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How to Choose the Right Motorized Wheelchair

If you're considering a motorized wheelchair, here's all the information you'll need to make the best choice

A motorized wheelchair can make a world of difference for those with mobility issues. Built for all-day use, motorized wheelchairs provide users with increased independence and improved quality of life.

However, it can be difficult to narrow down the specific motorized wheelchair that is right for you or your loved one, as different options help to fulfill different needs. So how do you choose?

Read our recommendations below to find the motorized wheelchair solution that will work best for you.

Why Choose a Motorized Wheelchair?

Before you begin the process of selecting a specific motorized wheelchair, it’s important to recognize what sets them apart from other mobility device solutions, such as scooters or non-motorized, manual wheelchairs.

A motorized wheelchair, also known as an electric wheelchair, power wheelchair or power chair, uses a battery-powered motor to move users rather than manual power. They are incredibly helpful for those with limited mobility who are unable to maneuver a manual wheelchair over a variety of distances or terrain, especially as they are controlled via an easy-to-use joystick. Motorized wheelchairs can also be incredibly useful to those with cardiovascular, pain and/or fatigue-based conditions.

If you’re curious whether a motorized wheelchair is the mobility assistive device for you, based on your unique mobility or medical needs, explore this mobility self-assessment guide here.

With a motorized wheelchair, you can experience incredible maneuverability as each chair is designed with a tight turning radius, unlike devices such as the mobility scooter. This improved mobility is also built for use inside and outside of your home, so you can enjoy its functionality throughout either space. This means that each power chair has been created with the ability to navigate narrow and tight spaces which allows you to move through your daily life as seamlessly as possible — without having to worry about potentially damaging your walls or furniture.

Since they are built for durability and daily use, they also enable users to perform tasks and activities that would otherwise be extremely challenging. Since motorized wheelchairs utilize a joystick to navigate, users don’t have to worry about fatigue or pain when they need to reach different areas or parts of their homes. This increases their capabilities and access without putting a strain on their arms or legs.

Motorized wheelchairs also feature a low center of gravity, which adds to their stability, making them unlikely to topple or lose balance — especially compared to other mobility devices.

On the other hand, this sturdiness does mean that motorized wheelchairs can be difficult to transport without the aid of a ramp or lift due to their weight, which can range between 173 to 279 pounds depending on the model. A simple solution to this problem is to purchase and install a wheelchair ramp or power chair lift for increased freedom for the user. With a ramp or lift, motorized wheelchair users can benefit from easy access to transportation and raised surfaces.

Your Motorized Wheelchair Options

If you’ve decided that a motorized wheelchair is the best option for you, then it’s time to start exploring the different types of wheelchairs that are on the market.

Forbes states that there are five main motorized wheelchair options:

  • Portable power wheelchairs
  • Front-wheel power wheelchairs
  • Mid-wheel power wheelchairs
  • Rear-wheel power wheelchairs
  • Heavy-duty power wheelchairs

The main difference between each type is how well each motorized wheelchair can move across rough terrains and how much weight the wheelchair can hold. It’s important to note, that for wheelchair users, uneven pathways and street curbs act as “rough terrain,” which can significantly impact where they can successfully maneuver and travel.

Quality motorized wheelchairs are usually custom designed by industry experts and tested rigorously to cover raised street surfaces or other rough terrain difficulties, as well as provide the best durability on the market. However, whether you would be best served by a standard or heavy-duty motorized wheelchair will depend upon you or your loved one’s unique needs.

Standard vs. Heavy-Duty Motorized Wheelchairs

For some users, a motorized wheelchair needs to be able to support a high weight capacity — while still offering a well-balanced range of motion. In this case, a heavy-duty motorized wheelchair is the best bet.

After all, a motorized wheelchair is meant to ease mobility. Holding and supporting the user is instrumental for comfort and functionality, but so is maneuverability. This is why some heavy-duty motorized wheelchairs can support up to 600 pounds, while still offering as small as a 28-inch turning radius.

To determine whether you or your loved one requires a standard or heavy-duty motorized wheelchair, consider what weight and radius specifications would best suit your needs.

Comfort and Functionality

As mentioned, comfort is equally as important as mobility for users. After all, most motorized wheelchair users will rely on their devices for the majority of their day. That is why, for ultimate comfort, it’s essential that a motorized wheelchair features customizable, adjustable armrests and custom contoured innerspring seats for all-day comfort. As a strong mobility solution, your motorized wheelchair should be built to decrease any potential discomfort in your day, not add to it.

Additionally, when you purchase a motorized wheelchair, it’s also essential that your provider has options for delivery and assembly by a technician who can then custom adjust the chair to fit the wheelchair user perfectly. For increased comfort, some customers may consider ordering a power chair with a reclining seat, which provides increased support and adjustability.

Motorized wheelchairs also depend on long battery life to offer customers the best in terms of freedom and independence. However, batteries can’t last forever, which is why users should research options that also offer lightweight, portable wheelchair battery chargers for on-the-go use. This way you can utilize your motorized wheelchair without worry — just pack your portable charger and you can recharge from any location for extended use.

The very best companies have built their motorized wheelchairs with all of these factors in mind. Discover some of the top motorized wheelchair options and solutions here.

Will Insurance Cover Your Motorized Wheelchair?

Motorized wheelchairs are life-changing solutions for those who want increased freedom and independence despite their mobility limitations or health conditions. Since each motorized wheelchair should be built to be as long-lasting and comfortable as possible, they can also come at a hefty price.

In most cases, it’s definitely worthwhile to look into whether Medicare or your third-party insurance will cover a portion of or even all of the cost of your motorized wheelchair. The most helpful companies will actively work with you and your doctor to find and provide the required Medicare or insurance paperwork to apply for motorized wheelchair coverage. For more information about how a company can work with you and your doctor, read a motorized wheelchair insurance coverage overview here.

How Hoveround Can Help

If you or a family member would like to experience improved mobility and freedom in and out of the home — a motorized wheelchair is an ideal solution and Hoveround is ready to find the perfect model for you.

As each of our motorized wheelchairs is built in-house by our expert teams, our Mobility Specialists are able to answer any and all questions you may have about finding the best mobility solution for your specific needs. Hoveround’s motorized wheelchairs are all designed, built and tested to perform at their greatest capacities.

We can also work with you to customize your motorized wheelchair for top-of-the-line comfort and accessibility. We know that the right motorized wheelchair can change a person’s life, so we take the time to guide each user through the process from purchase to delivery to assembly and fit.

Navigating through different mobility devices and pricing options can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be with a caring and experienced company like Hoveround on your side.

Call a Mobility Specialist at 800-542-7236, or shop the Hoveround motorized wheelchair store online now!

September 30, 2021