Electric wheelchairs give you the ability to move and gain independence both indoors and out. With a simple movement of your hand, you can move an electric wheelchair in any direction you like. For those of us who do not have the proper upper body strength to use manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, and other mobility devices are a godsend. The best electric wheelchairs are lightweight, can travel long distances, and move by smooth and intuitive joysticks.
Because of today’s outstanding technologies, these types of power wheelchairs have everything you would need to gain back mobility and go where you want with almost no effort. We have constructed this in-depth guide on reviewing the top electric wheelchairs and what each excels at and what they don’t. Let’s take a look.
What is an electric wheelchair?
An electric wheelchair or electric-powered wheelchair is motorized and propelled by an electrical-based power source from two batteries.
These wheelchairs are excellent for those who do not have the physical power to propel a wheelchair on their own or over long distances like a manual wheelchair.
Electric wheelchairs use a joystick that can move the wheelchair forward and backward. it also controls the turning of the chair with little effort of the user.
These types of chairs help bring back independence to anyone who has major difficulties walking or those with fatigue-based conditions.
Who should use an electric wheelchair?
Simply put, anyone that lacks the strength to use a manual wheelchair should consider using an electric wheelchair.
Maybe you are already using a manual wheelchair but are finding it more difficult to use when outdoors or over longer periods of time. if this is the case an electric wheelchair may be for you.
Because power chairs have long travel times, can traverse different types of ground, and make traveling less stressful it may be the right time to start researching what electric wheelchair will be best suited for you and your needs.
We have outlined below some of the important aspects to consider when making a power chair purchase.
Remember, not everyone might be comfortable in an electric wheelchair so do your homework before committing.
Different types of electric wheelchairs
While every electric wheelchair uses batteries and a motor to move there are different types of powered chairs. You can find the following types of electric wheelchairs.
- Lightweight electric chairs: These chairs are lightweight and can be taking with you when you travel. They typically are better for smooth grounds and indoor use.
- Folding power electric chairs: These chairs are also lightweight but fold easier and smaller than most electric wheelchairs. They are ideal for travel and taking them with you in cars, trucks, planes, and other forms of transportation.
- Outdoor electric wheelchairs: These power wheelchairs are typically heavier, have dual batteries, larger tires, and longer run times allowing them to go longer and farther outdoors. These are typically heavier and harder to travel with simply because of the size.
- Bariatric / Heavy-duty wheelchairs: These power wheelchairs are built to support heavier weights and can support weights up to 500 pounds. They are able to accommodate almost any user and have larger motors, longer frames, and tires.
- What is an electric wheelchair?
- Who should use an electric wheelchair?
- Different types of electric wheelchairs
- How we choose the best electric wheelchairs
- The Best Electric Wheelchairs
- Best electric wheelchair comparison chart
- 1. Featherweight 33 pound Power chair
- 2. Pride Go Chair
- 3. Golden Compass Sport Power Chair
- 4. All New Move Lite Folding Power Chair
- 5. Merits Vision Super Power Chair
- Other electric wheelchair Models to consider
- AirWheel H3S Auto Folding Smart Chair
- Pride Jazzy Elite HD
- Merits Vision Super Power Chair
- eVolt Traveler Power Chair
- How to choose an electric wheelchair
- Important aspects to consider when purchasing a power wheelchair
- Front, Mid, and Rear-wheel drive electric chairs
- Where do you intend to use your electric wheelchair?
- Drive distance
- Battery power
- Motor power of the electric wheelchair
- Weight capacity of an electric wheelchair
- Know what upgrades or modifications you can get
- Cost of electric wheelchairs
- Turning radius
- Related questions
- Final thoughts on the best electric wheelchairs
How we choose the best electric wheelchairs
- To find the best electric wheelchair, we looked at many different factors. Of course, some were more important than others, but they all contribute to a chair’s overall quality. Here are the most important factors that we considered:
- Motor type and power: The motor is the heart of any electric wheelchair, so it’s essential to choose one that’s powerful enough to suit your needs. There are two main motors used in electric wheelchairs: hub motors and mid-drive motors. Hub motors are located on wheels and are less expensive, but they can make the chair harder to maneuver. Mid-drive motors are located in the middle of the chair and are more expensive, but they offer better control and maneuverability.
- Battery type and power: The battery powers the motor, so it’s essential to choose one that’s powerful enough to give you the range you need. There are two main types of batteries used in electric wheelchairs: lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries. Lead-acid batteries are less expensive, but they’re heavier and have a shorter life span. Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive but lighter and have a longer life span.
- Weight capacity: The weight capacity is the maximum weight that the chair can safely support. Make sure to choose a chair with a weight capacity that’s high enough to accommodate you or your loved one.
- Cost: Cost is an essential factor to consider when choosing an electric wheelchair. Make sure to select a chair that’s within your budget.
- Warranty offered: It’s essential to choose a chair that comes with a good warranty. This will ensure that you’re covered in any defects or problems. If the company did not supply a warranty that was not as good as we believed it should, we did not add them to our list.
The Best Electric Wheelchairs
|Our Rank||Electric Wheelchair||Our Rating|
|Best Lightweight||Featherweight 33 lbs Power Chair||4.8/5|
|Best Standard||Pride Go Chair||4.7/5|
|Best Outdoors||Golden Compass Sport Power Chair||4.6/5|
|Best Travel||All-New Move Lite Folding Power Chair||4.6/5|
|Best Heavy-Duty||Merits Vision Super Power Chair||4.6/5|
Best electric wheelchair comparison chart
|Key Specs||Featherweight 33 lbs Power Chair||Pride Go Chair||Golden Compass Sport Power Chair||All-New Move Lite Folding Power Chair||Merits Vision Super Power Chair|
|Weight capacity:||242.5 lbs.||300 lbs.||300 lbs.||300 lbs.||400- 450 lbs.|
|Product weight:||33 lbs.||128 lbs (Heaviest piece: 36 lbs.)||185 lbs. (Heaviest piece: 92 lbs.)||50 lbs.||1243 lbs.|
|Seat width:||17.72″||18″ – 20″||16″ – 24″||18.5″||20″ – 24″|
|Seat depth:||16.5″||17″ – 18″||16″ – 20″||16″||20″|
|Driving range||13 miles||8.7 miles||24 miles||15 miles||20 miles|
|Max speed:||3.7 mph||3.7 mph||4.5 mph||5 mph||5 mph|
Product specs you should know:
- Weight capacity: 242.5 lbs.
- Product weight: 33 lbs.
- Seat width: 17.72″
- Seat depth: 16.5″
- Rear-wheel size: 9.8″
- Max speed: 3.7 mph
- Driving range: 13 miles
- Batteries: (1) 24V 10.4Ah
- Turning radius: 47.24″
Our best electric wheelchair in the lightweight class is the featherweight 33-pound power chair. This chair is one of the lightest power chairs you can purchase. For those of you that are wanting a super lightweight power chair that can be brought on trips or just about anywhere you go this chair is for you.
Folding: The Featherweight power chair folds up small, really small. The back folds down to 28″ and the seat can collapse to 13″ so fitting into a car is simple. Not to mention taking it with you for travel. Another amazing feature is this power wheelchair does not need to be taken apart. It folds into ONE piece making it really convenient.
Extremely light: The Featherweight power wheelchair is extremely lightweight and is only 33 pounds total making it possible for almost anyone to pick it up and put it into a car.
Excellent range: Just with a single battery charge you can travel 13 miles with a speed of 3.7 mph. This chair is also airline-approved with a removable lithium battery that allows for airplane use.
Score: (4.8 / 5)
- Supper lightweight
- Fast fold time
- One piece fold
- Great range
- Flat-free wheels
- Airplane approved
- Flipback padded armrests
- Not as fast as other wheelchairs
Bottom-line: This is one of the lightest power chairs on the market. Its ability to fold and take with you is one of the reasons this chair ranks so high on our list. If you are looking for a lightweight and easy-to-travel with power chair this chairs ranks at the top.
The Pride Go Chair is an excellent lightweight travel chair that provides a smooth and compact turning radius that can make maneuverability easier.
This power wheelchair easily disassembles into 5 pieces that are lightweight that makes storing and transport easy.
What are some features we think stand out with this portable electric wheelchair? Height and width armrests are adjustable.
Making it more comfortable for different sizes of people. The give-point swivel seat also makes it easy for those that need a transfer board to get in and out of the chair.
The one-hand feather-touch disassembly makes getting the power wheelchair in and out of vehicles easier.
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
- Product weight: 128 lbs.
- Heaviest piece: 36 lbs.
- Seat width: 18″ – 20″
- Seat depth: 17″ – 18″
- Rear-wheel size: 3″
- Max speed: 3.7 mph
- Driving range: 8.7 miles
- Batteries: 2 Lead Acid
- Turning radius: 25.5″
Score: (4.7 / 5)
- Large footplate
- Easy disassembly
- Swivel seat
- Good range
- Lap belt included
- Heaviest piece is still light enough to pickup
- Accessories can add up quick
This is a great outdoor electric wheelchair. It can travel over 11 miles from one full charge and is considered to be a very efficient and reliable power chair that people love.
It is also equipped with a captain-style chair that is extremely comfortable. This power wheelchair is also easy to transfer in because of the flip-up armrests. Footrests are also adjustable from 3″ – 7″ off the ground.
This chair has a maximum speed of 4 mph so you will easily keep pace with family friends when they are walking.
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
- Product weight: 185 lbs.
- Heaviest piece: 92 lbs.
- Seat width: 16″ – 24″
- Seat depth: 16″ – 20″
- Rear-wheel size: 6″
- Top speed: 4.5 mph
- Driving range: 11 miles
- Batteries: 2 Lead Acid
- Turning radius: 19.5″
Score: (4.6 / 5)
- Long run ties
- Far drive range
- Excellent comfort
- Good weight capacity
- Fold up armrests
- Very heavy even when broken down in to pieces.
This electric wheelchair is one of the lightest power wheelchairs you can get at only 50 pounds! Another incredible feature is that it folds into one piece so you do not need to disassemble this into pieces when moving it.
Because of this, it makes it one of the best electric chairs for travel as well.
It is made from an incredible lightweight aircraft quality aluminum that gives it is incredibly lightweight but yet is strong enough to hold up to 300 pounds.
Outside use is also not a problem because of the Move Lite 12″ flat-free rear tires that can go over a lot of trough terrain.
Score: (4.6 / 5)
- Extremely lightweight
- Flat free rear 12″ tires
- Airline approved
- One piece fold
- Simple to transport
- Advanced Lithium-ion batteries
- Not many dislikes from users.
This mid-wheel drive heavy duty power chair has exceptional drive time. excellent weight capacity and can still maneuver in tight spaces. With both front and rear suspension this heavy-duty electric wheelchair works great outdoors and indoors.
Because of its back 12″ knobby tires with excellent weight distribution it provides great traction and easily can go over all types of terrain . We think you will also love the fully programmable dynamic shark controller.
Features that can be added on include:
- Knobby rear tires
- 300W motor
- Two 12V/22NF Battery
- 5A off-board charger
- Electromagnetic brakes
- Weight capacity: 400 – 450 lbs.
- Product weight: 243
- Heaviest piece: 121 lbs.
- Seat width: 20″ – 24″
- Seat depth: 20″
- Rear wheel size: 12″
- Top speed: 5 mph
- Driving range: 20 miles
Score: (4.6 / 5)
- Padded and adjustable armrests
- Positioning belt
- Padded back upholstery
- Great drive range
- Great weight capacity
- Heaviest piece is still heavy at 90 lbs.
- Not as easy to navigate indoors as some other models
Other electric wheelchair Models to consider
While we researched we came across a lot of great electric wheelchairs that did not make our top 5 list. But we thought they still would make a solid choice for a power wheelchair.
This is a unique electric wheelchair in that it is fully automatic when you need to fold it. It is done with an App remote control. It is fully ergonomic, reliable, and comfortable. You can also fold this chair with a touch of a button using just one hand.
This power wheelchair has three adjustable heights that meet many different users’ needs. The armrest also are retractable making getting in and out easy for those who need extra space
- Weight capacity: 286 lbs.
- Product weight: 65 lbs.
- Frame type: Foldable
- Max speed: 3.8 mph
- Driving range: 15 miles
The Pride Jazzy Elite HD is an excellent heavy-duty power chair that has an authority name behind it when it comes to an electric wheelchair.
This electric wheelchair excels outdoors with its large 14″ flat-free drive wheels that can get over most terrains. It also uses two motors and front-wheel drive technology that is constructed of heavy-duty construction.
Even though this wheelchair is great for outdoors it still has a tight turn capability that is easy to maneuver in small spaces.
- Weight capacity: 450 lbs.
- Product weight: 178 lbs.
- Max speed: 4 mph
- Driving range: 9.8 miles
This real mid-wheel drive design is excellent for tight spaces when you need to maneuver and other power chairs do not have the type of turning radius needed. Not only that but this electric wheelchair has dual in-line motors for performance, longer range, and torque to get you where you need to get safely and efficiently.
Made to go over all types of terrain the back tires are 12″ knobby tires that give the wheelchair excellent traction and optimum weight distribution.
Features that are worth noting:
- Mid-wheel drive
- Full rear and front suspension
- Dual in-line motors for extra power
- Weight capacity: 400 lbs., 450 lbs.
- Product weight: 243 lbs.
- Seat width: 20″ – 24″
- Seat depth: 20″
- Max speed: 5 mph
- Driving range: 20 miles
- Turning radius: 20.7″
A lightweight but super-strong electric wheelchair from eVolt has two 250 w motors for a combining power of 500w getting you to places quickly and efficiently. Those that want a strong, lightweight, and tight folding electric wheelchair for travel should have this wheelchair on your list.
With a very competitive price point in ultra-lightweight electric wheelchairs, this airplane-approved wheelchair should bring independence back to anyone that uses it.
How to choose an electric wheelchair
Choosing the right electric wheelchair is the main goal. There are a lot of great powered chairs to choose from and even though one chair might be great for you it might not be great for someone else. Be sure to choose an electric wheelchair that fits your needs closely to get the best possible experience out of the wheelchair.
Important aspects to consider when purchasing a power wheelchair
For any of you that have been looking at electric wheelchairs you know, they are not cheap. They are much more expensive than manual wheelchairs so knowing what to look for to get the best possible experience from your power wheelchair should be done. Here are some important things you should consider:
Front, Mid, and Rear-wheel drive electric chairs
There are a few things to consider when choosing the best electric wheelchair for you. Drive type is one of the most important things to consider. There are three types of drive systems for electric wheelchairs: front, mid, and rear-wheel drive.
Regardless of the amount of wheels only two wheels receive power from the electric wheelchair motor. The other wheels or casters are there to keep the chair stabilized when in motion.
Front-wheel drive chairs are typically smaller and more maneuverable than rear wheel drive chairs. They’re also good for indoor use because they have a tight turning radius. However, front-wheel drive chairs may not be as stable on uneven outdoor surfaces.
Mid-wheel drive chairs offer more stability than front-wheel drive chairs, but they’re not as maneuver.
Where do you intend to use your electric wheelchair?
Know where you will be using your electric wheelchair the most. If you plan on using the powered wheelchair outdoors the most then you will need to make sure that the model you get can handle all types of terrain. This will depend on the size of tires, size of batteries, and overall design to ensure a smooth ride in all types of outdoor terrain.
For those that tend to use their electric wheelchair indoors, most can look for lighter chairs that can handle indoors and outdoors on flat surfaces. pay close attention to the turning radius of the electric wheelchair. You will want a motorized wheelchair that can turn right to move about within an indoor environment and tighter places that require more control when the chair is in use.
Be sure to know the seat to floor numbers as well. This can help in making wheelchair transfers easier to the bed or other places that you will need to get to.
Keep an eye on the drive distance the electric wheelchair gets. For those that primarily want to use the chair indoors lower drive ranges might be okay for you. Those who plan on taking the wheelchair outdoors and on distance tracks should look for higher drive distances to ensure they will get back from the ride. You can expect 8 miles to over 15 miles on some of our top choices.
The battery is a piece of equipment that is a necessity to power the chair. When looking at the electric wheelchair you need to consider the batter because it will determine how long the charge will last. Most new batteries fully charged can last weeks on a single chair when the chair is not excessively used.
Some chairs use dual batteries to power larger electric wheelchairs. Keep in mind that when two batteries are uses it will make the chair heavier so you need to keep this in mind if travel is important to you.
Motor power of the electric wheelchair
Motor power on new electric wheelchairs typically is good. When we say good they all move around a brisk walk to slow job pace. This speed is considered safe while in a power wheelchair and it gives you the ability to keep up with others that are walking.
Wheelchair power in terms of the motor will come into play when you are outdoors over rough terrain when more power might be necessary.
The larger the motor the more battery power is needed and in return will be more battery power that is consumed quicker.
Weight capacity of an electric wheelchair
Every wheelchair regardless if it’s manual or electric has a recommended and safe weight capacity. Simply put if you are at the top of the weight class we recommend you to find a chair that has a higher weight class.
This is to make the user safe and for a better experience when using the chair.
Most standard wheelchairs have a capacity of 250 to 300 pounds. Bariatric or heavy-duty electric wheelchairs have weight capacities that from 300 pounds and up.
Wheelchair users spend a great deal of time sitting in an electric wheelchair. Because of this, you want to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible. You can do this by making sure you have the right seat cushion.
Electric wheelchairs come in many different styles of seats and backrests. Some backrests are high and even recline, while others are low. The same holds true for materials.
To make sitting even more comfortable users frequently use a seat cushion made for wheelchairs. They come in all different types of materials and cushion materials like gel, air, and a combination of both.
A foldable electric wheelchair has the ability to travel better and easier than those that do not. If you plan on traveling or need to take your power wheelchair with you often then a folding mobility chair will be better for you and your situation.
Not all chairs fold so be sure to take a look at the process of either folding or how the motorized wheelchair gets taken apart for travel.
The Best Wheelchairs have many great features that you should consider before purchasing one. This type of chair is able to fold up, making it easy to store and easy to transport. They also come with a variety of different options that can make them more comfortable and easier to use. Here are some of the benefits of owning a folding power wheelchair:
They are easy to store: When you own a folding power wheelchair, you won’t have to worry about where you’re going to keep it when you’re not using it. You can simply fold it up and put it away until you need it again. This is especially convenient if you live in a small space or don’t have a lot of room. Foldability allows for you to also store a the chair in a car trunk while traveling.
Know what upgrades or modifications you can get
When purchasing an electric wheelchair you can customize features that could help with comfort and safety.
Anti tip bars
When choosing an electric wheelchair, it is important to consider the safety features that are available. One of the most important safety features is an anti-tip bar. This helps to prevent the wheelchair from tipping over backwards, which can cause serious injury to the user. Other safety features to look for include comfortable seating, a robust frame, and good suspension. These will all help to ensure that the wheelchair is safe and comfortable to use.
Another important safety feature to consider is a seat belt. This can help to keep the user safe and secure in their wheelchair, especially if they are using it on uneven or rough terrain. A seat belt will also help to prevent the user from being ejected from the wheelchair in the event of an accident.
A warranty can help if something goes wrong. When purchasing an electric wheelchair you can expect to pay a significant amount of money and you want to make sure you are covered in the event if something goes wrong with the chair.
A lot of companies will offer some coverage within the first year, while others may offer longer terms. A lifetime warranty is usually difficult to find.
Cost of electric wheelchairs
In terms of wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs are on the high end of the cost scale. Some models can run as high as 20 thousand or more while the lower end of the spectrum will be between 1500 and 5,000 dollars. This can be a hefty price tag for some but the independence of being able to get around again can be priceless.
The turning radius is much more important for those who need to use their wheelchair indoors. A tighter turning radius makes moving indoors where conditions are more confined and tighter easier.
The turning radius is how much space it will take to make a 180-degree turn in your wheelchair. Typically you need about 78 inches by 60 inches at the minimum for an easy turn.
While outdoor chairs and heavy-duty wheelchairs will have a higher turning radius and because the outdoor space is not that much of concern. But once these chairs go indoors it can be a big problem.
Will insurance help cover the cost of an electric wheelchair? In most cases when an electric wheelchair is deemed medically necessary you can get help paying for the wheelchair. But keep in mind that this will depend on your insurance provider and what policy you have. We encourage you to reach out to your insurance company. If you are wondering if Medicare will pay for your chair you can read this article.
Why are electric wheelchairs more expensive than manual wheelchairs? Electric wheelchairs have much more parts and technology that are built into the chair. Not to mention a lof testing and research goes into building these types of chairs. When you look at the batteries, control centers, motors, and frames you can see why these are more expensive than a manual chair.
How do I know what size wheelchair to get? You need to take proper measurements of your body on certain areas before knowing. Matching your wheelchair size with your appropriate body size is key to the best possible experience while sitting in any wheelchair. Read our article on how to properly measure a wheelchair.
Will Medicare help pay for an electric wheelchair for me? If you have a disability that limits your mobility, you may be wondering if Medicare will help pay for an electric wheelchair. While Medicare does not cover the cost of electric wheelchairs outright, there are some circumstances under which it may help to defray the cost.
If you have a disability that requires you to use a wheelchair for mobility, Medicare Part B will usually cover 80% of the cost of renting or purchasing a wheelchair. In order to qualify for this coverage, you must have a doctor’s prescription for the wheelchair and be able to show that it is medically necessary for your needs.
Can you use an electric wheelchair indoor and out? Most electric wheelchairs are designed for both indoor and outdoor use. However, some models may be better suited for one or the other. When choosing an electric wheelchair, consider where you’ll be using it most.
If you’ll be using your electric wheelchair primarily indoors, look for a model with smaller wheels. Smaller wheels make it easier to maneuver in tight spaces. You’ll also want to choose an electric wheelchair with good suspension. Good suspension will make for a smoother ride on indoor surfaces like carpet and tile.
If you’ll be using your electric wheelchair mostly outdoors, look for a model with larger wheels. Larger wheels can help you navigate rough terrain more easily.
Final thoughts on the best electric wheelchairs
Electric wheelchairs are excellent mobility aids to help those that do not have the strength to use a manual wheelchair to gain mobility.
These devices are relatively lightweight, strong, and have batteries that last for long periods of time before having to charge them.
Some models can travel miles on a single charge allowing you to travel just about anywhere. Although we have reviewed these chairs and based on our opinion you still need to make sure the chairs fit you and your needs as closely as possible.
This will ensure the best possible time while using the chair in terms of comfort and safety.