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Choosing the right power wheelchair includes some important considerations. We work closely with you to make sure you get the exact model and configuration that meets your needs.

Guide to choosing the power wheelchair that best meets your needs

Indoor

Outdoor

Transportable

Heavy Duty

Important Considerations when Selecting a Power Wheelchair
The choice between an electric wheelchair and a manual wheelchair depends on the physical abilities of the wheelchair user. The primary benefit of a power wheelchairs is providing the ability for a patient to move around when they do not posess the strength of muscles and limbs required for safe walking or manual wheelchair operation.
Power wheelchairs are operated by an electric battery, usually guided by a simple joystick device mounted on the arm rest. Power wheelchairs come equipped with a rechargeable battery and many wheelchair comfort and protective accessories are available (such as wheelchair cushions) filled with foam, air or gel.
The typical configuration includes a “captain’s chair” type seat that fully supports the wheelchair user. The captains chair often reclines and swivels to facilitate comfort and make transferring into and out of the wheelchair easier. Some power wheelchairs even include an electric lifting system to raise and lower the chair.
Choosing the Right Power Wheelchair
Power chairs are propelled by either a mid-wheel drive system or a rear-wheel drive system. Each option offers advantages and disadvantages so it’s important to understand the difference between the drive types.
Choosing the right power wheelchair begins with deciding where the wheelchair will be used. Because power wheelchairs can be used indoors or outdoors the first consideration is to imagine where the chair will be predominantly used. If the planned us is strictly indoors, then the decision is pretty clear that you'll want to look a chairs with mid-wheel drive because mid-wheel drive wheelchairs are very maneuverable. If the chair is going to be use both indoors and out then the decision will involve attempting to strike the right balance between the maneuverability of a mid-wheel chair and the stability of a rear-wheel model.
Mid-wheel Drive Power Wheelchairs - Best for Indoor Use
Mid-wheel drive power chairs have three sets of wheels with the chair being driven by the middle set. The key advantage of mid-wheel drive is maneuverability, providing a much smaller turning radius than rear-wheel drive vehicles. The benefit of high maneuverability comes at the expense of weight distribution not being as even on mid-wheel drive systems because the middle set of wheels supports a higher portion of the load. This makes mid-wheel drive power wheelchairs not quite as stable as rear wheel drive systems but still an excellent choice for indoor use. Indoor-specific mid-wheel power wheelchairs are usually a better choice for home use because of their tighter turning radius that allows for maneuvering in and out of tight spaces. Most units can be customized to meet the patient’s specific needs.
Rear-wheel Drive Power Wheelchairs - Good for Multi-purpose Use
As the name implies, rear-wheel drive power chairs typically have only two sets of wheels (one set in the front and one in the back) with the back wheels being responsible for propelling the wheelchair. They have four actual weight-bearing wheels but may also have the added safety of anti-tip casters. The rear wheel drive system provides a very stable platform with the weight of the driver spread out evenly among the four wheels. This makes rear-wheel drive power wheelchairs  a better choice for outdoor use or for heavy-duty application carrying higher-than-average weight capacities.
Portable Power Wheelchairs
Deciding whether a portable power chair is a viable option depends a great deal on the needs of the user and how they expect to use the electric wheelchair. Transportable power chairs are designed so that they can be broken down into several easy-to-manage pieces. Individual pieces are light enough to be lifted by most people, so the wheelchair can be transported without needing a wheelchair lift. In order to reduce weight, portable power chairs have reduced features, such as smaller seats, and also typically have a slightly lower top speed, range, and weight capacity.
While standard power chairs are not as easily transported without a vehicle wheelchair lift, they are typically more comfortable and include more features. Standard power chairs are more comfortable, have a longer per-charge range, higher top speed, and a greater weight capacity than portable power chairs.
Heavy Duty Power Wheelchairs
Heavy duty or bariatric power wheelchairs are designed for users who require a more robust mobility solution. Many heavy duty models deliver the same high-performance maneuverability of the mid-wheel drive design while offering heavy-duty construction for maximum durability. Features like enhanced seating sizes and more powerful drive trains provide comfort and convenience with weight capacities of 650 lbs.
Let Us Help
We at Hometown are mobility experts and can help you obtain the right power wheelchair based on your needs and goals. We are also expert and handling the paperwork to help you qualify for payment assistance through Medicare or MediCal. Even if you do not qualify for assistance, we offer affordable time payment plans to help your purchase fit your financial situation.
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