Guides & Information

Components of an Electric Wheelchair

by Josh Mitchell

Almost every wheelchair be it a manual or powered one, have common components. These components are most important in a wheelchair. The list of the components present in a wheelchair is given below:

electric wheelchair

Armrests are mostly available in full and desk length style. These wheelchairs are made in a way that it is easy to adjust the height of it.

These armrests are detachable and have a flip up, which allows a complete Independence and efficiency to the patient using it. These also have a fixed structure.

Some wheelchairs also have a particular self-propelling model which are designed to be used without armrest as well.


Backrests are generally available in a range of heights and may also recline. This package can also offer a different amount of support while resting on it. Contoured backrests are unlikely to be appropriate for children who use a reclining wheelchair.

If your child has a self-propelling wheelchair then the backrest should not create any difficulty in the movement. The backrest should finish just below the shoulder so that it gives the user comfort and stability. In case of people using a powered wheelchair, they are likely to benefit from the support of the backrest in a much better manner.


Brakes of a manual wheelchair can be easily mounted at diverse heights depending on the need of the person. These are mostly applied by toggling with a pulling and pushing motion. The liver of the break can be extended or modified for its maximum utilization.

Extension of this brakes is also available in the wheelchair. Under the electric wheelchair usually, there is an electromagnetic brake which is used when the chair is not powered in forward or reverse motion. These brakes are applied automatically in case of an emergency.

If the wheelchair is standing on a slant mode then the brakes are applied automatically.

Frames and footplates

Electric wheelchairs have a frame which is made of good material such as chrome, titanium, aluminum, stainless steel, and other lightweight materials. It is often seen that the material which is used to make the frame define and determine the actual height and weight capacity of the chair.

It also defines the strength and power of the wheelchair. The user can see a variety of colors in the string and can take a pick according to their preference. Coming to the manual wheelchair, frames of these wheelchairs are generally available in rigid and folding style.

Frames of folding wheelchairs also have a cross brace system which helps the wheelchair to be collapsed or folded for proper storage and transport.

If you notice the foot plates, there are a range of options that are included in the wheelchair. These options also include fixed, swing way, elevated or detachable footplates. In a manual wheelchair, foot plates are incorporated into the frame already.

Growth capacity

Growth capacity is a feature that helps the wheelchair seat to be adjusted within a specified depth or range to accommodate growth. This adjustment can be done through pre-drilled holes in the frame of the wheelchair or a replacement cross brace can be put under the seat.

It can also be drilled in the fitting of an extension kit. They are some models in which the seat depth is adjusted through moving the backrest of the wheelchair.

Basic parts of an electrical wheelchair

  • Motor
  • Battery
  • Controller
  • Drive
  • Motor

A lightweight powered wheelchair has a capacity to use two pole motor. The heavyweight power grid share has a capacity to use four pole motor. If you distinguish between the two the four pole motor offers more moving supremacy that allows for supplementary significant options.

The overweight wheelchair is certainly fetching more popularism since the patients have more weight. There are people all across the world who weigh over 250 pounds. This is a reason why some individuals prefer a powered wheelchair which can carry overweight easily.

A regular difficulty with these heavyweight wheelchairs is that the motor is not designed properly under the case of excess weight, but these wheelchairs have enough stability and extra reinforcement to provide great care and support to the patient.

Battery life and drive

The powered wheelchair has a preserved lead acid battery commonly known as SLA. This can be either be dry or wet batteries that have to be re-energized by means of a usual electrical outlet when the wheelchair is not being used by the patient.

These batteries have an output of 4-5 amps. A powered wheelchair is easily available in the front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, four-wheel drive or a center wheel drive.

Centre and rear wheel drive the chairs are considered to be most efficient on the train which is not very rugged and moves freely on a flat surface. Four wheel or a front wheel drive is always better for the powered wheelchair that is going to be used outdoors.

The controller of a powered wheelchair

Most of the powered wheelchairs are used with the help of a handle or a joystick. For the people who are rigorously disabled and do not have control over any part of the body can use the chin to head controller.

There are a motion sensitive tube and eye to computer screen controller which helps in the mobility of a person by the movement of eye and breathing sensation. These computers also advise the patient when the battery needs to be charged. The controller also manages the lift, recline and the tilt function of the wheelchair.


There are obvious components and basic parts of a wheelchair which are supported with a few other accessories such as:

  • Upholstery
  • Wheels and tires
  • Adductor wedges
  • Foot or toe strap
  • Headrest
  • Head support

These accessories help the basic parts of the wheelchair to work efficiently and effectively. It helps to enhance the overall efficiency and the power of electric wheelchair. It also allows the user to maintain the freedom and Independence that they need.

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