Electric assisted wheelchairs can help restore personal mobility in ways that we often take for granted. It's an important decision for yourself, a family member or a friend. We feature an excellent catalog of powered wheelchairs to fit your needs at any budget.
This guide is designed to help you and your family focus in on the features and capabilities that are most important to you so that you can be confident you purchase the best power chair. Here is a quick comparison of key specifications, sorted by price, as well as some helpful questions you can ask yourself as you shop.
Do you need a portable power chair?
When it comes to portability, every power chair is portable in one way or another. There are multiple ways you can take a power chair on the go. Through disassembly, ramps, lifts or folding the chair, it's possible to take an electric wheelchair in a vehicle. The biggest distinction in what makes a so-called portable power chair is structural, and you will find a couple different models. The portable power chairs we offer look most like a standard wheelchair (and can be used just the same as a manual chair, whether self-powered or with care handles on the back).
The Merits Travel Ease series is a great example. These power chairs are relatively lightweight. Portable chairs are equipped with the essentials for a power-assisted option, including SLA batteries, a motor and a joystick mounted on the armrest. Although they have a little more hardware than a typical manual wheelchair, they are designed to be easily dissembled. The seat can quickly be folded lengthwise to save on space, and the weights of individual parts when disassembled are very manageable for many people. Portable power chairs are great choices if the user has a moderate level of independent mobility and doesn't require longer time in the chair and would benefit from greater flexibility and ease of transport.
Full size power chair are larger, less compact and more closely resemble larger mobility scooters. The seats are usually larger and more cushioned. They won't fold as much (if at all) as the seats on a portable power chair, but the seat back might be able to fold down forward. The seat rests on a the enclosed power system. While there traveling with or transporting a full size chair could potentially be more challenging, it's entirely doable with the right kind of equipment, planning and of course, help from staff members at the airport. A full size power chair could be exactly what you are looking for if you or the user does not plan to travel so much as have a robust, powerful mobility aid to efficiently and comfortably get around the house.
What level of performance do you need?
You will want to think about a few key specifications when it comes to operating the electric wheelchair. These would be the top speed, maximum range on a charge, the motor power, adjust-ability, maximum incline, and weight capacity. However much of these specifications you need will depend mostly on a couple factors: your physical requirements and the kind of environment in which the power chair is intended to be used.
For example, larger individuals will do well with a power chair that has a larger seat width and a higher weight capacity. The terrain also has ramifications for what performance you'll want to have. When using a power chair mostly indoors, certain things, such as top speed, range and incline are not so crucial. Users mostly looking to use their power wheelchair around the house are usually more concerned simply with comfort and easy operation. To use outdoors, those kinds of specifications become more important as you navigate different kinds of terrain. You would want to be able to go a long way on a single charge, handle moderate incline and pick up the speed a little more when using it outside.
What special support features do you need?
Power chairs can be very dynamic and versatile, with a lot of possible upgrades for medical necessity or simply convenience. There can be much more to using a power chair that merely sitting down and using the joystick. Certain individuals require different support features. One relatively common option with our power chairs is an elevating leg rest. This not only gives the user the option to keep their feet down with legs bent but to comfortable put one or both legs up. Circulation support is often a reason to choose this feature. A few power chairs even have power elevating seats. This is fantastic for anyone with difficulty standing but would want to independently reach for something high, like a cupboard.
Joystick positioning also makes a difference. Not only can they be positioned on the right or the left armrest, but a few chairs have an option for a swing-away style joystick. The idea of the swing away joystick is that it might be easier to move up to a table or desk. For users who regularly need other aids, such as a walker, cane or an oxygen tank, there are holder accessories available with many power chairs.
Top Electric Wheelchairs for Sale
Best Folding Power Chair: EWheels EW-M45 Lightweight Power Chair. This is one of the newest foldable powered wheelchairs on the market. The EW-M45 only weighs 59 pounds and can easily be folded in half with just a few steps. It's perfect for use on the go, with any mode of transportation. For its size, the EW-M45 has a relatively spacious, comfortable cushioned seat and a large foot rest. It's all around very easy to use and currently our pick for the best value folding travel power chair.
Best Full-Size Power Chair: Shoprider 6Runner 10 Power Chair. This wheelchair has a mid wheel drive and two sets of castor wheels in the front and back. The padded seat has arm rests and head support. The 6 wheels and the four post support system for seat make this one of the most stable, safe electric wheelchairs today. With a weight capacity of 300 lbs and an sizable 18" seat, this Shoprider chair can comfortably accomadate larger individuals while still being easy to transport.
Best Heavy-Duty Electric Wheelchair: Merits P327 Vision Super Power Chair. The P327 has a longstanding reputation for high-performance and reliability. It can support a user weight of up to 400 lbs. It's powered by dual high-torque motors with a mid wheel drive. The executive style seat with is 22", cushioned and has back and head support. For large individuals who want to be comfortable using their power chair every day both inside and outside, the P327 would be an wonderful choice.