People who have impaired mobility want to know what the best wheelchairs on the market are. For myself, I find that that the electric models are the best, because they give you independence without requiring any effort from you or your caregiver. You are able to go wherever you want without having to ask for help.
Deciding on the best wheelchairs in this category is the next logical step. Here is a list based off of my personal experience. These are the best wheelchairs on the market right now:
- 1 1. LITERIDER ENVY GP162 ELECTRIC POWERCHAIR REVIEW
- 2 2. DRIVE MEDICAL CIRRUS PLUS FOLDING POWER WHEELCHAIR REVIEW
- 3 3. PRIDE GO-CHAIR TRAVEL POWER WHEELCHAIR REVIEW
- 4 Choosing The Best Wheelchairs On The Market
- 5 Making a Choice Between the Best Wheelchairs Right Now
1. LITERIDER ENVY GP162 ELECTRIC POWERCHAIR REVIEW
Compact and inviting, this power wheelchair has a lot to offer in terms of comfort and convenience. It has a standard capacity of 300 pounds, meaning it could work well even for heavier people, myself included. The tubular frame design makes this one of the best wheelchairs lighter and sturdier at the same time. While LiteRider Envy GP162 is not among the lightest, it can be disassembled for easier transportation. The heaviest piece weighs 35 pounds, so it should be easy for a caregiver to do the loading and unloading.
The main features that you should focus on are:
The Full-Sized Stadium Seat: For me personally, I am very fond of the heavy seat cushioning, backrest padding, and ergonomic design.
The Storage Basket: Located conveniently right under the seat this is a very functional feature, even if there is limited storage space.
The Folding Footrest: The folding footrest makes getting into and getting off of the wheelchair quicker. Personally, I would have preferred a longer and wider footrest, but it is important to note that everyone is different.
The Wide Drive Wheels: The large and wide size of the wheels give the wheelchair stability and enables it to ride smoothly even on rough terrains.
This wheelchair is one of the best wheelchairs because while it may not look like it, it is a top performer. It has a turning radius of 26 inches, making it easy to maneuver in small spaces. You can comfortably ride it in your house, on pavement, and on park pathways.
While the maximum speed of 3.5 miles per hour isn’t terribly high it is sufficient for those who live in a city. It has an impressive riding range of 15.5 miles powered by a set of two batteries that are just as reliable as the motor and quick to charge. This wheelchair is truly a winner and one of the best wheelchairs available.
- It features a compact design that is lightweight
- Has a comfortable seat and backrest
- It is maneuverable in tight spaces
- It has an impressive maximum range
- It is exceptionally reliable
- The armrests don’t have thick padding
The LiteRider Envy GP162 deserves its spot on our list of best wheelchairs because it is comfortable and practical. It is also a great performer and this makes it one of the best wheelchairs on the market today.
2. DRIVE MEDICAL CIRRUS PLUS FOLDING POWER WHEELCHAIR REVIEW
This mobility device has a classic wheelchair design and the capacity to give users with weight up to 300 pounds an effortless ride. The solid construction is a major plus of Drive Medical Cirrus Plus and makes it one of the best wheelchairs around. The unit weighs 151 pounds, but only 95 without the battery. Given this and its folding design, it’s safe to say that this model is a fine choice for those who travel a lot. Caregivers should find it easy to load the wheelchair into the trunk of a car.
The main features that you should focus on are:
The 20-Inch Wide Cushion Seat: If you are big like myself, you will be very comfortable in this seat. The padded backrest also adds to the comfort of this wheelchair.
The Padded Armrests: These are exceptionally important to me and need to be of consideration for you too when buying a wheelchair. These can be adjusted to give you the best amount of support possible and they are removable to make getting on and off the wheelchair easier.
The Swing-Away Footrests: Both caregivers and users will find this swinging function really helpful. The heel loops also offer excellent support, as does the band for your calves.
The Storage Bag: Located at the back of the seat it is compact yet convient.
12.5 by 2.25-inch drive wheels with flat-free design – They are big and strong and allow the wheelchair to move smoothly even when the terrain is rougher. The big front casters help for this too.
The Drive Medical Cirrus Plus is one of the best wheelchairs because it is an exceptional performer. Featuring adjustable tension along with a dependable transmission and motor, this chair is ideal for those, like me, who like being out and about. It also has a 15-mile travel range and its 33-inch turning radius makes it easy to get around corners. It effortlessly glides and the joystick is convenient and easy to use. It is one of the best wheelchairs.
- This wheelchair folds up quickly
- It is very versatile
- It features standout comfort and support
- It is an excellent performer
- It has a long travel range
- It comes in a predominantly black color
Due to its comfortable and functional design along with various adjustable features, the Drive Medical Cirrus Plus is definitely one of the best wheelchairs available today.
3. PRIDE GO-CHAIR TRAVEL POWER WHEELCHAIR REVIEW
While this model may seem bulky it is compact. It is only 33-inches long, is easy to dissemble, and this makes it simple to transport or store. It also has a weight capacity of 300 pounds making it ideal for larger people like myself.
The features which you should pay the closest attention to when evaluating this one of the best wheelchairs are:
The Stadium-Style Seat: The seat features thick padding and an ergonomic design that makes it very comfortable.
The Under The Seat Storage Bins: These are easy to reach and open. Although they seem small, they are able to hold a lot of things.
The Compact Folding Footrest: This is a great feature because it is both long and wide making getting in and out of the chair so much easier for people like myself.
The 9-Inch Drive Wheels: With a large width as well these wheels make the chair stable on all kinds of terrains.
This model is one of the best wheelchairs available because of its performance too. While it’s top speed of 3.7 mph isn’t very high, it is just right when it comes to maneuvering around people on the streets. This is a very easy task, actually, thanks to the extremely small turning radius of the model – just 25.4 inches. Going around the house is also hassle-free because of it. Given that the maximum range of Pride Go-Chair is 8.74 miles, it could be the best choice for indoor use and for outings in the neighborhood. And yet, if these are your elderly days, this wheelchair could be perfect for you.
- It is exceptionally comfortable
- It is an excellent performer
- It is very convenient to use and maneuverable
- It is easy to dissemble
- The joystick tends to be sensitive to higher settings
If you are looking for a comfortable power wheelchair to use on a daily basis, the Pride Go-Chair is on of the best wheelchairs for this.
Choosing The Best Wheelchairs On The Market
Wheelchairs are almost all alike, what is the big deal?
Finding the best wheelchairs on the market is a lot more work than what the average person may think. There are differences in wheelchairs just as there are differences in any consumer product. When it comes to buying a wheelchair picking the right one is exceptionally important. There are large differences in the way wheelchairs respond to their environment, how they fit, and how they feel. The best wheelchairs feel and respond to their environment smoothly.
There are also differences in the kind of person who uses a wheelchair. Those who use wheelchairs vary in many ways such as:
- Age: Children, young adults, and older adults all can need and use wheelchairs at different times.
- Gender: Boys and girls use wheelchairs as do men and women.
- Body Type: From thin to overweight, muscular to average, all kinds of body types need a wheelchair that will work for them.
- Diagnosis: Some people are simply too weak, others are paralyzed or missing limbs and some have poor balance and need a wheelchair.
- Activity Level: Some need to do all of their activities in a wheelchair while others may only need it on occasion.
- Places of Usage: Some only use a wheelchair in their home environment. Others travel around the community in theirs and get a lot of usage out of them by doing a variety of activities.
- Preferences: Some people just like different features or things in their wheelchair.
People and their abilities as well as needs vary greatly. There are numerous combinations of people and their mobility equipment. That’s the challenge. Figuring out what kind of wheelchair is appropriate for each individual.
When buying or getting a wheelchair for the first time can be overwhelming. There are so many choices on the market. Truth is most are overwhelmed by the idea of needing a wheelchair, typically, people don’t think of themselves in a wheelchair.
If you have mobility impairments then a wheelchair might give you some freedom.
This is especially true if it is difficult or impossible for you to walk. Wheelchairs come in numerous makes, sizes, and models. If you are in the market for a new wheelchair then you will want to find a chair that will meet your specific needs.
There are two main types of wheelchairs. They are motorized wheelchairs and manual wheelchairs. The user maneuvers a manual wheelchair while motorized wheelchairs will either partially or fully assist you.
Types of Manual Wheelchairs
- Transport Wheelchairs: Designed to be pushed by your caregiver, these wheelchairs are known for being accommodating. They work really well in hospitals and medical offices. They fold up really easily for storage and can support up to 300 pounds. Heavier duty ones can accommodate larger users.
- Standard Manual Wheelchairs: With large black wheels and a push rim for you to propel yourself, these kinds of wheelchairs are great for those who can use their arms. They fold up quickly, and are easy to store. This makes them the best product on the market for traveling.
- Bariatric Manual Wheelchairs: Bariatric wheelchairs are for who are larger and require reinforcement to support their weight or size. These types of wheelchairs are usually studier and have a larger frame along with wider seats. A bariatric wheelchair can support up to 700 pounds and can recline so that the users weight is evenly distributed.
- Light and Ultra Lightweight Wheelchairs: In recent years, wheelchairs that weigh less have become more and more popular. These lightweight wheelchairs weigh less than 50 pounds and are excellent for travel with.
- Sport Wheelchairs: Sports wheelchairs are for those who enjoy playing sports. Just because you are using a wheelchair doesn’t mean you cannot play basketball, rugby, or other sports. With your sports wheelchair you can easily maneuver the playing field and participate in your favorite sports.
- Pediatric Wheelchairs: These are wheelchairs designed for toddlers, kids, preteens and teenagers. They tend to have a smaller frame with a narrow seat. Pediatric wheelchairs also feature the ability o adjust the handle bars to the height of the caregiver so that the caregiver can push the wheelchair easily enough.
There are many features and things to consider when buying a new wheelchair. You want to get one that meets all your needs. Listed below are some technical features you will want to think about before buying your wheelchair.
- The Seat Width of the Wheelchair: When looking for a wheelchair the seat width is important to consider. Everyone varies in body shape and size. That is why you need to find a width that works for you. Generally speaking, however, most wheelchairs range from 16 inches to 20 inches with 18 inches being the most popular choice among consumers. It is important to note that pediatric wheelchairs tend to have an average seat size of 14 inches whereas, on the opposite end up the spectrum, bariatric wheelchairs can reach 30 inches wide.
- The Seat Depth of the Wheelchair: The seat depth is the measurement from the front to back of the wheelchair seat. To get the correct seat depth you need to measure from the back of the patients’ pelvis all the way to the back of their shins while they are seated.
- The Seat to Floor Height of the Wheelchair: This part of the wheelchair is determined by taking a measurement from the seat to the floor. It is necessary to determine if the users feet will be dangling, dragging, or just right. Getting a comfortable fit depends on a person’s individual height and needs. For instance, if the user is used to pushing themselves in their wheelchair using their feet, then a lower floor to seat height may be better for them.
- Back Height of the Wheelchair: The wheelchair backrest can be a good measurement to consider. This measurement is the top of the backrest to the top of the seat. If you need additional features of equipment the back height may need to be extended and modified.
- Armrests of the Wheelchair: There are two basic categories for the arm rest. First you have full length arm rests and then you have desk length armrests. Full length gives our arms extra support while desk length makes it easier to access desks or tables. The armrests can be modified be adjusted, to include removable arms, and flip back.
- Leg Rests of the Wheelchair: There are two basic types of leg rests. The first is leg rests that swing-away and the other is elevating leg rests. With swing away leg rests, the user can get in and out of their chair without any issues. This is because the leg rests rotate to let the user access to easily mount or dismount their wheelchair. Elevating leg rests come with a calf pad that will allow you to raise the legs to prevent any kind of swelling.
- Dual Axle Wheelchair: A dual axle makes it so that you can change the chair from a standard height to hemi height. Hemi height is usually 2 inches lower than standard height. The hemi height makes it so that user can propel their chair using their feet with ease. It also makes the seat height adjustable so if you are under five feet tall this is an ideal feature.
- Quick Release Wheels on a Wheelchair: The benefit of quick release wheels on your wheelchair is that it makes it easier to store the wheelchair and transport it. It is designed for those who want a wheelchair that is easy to transport.
Buying Your First Wheelchair
When getting a wheelchair, if you are like most, you will rely on the most knowledgeable person you know when you go to buy that first wheelchair. This could be a nurse, a friend who works in the medical field, an occupational or physical therapist, or salesperson at a durable medical equipment store. New users typically get their first wheelchair through one of these people. The kinds of wheelchairs people tend to get are:
- Temporary loaners that are hand-me downs from someone they know
- A rental chair from a company that partners with your insurance
- A doctor’s prescription that they take to a medical supply store salesman.
- Or A Wheelchair Clinic where there are experienced rehabilitation technology suppliers.
The end-result or outcome of buying your first wheelchair can vary. Sometimes, people have a good experience, and sometimes they do not. Some first-time buyers don’t know what to expect from the process. The experience is so new to them and they don’t know what to expect. Sometimes the professionals make suggestions on what will best suite you and your needs.
A wheelchair can have numerous accessories. Some do not attach to the wheelchair itself, yet they make the life of the user easier. To make things easy for you, here is a list of the top 10 wheelchair accessories available to you.
- Automated Door Openers For Your Wheelchair: Getting in and out of closed doors can be difficult for those in a wheelchair. This is especially true if you are lacking upper body strength. By using an automatic door opener and motion sensor to make it work, you can conveniently navigate your home without having to leave all the doors open at all times.
- Hair Washing Tray For Your Wheelchair: Being in a wheelchair can make showering and washing your hair difficult. By using a hair-washing tray, you sit back, relax, and get that spa-like hair treatment right from your bathroom sink. All you need to do is back up against a sink, strop the tray to keep it from moving and relax as your caregiver washes your hair.
- Carrying Case For Your Wheelchair: Storing and transporting your wheelchair is so much easier when you have a carry-on bag that is made to fit your wheelchair. If you have a lightweight wheelchair or a transport chair, then it is a good idea to consider getting a carrying case to make your life easier.
- Organizers for your Wheelchair: With a nice wheelchair organizer you can take all your personal belongings out with you as you travel. The wheelchair organizer is attached on the back or side of your chair. That way your belonging are within your reach at all times
- Wheelchair Ramps For Your Wheelchair: This a big one, because wherever you go if there is no ramp to get to your destination, having your own portable ramp is the solution. Portable ramps are designed to help you get into buildings and access different places.
- Cushions for your Wheelchair: Despite being designed with your comfort in mind, sometimes you may need a softer seat to fit your needs. This is when you want to consider getting a wheelchair cushion. That way you can be as comfortable as humanly possible in your wheelchair.
- Oxygen Tank Holder For Your Wheelchair: If you need an oxygen tank then you need to take it with you wherever you go. An oxygen tank holder makes it so you don’t have to hold the oxygen tank on your lap, thus lightening your load.
- Rear Scooter Baskets For Your Wheelchair: This feature is really nice to have.it give you extra storage space so that you can easily run errands and zoom through the grocery store without having to handle overflowing plastic baggies of groceries.
- Armrest Covers For Your Wheelchair: Being in a wheelchair for most of the days can get tiring, frustrating, and sometimes even painful. Armrest covers, much like the seat cushions adds to the overall comfort of your wheelchair. Another benefit to armrests covers is that your likelihood of having pressure scores, from the constant pressure and friction of the armrests, is greatly reduced.
- Wheelchair Trays: With a wheelchair tray you can work smarter. The tray attaches to your wheelchair and makes it easy to use your wheelchair as a makeshift desk. If you work in an office or are on your computer a lot, you may want to consider getting a wheelchair tray.
These are just ten of many accessories that might be useful to have with your wheelchair. Some honorable mentions that are not listed here are, cup holders, wheelchair gloves, wheel lock extensions, covers for your wheelchair, and drain bag holders.
Things To Think About Before Making a Purchase
There is a lot to think about before purchasing a wheelchair. Some of those things include:
- Your Doctor’s Advice and Recommendations: Always consult with your physician about any mobility device you may need. They might have specific requirements or recommendations.
- Your Body Size: Wheelchairs have different weight capacities and ratings for optimal performance and safety.
- Wheelchair Size: Chairs are usually measured by the width of the seat. Wheelchair sizes range form 16” to 24”.
- Wheelchair Height: Proper height can make the difference when it comes to getting in and out of your wheelchair. Ideally you want to be able to touch the floor while seated.
- Seat Cushion: Do you need a seat cushion? Typically these cushions add 1 to 3 inches to the height of your chair so this is important to consider.
Other more involved things to ask yourself when purchasing a wheelchair is:
- Is your home wheelchair accessible? Even if your doorways are wide enough for the width of a wheelchair to fit through, you need to consider what is in the way once you enter. Can you turn or does something need to be relocated? You will want to pay special attention to your kitchen and bathroom areas.
- Does your home or work have ramps? You will want to think about how you want to come and go from your home. Do you need to install ramps? Is your work wheelchair accessible? Things like that are also important to consider when buying a wheelchair.
- Do you travel a lot? If you are constantly on the move a lightweight and portable wheelchair is essential. Consider where you are going carefully, and see what you need to do to make your wheelchair work for you.
Making a Choice Between the Best Wheelchairs Right Now
To take the right decision, consider your individual needs in the first place – your level of mobility and how often you’d like to go out. Remember that comfort level which the seat offers is as important as the overall performance of the model. When picking the best wheelchairs, visit Amazon for more details and reviews.