A power wheelchair, also called an electric wheelchair, is a chair that is powered by a motor. There are a lot of things to consider when purchasing a power wheelchair. Some of the things you may want to think about include: distance it can travel, type of batteries, size, weight capacity, and whether it is designed for indoor or outdoor use.
The distance a chair can travel between charges is an important thing to consider because you want to make sure that the performance of your new power wheelchair will meet your needs and expectations. This amount can vary greatly from 7 to 40 miles. Some of the factors that will affect this distance include weight of user and the type of terrain it is being used on.
The type of battery you choose is a more important decision than you may think. Selecting the wrong battery can leave you stranded because it ran out of power or because it couldn’t handle the terrain you were riding on. In order to choose the correct battery for your power wheelchair, you need to take a look at the different characteristics of the batteries available to you.
There are two types of batteries that power wheelchair manufacturers use, wet-cell and gel-cell. Wet-cell batteries are the lighter, cheaper and the least likely to be overcharged battery of the two. However, they tend to leak and are therefore not allowed on airplanes.
Gel-cell batteries are heavier and more expensive but they usually last longer than wet-cell. They are allowed on planes and are recommended more often by the power wheelchair manufacturers because of environmental concerns with wet-cell batteries.
When determining what size of power wheelchair to buy, ask your doctor and/or physical therapist for their input. The most important factors to consider when sizing your power wheelchair are:
Your spine should not have any abnormal curvatures.
You thighs should be slightly separated.
When looking straight ahead, your head should be directly over your pelvis.
You hips and knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle.
Your weight should be evenly distributed in order to prevent pressure sores.
Your entire body needs to be properly supported. This includes your back, hips, legs, knees, ankles, and buttocks.
Size and weight of the intended wheelchair user is something to consider when shopping for power wheelchairs. However, it is not as critical a factor as some of the others listed above. Wheelchair manufacturers have many different options to fit people of all sizes and weights. The power wheelchair vendor you choose to work with will help you decide on a wheelchair that will fit you.
The last thing to take into account is whether you are going to use your power wheelchair mainly indoors or outdoors. Manufacturers have different components in wheelchairs depending upon how and where the user intends to use their wheelchair. These can include varied suspensions, drive systems and wheels. If you are looking at power wheelchairs through a vendor, it is important to let them know how you plan on using your chair so they can use this information to assist you get a power wheelchair that fits your needs perfectly.
Find out how to qualify for a power wheelchair by clicking on the state you live in: