How Fast Do Electric Wheelchairs Go?

Have you thought about how fast do electric wheelchairs go? You may be surprised to find out how fast the average powered wheelchair goes and what a safe speed is that should be followed. 

So, how fast do electric wheelchairs go?  The majority of powered wheelchairs have an average top speed of 5 miles per hour. But there are some models that can even go faster.  Factors such as the weight of the wheelchair and road conditions will also be a factor in how fast a wheelchair can go.  How strong your electric motor is and the size of your battery all play a role in electric wheelchair speed. 

Depending on what type of wheelchair you are interested in getting you may want to look for an electric wheelchair that is faster than others.  If you are more active you may find a faster wheelchair better for you.  Let’s take a look at what makes a wheelchair faster in terms of components and weight.

The main factors that result in how fast an electric wheelchair will travel

There are a few factors that can contribute to wheelchair speed.  When speaking about electric wheelchairs you need to account for the weight of the chair, the torque that the motor is able to put off, how large and strong the battery is, and the run conditions you are facing.

While some electric chairs use two batteries that are able to produce more power along with a motor that produces the torque needed to move faster than others.  While going fast might sound fun for some there are speeds that should be followed to keep the wheelchair in the safest possible operating status while using it.  

The Electric wheelchair weight will determine how fast a wheelchair goes

The wheelchair weight plays into how fast you can go.  There are different types of electric wheelchairs and they provide different weights and power.  Most electric wheelchairs will have very similar components that operate the chair however these components can vary by weight. 

Not only this, but different users can also customize their wheelchair based on specific needs making that wheelchair either heavier or lighter. 

To explain further how different wheelchair weights could be take this example.  There are some electric wheelchairs that weigh in at 5o pounds while a bariatric power chair which is heavy-duty can weigh as much as 200 pounds. 

Your motor torque is important

Motors are what help propel the electric wheelchairs forward and provide safe and smooth power that a lot of the situations you face while in your wheelchair.  Motors come in different torques, speeds (RPM, power, and voltage.  Below are an example of different power motors and what they might provide depending on what type and size electric wheelchair you have. 

Type of WheelchairSpeed Range (RPM)Torque RangeVoltagePower
Electric20 – 504 RMP1.7 – 30 Nm12DC – 220DC90 – 190 Watts
Electric19 – 515 RMP4.6 – 86 Nm12DC – 220DC125 – 584 Watts
Electric19 – 515 RPM4.6 – 86Nm12DC – 220DC125 – 583 Watts
Electric19 – 515 RPM4.6 – 86 Nm12DC – 220DC78 – 364 Watts
Electric20 – 515 RPM3.6 – 6.Nm12DC – 220DC220 – 345 Watts

Wheelchair wheels can help you go faster or slower

Wheels on an electric scooter will make a difference in the speed you can achieve.  The larger the wheels the faster you will travel.  Here is a great website explaining mathematically how to calculate speed based on wheel diameter and wheel revolutions per mile. 

Because of the smaller size wheels that are typically found on electric wheelchairs even with greater power, it is hard to get a standard powered wheelchair to move at faster speeds.  It also can become unsafe to do so for the standard electric wheelchair user. 

Electric wheelchair wheels are typically smaller and made from harder material.  Smaller wheels require much more power to move faster.

Battery power can make an electric wheelchair go faster or slower

Besides the wheelchair engine the batter or batteries allow the motor to move.  Newer batteries or batteries that are fully charged can produce more power to the engine and therefore create more speed.

Typically you will find battery sizes that range from 22, 24, and 27 amps.  The most common and standard size electric wheelchair battery range is 22 amps. 

The larger and heavier wheelchair that requires more power will use a 24 or even 27 amp rating battery. 

Ground Conditions can dictate wheelchair speeds

Ground conditions will play a determining factor in how fast an electric wheelchair can go.  Smooth and even pavements will produce a faster experience.  Hills or uneven pavements will surely cause your electric wheelchair to naturally slow down.

It is always important to try and maintain a safe speed especially on hilly or uneven roads or pavements. 

Safe speed for an electric wheelchair to go

When we get the questions of how far electric wheelchairs go or even manual wheelchairs we first want to explain the safety aspect of using a mobility device like wheelchairs. 

Always use and follow the manufactures suggested parts and speeds when operating your device.  The last thing you will want is to fall or have an accident when in your chair.  

The standard speed of an electric chair is there because they are the safest operating speeds for most people.

What is the top speed for a manual wheelchair?  The top speed you can get on a manual wheelchair will depend on the rotations per second you can get from spinning the hand rims.  It will also depend on how quickly and hard you can push off the wheelchair to create momentum.   Having properly inflated tires on your wheelchair will also help in gaining speed. 

How far can an electric wheelchair go?  While most wheelchair speeds average 5 miles per hour the battery can last up to 8 hours on average.  Some more and some less.  These have a distance of around 10 to 20 miles depending on the model chair, battery age and size, and road conditions.

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About ASmith

Adam Smith is the main researcher and contributor at Mobility Medical Supply. Adam has many years of research in public data, and software security. With Mobility issues within Adam's family, he decided to dedicate in-depth guides on mobility products to anyone looking to improve movement and gain independence.