The powered mobility market has a vast range of different models, accessories and a certain level of customisation for each model, enabling electric wheelchair users to find and personalise a more bespoke mobility aid to suits their needs. Your criteria for the best folding electric wheelchair will likely depend on your lifestyle, needs and budget. Where some mobility users will require a sleeker and more practical design for easier travelling, others might crave comfort and durability and won’t mind a little extra weight.
Electric Folding wheelchairs, often referred to as Lightweight powered wheelchairs, can feature a wealth of configurations to support the mobility needs of its user that can fully replace their standard heavy wheelchair or a mobility scooter which can tip, are bad for your back and shoulders as it puts your spine and shoulders out of a neutral position which is really bad for the user long term. Scooters also have an awful turning circle making them almost impossible to use inside.
What should I consider when buying an electric wheelchair?
The range of configurability enjoyed by powered wheelchair users means that this kind of mobility aid can be truly personalised to a spectrum of needs, disabilities, lifestyles and budgets. Depending on its use, a powered mobility wheelchair can offer the user greater independence, better control, comfort, more travelling freedoms, or additional support with health conditions, such as postural relief.
If, for example, you require an electric wheelchair for longer travels, consider the road safety of your mobility aid first meaning you want to go for bigger back wheels a strong frame and good battery life. For those requiring more configurable comfort options, plan for a more supportive seat and additional back padding to help with postural support.
How much do electric wheelchairs cost?
Whilst the cost of an electric wheelchair for sale may vary between model and make, the average starting price is typically between at £1,000 for a very basic one and can cost in excess of £3,000. More bespoke designs for very specialist cases can cost even more.
What, exactly, determines this cost?
Many factors can influence the budget of an electric wheelchair, including the material of its frame and the battery it runs on, the ease of use and way it performs. Certain key features can be all too easily overlooked yet will almost certainly shape the market value of an electric wheelchair. From construction materials, to creative or practical add-ons, it’s important to remember that the costs of an electric wheelchair will reflect the lifestyle and preferences of its user.
The make, lifespan, and durability of a battery that powers an electric wheelchair will influence how much it costs. Typically, the better batteries on the market offer greater ranges too, but that comes at a price. A lithium-ion polymer battery is lighter weight and has safety perks but can be costlier (30% on average) than standard lead acid or Li-ion batteries.
The Smart Chair X, for example, features dual longer-lasting batteries offering the user greater performance without any additional risk or danger. Optimal range and output are provided from both the (24v) 10ah and 6ah batteries, which are safe for travel (including airliners) and are ideal for easy charging.
The material of the electric wheelchair is highly influential in determining its overall cost. This is because the fabric, or material, used in its construction and design will help define a wheelchairs weight class. Mobility aids are primarily constructed from various metals, including steel, aluminium and titanium. Where certain materials are desirable for lighter-to-ultra weight frames, others are more robust, dependable and durable.
It’s worth considering that fabrics and materials used in the construction of an electric wheelchair will largely influence how it looks, performs and, ultimately, its durability. The Smart Chair 1, which features a frame made form aerospace titanium and aluminium, is a prime example of how a wheelchair can balance lightweight design with lasting strength and durability and is actually the strongest folding electric wheelchair in the whole world regarding what it and the SC-1 XL can hold as a user weight (28 stone) whilst still only weighing 26kg with the batteries.
Powered wheelchairs are, by design, unlike other self-propelled mobility aids and offer the user enhanced accessibility via sophisticated technology features. Piloted by a simple joystick remote, the operating controls go beyond simply powering the motor, but can help with tilting, elevating or swivelling the user to address a range of health or personal preferences.
The unique features of an electric wheelchair can shape the overall market evaluation. From smaller personal preferences to supportive features that offer relief for health conditions, customisable modifications are key in determining both value to the market and the user.
Whether that’s the adjustability of arm rests or additional elevated leg rests or extensions, or even small storage solutions on the rear, these little details can change the experience and comfort for a user.
Are electric wheelchairs expensive?
Buyers will discover a range of wheelchairs types and designs built to cater to a wide range of purposes, from powering the mobility of a user, to transporting them. Typically, the cost range of an electric wheelchair is more expansive than self-propelled mobility aids, but this reflects the added value and comfort needed by the user.
Powered mobility solutions are more sophisticated by design, especially where it’s a resource in supporting medical conditions or disabilities. The innovation of its technology, such as more safety-enhanced batteries that are far lighter go more than double the range and last twice as long, to superior handling and capabilities as well as durability of its materials. These are what often sets it apart from other mobility devices on the market. The varied range of adjustability options means that a chair can either be customed to a lifestyle on the move, or for added comfort controls and ease of use. Powered mobility can truly enhance, support and improve a lifestyle with value-added customisations that make for a more convenient or comfortable experience.
What to look out for when buying an electric wheelchair?
The costs are among one of many considerations when buying into an electric mobility aid. Ultimately, buyers should be carefully assessing the needs of the user – what are their accessibility requirements? Will they have a carer? Will my property need accessibility features too (such as ramps)? Proactively answering questions such as these can bring you closer to an informed purchasing decision and start by addressing the user’s accessibility needs and preferences. Rather than rely on guesswork and estimations, by understanding the user and their mobility aid options, you can more closely start to shape up budget expectations. Lith-Tech are always on hand in this respect to help you choose the right chair for your needs and lifestyle.
We consider everything from user’s daily habits, to how far they travel and whether or not a wheelchair can support health conditions or accessibility needs. From comfort to convenience, the type of home they live in, whether or not they have a partner to help them and how harsher terrains the chair will need to be able to handle.
A powered mobility aid is unique in its configurability to a user, but if you’re looking for a more bespoke mobility aid, browse our range today.