To help give users the freedom and mobility they deserve, powered wheelchairs are a popular option for millions of people around the world. While manual chairs are effective for providing some with mobility, those who do not have the arm strength or ability to constantly wheel themselves around are left without much to do. Many people can benefit from a powered wheelchair. If you are looking to upgrade, here is what you need to know:

Why Upgrade?

While manual wheelchairs are more versatile in terms of transportation and use, powered chairs provide mobility for users who cannot use a manual wheelchair. Manual wheelchairs require lots of upper body strength. Some conditions, like multiple sclerosis and arthritis, make it especially difficult to use manual wheelchairs. Other times, the aging process saps that muscle away as well. In this case, upgrading from a manual wheelchair to an electric one allows wheelchair users to stay independent and mobile.


Overall, there are three kinds of powered wheelchair:

Back-Wheel Power Chairs

Chairs that have their powered wheels in the back of the device are known for their high maneuverability, even at high speeds. This maneuverability comes from the powered back wheel’s directional stability that helps prevent oversteering. The directional stability, however, also means that back-wheel power chairs need more room to turn since the chair itself defaults to moving straight ahead.

Center-Wheel Power Chairs

Center-wheel power chairs are the most popular ones on the market since they have the smallest turning radius. These chairs are relatively compact and have their powered wheel directly below the seat. Center-wheel chairs do require assistance traveling over bumps, and users may need to use an accessible vehicle when traveling from place to place. Center-wheel power chairs most often have a 600-pound weight limit as well.

Front-Wheel Power Chairs

Front-wheel power chairs are much better at traveling along uneven surfaces, and they have an average turning radius. Front-wheel-powered wheelchairs are great for users who travel frequently on uneven ground and are the most physically stable out of the three main types of chair. These chairs are the most frequently used, and rightfully so. They combine the turn radius of center-wheel chairs and the maneuverability of back-wheel chairs, providing a well-rounded, relatively average experience on all fronts.


If you are looking into upgrading your wheelchair, speak with your doctor for insurance coverage information. To browse more wheelchairs and wheelchair accessories, visit Medical Supply Depot.

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