Power Wheelchair For Mobility And Independence

A power wheelchair gives people with chronic conditions and injuries affecting their mobility, the freedom to lead independent lives.

Becoming mobile again can give you greater control over your daily life, make it possible to socialise and allow you to become less dependent on caretakers.

Consider Your Needs

Speak to an expert first about your specific needs before you decide to buy a power wheelchair. Consult your doctor and an occupational therapist and also speak to people who are already using power wheelchairs or who have conditions similar to yours. You can also visit retailers that sell wheelchairs or contact them for advice.

How to Choose a Power Wheelchair

The power wheelchair contains a seat, a power base and controls. They come in different sizes with different drive systems. When selecting one, consider how often you will be using it.



These are smaller chairs, with a weight capacity of about 300 lb. They are easy to fold and fit into the trunk of a car. The seat of the portable chair has less padding, so it may not be comfortable for long periods. They are usually front or rear-wheel drive.


Full-size is the right choice for people who will be spending most of their time in the chair. They have larger seats with padding, as well as armrests and footrests. It has a larger battery and can travel for a longer distance. The weight capacity is also around 300 lb.


The weight capacity for this wheelchair is at least 450 lb, and it usually has a reinforced frame and broader seat.

Drive Systems:

It’s crucial to consider your environment when selecting your power wheelchair. You must be able to fit and maneuver the chair in your home. If your outdoor terrain is rough, you may need a chair with larger and wider wheels and casters.

Power wheelchairs have the following different drive systems:

  • Front-wheel drive power wheelchairs are more comfortable to maneuver in smaller spaces and over small obstacles. They are suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
  • Mid wheel drive power wheelchairs are easy to maneuver indoors or on flat surfaces outdoors. They are not suitable for rough terrain. They have the tightest turning radius of the three drives.
  • Rear-wheel-drive power wheelchairs are fantastic outdoors. They can handle rough terrain and have maneuverability. The turning radius of the rear-wheel-drive is larger, so it may not be so easy to turn it indoors.


The wheelchair requires constant pressure to operate. You can control it with a joystick or keypad. If you lift pressure from the control, you will cause the power wheelchair to brake. The wheelchair should be able to accommodate other types of controllers (chin, head and foot controls) depending on the condition of the user. You can control some power wheelchairs through vocal commands or by inhaling and exhaling into a tube.

Use Your Power Wheelchair Safely

Make sure that you always wear your wheelchair’s seat belt. It is essential to read the manufacturers guide and to learn to operate the wheelchair safely.

Other precautions include:

  • Always keep the battery charged.
  • Be careful around children who may grab the control unit, causing the wheelchair to move.
  • Turn the power off when you get in and out of the wheelchair.
  • Be careful outdoors and try not to go outside when visibility is poor. Try to avoid busy streets and intersections.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that your needs may change in future. Whatever model you choose now, make sure that you will be able to adjust it in future.


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