Wheelchairs are available in manual and power options. Power wheelchairs are propelled by battery power as opposed to using arm strength. Power wheelchairs use levers to direct movement. There are three main kinds of power wheelchairs on the market currently. Users can choose which type will best fit their needs and lifestyle.
Types Of Power Wheelchairs
The three types are:
1. Front Wheel Drive:
Front-wheel drive wheelchairs have their drive wheels located in the front and the chair’s casters are in the back. The wheelchair’s drive system is located toward the front of the seat.
Advantages of front-wheel drive wheelchairs include:
They can go over curbs and bumps up to 2″ high
They are stable when going up and down slopes
They maneuver quite well around tight corners
Drawbacks of front-wheel drive wheelchairs include:
They have a tendency to fishtail if the user takes turns too quickly
They don’t have as small of a turning radius as other models
2. Mid Wheel Drive:
Mid-wheel drive power wheelchairs can also be referred to as “centre drive” chairs. This is due to the fact that the chair’s drive system is centrally located under the seat.
Advantages of mid-wheel drive wheelchairs include:
They have the tightest turning radius of all power wheelchair options
They are easy to use in smaller spaces such as apartments
They maneuver well on flat outdoor surfaces and indoors
Drawbacks of mid-wheel drive wheelchairs include:
They are not reliable on rough terrain
They may sink and/or lose traction if the terrain is too soft
They are not as easily transportable as other options
They have a weight capacity often capped at 600 pounds
3. Rear Wheel Drive :
Rear-wheel drive power wheelchairs have a design that’s opposite of the front-wheel drive option. The drive system is located toward the back of the chair and the casters are in the front.
Advantages of rear-wheel drive wheelchairs include:
They have great control and maneuverability at higher speeds than other chairs
They have directional stability, which allows less sensitivity in cases of oversteering
They can handle rougher terrain more easily than other options
Drawbacks of rear-wheel drive wheelchairs include:
They have a larger turning radius than other options, so might not be ideal for small spaces
Whatever requirements and needs for a wheelchair an individual have, one of the three power wheelchair options will be ideal for them.