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Seniors Mobility Aids

How Long Does the Electric Wheelchair Battery Last? [Guide]

Written by Haley Burress
Last Updated :
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If you recently bought a wheelchair, you must wonder, how long does the electric wheelchair battery last?

Everyone wants power chair batteries to last as long as possible, but that’s not possible.

Like everything else, they too have a limited life span. Read to find it out!

How Long Does an Electric Wheelchair Battery Last?

transporting electric wheelchair

There are different types of wheelchair batteries. But they all have one thing in common: their limited life spans.

The average wheelchair battery has a life span of between one and two years. A life of two years reveals the battery’s quality, frequency of use, and other factors.

Wheelchairs usually last three to five years (1).

Poor quality batteries can last as little as six months for an infrequent user. With proper care, a good quality battery shouldn’t work for such a short time.

Of course, there’s a thin line between what you’d call a good life span and a normal one.

So then, what are the factors that affect this life span? What can you do to have an extended battery life?

Let’s see about that.

6 Factors That Affect an Electric Wheelchair Battery Life Span

You can’t use something and expect it to remain at that peak performance level. It doesn’t matter the battery type — there’ll surely come a day you’ll need new ones.

Here are the things that will influence how long you use your wheelchair’s battery.

1. Your Charging Habits

The correct charging habits will determine the power wheelchair battery life span. You may severely reduce the battery’s life span if you repeatedly charge the battery over one time a day.

To maintain the wheelchair battery’s longevity, charge it only once a day.

Other good battery maintenance practices are letting it discharge before charging and only using the correct battery charger.

2. The Terrain You Use Your Wheelchair In

Where do you use your wheelchair? Even a battery in mint condition will struggle to keep up when you use it on hilly, rough terrains.

The battery ages a little each time you use it. If you use it on rough terrains, then that’s going to make it age twice faster.

But don’t lose your independence just to conserve your battery.

A wheelchair should enable you to go anywhere you want, even if you have to replace the batteries more regularly!

3. Wheelchair Weight Load

I bet you didn’t know checking your weight is also part of recommended battery care! But your own weight isn’t the only factor.

Maybe you carry too much baggage in your wheelchair, which increases the weight load.

Such loads increase battery strain and cause the battery to wear out faster. If you’ve done that before, you’ve probably noticed that you consistently have a flat battery after each trip.

4. Frequency of Use

Research by the Department of Veterans Affairs found that wheelchair users are in their wheelchairs for 11.8 hours a day, on average (2).

The frequency of use also has an impact on battery life. In fact, it is key to answering a common question — how long does an electric wheelchair battery last?

Fortunately, you can limit it, unlike some factors such as weight load.

 If you want to conserve the battery, only use the wheelchair when necessary. The more your daily activities, the faster batteries wear out.

5. The Type of Battery

Let’s face it; not all batteries are the same. Some types will routinely last longer. Gel batteries, for instance, could last a long time if you take proper care of them.

But some types, such as AGM batteries, fall apart once you put the slightest strain on them.

After only a few short months, you could find your wheelchair battery not holding charge. Even if you follow the necessary charging process.

6. Stop-Start Wheelchair Driving

Something else that will influence battery health and life is your mode of driving. Quickly accelerating, then stopping, then starting again will affect the time you’ll have the battery.

Therefore, drive at steadier speeds to conserve the battery and avoid stop-start driving.

FAQs

Can you overcharge an electric wheelchair?

You can’t overcharge a power wheelchair battery. These batteries have a unique mechanism that stops overcharging. That can only happen if you’re using the correct charger, though.

How often should you charge wheelchair batteries?

Once a day after a full day of use. Fully charged batteries usually last a day before needing a recharge. Ensure you’ve discharged them before charging them.

What can I do to boost my wheelchair battery life span?

You can charge the battery correctly to boost your wheelchair battery life span. Also, use it only on flat surfaces if you can and avoid stop-start driving.

Conclusion

So how long does the electric wheelchair battery last? One to three years, depending on some factors. I wish I could say as long as you want it to!

Your usage and the terrain you use it on will affect the battery’s longevity. The way you drive will also influence the number of times you’ll need a wheelchair battery replacement.

But that’s not too steep a price to pay for your independence, right?

electric wheelchair battery l

References

  • 1. Cooper RA, Thorman T, Cooper R, Dvorznak MJ, Fitzgerald SG, Ammer W, et al. Driving characteristics of electric-powered wheelchair users: How far, fast, and often do people drive? Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation [Internet]. 2002;83:250–5. Available from: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~cga/behavior/epw-datalogger.pdf
  • 2. Ding D. Usage of tilt-in-space, recline, and elevation seating functions in natural environment of wheelchair users. The Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development. 2008;45:973–84.

About Author

Haley Burress
Haley has been working with seniors and their caregivers for more than 17 years. She has held local and national leadership roles in a variety of senior services and senior care agencies. Today, she is a sought after writer specializing in topics for older adults, their family members, and professional caregivers. When she isn't at her computer sipping coffee, you can find her hiking with her husband, son, and dog or trying a new cookie recipe in the kitchen. Follow her on LINKEDIN. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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