);

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Electric Wheelchairs for Safety & Comfort

Stay mobile, safe and secure with these top-rated wheelchair brands.

by

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Electric Wheelchairs for Safety & Comfort

Stay mobile, safe and secure with these top-rated wheelchair brands.

by PITeam

by PITeam

In the simplest terms, electric wheelchairs are a mode of transportation that subtracts the need for an excessive physical excursion while maintaining desirable freedom of movement. Many modern electric wheelchairs (also called power chairs) provide enhanced comfort to their users, ensuring that they can live life on their own terms, despite a movement disability.

Today, more and more folks are using electric wheelchairs to simplify their mobility needs cost-effectively. If you're shopping for a new or replacement electric wheelchair, then you've come to the right place. In this guide, you'll find reviews of the top 9 models available on the market today, as well as a wealth of information that will help you choose the best model to fit your mobility needs.

Styles of Electric Wheelchairs

Rear-Wheel Driven

These models, which place the "drive wheels" at the chair's rear, provide a great deal of maneuverability, even at high speeds. Though these models typically suffer from wide turn radiuses, they are also best able to track naturally without the need to oversteer.

Mid-Wheel Driven

Also known as "center drive" chairs, these models are built to house the drive system at the chair's core (often inside or beneath the seat). Though these models feature the tightest turn radius, they are usually cumbersome and require vehicular support to transport over large distances.

Front-Wheel Driven

These models are built to house the "drive wheels" at the front end of the chair, with support castors in the rear. These models provide a great degree of stability, especially when traveling over incline or uneven surfaces.

Indoor Chair

Often, these models are designed with maneuverability indoors in mind. In particular, these chairs maintain a tight form factor and provide durability features appropriate to use in indoor environments.

Folding Chair

As their name suggests, these chairs can collapse easily to meet specialized storage and transportation needs. These models are often among the lightest in terms of weight, as well as the trimmest in terms of specialized features.

Lightweight Chair

Lightweight chairs are specifically designed to provide enhanced movement speeds without compromising on durability. Often, this is accomplished by reengineering an existing model using a new metal allow that cuts down on operator or engine strain.


Benefits of Electric Wheelchairs

Top Electric Wheelchair

The benefits of electric wheelchair usage are numerous. Most users benefit from their user-friendliness, including the substantial decrease in physical input required to move the chair compared to manual models.

Also, modern electric wheelchairs are exceedingly customizable, providing most users with the ability to use a mode of transportation that fits their specific needs.

Finally, most users benefit from their electric wheelchair's durability, especially if they intend to use their chair daily.


Buying a Quality Electric Wheelchair

While shopping for a new or upgraded electric wheelchair, be sure to look for these essential qualities to ensure that your investment is well-applied to your future mobility needs.

Weight Capacity

As with most motorized personal vehicles, electric wheelchairs come with a tested weight capacity (sometimes referred to in the industry as the "maximum safe working limit" or SWL for short). This capacity indicates the maximum weight of a user who wishes to use their chair safely and at maximum efficiency. Failure to heed this standard may result in personal harm or device damage.

Dimensions

Many modern electric wheelchairs are classified based upon their core dimensions. This is because most users require their chair to fit within the confines of their living environment. Prospective users should always measure all hallways and doorways in their living space to select a chair that meets the requirements of their physical environment.

Design

Often, "design" in the electric wheelchair industry refers to both the primary wheel configuration as well as the default wheel type. A model's wheel configuration (front-, middle-, or rear-driven) makes a significant difference in its maneuverability and resilience, while the wheel type (pneumatic or foam-filled) makes a major difference in the entire device's durability.

Battery Range & Speed

All electric wheelchairs are powered by a battery, making it essential to select a model with a certified battery life and quick recharging cycle. Prospective users should choose a model that provides a single-charge maximum range that accommodates their desired lifestyle.

Portability and Adjustability

Portability and adjustability are essential for any fully-functional electric wheelchair. While comparing models, be sure to compare a given model's portability and adjustability claims to the experiences expressed in user reviews. This can often provide insights into key factors such as maneuverability, turning radius, and, controller style.

Insurance Coverage

Well-built electric wheelchairs don't run cheap, so it is often necessary to select a model that is covered under your existing insurance policy. While private insurers tend to evaluate coverage on an individual basis, those with Medicare coverage can often find lists of covered models through government resource centers.

Price & Warranty

Price is always a core issue for prospective electric wheelchair users who are shopping on a budget. While prices tend to vary based upon overall performance and durability, budget-conscious shoppers should always select a model with a viable warranty. This ensures that your investment will be well-applied to the long-term upkeep and performance of your personalized mode of transportation.


9 Best Electric Wheelchairs Reviewed

1. Porto Mobility Ranger

Our #1 Choice

Weight (lbs.)

41 

Travel Speed (mph)

4

Seat Height

19 Inches

Maximum Weight Capacity (lbs.)

265

Driving Distance (miles)

15

"The RANGER D05 is built with highest of standards " - Porto

This Porto Mobility Ranger model sets an impressive standard for performance when it comes to electric wheelchairs. This quality performance starts at this model's core, which is driven by a pair of brushless 180w motors that efficiently make use of this model's standard lithium-ion LiFePO4 battery. Combined, you'll be able to travel up to 15 miles at speeds around 4 mph with this power chair.

Additionally, you can keep your durability expectations high when you use this model. The Porto Mobility Ranger is built-to-last, as seen its implementation of a lightweight aluminum alloy across its entire architecture. That's to say little of this model's polyurethane "non-flat" wheels, which will ensure you are always able to take on rough surfaces without fear of damaging your primary mode of transportation.

Taken together, the Porto Mobility Ranger is undoubtedly among the best electric wheelchairs on the market today. Any individual with mobility needs will greatly benefit from investing in this moderately-priced electric wheelchair.

Pros

  • Brushless 180w motors and magnetic brakes provide a safe and smooth ride
  • Lithium-ion LiFePO4 battery provides a 15-mile range
  • Aluminum alloy and polyurethane "non-flat" wheels offer durability and reliability

Cons

  • Lower-than-average weight limit

2. Bangeran Fold n' Go

Best Lightweight Electric Wheelchair

Weight (lbs.)

40

Travel Speed (mph)

5 options

Seat Height

N/A

Maximum Weight Capacity (lbs.)

265

Driving Distance (miles)

12

"My Mom loves this chair. It's so comfortable and works really well." – Jim Smith (Five-Star Review)

The Bangeran Fold n' Go certainly stands as one of the best lightweight electric wheelchairs available today. Even for its 40 lbs. total weight, this model can still hold users up to 265 lbs. Much of this capability is the direct result of this model's durable aircraft-grade aluminum alloy frame.

Even this model's assorted features make it a worthwhile investment in your future mobility, freedom, and comfort. For example, Bangeran Fold n' Go's breathable seat cushions won't lose their shape and support after a few years of use. In addition, this model's 8-inch front wheels allow for 360° turn radius – an exceptional feature for those with compact living spaces.

Pros

  • Aircraft-grade aluminum alloy frame is durable, with only 40 lbs. in combined weight
  • 8 inch front wheels allow for 360° turn radius
  • Breathable seat cushions ideal for daily use

Cons

  • Sparse availability

3. Sentire Med Forza Deluxe

Best Portable Electric Wheelchair

Weight (lbs.)

58.5

Travel Speed (mph)

3.7

Seat Height

18.5 Inches

Maximum Weight Capacity (lbs.)

396

Driving Distance (miles)

15

"This chair is a game changer. Freedom to go absolutely anywhere in it... Even as big a guy as I am, I can get in and out of this thing really easy."Anonymous Customer

Without a doubt, the Sentire Med Forza Deluxe is among the best and most portable electric wheelchair available to consumers today. This can be seen in this model's ability to break down to a compact, portable format in a speedy 5 seconds without the need for full disassembly. This portability extends to its 24V lithium polymer battery, which can be removed to meet airline and cruise standards.

The Sentire Med Forza Deluxe also features an impressive weight capacity overall, providing a comfortable means of transportation to individuals up to 396 lbs. This model's shock absorption system with heavy-duty front casters make this possible, while its Smart Touch joystick system makes this model usable by left- and right-handed users.

Pros

  • Frame folds up in 5 seconds without disassembly
  • 24V lithium polymer battery safe for air travel and cruise ships
  • Smart Touch joystick system ideal for left- or right-handed users
  • Shock absorption and heavy-duty front casters can carry up to 396 lbs.

Cons

  • Wheels are squeaky on indoor surfaces

4. Innuovo Intelligent

Best Compact Electric Wheelchair

Weight (lbs.)

50

Travel Speed (mph)

3.7

Seat Height

19.7 Inches

Maximum Weight Capacity (lbs.)

265

Driving Distance (miles)

6.25

"I am 85 years old and have used my cool Innuovo Wheelchair about 95% of the time for mobility" – MJTob (Five Star Review)

Even for its recognition as one of the best compact electric wheelchairs on the market, the Innuovo Intelligent has a lot more to offer in terms of features than slimmed-down form factor. For example, this model's electromagnetic brake system is second-to-none when it comes to safely slowing down on up to 8-degree inclines.

This model's 7.5cm thick seat has also received a great deal of attention, likely due to its ability to provide comfort and in-line caudal, lumbar, and neck vertebra support. Unlike many competing power chairs, the Innuovo Intelligent can operate in both manual and electric modes (which is important, given this model's relatively low 6.25-mile range).

Pros

  • Electromagnetic brake can stop chair on up to 8-degree inclines
  • Dual-mode controls include electric and manual settings
  • 7.5cm thick seat provides caudal, lumbar, and neck vertebra support

Cons

  • Fairly low travel distance on a single battery charge

5. Forcemech Voyager

Best Foldable Electric Wheelchair

Weight (lbs.)

43

Travel Speed (mph)

4

Seat Height

20 Inches

Maximum Weight Capacity (lbs.)

265

Driving Distance (miles)

16

"OMG! Loved it, we bought it for my granny… The joystick is easy to use, she learned to drive it in a day, she was amputated and was depressed, now she is having fun driving around the house."Yaxs

Those looking for the best foldable electric wheelchair certainly shouldn't overlook the Forcemech Voyager. As its name suggests, this model can take lengthy journeys of up to 16 miles on a single battery charge. Along the way, users of this chair will remain optimally safe thanks to the added visibility provided by its rear-mounted reflective lights.

For a foldable wheelchair, this model does manage to retain some degree of customizability. This can best be seen in this model's detachable all-direction joystick, which can be switched between left and right armrest positioning.

Pros

  • Detachable all-direction joystick can be switched between left and right armrest
  • Rear reflective lights in yellow provide extra visibility
  • Exceptional 16-mile range from lithium-ion LiFePO4 battery

Cons

  • Battery may heat up if allowed to overcharge

6. EZ Lite Cruiser Heavy Duty

Best Travel Electric Wheelchair

Weight (lbs.)

64

Travel Speed (mph)

5

Seat Height

21.5 Inches

Maximum Weight Capacity (lbs.)

305

Driving Distance (miles)

10

"All I can say is that EZ Lite Cruiser is truly awesome to work with! I will definitely buy from them again." – Wanda (On Amazon)

If you're looking for one of the best travel electric wheelchairs, then you'll find precisely what you're looking for in the EZ Lite Cruiser. This model allows its user to customize its range with the addition of a second battery, allowing them to double their expected range up to 20 miles.

Whether you're traveling indoors or outdoors, you'll find that this model's 12" wheels will provide great stability. These wheels are grey, so they won't leave marks on indoor surfaces, either.

Pros

  • Grey 12" rear wheels ideal for use outdoors and don't leave marks indoors
  • Back support system reclines in 5 positions for enhanced comfort
  • Able to connect second battery to double effective range to 20 miles

Cons

  • Medicare does not cover this chair

7. Foldawheel

Best Electric Wheelchair for Elderly

Weight (lbs.)

~60 (depending on battery configuration)

Travel Speed (mph)

5

Seat Height

18 Inches

Maximum Weight Capacity (lbs.)

330

Driving Distance (miles)

18.5 (with 2 batteries)

"I want to rate this chair 100 gold stars! It is remarkable…My orthopedic surgeon was amazed and will recommend to other patients." – W.B. Russell (5 Stars)

When it comes to finding the best electric wheelchair for the elderly, there's simply no reason to compromise on customizability and driving distance. The Foldawheel does not compromise in either of these domains, as seen in its allowance of a second or third battery to reach a fully-fledged 28-mile range. This model also provides excellent options for storage and transportation thanks to its fold-open-lock system.

Elderly users also tend to appreciate the ability to take on any outdoor surface. This model's 4 spring suspension system will empower this degree of movement freedom by smoothing out every bump in the road ahead.

Pros

  • Versatile battery configuration system allows for up to 28-mile range
  • 4 spring suspension system provides smooth operation over rough surfaces
  • Fold-open-lock system allows for easy storage and transport in seconds

Cons

  • Overall heavier than competitors

8. Forcemech Navigator

Best All-Terrain Electric Wheelchair

Weight (lbs.)

53

Travel Speed (mph)

5

Seat Height

19 Inches

Maximum Weight Capacity (lbs.)

390

Driving Distance (miles)

16

"We travel a lot and with my Navigator XL, who I named Bumblebee, makes the traveling so much more fun!! I can get around with ease everywhere we go instead of parking myself in the hotel."Anonymous

At its core, the Forcemech Navigator provides the kind of specifications needed to mark it as one of the best all-terrain electric wheelchairs. Case and point, this model's 250-watt brushless DC electric motor, which enables its user to climb 12° inclines effortlessly. With the support of this model's twin LFP lithium-ion batteries, adventurous users will be able to sustain this degree of power for over 15 miles.

To survive all-terrain environments, an electric wheelchair must be durable beyond compare. The Forcemech Navigator can certainly meet this standard, as seen in its combination of an aluminum alloy frame and reliable polyurethane wheels.

Pros

  • 250 watt brushless DC electric motor can climb 12° inclines
  • Twin LFP lithium-ion batteries provide a reliable 15-mile range
  • Aluminum alloy frame and polyurethane wheels combine for overall durability

Cons

  • Some inefficiency with higher weight users

9. Pride Mobility Jazzy 600 ES

Best Rated Electric Wheelchair

Weight (lbs.)

51.5

Travel Speed (mph)

4

Seat Height

20 Inches

Maximum Weight Capacity (lbs.)

300

Driving Distance (miles)

16.65

"Great chair. Really well made and stable. Very quiet compared to the previous model."Robert S. Prinzing

Finally, the Pride Mobility Jazzy 600 ES remains among the best-rated electric wheelchairs around – and with good reason! This model's front and rear-mount OMNI-Casters take the hassle out of everyday movements by preventing hang-ups. What's more, this model's Active-Trac ATX suspension system enables users to perform tight turns within 20.5" radius.

There's no doubt; this electric wheelchair is also among the most expensive options. However, it is covered under Medicare Group 2, making it a viable option for folks with mobility problems and limited financial resources.

Pros

  • Two motors, mid-wheel drivetrain provides 4 mph max speed
  • OMNI-Casters on front and rear prevent wheel hang-ups
  • Active-Trac ATX suspension system allows for 20.5" turning radius
  • Covered under Medicare Group 2

Cons

  • Among the most expensive options

How Electric-Powered Wheelchairs Work

While many are familiar with the hand-powered operation of a manual wheelchair, electric wheelchairs remove this need for physical exertion by substituting it for a centralized motor, itself powered by a built-in battery. The user operates their power chair through a simplified control interface, often within arm's reach when in the seated position.

For more information on the core operations of an electric wheelchair, check out this handy guide.


Electric Wheelchair Wheel Types

  1. 1
    Pneumatic Wheels
    Like bike tires, these rubber wheels are filled with air and provide a balanced degree of shock-absorption and durability. This wheel type is the most common on modern models.
  2. 2
    Foam Filled
    Also known as "puncture-proof tires," this wheel type is made from solid foam and provides the best resistance to damage from sharp exterior obstacles. These wheels require less maintenance but are also heavier and less able to absorb lateral momentum as a result.

Advantage of Power vs. Manual Wheelchairs

Above all else, power wheelchairs are designed to decrease significantly the degree of effort required from its users when it comes to traveling from place to place, be that around their home or out in the world.

Today, most individuals with chronic or permanent mobility limitations use power chairs to retain their freedom of movement without necessitating exceptional upper body strength (as is required by manual wheelchairs).


Wheelchair Safety and Maintenance Guidelines

Maintaining your wheelchair is essential to keeping it safe for long-term use. As such, you should always make routine parts replacements and cleanings a top priority. For more tips on keeping your wheelchair clean and safe for the foreseeable future, check out this helpful video guide.


Charging an Electric Wheelchair

Charging your electric wheelchair is essential for core operation and reliability. As such, you should immediately learn how to charge your specific model as indicated in its owner's manual (available in print and online). Though each model uses a different charging method, this online guide will provide you with a general primer on what to expect in this department.


Tips for Traveling with a Power Wheelchair

Experienced electric wheelchair users can impart a great deal of wisdom when it comes to traveling using this mode of transportation. Consider these following tips when venturing out into the world with your new power wheelchair:

  • Always leave spare time to get from place to place in case of obstacles or delays
  • If traveling somewhere new, call in advance to learn about their accessibility features
  • When traveling by air, always ensure that your wheelchair will be accommodated (in terms of space and auxiliary transportation) in advance of booking your flight

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I better off with a lighter electric wheelchair or a more durable one?

In the end, the choice between durability and weight comes down to preference and strength. While some high-end models possess both qualities, most folks pick a lightweight model to reduce the degree of effort needed to move the chair from place to place.

What is the difference between indoor and outdoor electric wheelchairs?

Indoor wheelchairs possess the capabilities and form factor to optimize movement in an indoor environment. Outdoor wheelchairs, on the other hand, generally move from place to place quicker and possesses a higher degree of durability.

Are electric wheelchairs waterproof?

As with any electronics, electronic wheelchairs are susceptible to damage when exposed to water for a prolonged period. Though most exterior cases possess some water resistance, users should avoid water sources whenever possible.

Do electric wheelchairs fold up?

Some modern electric wheelchairs models are designed to fold up for added convenience and portability.

What is the best way to ship electric wheelchairs?

Most nationwide package carriers will ship your wheelchair in cases where you are moving to a new home. With help, you should measure the full weight and dimensions of your chair before making plans to ship your chair.

Why are electric wheelchairs expensive?

Generally speaking, most electric wheelchairs come with a heightened price tag due to the number of individual technologies packed into a single device. Modern power chairs also include enhanced durability, decreasing the need to replace one's chair regularly. As such, this price can be considered an investment in your overall freedom of movement.

What batteries are used in electric wheelchairs? How often do you have to replace the batteries for a power wheelchair?

All modern power chairs make use of rechargeable batteries, though the brand and precise specifications will vary from model to model. Wet-cell batteries are among the most common and require infrequent replacement, while gel-cell batteries require slightly more frequent replacement (with the advantage that they are safe for air travel).

Does Medicare or Insurance cover electric wheelchairs?

Though precise coverage will vary for those with private insurance, Medicare Part B does cover electric wheelchairs (as well as scooters and walkers). Coverage under Medicare is dependent on specific conditions, detailed here and here.


Conclusion

All in all, there are a whole bunch of well-equipped, durably-built electric wheelchairs on the market today. While no single model is perfect, the Porto Mobility Ranger comes as close as possible. Between its top speed, driving distance, and polyurethane "non-flat" wheels, this model has something to offer all users who value performance and reliability.


Last Updated on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Top