Buying a power chair can be a significant investment, so it’s important that you make the right choice for your individual needs.
Electric wheelchairs, commonly referred to as ‘power chairs’, are mobile chairs powered by electric motors. They are much shorter in length than a scooter and are more manoeuvrable, making them much better for indoor use.
The seating on a power chair can be anything from a basic scooter seat, right through to a seating system that has been specifically customised for you. Some power chairs can be fitted with power options to suit your personal requirements, which will aid your comfort, support and positioning. These features mean that power chairs are usually better suited to more immobilised users with greater needs.
Who uses a power chair?
Power chairs are mostly used by people who:
- have long-term conditions and can no longer walk short distances without risk of falling
- have medical conditions which previously restricted them to a manual wheelchair, but they can no longer achieve independence in a manual chair
- would be able to achieve a more independent lifestyle in a power chair with the assistance of a carer
- have been affected by spinal injuries.
Types of power chairs
Pride offers a light rehab range of power chairs starting with the effortless, transportable GoChair, which is ideal for those who need a little extra help getting around indoors, right through to Pride’s Quantum Rehab range, which can be custom-built around your needs, offering state-of-the-art features.
Power chairs fall into three main categories: Rear wheel drive, mid wheel drive and front wheel drive. But what is the difference and which one best suits your needs?
Rear wheel drive chairs
Rear wheel drive power chairs are what most people would recognise as a power chair. The frame of the wheelchair can range in style, and this type of wheelchair comes with a choice of folding frame or fixed frame, depending on the model. Rear wheel drive power chairs are very simple to drive with the aid of a joystick control, which can be mounted on either the left or right of the wheelchair. The seating and comfort can be adjusted to suit your needs, and most models can be re-charged through a simple connection on the joystick. Because the drive wheels are at the back of the wheelchair, rear wheel drive wheelchairs may need a larger space to turn around in.
Mid wheel drive chairs
Mid wheel drive power chairs look very different to rear wheel drive power chairs, as the main drive wheels have been moved from the rear of the wheelchair to the middle part of the wheelchair.
Moving the drive wheels to the middle of the chair makes a very big difference to how it drives, and the space the wheelchair needs for turning. Mid wheel drive power chairs also have a very low centre of gravity, which can make them feel more stable.
Like rear wheel drive power chairs, mid wheel drive chairs are controlled with a joystick control. Because mid wheel drive wheelchairs need less space to turn in, you can very often get a larger chair into a smaller space.
Power Mobility offers a selection of mid wheel drive power chairs including the Quantum J623 and J623 Plus, Quantum Edge 2.0 and Edge 2.0 with iLevel, the Quantum Edge HD, Magic Mobility’s Frontier V6 Compact 40, Frontier V6 Compact 73, Frontier V6 All Terrain and Frontier V6 Hybrid.
Front wheel drive chairs
Front wheel drive power chairs have the drive wheels mounted at the front of the wheelchair. This means that they are very manoeuvrable, have excellent climbing capability and are great for outdoor use, while still being really compact. Power Mobility offers a range of quality mid wheel drive power chairs including the Magic Mobility Frontier V4 Hybrid FWD, the Frontier V4 Off-Road FWD and the Ottobock Juvo B6F.
How to choose the right power chair for you
Buying a power chair can be a significant investment, so it’s important that you make the right choice for your individual needs. Power Mobility offers an extensive range of quality power chairs on display in our showroom at Geebung, or available to trial by calling our friendly team on 07 3265 4663. We also work extensively with therapists to prescribe custom power chairs for clients who have very specific needs.