Your Electric Wheelchair Questions Answered

  • How much is an electric power wheelchair?

The exact price of an electric power wheelchair depends on several factors, including its specific features, level of complexity, and individualized attachments or modifications (if any). You can expect to spend anywhere from $2,100 for a lightweight folding electric wheelchair to $20,000 and up for a power wheelchair that features advanced innovations like pressure-relief options and computerized technology.

The cost of your electric wheelchair may be covered by your insurance. Speak with your insurance provider and medical team to determine the best power wheelchair option that will meet your needs and help you maximize your independence while also staying within your budget.

  • How much does an electric wheelchair weigh? 

Because of their batteries, electronic parts, attachments, and other components, electric wheelchairs almost always weigh more than standard wheelchairs. Most electric wheelchairs weigh between 150 to 250 lb. Larger models, which may include bariatric power wheelchairs, can weigh up to 350 to 400 lb. On the other hand, a lightweight electric wheelchair can weigh as little as 40 pounds.

  • How long does an electric wheelchair battery last? 

The length of your electric wheelchair’s battery life will be affected by the make, model, weight, and age of your chair, your weight, the age and quality of your battery, and how much you use the wheelchair. Generally speaking, a fully-charged power wheelchair battery should last for about 8 to 10 hours. Some manufacturers list battery life in terms of mileage. For instance, a simple electric folding wheelchair may have a battery that lasts for up to 8 miles of use. New fully charged batteries on more advanced chairs may be able to last for up to 20 miles.

There are several things you can do to optimize your electric wheelchair’s battery life. For example:

  • Don’t expose your power wheelchair battery to extreme temperatures.
  • Keep your battery clean and don’t leave the charger plugged into an outlet when it’s not in use.
  • Charge your battery daily, but don’t leave it charging for more than 24 hours in a row.
  • You should avoid letting the charge run to complete zero, but you should also avoid “topping it off” continuously by charging it for a short amount of time even if it still has a decent charge.
  • Lastly, ensure your wheelchair tires have proper air pressure and try to drive at a constant speed as much as possible. Avoid the frequent “stop and go” propulsion.
  • How far can an electric wheelchair go?

Things like battery charge, battery health, type of terrain, your driving speed, your driving habits, and of course the make and model of your wheelchair will influence how far your electric wheelchair can go. A simple lightweight folding electric wheelchair may travel for up to 8 miles on one battery charge. More advanced chairs should be able to go at least 10 miles, and maybe even up to 20 miles per charge, assuming the battery starts out at 100%.

How far you go also depends on how fast you’re trying to get there! A typical electric wheelchair has a max speed of around 5 to 7 miles per hour, although some chairs can go up to 10 miles per hour or faster.

  • Where can I buy an electric wheelchair?

You can buy an electric wheelchair online from one of several reputable medical equipment supply companies. You can even order some scooters or power wheelchairs from online retailers like Amazon or buy a chair directly through a wheelchair manufacturer’s website.

It’s also possible to order an electric wheelchair in-store at a local durable medical equipment company. But an online retailer may have a greater selection to choose from.

Depending on your health insurance, some or all of the cost of your electric wheelchair may be covered. To qualify for coverage, it’s important that your involved medical team—such as your primary care doctor and physical therapist—is able to provide documentation showing that your electric wheelchair or scooter is a medical necessity.

  • How wide is an electric wheelchair?

Electric wheelchairs come in a wide range of sizes to accommodate the different types of people using them. On average, a lightweight folding electric wheelchair can be as narrow 21 to 24 inches, whereas a more built-up power wheelchair can be as wide as 30 to 32 inches.

Before purchasing your power wheelchair or scooter, it’s important to make sure it will fit in your home and other places you’ll use it the most. For reference, most doorways can range from 18 to 36 inches wide.

  • What does a high-quality electric wheelchair have?

You can get a very high quality, low frills, lightweight folding electric wheelchair that provides everything you need for simple day-to-day use. Generally, it should include brakes, a battery system, foot rests, and a collapsible folding design for easy transfer and storage.

More advanced power wheelchairs may have advanced components like upgraded suspension, deluxe pressure-relieving seating, modified steering technology, storage baskets, lighting systems, back-up auditory systems, sit-to-stand features, and positional-change functionality including recline, tilt-in-space, and sit-to-stand.

  • Which is better, an electric wheelchair or scooter?

Both an electric wheelchair and scooter can provide you with increased mobility, safety, and independence. But depending on your needs, one device may be better suited to you than the other.

For example, a power wheelchair generally has more wheels than a scooter and is operable with a joystick; this can make it easier to manoeuvre and more stable. Some scooters have less leg-room compared to a power wheelchair and have fewer options available for seating. If you need more physical support and pressure relief assist while seated, or plan on spending most of your day in your device, an electric wheelchair might be the better choice.

However, scooters are usually much more lightweight and easier to transport. And depending on the model, scooters are often easier to use on outdoor terrain. So, if you plan on using your motorized device only intermittently throughout the day, don’t have access to a wheelchair accessible car or transportation system, and/or plan on using it outside a lot, a scooter might be better for you.

If you’re still not sure which is best—an electric wheelchair vs scooter—your physician and medical team should be able to help.

  • What damage can sand do to an electric wheelchair​?

Some types of scooters or power chairs are designed to accommodate sandy terrain, with features like wide-circumference wheels and battery-powered traction. But a typical electric wheelchair should not be used in places like the beach, even if the sand is relatively compact. There are several reasons for this: wheelchairs can easily get stuck in sand, which can increase your risk of getting stranded, tipping over, and falling. Sand can also get stuck in caster wheels or kicked up into the motorized components of the chair and damage it or accelerate the typical “wear and tear” on any electric wheelchair.

  • Where can I sell my electric wheelchair?

You can sell your used electric wheelchair privately at online marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist. You can also sell your wheelchair to commercial resellers via websites specifically designed to buy and sell mobility devices. If you have a local medical equipment and supply store in your area, you can also try selling your pre-owned wheelchair here.

  • What is the average weight capacity on an electric wheelchair​?

On average, an electric wheelchair can accommodate a person who weighs up to 250 to 300 pounds, although many wheelchairs can accommodate users who weigh up to 500 lbs.

  • What does a person confined to an electric wheelchair need to do physically​?

In order to use an electric wheelchair, a person must demonstrate that they are physically and cognitively able to operate it safely. For example, they should be able to engage the power button, propel the wheelchair, stop the wheelchair, manoeuvre it safely within their environment, sit securely in the seat, get in and out of the chair, and charge the battery.

The good news is there are many modifications and adaptations that can be made to a power wheelchair in order to reasonably accommodate a person’s disabilities. This includes seat belts, chest straps, and bolsters to improve a person’s posture and alterations to the motorized functions to prevent excessive speed. Additionally, some people will require physical assistance from a helper to safely get in or out of a chair or manoeuvre their chair in certain situations (e.g., on outdoor terrain or in and out of a power wheelchair accessible vehicle). If a person is using a lightweight electric folding wheelchair, he or she may also need help folding and unfolding it.

  • What is the best wheelchair for travel?

Based on customer reviews, price, ease of use, and quality, the KD Smart Chair is consistently listed as the leading lightweight electric wheelchair for travel. It weighs only 50 pounds but has a weight capacity of up to 265 pounds (or up to 330 pounds for the Heavy Duty model). It also has a compact size when both folded and unfolded and the footrest is removable. This makes the chair easy to transport and travel with, even on commercial airplanes.

The KD Smart Chair’s power charger is safe to use overseas with an appropriate adapter to change the voltage or a converter to change the socket plug. Additionally, it takes just 2 to 4 hours to fully charge, which gives the user much more freedom. And in case of damage, this electric folding wheelchair comes with a 5-year warranty for the frame, plus a 1-year warranty for its electronic components, including the battery (the chair comes with two).