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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

Powerchair choice and selection

Things to look for in an electric wheelchair

There is a widening range of electric wheelchairs being made available thanks to the rapid development of efficient batteries and electric motors. As the range widens, so does the choice of type electric wheelchair, so we thought it about time to classify them into the following types:

Front Wheel Drive electric wheelchairs

The least common type of electric wheelchairs are front wheel drive. They are a good all-rounder and work well in most types of moderate terrains, slopes and surfaces. They can be used for outdoor and indoor situations and for most provide adequate performance.

Central Wheel Drive electric wheelchairs / 6 wheelers

The big advantage of these electric wheelchairs is their tight turning circle and ease of maneuverability.
These electric wheelchairs are well suited for new users or short term users and are best suited to indoor use where easy maneuverability is essential. Their clever design means not only do you get tight turning but also increased stability thanks to the front and rear castors that prevent tipping in all directions.

Rear Wheel Drive electric wheelchairs

Most electric wheelchairs one sees today are rear wheel driven. This is simply because its easier to manufacture an electric wheelchair when the motor is near to the drive wheels to remove the need for drive shafts. Suitable for use both indoor and outside the rear wheel drive electric wheelchairs are likely to
remain the most common due to lower costs of parts and manufacture. The turning circle is larger than for front or centre driven models. If you encounter inclines in your daily rounds to consider rear anti tipper wheels to prevent the chance of tipping backwards.

Heavy Duty electric wheelchairs

Its a fact that as a society average weights are increasing and obesity is more common. For this reason, manufacturers continue to develop heavy duty or bariatric electric wheelchairs to cater to this market sector. These tend to have increased strength of construction, larger batteries and more powerful electric
motors to deal with the increased payload.

Features to look for

Comfort is key for most electric wheelchair users. If you are due to spend many hours per day in your electric wheelchair then getting suitable seat height, backrest height, seat width and armrest features are paramount.

Types of chair vary. Some will swivel to allow ease of sitting and raising. Some seat also tilt up to 45 degrees again making sitting and raising more simple. Armrests that fold up or flip away must also be considered to allow ease of transfer on to and off the electric wheelchair.

Another important part of the electric wheelchair is the type of control system used to propel and direct.
Most are based on joystick control and are increasingly simple to use as the components become more reliable and configurable to suit your needs. If you are unable to control the electric wheelchair using your arms or hands then there are other control systems that rely on cues from your head or upper body.

See our range of electric wheelchairs and powerchairs here

We suggest that you consult a qualified physiotherapist and or mobility advisor if you have specific requirements or are unsure of which type of electric wheelchair is best for you. Good luck with all the freedom these mobility aids provide !

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