If you or a loved one needs an electric wheelchair, it’s essential to understand the electric wheelchair types to get the one that best meets the user’s needs.
Many types of electric wheelchairs are available, each with features and benefits. These include travel electric wheelchairs, full-size electric wheelchairs, heavy-duty electric wheelchairs, and folding electric wheelchairs.
In this blog post, I’ll share more information about each type of electric power wheelchair and what to consider when selecting the right one.
How Do Electric Wheelchairs Work?
Electric wheelchairs have a motor that is POWERED by batteries. The user CONTROLS the direction and speed of the wheelchair with a joystick or other type of control device.
Some electric wheelchairs also have FEATURES that allow the user to raise and lower the seat, adjust the backrest, or even tilt the chair to help with positioning.
Related: 8 Best Powered Wheelchair for Outdoor Use
Different Types of Electric Wheelchairs
When selecting an electric wheelchair, it’s essential to consider the user’s needs and find one that meets those NEEDS. Here are some electric wheelchair types you can check out:
1. Travel Electric Wheelchairs
Travel electric wheelchairs are LIGHTWEIGHT and compact, making them ideal for users who need a wheelchair that is easy to transport.
These wheelchairs typically have SMALLER motors and batteries, making them more affordable than other electric wheelchairs. However, they may only be able to accommodate users who weigh up to 250 pounds or who need a HIGHER level of mobility.
2. Heavy-Duty Electric Wheelchairs
Heavy-duty electric wheelchairs are designed for users who weigh more than 250 pounds. These wheelchairs have STRONGER motors and batteries to accommodate the user’s weight capacity.
They are also larger and heavier than other types of electric wheelchairs, which makes them more DIFFICULT to transport.
3. Full-Size Electric Wheelchairs
Full-size electric wheelchairs are LARGER than travel electric wheelchairs and can accommodate users up to 550 pounds.
These wheelchairs have more POWERFUL motors and batteries, which makes them more expensive than travel electric wheelchairs.
4. Folding Electric Wheelchairs
Folding electric wheelchairs are designed to be EASILY transported. They can be folded and placed in the trunk or on an airplane.
However, they may only be able to accommodate users who weigh up to 250 pounds.
5. Rear Wheel Drive Power Wheelchairs
Rear-wheel drive electric wheelchairs are the MOST familiar type of wheelchair. Rear wheel models are easy to maneuver and provide good traction on uneven surfaces.
Rear-wheel drive wheels are typically larger than front-wheel drive wheels, making them ideal for users who need a higher level of mobility.
However, they may not be suitable for users who need a HIGHER level of mobility or who weigh more than 250 pounds.
6. Front Wheel Drive Power Wheelchairs
Front-wheel drive electric power chairs are LESS common than rear-wheel drive models.
Front wheelchairs typically have SMALLER wheels, making them more maneuverable in tight spaces.
Front-wheel drive electric power chairs are ideal for users who need a HIGHER level of mobility or who weigh more than 250 pounds.
Pro Tip: Mobility scooters are an excellent option for those who need a little help getting around but don’t want to use a wheelchair.
7. Mid-Wheel Drive Wheelchairs
Mid-wheel drive electric wheelchairs are similar to front-wheel drive models, but the wheels are located in the MIDDLE of the chair.
This makes them more maneuverable than rear-wheel drive models. 
Mid-wheel drive electric wheelchairs are ideal for users who need a HIGHER level of mobility or who weigh more than 250 pounds.
How to Choose the Right Electric Wheelchair?
Now that you know about the different types of electric wheelchairs available, it’s time to choose the right one for you or your loved one. Here are some things to consider when selecting an electric power chair:
1. The Needs Of The User
Consider the user’s needs when selecting an electric wheelchair.
For example, if the user needs a wheelchair that is easy to transport, a travel electric power wheelchair would be a good choice.
Pro Tip: Always get input from the user when selecting an electric power wheelchair.
2. The Weight Of The User
If the user weighs more than 250 pounds, you must choose heavy-duty power wheelchairs. This type of wheelchair has stronger motors and batteries to accommodate the user’s weight.
3. The Budget
Electric power chairs can be expensive, so it’s essential to consider your budget when selecting one. The prices could range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
Pro Tip: Get quotes from multiple suppliers to find the best price.
4. The Features
Each type of electric power chair has its own set of features.
Consider the most important features to you or your loved one when selecting a wheelchair.
The Benefits of Electric Wheelchairs
Electric power wheelchairs have many benefits, including the following:
- They provide mobility for users who cannot walk.
- They are easier to transport than manual wheelchairs.
- They are available in various styles and sizes to meet the needs of different users.
- They can be customized with additional features to meet the user’s needs.
Consider the different types of electric power chairs and their features to find the right one for you or your loved one.
Pro Tip: Be sure to test drive an electric power chair before buying it to ensure it meets your needs.
The Drawbacks of Electric Wheelchairs
Electric power chairs also have some drawbacks, including the following:
- They are more expensive than manual wheelchairs.
- They require regular maintenance and care.
- The batteries need to be regularly charged.
- Some wheelchairs may only be able to accommodate users who weigh up to 250 pounds.
Please consult a medical professional if you have any questions about electric power chairs.
Should The Terrain Worry You?
Some of you might wonder if the terrain will be an issue when using an electric power wheelchair.
You don’t generally have to worry about the terrain! With an electric power wheelchair, you can go just about anywhere you want to go as long as there is a smooth, level surface.
However, if the terrain is particularly rough or hilly, you may want to consider a DIFFERENT type of wheelchair. Here are other different kinds of wheelchairs that may be better suited for rough terrain:
1. All-Terrain Electric Wheelchairs
All-terrain wheelchairs are designed for use on uneven terrain. They have LARGER wheels and a more POWERFUL motor than other electric wheelchairs. 
2. Rough Terrain Wheelchairs
Rough terrain wheelchairs are manual wheelchairs designed for use on rough terrain. They have large wheels and a DURABLE frame, making them a good choice for users who need a wheelchair that can go anywhere.
Where Can I Buy An Electric Wheelchair?
Electric power wheelchairs can be purchased from medical supply stores, online retailers, or directly from the manufacturer.
How Often Do Electric Wheelchair Batteries Need To Be Charged?
Most electric power wheelchair batteries need to be charged every day. However, some newer motorized wheelchairs have batteries that can last up to two weeks between charges.
Do Electric Wheelchairs Require Regular Maintenance?
Yes, electric wheelchairs require regular maintenance, such as cleaning and lubricating the wheels and motors. Wheelchair users should also check the batteries regularly to ensure they are properly charged.
Why Should I choose A Mobility Scooter Over a Power Wheelchair?
A mobility scooter may be a better option than a wheelchair for users who need to travel long distances or want the freedom to go anywhere. However, mobility scooters are more expensive than electric wheelchairs and require regular maintenance.
Electric power wheelchairs offer several benefits for users, including increased independence and mobility.
Various electric power wheelchair types are available on the market, so it is vital to do your research to find the best option.
If you have any questions about the types of electric power wheelchairs, be sure to consult with your doctor or other medical professionals to ensure that an electric power wheelchair is the right choice for you.
So, what types of electric wheelchairs do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section!
- 1. Rehab Q. Benefits of a Mid-Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair | Quantum Rehab® [Internet]. Quantum – The Rehab Power Chair Solutions Company. [cited 2022 Nov 27]. Available from: https://www.quantumrehab.com/resources/consumer-article-benefits-of-a-mid-wheel-drive-power-wheelchair.asp
- 2. World D. All Terrain Wheelchairs: Types, Information and Reviews [Internet]. Disabled World. 2014. Available from: https://www.disabled-world.com/assistivedevices/mobility/wheelchairs/allterrain/