What is a power chair and why would you use one?
Electric wheelchairs, or commonly referred to as ‘power chairs’, are mobile chairs powered by electric motors. They are much shorter in length than a scooter and are much more manoeuvrable, making them much better for indoor use.
The seating on a power chair can be anything from a basic scooter seat, right through to a seating system that has been formed specifically around you. Certain power chairs can be fitted with power options for personalised requirements which will aid your comfort, support and positioning. These features combined make power chairs better suited to the more immobilised user with greater needs.
Who would use a power chair?
Power chairs are most often used by those who have:
• Long-term conditions and can no longer walk short distances without risk of falling
• Those whose medical conditions previously have restricted them to a manual wheelchair, but now can no longer achieve independence in a manual chair
• Those who may have been bed-or-chair bound for some time and where medical conditions allow, would be able to achieve a more independent lifestyle with the assistance of a carer
• Those who have been left with spinal injuries
Power Chair Types
Pride Mobility’s light rehab range of power chairs starting with the effortless, transportable Go-Chair, ideal for those who need a little extra help getting around indoors, right through to our Quantum Rehab range: designed to be custom built around your needs, offering state-of-the art features.
Power chairs fall into three main categories: Rear Wheel Drive, Mid Wheel Drive, and Front Wheel Drive. But what is the difference and which best suits your needs?
Rear Wheel drive
Rear Wheel Drive Power chairs are what most people would recognise as a power chair. The frame of the wheelchair can range in style and this type of wheelchair comes with a choice of folding frame or fixed frame depending on the model.
Rear Wheel Drive Power chairs are very simple to drive with the aid of a joystick control, which can be mounted on either the left or right of the wheelchair. The seating and comfort can be adjusted around your needs and they can be re-charged through a simple connection on the joystick (most models). Because the drive wheels are at the back of the wheelchair, rear wheel drive wheelchairs can need larger spaces to turn around in.
Mid Wheel Drive
Mid Wheel Drive Power chairs, look very different from rear wheel drive power chairs, as the main drive wheels have been moved from the rear of the wheelchair to the middle part of the wheelchair.
Moving the drive wheels to the middle of a wheelchair makes a very big difference to how the wheelchair drives and the space the wheelchair needs for turning. Mid Wheel Drive Power chairs also have a very low centre of gravity, which can make them feel more stable in use.
Like rear wheel drive power chairs, mid wheel drive power chairs are controlled in just the same way, with a joystick control, which can be mounted on either the left of right of the power chair. Because mid wheel drive wheelchairs need less space to turn in, you can very often get a larger wheelchair into a smaller space.
Front Wheel Drive
Front Wheel Drive Power chairs have the drive wheels mounted at the front of the wheelchair. This system is less commonly used, and can suffer from poor drive quality when compared to Mid Wheel drive. Currently Pride Mobility Products do not offer a front wheel drive wheelchair.