Selecting the Right Type of Wheelchair

powerchairFor the wheelchair user, choosing between an electric wheelchair and a manual one is often the first and hardest decision when it comes to selecting a mobility vehicle. Selecting the right wheelchair does not need to be difficult, however, and by determining your needs, the process can be made much simpler.

Considering the Cost of Electric and Manual Wheelchairs

One of the first factors for many trying to decide between a manual wheelchair and an electric wheelchair is price. Electric wheelchairs usually cost considerably more than manual wheelchairs.

Usually an electric wheelchair, or Power Chair, will cost between $1300 and $5000. The lower priced models usually come from lesser known wheelchair manufacturers, such as ShopRider, and the more expensive wheelchairs coming from manufacturers like Pride Mobility and Golden Technologies. While ShopRider Electric Wheelchairs are much less expensive, they do not have the same reputation as Golden Electric Wheelchairs and Pride Electric Wheelchairs.

Manual Wheelchairs usually cost much less, often around $500 and rarely over $1000. The exception to this is sports wheelchairs, which can sometimes cost just as much as electric wheelchairs. Sports wheelchairs are designed to be lightweight and durable, in addition being designed for specific types of wheelchair sports.

Considering the Wheelchair User’s Needs and Abilities

Another consideration when trying to decide whether to go with a power chair or a manual wheelchair is the abilities of the wheelchair user and how the wheelchair will be used. Depending on the users ability, using a manual wheelchair may not be an option, as they require a great deal of upper body strength. Even people who are in excellent shape find that a manual wheelchair can be very strenuous.

In regards to how the wheelchair will be used, it is important to spend some time thinking about what places you are likely to take the wheelchair. If it is just going to be used in the home most of the time, having an electric wheelchair may very well be unnecessary.

However, those who plan on using their wheelchair to travel across more than a mile or two each day, such as a college student, may find that an electric wheelchair is a much better choice. This is because most electric wheelchairs, even the lower end models, can travel more than 5 miles on a charge, with most having a range between 10 and 20 miles per charge.

Transporting the Wheelchair

Considerations on transporting the wheelchair should be thought about before actually purchasing a wheelchair, because it is a very important factor. In some regards it ties into the above topic of where the wheelchair will be used.

Typically, transporting a manual wheelchair is very easy, as they are designed to be folded up and are lightweight enough that they can easily be lifted into the back seat of a car or the trunk area. This makes using a manual wheelchair away from home very easy.

Electric wheelchairs are not as easy to transport and usually require that some sort of wheelchair lift be installed on the vehicle. This adds to the total cost of ownership of an electric wheelchair, but vehicle wheelchair lifts are very convenient and easy to use.

Selecting the right type of wheelchair need not be difficult, but it is also not a decision that should be taken lightly. It is essential to take into account the user and their needs, as well as other factors, such as cost and ease of transportation.