Before you buy a powered wheelchair, consider the points below:
- Assessment is recommended before purchase.
- Before you choose a powered wheelchair consider whether you want to use it inside or outside or both.
- Indoor powered wheelchairs tend to be smaller to fit around the home, with a basic seat with back and arm rest. The small battery is for short distances.
- Outdoor powered wheelchairs tend to have larger batteries for longer distances and a larger wheelbase with suspension for uneven surfaces; some have special features such as kerb climbers.
- If you are planning to use the wheelchair indoors measure doorways and turning spaces and ask the retailer which models will fit.
- If considering an outdoor wheelchair check routes, safe crossing points and gradients in your local area, and ask the retailer which wheelchair can meet those requirements.
- Most powered wheelchairs are steered using a joystick which can be mounted on the left or right side in front of the armrest.
- Check the seat is comfortable and supports you in a position to reach and operate the hand controls safely.
- Check the weight limit of the wheelchair is adequate for you.
- The wheelchair must be stored, and battery charged, in an indoor space that has level access and power.
- Check that you can get on and off the seat safely.
- Powered wheelchairs have either mid, front or rear wheel drive:
Rear wheel drive wheelchairs are the most stable on ramps and uneven surfaces but have the largest turning circle.
Front wheel drive wheelchairs are more difficult to drive but have a shorter footprint and a smaller turning circle than rear wheel drive, and can get closer to worktops.
Mid wheel drive wheelchairs have the smallest turning circle so are the most manoeuvrable but only the more robust models can also cope with uneven surfaces and ramps.
Prices from around £1000- £4000