Our Guide to Powered Wheelchairs

Our Guide to Powered Wheelchairs
January 07, 2020

Powered wheelchairs are your ticket to regaining your independence. They’re specifically built to allow those with mobility issues to get around without the need for help from a carer. They offer support with everyday tasks from shopping trips to days out with the family.

We’ve put together a definitive guide to help you see the benefits powered wheelchairs can offer you, making your buying experience smoother and more informed.

What are powered wheelchairs?

Powered wheelchairs are also referred to as electric wheelchairs or powerchairs. They’re ideal for people who struggle to push along a manual wheelchair as they’re powered by an electric motor and battery.

You can easily cover long distances depending on the model you choose, ideal for times when public transport is not an option. They’re more expensive than a standard wheelchair, but a good one should last for years to come, so you know your investment is worth it. 

They’re practical too as many models can be folded away neatly so you can fit them in the boot of a car for holidays and longer trips.

The benefits of a powered wheelchair

Powered wheelchairs can transform the quality of life of people with limited mobility. On days out, you no longer have to rely on your family members or carer to push you along or miss out completely. You can guide yourself along independently in safety and comfort, leaving you to focus on getting maximum enjoyment out of your journey.

If you need to cover long distances, an electric wheelchair is ideal. One of the benefits of an electric wheelchair is they can cover long distances without you having to exert unnecessary energy which over time can be exhausting and difficult. Long-distance journeys could include anything from trips to the shops to days out at the seaside or visiting friends.

Electric Wheelchair/Powerchair

What do you need to consider when buying a powered wheelchair?

When it comes to buying a powered wheelchair there are a few points you need to consider.

Here we provide a number of helpful points for each model to help you understand which model best matches your requirements and budget, including the following:

  1. Dimensions

  2. Seat Dimensions

  3. Miscellaneous Dimensions

  4. Maximum Ground Clearance and Gradient

  5. Wheelchair Weight

  6. Seat Weight Capacity

  7. Speed and Range

Depending on your specific needs and what your plans are when it comes to using an electric wheelchair, it helps to think about these points:

  • Do you need your wheelchair for indoor or outdoor use? - if it’s indoor use then an electric wheelchair may not be suitable as they require enough space to manoeuvre in space. If it’s outdoor use then it might be the solution you’ve been looking for.

  • Does it need to be rugged and hardwearing? - we don’t recommend off-roading in your electric wheelchair, however, you’ll find that all our models are designed to tackle the majority of journeys with ease. 

  • Do you need something that can be transported with ease? - powered wheelchairs can be easily dismantled and folded away making them easy to transport on public transport and in cars.

  • How wide are the doors in your home? - you need to make sure that if you do use them in your home, that they can fit through the door frames. You might need help from a family member or carer. Ask them to measure between the doors to ensure the wheelchair will fit through.

  • Do you have any specific needs? - if there are any specific needs you have then you need to ensure they’re catered for. This can be anything from weight capacity to a cushioned seat for additional support.

  • Do you need any additional accessories? - sometimes you’ll need extra accessories to make your journey more comfortable. It’s worth checking out the different wheelchair accessories available to see if there are any extras that you need.

What’s the maximum speed and range of a powered wheelchair?

The legal speed limit for all electric wheelchairs is 4mph or 6.5kph. The maximum range the wheelchair can travel on a single battery charge depends on the model in question.

The maximum range of our Reno II Powerchair is 12 miles or 19.3km, whereas the Enigma Energi Powerchair will travel 15 miles or 24.1km before it needs recharging. Make sure to check the specifications of the model to ensure you’re getting the right speed and range for your needs. 

Electric Wheelchair/Powerchair - Folded

How do you control a powered wheelchair?

All powered wheelchairs are designed with ease of use in mind, with incredibly easy to learn controls.

A joystick on the armrest gives you full control of the direction and speed directly from your cushioned seat.

You’ll quickly gain the confidence to travel in safety and trust in your wheelchair. Where manual wheelchairs are directed using the wheels, you can sit back and use the joystick in a comfortable, stress-free environment. 

Hopefully, you have all the information you need when it comes to buying your powered wheelchair. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to use our live chat below where we’ll do our best to help you with any enquiries you have. Alternatively, you can email us or call us on 0800 567 7618 and we’ll be happy to help with any questions you have.

If you want to find out more about our entire range of wheelchairs, then take a look at Our Guide to Wheelchairs for even more information on regaining your freedom.

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