Wheelchairs are wheeled mobility devices that allow a disabled, injured or sick person to move about easily. These devices are essentially just a chair with wheels. It is sometimes required for people who are advanced in age, paralyzed or have ailments that hinder their ability to move around.
The two main kinds of wheelchairs are manual and electric wheelchairs. Electric powered wheelchairs or simply electric wheelchairs are motor driven and are powered by batteries. Such wheelchairs are very helpful for those with disabilities that leave them with limited mobility. Most electric wheelchairs can be controlled using simple joysticks. Furthermore, electric wheelchairs are very agile in that a wheelchair user can rotate 360 degrees on the same spot.
Electric wheelchairs can be further classified in to three types of drive layouts: rear wheel, front wheel and mid wheel. The most prevalent and quickest type of electric wheelchair is the rear wheel model. This type is generally more suited for use indoors especially on smooth and paved surfaces.
While slower than the rear wheel types, the front wheel driven wheelchairs are more agile and are easier to maneuver. Finally, mid wheel driven wheelchairs are even more agile than the front wheel models and can maneuver through turns very well. A great number of electric wheelchairs available on the market today are rear wheel driven models but front wheel driven wheelchairs are slowly gaining popularity.
Aside from the drive layouts, electric wheelchairs also differ in many other ways. Electric wheelchairs can also be categorized by weight, from the easily transportable lightweight models to the heavy duty variant. Specialized models such as pediatric wheelchairs and off road electric wheelchairs are also available.
To give wheelchair buyers more options when choosing an electric wheelchair, various features and new advances in technology have been integrated into the latest models. For example; spring type, pneumatic and hydraulic suspension technologies are now finding their way in to wheelchairs today.
Other features that give buyers greater customizability are height and angle adjustable or removable armrests and footrests, removable or reclining backrests, and manual or automatic braking systems. Wheelchair accessories such as food and drink trays, crutch holders and compartments for various nick knacks are also available as attachments to your basic electric wheelchairs.
Because of the different types of electric wheelchairs available and their many options, the price range of such devices is understandably very wide. Your most basic, no-frills electric wheelchair can go for an average low of £1,000 while the more feature-packed and technologically advanced models can be bought for prices well above £15,000.
When faced with such a wide price range, it is important for buyers to consider the wheelchair users exact needs and adjust their budget accordingly. Most buyers will find that a budget of between £800 and £3,000 for a reliable electric wheelchair is reasonable and will buy them a good model fit for the needs of the user. As always when making such an important purchase, it is highly recommended that electric wheelchairs be bought from trusted and licensed dealers and retailers.