Electric Power Chairs: Buying Tips for Quality Powerchairs 
Electric power chairs are easily maneuverable and can be used in the home or outdoors, depending on the type of mobility aid you choose. Some are adaptable to most locations.

There are many different types of electric power chairs from which to choose and they are generally one of the most popular types of wheelchairs used by the 
disabled. Whether you need part-time or full-time assistance 
with mobility, the practical usefulness that this type of mobility 
aid offers can suit just about any physical challenge that you 
may have. There are both power chairs for adults, and pediatric
wheelchairs for children and teens.

What are Electric Power Chairs?

Electric power chairs are motorized wheelchairs that are 
maneuvered by a joystick and powered by a rechargeable 
battery. There are many types and styles available with various 
features. There are power wheelchairs that are suited both for 
indoor or outdoor use.

Types and Features

There are several types of electric power chairs available. 
The most common are travel, folding and center drive. 

  • Travel chairs are fairly lightweight because of their compact frame. They are designed to come apart for easy transport and run at speeds of approximately 4 mph. Travel chairs are not intended for full-time use. 

  • Folding power chairs can be used full or part-time and are fairly easy to transport. The seating on these chairs are typically nicer than the travel chair and they run at slightly faster speeds. Folding power chairs are great for either indoor or outdoor use and have a battery range of up to 14 miles. 

  • Center drive power chairs are known for their maneuverability. They are easy to operate in tight spaces. They travel well in various terrains and depending on the exact model, are capable of climbing over obstacles of up to 3” high. These chairs typically feature comfortable seating with flip-up armrests. They are not easily transportable and usually require a vehicle specifically made to transport wheel chairs. There are also heavy-duty wheelchairs available that are designed for individuals weighing up to 650 lbs. Another alternative to this type of power chair, is the electric mobility scooter that provides even more manueverability.


Owning an electric power chair means that many disabled individuals can live independently without the help of others. These mobility aids are easy to maneuver in small spaces such as a wheelchair accessible bathroomresidential elevators and in most places around the typical home. Most of them feature comfortable seating which allow individuals to enjoy lengthy activities. 

Disadvantages or Specific Issues

Electric power chairs are expensive. Individuals who do not have insurance to help cover the cost of these handicap aids may find it difficult or impossible to own one. Travel and folding power chairs are made to transport in a standard vehicle, however, there is some lifting involved that some individuals may find difficult or impossible. Center drive chairs are not transportable in a standard vehicle, therefore an individual would need access to a vehicle that is specifically designed to transport these chairs. 

Buying Tips

When it comes to choosing the electric power chair that is right for you, you must consider your exact needs as well as your physical limitations. What type of chair would work best with your lifestyle? What added features would benefit you the most? What is your budget and how will you pay for the electric mobility chair? It’s always a good idea to do some research and consult with a doctor or physical therapist before deciding on which wheel chair to buy.

Choosing the right handicap accessory can be overwhelming, but not impossible. Once your decision is made, you will be well on your way to living a more independent and mobile lifestyle for many years to come with the use of an electric power chair. 

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