Before you buy the best electric wheelchair, you need to take a moment to consider the features it comes with. These will enhance your mobility, independence, and overall quality of life.
Here’s an in-depth guide on the best electric wheelchair features you should look out for.
Battery and Power
If it’s an electric wheelchair, the power and range are the first considerations you should be looking at.
An electric wheelchair’s power is influenced by its battery’s type and capacity. Normally, these types of wheelchairs are powered by rechargeable batteries of two types: lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries are the best type. They last longer and have a higher energy output. But they are expensive, twice the price of lead-acid.
Also, consider the battery’s voltage. They are usually either 24V or 36V. The higher the voltage (coupled with a high amperage), the higher the total power output.
Don’t forget about the battery’s recharging time. You want to settle for a battery that charges fast (ideally 8 hours) and that lasts reasonably long.
Speaking of reasonably long, you also want to check your wheelchair’s range. This is the maximum distance it will travel on a single charge.
The range directly impacts your ability to use the wheelchair without interruptions. Most electric wheelchairs have a range of around 8 to 10 miles on a full charge. Top-tier models can travel for up to 20 miles.
Your battery indicator will help you keep track of the remaining power and reduce the risk of remaining stranded.
The range will be affected by factors like the frequency of use, terrain, and user weight.
Since you are likely to use your wheelchair for long hours a day, it’s critical that it is as comfortable as possible. Here are some ways manufacturers enhance the comfort of electric wheelchairs.
- Seating– This is a critical part in terms of your wheelchair’s comfort. The seats should be sufficiently padded to reduce discomfort and pressure points during use. The seat’s size should also be adjustable to fit your body perfectly. Not too wide, not too narrow.
- Legroom and Backrest– Make sure there is sufficient legroom to allow for easy movements and adjustments. Similarly, you should also be able to contour or adjust the backrest for a comfortable seating posture.
- Suspension– The suspension system helps absorb vibrations and shocks during rides for enhanced comfort. This is especially important when traveling over rough terrain.
- Intuitive Controls– The control interface should be designed ergonomically to make it as easy to use as possible.
- Noise Level– It may not seem like much, but the quieter the motor and mechanical components, the less disruptive and more pleasant the user experience.
Don’t compromise on safety. Your well-being matters above everything else. Here are safety features to look for in your wheelchair.
- Safety Belts and Harnesses– Like any automobile, always wear your safety belt to secure yourself in position.
- Speed Control– Use the speed settings to set a maximum speed. Beware of other people when maneuvering in crowded areas and tight spaces.
- Braking System– The brakes need to be highly reactive for quick halts in case of hazards or emergencies.
- Certifications– Confirm that your wheelchair is certified and complies with safety standards and regulations. This is a guarantee of high quality.
Familiarize yourself with the wheelchair’s user manual to remain updated on important safety information and user guidelines.
This is the maximum weight– user’s weight plus any items and accessories– that the wheelchair can support comfortably. Exceeding this capacity will lead to discomfort and shorten the wheelchair’s lifespan.
Give yourself a weight safety margin when selecting an electric wheelchair. This way, you can accommodate additional equipment or increase in weight.
A wheelchair’s turning radius is the smallest circular space within which it can turn. It is normally measured in inches or centimeters.
It is an important factor that affects a wheelchair’s ability to navigate tight corners and confined spaces. A small turning radius is important indoors and allows the wheelchair to navigate doorways and narrow hallways with ease.
But not just indoors; a tight turning radius allows the wheelchair to make sharp turns in public spaces.
The type of wheelchair will affect the turning radius. Front-wheel drive wheelchairs have a larger turning radius than mid-wheel wheelchairs.
Most electric wheelchairs will have a joystick for controlling them. You can move the wheelchair forward and backward and turn it. Ensure that the joystick is within arm’s reach and that it is easy to use. This allows you to use the chair without much hassle.
How much are you willing and able to spend on an electric wheelchair?
Having a budget in place helps narrow down your options to suit your specific needs and priorities.
Basic wheelchair models come with essential features at affordable prices, while advanced models have additional features but are expensive. But you also want to factor in the long-term cost of the wheelchair.
Premium models may be expensive upfront but will save you a lot on maintenance, repairs, and battery replacement.
At Mobility Paradise, we understand that Mobility equipment can be expensive. That’s why we have partnered with Bread Pay to come up with the Pay Over Time Program. You can now pay for your equipment in small multiple installments instead of one lump sum.
Accessories and Add-Ons
Accessories not only make your wheelchair look good, but they also enhance its functionality and convenience. Here are some mobility accessories you seriously need to consider getting:
- Cup Holders– These attachments are convenient for holding drinks and small items to ensure they are within easy reach.
- Oxygen Tank Holders– For users who need oxygen, you can add tank holders to carry your oxygen tank securely during travels.
- Wheelchair Ramps– Perfect for accessing buildings and vehicles, wheelchair ramps are a must-have accessory.
- Umbrella Attachments– Who knows when the weather will change? But why worry when you can protect yourself with this accessory?
Prioritize your needs and comfort when selecting an accessory. Also, ensure that the accessory is compatible with your wheelchair model.
Warranty and Support
Finally, we’ve got warranty and customer support. A good warranty coverage gives you peace of mind, knowing that you are assured of your chair’s longevity and compensation or replacement in case any issues arise within the stipulated time.
As for customer support, you only get that from a reliable mobility supplier. A good supplier has responsive and committed customer support that is always available when you need assistance, replacement parts, or repairs.
Be sure to keep records of warranty documents for future reference.
All these factors are the difference between poor-quality wheelchairs and the top products in the market. Take time to find something that will enhance your independence and quality of life. When in doubt, browse through our extensive collection of electric wheelchairs.
Your mobility is our top priority. Contact us, and we will assist you in finding the perfect electric wheelchair for your unique needs.