive power chairs have a low centre of gravity, which helps them feel more stable. Mid-wheel drive powerchairs, like rear-wheel-drive powerchairs, are operated by a joystick. Since mid-wheel drive chairs need less room to turn, one can often fit a bigger chair into a smaller area.

Front-wheel drive chairs

Front-wheel drive powerchairs feature the driving wheels at the front of the chair. This means they are very manoeuvrable, have superior climbing capabilities, and are ideal for outdoor usage while being quite small.

Man sat in powerchair at skate park with friend

What matters in choosing the right powerchair?

Size matters

Whichever style of chair you choose must fit you properly. A bad fit can create discomfort, waste your energy while pushing (if it’s a manual chair), and in the worst-case scenario, result in sores that can develop into something very uncomfortable.

Seating

The amount of time you expect to spend in the chair will dictate the kind of seat you need. Certain chairs are made for all-day usage and are quite comfortable, with specifically constructed cushions to minimise pressure sores/injuries. Pressure sores are classified into three risk categories: low, medium and high.

Wheels

If you intend to transport your chair in a vehicle, you should know that quick-release wheels are very popular and useful for disassembling the wheelchair. On the other hand, powerchair users must ensure they have a sufficiently sized vehicle, even if their chair disassembles (or a hoist or lift if it doesn’t).

ICON Rehab Powerchair

ICON Rehab Powerchair UK

Quantum aspen Powerchair

Quantum aspen Powerchair america

Posture

A critical part of selecting the most appropriate wheelchair is its effect on posture. You should not be slouching or sitting with your shoulders elevated. Both can exacerbate aches and pains and are detrimental to proper circulation and respiration.

Weight

Lighter wheelchairs are easier to push and need less energy to operate. In general, lighter wheelchairs cost more.

Range

This refers to the distance travelled by your powerchair on a single charge. This will vary according to the model and battery type, among other factors. Be careful to determine the distance you’ll go and how long it will take to charge. Dubai Mobility has a large selection of high-quality power chairs available. You can learn more about our products online or by phoning our helpful staff at +971 4 370 9893.

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