Power Wheel Chairs

Selecting The Right One


Power wheel chairs are good choices for people who are unable to push themselves in manual chairs but who want the independence afforded by a chair that they can operate without the assistance of an attendant.  Electric wheel chairs can even be operated by people without the use of their arms or hands, by using a breath-activated device.


Choosing Power Wheel Chairs

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing electric wheel chairs.

First, you need to consider how you will use your chair.  Some power chairs are designed specifically for indoor use, while others are designed for indoor/outdoor use.

Then you need to consider how far you will be driving in your wheel chair.  Different chairs come with different batteries, and different batteries are designed to go different distances before needing to be recharged.  However, if the chair you buy comes with a battery that won’t travel far enough for you, you can probably purchase a different battery for your chair.  Just make sure you check that out before purchasing the chair.

In addition, pay attention to the type of wheels that come on the chair.  Some tires are designed so that they cannot go flat.  This is a great advantage, because if you are out and about and get a flat tire, you may be stuck for a while.

You’ll also want to take into account any special needs that you have.  For instance, there are bariatric or “heavy duty” power wheel chairs for larger users.  There are also pediatric chairs for younger, smaller users. 

You can also customize a power chair.

Customizing Your Wheel Chair

Electric wheel chairs are very easy to customize to meet your specific needs.

The hand controls for power chairs are usually located at the end of the right arm rest, since most people are right handed, but you can have the controls mounted on the left arm rest if you prefer.

Some people aren’t able to operate a power chair with hand controls.  There are breath-activated devices that can operate a power chair.  These are used by people who are paralyzed or otherwise unable to use their hands to operate the controls.

You can buy special back cushions and seat cushions, designed to provide postural support and to help prevent skin breakdown, which is a concern for anyone who spends large amounts of time in a wheel chair.  You can also buy special arm rests and foot rests for added comfort and support.  In addition, you can purchase head rests if needed (these are usually only used for people who have difficulty holding their heads up).

There are lap trays that fit over the arms of a wheel chair, providing a surface for eating, writing, or other activities.  These trays can be easily removed and stored when not in use.

You can buy a backpack or other bag designed to attach to the side or back of the chair, making it easy to carry items with you when traveling in your chair.  Side bags are usually smaller, but may be more convenient because they are easier for the wheel chair user to reach.


Power wheel chairs can cost anywhere from about $1400 - $4000 or more, depending on the model.  Special features may cost more.  If you need a power wheel chair due to medical problems or a disability, Medicare, Medicaid, or other health insurance may help with the cost.  The VA may also help with the cost of electric wheel chairs for veterans.

Recommended Products

When shopping for power wheel chairs, we recommend you take a look at Amazon.com.  They offer a full line of electric wheel chairs and are sure to have one that meets your needs.  They are the largest and best known of the online retailers, and have the best prices we have seen.  Their customer service representatives are always available to answer any questions you may have.  You can follow this link to visit Amazon.com, and learn more about features and prices.




More than power wheel chairs on our medical wheelchair page

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