What Kind of Lightweight Power Chair Do You Recommend?

Anonymous asks, quote:

My mobility has been declining really sharply the past few years, and I know I need a wheelchair if I want to leave my house now. Problem is, I can’t figure out what kind of wheelchair to get. Manual has the benefits of fitting through doorways more often and being way easier to transport, but my conditions would have me dislocate a rib/shoulder/elbow from having to self‐propel. But electric are way more big, expensive, difficult to transport, difficult to maintain, etc.

end quote.

I understand your concerns. A lot of the power chairs you see both online and in public are more often than not very large, very heavy, and very hard to maintain. The good news is that’s changing. Instead of just making new power chairs, companies like Spinergy are making power assist motors designed to convert a standard manual chair frame into a power chair. Now, this thing is still heavy. According to the specs it’s 75lbs (34kg) and has about a five mile range. You can find chairs that are lighter but they function less as a true wheelchair and more like a motorized lawn chair. And even then, they’re still 40lbs (18kg).

If you can handle some light pushing and want something that’ll take the edge off of long distances, you might look into something like a power assist chair (35lbs/15kg) or a SmartDrive (13.5lbs/6.12kg).

And now for the bad news. A lot of the tech I’ve mentioned is fairly new, so it’s likely to not be covered by most insurance plans (in the US). I recommend talking to your doctor and seeing if there’s any way they can work around the insurance limitations to get you what you need.