Once you find the perfect electric wheelchair, however, your quality of life and sense of freedom will improve, so it’s worth the effort!
Read our helpful list of the best electric wheelchairs to find a model from a trusted provider that will meet your needs...
What is an Electric Wheelchair?
Electric wheelchairs are powered mobility aids, designed for people whose medical needs prevent them from walking or propelling themselves in manual wheelchairs. They use one or more large batteries to power electric motors attached to the wheels. Because the wheels aren’t needed for the user to propel themselves forward, they often aren’t as large as the ones found on manual wheelchairs.
Accelerating, braking, and steering the electric wheelchair happens in a joystick affixed to one of the handlebars. Usually, there is some customization possible for this joystick, so that it can accommodate the needs of various users. This method of controlling the wheelchair is more efficient and safer than using two large wheels and is preferred by many who have lost some or all of their ability to use their arms.
How Much Does an Electric Wheelchair Cost?
Electric wheelchairs certainly aren’t the least expensive mobility aid on the market. They need to consistently perform at a high level, accommodate different medical needs, and maintain a speed and range that can improve your quality of life. Because of this, electric wheelchairs aren’t cheap!
On the low end of the spectrum, you can expect to pay at least $1,000 for an electric wheelchair. The most expensive models cost more than $12,000- more than what most people’s cars are worth! On average, you’ll be shelling out between $2,500-$4,500 to get yourself into a good electric wheelchair.
Does that sound like a lot? It is! Fortunately, most seniors can get their electric wheelchair paid for, in part or in full, by Medicare and Medicaid. Electric wheelchairs are medically necessary products that are considered Durable Medical Equipment. If you qualify by getting a prescription from a doctor, you can get 80% of your wheelchair covered by Medicare, and 100% (depending on your state’s rules) by Medicaid! It may not work for everyone, but it is certainly worth looking into!
Health Benefits of Electric Wheelchairs
Obviously, electric wheelchairs help people with limited mobility get around, but what health benefits do they provide? Electric mobility chairs do a lot more than just keep you moving. They are a great way to increase your quality of life.
Realizing that your mobility has just been limited causes tremendous stress and anxiety for seniors. Getting a high-quality electric wheelchair provides a sense of freedom and mobility that can reduce those feelings.
Electric wheelchairs also provide people with limited mobility a way to engage in their social lives, as well as contribute to the economy. Studies have shown that access to wheelchairs makes a large difference in people’s perceptions of themselves as well as their ability to actively participate in social and work life. If you aren’t quite ready to shut yourself indoors, an electric wheelchair is a great way to stay out and about!
Finally, electric wheelchairs are much safer than manual wheelchairs, and they may even be healthier. It is nearly impossible for people without full use of both arms to use a manual wheelchair; it can even be dangerous when a senior cannot stop the wheelchair on their own! Manual wheelchairs are also prone to tipping since they use one large and one small set of wheels. Electric wheelchairs use a more stable wheelbase and don’t have as many tipping problems!
Manual wheelchairs can also be exhausting to use; your arms aren’t meant to push you around for miles at a time. While you can adjust over time, overuse of a manual wheelchair can lead to muscle injuries. Electric wheelchairs, on the other hand, don’t carry any risk of muscle injuries! If you can get your hands on an electric wheelchair, it is, in many cases, a better option than a manual wheelchair.
Best Electric Wheelchair Brands
Finding a good electric wheelchair online can be a tough task. There are dozens of companies vying for your patronage, and many of them aren’t household names- because there aren’t many mobility companies that are household names!
It always helps to shop from a provider that has a reputation for quality and trustworthiness. Here are a few of the best electric wheelchair brands around:
In business since 2002, Drive Medical has an outstanding reputation for building powered mobility aids that combine freedom with medical benefits.
Unlike some companies that provide mobility products, Drive focuses on more than just transportation. All of the products they manufacture are focused on giving seniors what they need to remain safe and healthy as medical issues and concerns crop up.
Pride is one of the more recognized names in powered mobility. They have a strong line of mobility scooters that give seniors freedom and independence, and their electric wheelchairs are no different.
They have electric wheelchairs for every need- from heavy-duty bariatric wheelchairs to elevating wheelchairs! Pride Mobility has built a reputation for providing mobility aids that are simultaneously beneficial and fun!
Golden first opened in 1985 and has been building its reputation around affordability and quality ever since.
Their electric wheelchairs are some of the most affordable on the market, compared to similar models from other brands. If you’re looking for an affordable, long-lasting electric wheelchair, Golden Technologies might be right for you!
13 Best Electric Wheelchairs Reviewed
Now it’s time to take a look at the best electric wheelchairs on the market! Each has been chosen as the best for a specific feature or purpose. Read through the list, and find the one that’s right for you!
1. Best Electric Wheelchair in the World: Golden Technologies Compass
The Compass, from Golden Technologies, is loaded with features and performs great in just about every category. With a range of 19.5 miles and a 19-inch turning radius, this electric wheelchair represents a rare combination of indoor and outdoor strength. It can go anywhere you need it to, and you won’t have to worry about the batteries dying in the middle of the day. For people who still maintain a busy lifestyle, such as continuing to work or keeping up a social life, this electric wheelchair is ideal.
The large, plush “captain’s chair” seat provides lots of comfort and support for your neck as well as your back. The joystick can be attached to either armrest, so you don’t have to worry about whether you’ll be able to use your best hand to control the chair. Plus, it has a 300-pound weight capacity that makes it strong enough for almost any senior to use.
The Golden Compass also has six wheels that provide lots of stability when on uneven terrain or hills. The two main wheels are both tall and wide, giving the chair lots of traction on grass and other slippery surfaces. If you’re looking for an electric wheelchair that can keep up with your lifestyle and still help you stay safe, this is it!
2. Best Lightweight Electric Wheelchair: Majestic Long Range Electric Wheelchair
This wheelchair weighs just 56 pounds but can travel 16 miles on a single charge! It’s easy to fold, put in the car, and unfold when you’re ready to move and has a very comfortable memory foam seat. It even features a 300-pound weight capacity; most other lightweight wheelchairs have a lower weight capacity, around 250 pounds.
This electric wheelchair can take you- and you can take it- anywhere! From cruise ships and airplanes to shopping malls and doctor’s offices, there’s no place that’s off-limits to you. If you’ve recently had your mobility limited and you’re looking for a lightweight wheelchair that will give you some of your freedom back, this is it!
3. Best Electric Wheelchair Scooter: Golden Technologies LiteRider
Mobility scooters are a great way for seniors to get around, but they’re not easy to use indoors most of the time. On top of that, they can be difficult for seniors with limited dexterity to control safely. This wheelchair scooter gives you the best of both worlds- the comfort and ease-of-use of an electric wheelchair with the range and stability of a scooter!
9-inch rear wheels provide great traction on all types of terrain, and anti-tip wheels keep you from falling backward on steep inclines. Plus, it has one of the best features that you commonly only find on a scooter: disassembly. You can take the wheelchair apart in just a few minutes, dealing only with lightweight, easy-to-carry pieces! This makes it much easier for you to put the wheelchair into your car, or have your spouse or caregiver help you. Most electric wheelchairs fold or do nothing at all, forcing you to get a wheelchair carrier or wheelchair lift van. The LiteRider gives you the safety- and the convenience- that you need!
4. Best Portable Electric Wheelchair: Wisging Portable Smart Chair
This ultralight electric wheelchair folds up into a package so compact that it’s barely bigger than a backpack! It weighs just 40 pounds, so nearly anyone can lift it easily. While it may not provide the same kind of comfort as larger, more heavily-cushioned models, you gain lots of portability instead.
Many lightweight and portable electric wheelchairs skimp on storage to cut weight and space. This chair, however, includes a nice storage bag that is accessible right under the seat! It won’t fit much, but it’s better than constantly worrying about your keys, phone, and wallet falling out of your pockets. The biggest downside of the chair is that it can only hold 220 pounds; this won’t be a problem for many people but can make this electric wheelchair a non-starter for some.
Even though it’s a very simple wheelchair, it can still be safe for many seniors. Some seniors need a lot of stability in their electric wheelchair; if this describes you, look elsewhere for the perfect wheelchair. If, however, your mobility limitations aren’t quite as severe in the upper body and neck, this chair is a wonderful and inexpensive way to stay moving!
5. Best Travel Electric Wheelchair: Pride Mobility Go-Chair
This chair is one of the all-around best electric wheelchairs on the list. It has a very tight turning radius- just 25 inches- meaning you’ll be able to maneuver through tight spots, indoors and out, easily. Plus, it disassembles just like a mobility scooter for breezy travel and transportation! It might not be the lightest electric wheelchair in the world- not by a long shot- but lightweight design isn’t the only thing that matters in a travel wheelchair.
Being able to move and turn on a dime matters a lot in cruise ship, air travel, and train travel scenarios. Taking your wheelchair apart to put it in the car and snapping it back together in less than a minute is also a pretty big deal. If you like to travel and are struggling with how to keep it up despite your limited mobility, the Pride Go-Chair might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Aside from its ability to become a valued travel companion, this electric wheelchair has a lot to offer. It has a swivel seat that provides convenience and safe entry/exits, and all-terrain wheels that will let you travel over grass, dirt, and even gravel without risking a fall. No matter what your needs are, the Pride Go-Chair has the features to meet them!
6. Best Foldable Electric Wheelchair: Innuovo Elite Foldable Wheelchair
As far as folding electric wheelchairs go, this one is quite hard to beat. Featuring a plush, gel foam cushion, the seat itself is more comfortable than just about any other foldable wheelchair, and we’re just getting started. It also comes with front-wheel shock absorbers, a feature you likely won’t find anywhere else. These two features combine to provide a smooth, jostle-free ride for any senior!
When it comes time to fold the chair, simply snap a few buttons, and your electric wheelchair is ready to be put into the back of your car or simply tucked out of the way. The folded dimensions of the chair are just 12 inches wide and 28 inches tall, and it weighs less than 45 pounds; easy to move and store! And, it has a range of 12 miles, an impressive number for an electric wheelchair this light; stay out all day without a care!
Along with that stellar size, weight and performance come a few choice accessories.
The Innuovo Elite comes with a cupholder, storage bag, and seatbelt! These accessories may not be game-changing for you, but for others, they can be quite valuable. Storage space is important for any senior who wants to stay out longer, engaging in their social life, or simply hold onto their belongings. The cupholder is a luxury that can quickly become a necessity on a hot, sunny day. Finally, the seatbelt, though standard on many wheelchairs, is high quality and very easy to buckle and unbuckle. This makes it easy for people with limited dexterity to use the electric wheelchair safely!
7. Best Electric Wheelchair for Home Use: Elenker 2020 Electric Wheelchair
This wheelchair has the compact frame and comfortable seat you need to use around the house each day. You can go all through the house, from the kitchen to the bathroom, safely and without worrying about getting stuck. If you’re more of a homebody and bulky electric wheelchairs seem like more of a hassle than a benefit, the Elenker 2020 is for you!
It may be great for indoor use, but this wheelchair has the performance needed to be safe outside, too! It would be a bit foolish to opt for an electric wheelchair that is completely useless outside the home; you never know when you may need to take it outdoors. It can take you up to 15 miles on a single charge and has tough, honeycomb wheels that provide lots of stability and shock absorption. Of course, these features also come in handy while you’re at home; it’s just that the Elenker 2020 is more versatile than an “at-home only” wheelchair.
This electric wheelchair has one feature that makes it a great option for using for hours at a time and may end up being more comfortable than your couch at home: an ergonomic headrest. This feature keeps your head and neck still and optimally supported, all day, every day! All things considered, this lightweight, highly-maneuverable electric wheelchair will serve you in your home efficiently for years!
8. Best Off-Road Electric Wheelchair: Forcemech Navigator
This product from Forcemech is like the other folding electric wheelchairs on this list, except revamped for off-road safety and performance. All four wheels are tall and use thick, traction-providing rubber to ensure you’ll be able to glide over grass, dirt, and even light snow without worrying! It even includes a shock-absorbing spring under the backrest that helps you ride over bumpy terrain without getting jostled and shaken around too much.
The Navigator is also one of the fastest and longest-lasting electric wheelchairs in this review list! It has a top speed of 4.5 MPH and can go 18 miles before it needs a recharge. For people who like to spend time outside, visiting parks, and observing nature, having limited mobility can feel particularly devastating.
The Forcemech Navigator gives you back some of your freedom, letting you enjoy the things you love while still being safe and responsible for your health and wellbeing. The wheels on the Navigator are made with honeycomb construction; they’re not air-inflated, so a punctured tire never means a flat. This can get you out of some potentially sticky and dangerous situations when you’re riding off-road!
There is one more feature worth mentioning about this electric wheelchair: it has a weight capacity of nearly 400 pounds! This makes it perfect for people who need a folding option that can support their weight, not just people who like to hang out in nature! If you weigh more than 300 pounds, like to spend time outside, or need an option with extra-long range, look no further than the Forcemech Navigator!
9. Best Indoor/Outdoor Electric Wheelchair: Hoveround LX-5
Hoveround is one of the few household names in mobility, thanks to their ubiquitous TV commercials. The LX-5 is one of their most popular and best-performing models, capable of doing just about anything you need it to! It can reach up to 5 MPH, faster than many other electric wheelchairs, and can handle nearly any terrain!
Hoveround uses a unique round wheelbase that allows their wheelchairs to make tight turns and fit through doorways other electric wheelchairs cannot. The wheels on the LX-5 are also very wide and rubbery, giving you the ability to ride off-road safely and go practically anywhere your legs used to!
Another great thing about this Hoveround model is that you can choose from six different seat heights, from 17 to 23 inches! Some of those seat heights (the 19” and 22” options) include a reclining function for easy relaxation and safe lifting from a caregiver. If you are looking for an electric wheelchair that can maneuver through your home just as easily as it can ride across a grassy field, the Hoveround LX-5 should be at the top of your list!
10. Best Electric Wheelchair for Active Person: Porto Mobility Ranger
Looking to stay moving, and don’t want your electric wheelchair to hold you back? The Ranger, from Porto Mobility, has the power and versatility you need to keep going and going. You can ride up to 20 miles and reach a top speed of 6 MPH, so you won’t feel like your wheelchair is slowing you down. And, the wheelchair folds up like many other models and weighs only 50 pounds, making it one of the most portable wheelchairs on the market!
One of the places electric wheelchairs tend to fail is on inclines. Most wheelchairs are only safe on a 6-degree slope; anything higher than that and you’re risking a very dangerous fall. This is the scenario where a wheelchair is the most likely to cause injuries. The Ranger, however, can handle a 25-degree incline! The wheelchair has a turning radius and a 400-pound weight capacity, too. All of these features combine to form an electric wheelchair that has more possibilities than limitations. It’s ideal for people who want to keep up their active lifestyle despite limited mobility!
11. Best Heavy-Duty Electric Wheelchair: Pride Mobility Jazzy 1450
There are two great things about the Jazzy 1450. First, it is a true heavy-duty, bariatric electric wheelchair that can accommodate users up to 600 pounds. Second, it has all the features and performance that other bariatric wheelchairs lack! Even though it’s made for heavy users, it’ll travel just as fast and far as any other electric wheelchair: 4.5 MPH and 15.7 miles per charge!
Unlike other heavy-duty wheelchairs, the Jazzy 1450 can still make very tight turns; the turning radius is just 26.5 inches, tight enough to be used in the home with relative ease. The seat is both wide and deep, measuring 24 by 24 inches, large enough for anyone to feel safe and comfortable using. For people who need an electric scooter with a high weight capacity but don’t want to sacrifice versatility, the Jazzy 1450 is the ideal option.
Best Electric Wheelchairs (Runners-Up)
Pride’s “Jazzy” lineup delivers exceptional comfort and performance across all of its models. The Jazzy Sport 2 has the power and stability needed to use off-road and the compact design to be a benefit in the home! Like other Jazzy models, this wheelchair uses a unique wheel setup: the smaller wheels are in the back while the drive wheels are located up front. This lets the wheelchair pivot much better and in tighter spaces than standard electric wheelchair designs. If you’re looking for a versatile scooter that checks almost every box, this should be on your list!
This wheelchair does a great job of combining medical benefits and priorities with convenient performance. While it looks like any other wheelchair you’d find in a hospital, it can still travel 15 miles on a single charge and reaches a top speed of 5.5 MPH! If you have more serious medical reasons to use an electric wheelchair, but don’t want to get a slow, clunky model, the Cirrus Plus will feel just right!
Buyer's Guide: What to Look for in an Electric Wheelchair
Size and Turning Radius
These two specifications, while they might seem minor, are actually among the most important when choosing an electric wheelchair. If your wheelchair is too wide and can’t adequately pivot, you will find yourself stuck in hallways, doorways, and corners- with few ways to solve your issues. It won’t always be possible, but when you can, try to choose an electric wheelchair with a total length under 40 inches and a turning radius under 28 inches!
Indoor or Outdoor?
Some electric wheelchairs are well-suited to both, but many models are better in one place or the other. Are you the type of person who would feel frustrated being stuck inside or close to home? Or, are you a senior who enjoys spending time inside and needs a compact scooter that won’t get stuck in the hallway? Answering these questions will help you choose an electric wheelchair that fits your lifestyle!
Not every wheelchair is built the same in this area. Some models have ergonomic seats and sturdy headrests; others forgo those features in favor of lightweight and portable designs. If you or your spouse is dealing with MS, Cerebral Palsy, or ALS, a small wheelchair that doesn’t have lots of support for the upper spine is going to be a non-starter. Before you buy an electric wheelchair, make sure that it will support your medical needs appropriately!
Ask yourself where your electric wheelchair will need to be stored or placed for transport. If you have access to a wheelchair lift van, you won’t have to worry about whether your wheelchair is too big to transport. If you need to fit the chair into the back of an SUV or even the trunk of your car, though, you must be very careful about the size of the wheelchair you choose. This is where disassembly and folding features come in very handy!
Wheelchair Selection by SpinalCordInjuriesAu
Electric wheelchairs are a great way for seniors with various needs to stay active and independent- if they choose the right one! We hope you’ve found this list helpful, and that you’re on your way to choosing an electric wheelchair that makes you feel independent and healthy again! Do you have any questions about the chairs in the list or tips for other readers? Let us know in the comments section below!