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Best Electric Wheelchair Buying Guide 2024

With so many different options available on the market, the decision to purchase a Electric Wheelchair can be quite overwhelming. 

At Mobility Shop Direct we are dedicated to helping you gain the knowledge to make an informed buying decision.

What are Electric Wheelchairs?

'Electric Wheelchairs' also known as 'Power Wheelchairs' offer the same benefit of traditional wheelchairs, but combine the use of a electric motor to propel the wheelchair forward providing the highest level of Independence and Convenience.

These type of wheelchairs are ideal for people who have limited upper body strength or movement, and who want to be independent without needing the assistance of a carer to push them around.

Unlike Mobility Scooters they are shorter in length with smaller wheels making them more manoeuvrable and easier to use indoors.

Benefits of Electric Wheelchairs?

Electric Wheelchairs play a crucial role in the Health and Wellbeing of patients that have difficulty walking but who also lack the physical strength to propel the wheelchair themselves.

By providing ‚ÄėMobility‚Äô they open opportunities for these patients to engage in social activities with family and friends, to participate in study, to earn income through work, and to access services such as healthcare.

To read more about the Important Role Wheelchairs play in our community Click Here

Types of Electric Wheelchairs?

In general, Electric Wheelchairs can be categorised into eight broad categories:

  1. Front Wheel Drive Electric Wheelchairs
  2. Centre Wheel Drive Electric Wheelchairs
  3. Rear Wheel Drive Electric Wheelchairs
  4. Standing Electric Wheelchairs
  5. Pediatric Electric Wheelchairs
  6. Heavy Duty Electric Wheelchairs
  7. Folding Travel Electric Wheelchairs
  8. All Terrain Drive Electric Wheelchairs

Front Wheel Drive Electric Wheelchairs.

Front Wheel Drive Electric Wheelchairs are manufactured with drive wheels at the front of the passenger's placement and offers the greatest level of stability.

With typical speeds of 8-9km/hr (5-5¬Ĺ mph) and total turning radius of approximately¬†63-71CM¬†(25''-28'') they are ideal for¬†off road usage and for handling areas such as grass, snow and curbs.

As most of the body weight is on the seats rear, users must be mindful when turning, especially at high speeds.

Centre Wheel Drive Electric Wheelchairs.

Centre Wheel Drive Electric Wheelchairs are manufactured wth drive wheels in the middle and offer the greatest level of maneouvability.

With total turning radius of approximately 61-66cm (24''-26'') and max speeds of approximately 8km/hr (5mph) they are ideal for use indoors where spaces may be tight.

Use outroors on unbalanced surfaces should be avoided with these power wheelchairs as there is potential of the rear or front caster getting caught.

Rear Wheel Drive Electric Wheelchairs.

Rear Wheel Drive Electric Wheelchairs are manufactured with drive wheels at the back, and offer the great level of speed.

With top speeds of about 9.7km/hr and anti-tip tubes, they are ideal for driving up steep hills where there is risk of the chair falling back.

Use around tight corners can be difficult as the turning radius is approximately 83.8cm (26'').

Standing Electric Wheelchairs.

Standing Electric Wheelchairs allow occupants to heighten the chair from a seated position to a standing position, and are ideal for patients with limited mobility due to medical conditions such as quadriplegia, paraplegia, cerebal palsy, advanced multiple sclerosis, muscular dystroyphy, spina bifida and polio.

Repositioning patients from a sitting position to a standing position provides many health benefits such as improving circulation, reducing the risk of pressure sores, decreasing skin breakdown, preventing contracture, encouraging urinary drainage and much more.

Paediatric Electric Wheelchairs.

Paediatric Electric Wheelchairs provide parents with the option to purchase a Power Wheelchair designed specifically to fit the smaller size of children. These power wheelchairs are available in front wheel drive, centre wheel drive and rear wheel drive.

Heavy Duty Electric Wheelchairs.

'Heavy Duty Electric Wheelchairs' also know as 'Bariatric Power Wheelchairs' are ideal of passengers who require more weight capacity as much as 300kg. 

Their larger sizes typicailly allow these power wheelchairs to have greater capacity batteries which permit an extended travel range of 17-25km (11-16miles).

Folding Travel Electric Wheelchairs.

Folding Travel Electric Wheelchairs are great option for those seeking a Compact, Lightweight and Transportable Power Wheelchair. These wheelchairs will fit into the trunk of most cars, but due to their smaller size often have lackluster operations.

All Terrain Drive Electric Wheelchairs.

All Terrain Drive Electric Wheelchairs are one of the most unusual types of power wheelchairs and feature large inflated tires (and sometimes tank tracks) with deep treads.

Perfect for any Outdoor Enthusiasts who have lost mobility, these Power Wheelchairs will allow you to go over just about any terrain, whether it be dirt, grass, or snow.

How to Choose an Electric Wheelchair?

As there are hundreds of different makes and models of Electric Wheelchairs on the market, it is important to take a step back to identify your specific needs.

To properly gauge a Power Wheelchair against your needs we recommend you answer the following questions:

  • Will your electric wheelchair be used mainly indoors, outdoors or both?
  • Will your wheelchair require transportation?
  • What is the narrowest width that your chair needs to go through?
  • What is your weight?
  • What style of seat is most comfortable: solid pan, captain's or rehab?
  • What kind of speed and range do you intend to achieve?

What Type of Power Base do you need?

Front Wheel Drive Power Wheelchairs:

Offer the greatest level of Stability and for travelling short distances, and going over curbs.

Mid Wheel Drive Power Wheelchairs:

Offer the greatest level of Manoeuvrability and are ideal for use indoors.

Rear Wheel Drive Power Wheelchairs:

Offer the highest level of Power and are ideal for travelling longer distances especially on hilly areas.

    What Size Power Wheelchair do you need?

    Portable Electric Wheelchairs:

    Lightweight and Easy to Disassemble these Power Wheelchairs are ideal for transporting in a motor vehicle, and indoor use such as in shopping centres.

    However, because they feature basic seating and smaller batteries they are not suitable for travelling long distances or sitting all-day long.

    Light Rehab Electric Wheelchairs:

    Offering better seating comfort, and longer life batteries these power wheelchairs are the most maneuvrable and are ideal for use all day long in the home, nursing home or aged care facility.

    Featuring larger wheels they provide more Stability and Ground Clearance making them more suitable for outdoor use than Portable Power Wheelchairs.

    When transporting Light Rehab Electric Wheelchairs it is recommended to use ramps or lifting systems into the back of the vehicle.

    Customised Electric Wheelchairs:

    Customised Electric Wheelchairs are amongst the most premium options available on the market and you can customise any of the following components to meet your needs:

    • Power Base
    • Battery Size
    • Seating sytem
    • Accessories
    • Tilt and Recline function
    • Elevating Leg Rests
    • Cystin Headrests
    • Custom Back Rests
    • Pressure Care Seat Cushioning

    Due to the complex nature of these Power Wheelchairs, it is vital to obtain proper assessment and advice to make the right choice, and we recommend you click here to make an appointment with a Expert Consultant.

    Other Factors to Consider:

    Personal Factors

    • What's the weight capacity of the power wheelchair?
    • Does the seat fit you comfortably?
    • Are your legs comfortable?
    • Does it have suspensions you can adjust according to your weight?
    • Will you be able to use the Power Wheelchair safely?
    • What's your hand strength and function like?
    • Do you have arthritis?
    • Will you be able to use a joystick?
    • Are you left or right handed?
    • What's my budget?

    Lifestyle Factors

    • Where do you live?
    • Is it a hilly area?
    • Are the footpath smooth or rough?
    • Will you need to drive on the road?
    • Where do you want do go? Will access be an issue?
    • How far do you want to go?
    • How often do you intend to use it each day?

    Transportation Factors

    • Will the power wheelchair need to be transported?
    • What vehicle will it need to fit?
    • Will the power wheelchair need to be disassembled?
    • Will it need to be loaded with a ramp or lift?
    • Who will be putting it in the vehicle and how strong are they?

    Storage Factors

    • Where will you store your power wheelchair?
    • Will it be under cover?
    • Will you need to protect it with an all-weather cover?
    • Do you have a power point near the storage location?
    • What's the access like?

    Best Electric Wheelchairs

    At Mobility Shop Direct, our Mission is to Empower Australians like yourself to Maintain Your Mobility, Independence and Freedom, and we've written this guide to assist you with making an informed buying decision with regards to your next Electric Wheelchair.

    However, please note that as an online only retailer, there is only a limited range of Electric Wheelchairs we have available. We recommend you contact Gilani Engineering to determine the best Electric Wheelchair for your needs:

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