Welcome to my article about the best electric wheelchairs available on the market today! 

These wheelchairs can also be known as power wheelchairs, powerchairs, motorized wheelchairs or attendant controlled wheelchairs, and they can improve a person’s quality of life in a massive way.

Below I’ll review 5 models that I believe are at the top of the market, along with a comparison of each and pros and cons. 

But first, let’s discuss what an electric wheelchair actually is, and what you need to look out for when purchasing one.

What Is An Electric Wheelchair?

An electric wheelchair is a wheelchair that is controlled and propelled by an electric motor, instead of through manual power. 

As mentioned above, an electric wheelchair can also be known as a power wheelchair, powerchair, motorized wheelchair or an attendant controlled electric wheelchair.

There can be variations in the features of each of these wheelchairs, depending on the needs of the user and whether they’re intended for mainly indoor or outdoor use. I’ll discuss this more below.

Who Should Consider Using An Electric Wheelchair?

An electric wheelchair can be an excellent option for anyone who lacks the strength or ability to use a self propelled wheelchair. 

This could include people with limited or no upper body mobility, seniors, or those who are recovering from an operation.

What Are The Benefits of an Electric Wheelchair?

Woman using an electric wheelchairI talk a lot about the practical features and benefits of an electric wheelchair a little bit further down this article. Here, however, I really want to highlight the emotional benefit that an electric wheelchair provides. 

An electric wheelchair can vastly improve the mental health and quality of life not only for the user, but for their loved ones and carers as well.

This is because an electric wheelchair provides mobility for someone who would not be able to get around with a typical self-propelled wheelchair. 

Requiring a wheelchair can be a devastating and difficult transition for anyone, but having limited upper mobility to propel yourself in that wheelchair is doubly hard.

An electric wheelchair allows the user to move around regardless of their level of upper body strength and mobility. It also reduces, and sometimes eliminates, the need for carers to push the user, should they become tired or unable to do so themself. 

The beauty of an electric wheelchair is that it’s designed for indoor and some outdoor use, enabling the user to get around pretty much anywhere they want to go without assistance.

They can also include incredible comfort, safety and transfer features to further increase the user’s independence and reduce the need for carers (I talk more about this below too!)

All this means that the user has more freedom and autonomy to enjoy life’s simple pleasures  such as moving around at home, going to a cafe, or popping to the shops, without the restrictions that limited mobility can bring. 

And to me, that’s the greatest benefit of all!

What Are The Different Types of Electric Wheelchairs?

Electric wheelchairs come in a range of different designs to suit different users and requirements. The main different types of electric wheelchairs include different drive systems, and other functionality types for specific use.

Drive Systems

There are three main drive systems that electric wheelchairs have: 

  • Front Wheeled

This is where the drive wheels are located at the front of the wheelchair. 

Pros: These offer excellent manoeuverability and can easily navigate narrow hallways, tight spaces and 90 degree turns. They also have a small turning radius. 

Front wheeled chairs are generally the best option for indoor use and are also suitable for outdoor use on flat terrain.

Cons: They are not as stable on uneven terrain and may fishtail on corners if the ground is slippery.

  • Mid-Wheeled

This is where the drive wheels are located in the middle of the wheelchair.

Pros: These provide a good balance between stability and manoeuverability on flat surfaces. Mid wheeled chairs offer the tightest turning radius, and are intuitive to control as the weight of the user is centrally placed over the power wheels. 

Great for indoor use and outdoor use on smooth terrain.

Cons: Not great for uneven or bumpy terrain as there’s a chance the drive wheels will accidentally become suspended off the ground. 

  • Rear Wheeled

This is where the drive wheels are located at the rear of the wheelchair

Pros: More powerful and stable than the other two drive systems, making it great for outdoor use including uneven terrain (within reason) and hills. 

Cons: Large turning radius makes it difficult to manoeuvre in tight spaces or indoors.

Other Types of Electric Wheelchairs

  • Folding/Collapsible/Portable 

Some electric wheelchairs can be folded or disassembled for easy portability. 

They are made of lightweight material and can collapse to a small enough size to fit into most car boots, or onto airplane cargo. 

This is a great option if you enjoy travel as you can take your electric wheelchair with you with minimal hassle or stress. 

These kinds of electric wheelchairs aren’t suitable for everyone, however, as their simple, lightweight design means they are unlikely to have the high-level comfort or stability features that some users may require.

  • Bariatric

Bariatric electric wheelchairs are designed for users who require a weight capacity of roughly 140kg or over. They typically come with a wider seat, reinforced frame and more powerful motor. 

  • Customised

Many parts of an electric wheelchair can be customised to suit the user’s specific needs. 

This can include adjusted arm rests, head rests, specific seat dimensions and cushions, pressure sore care, backrest tilt, standing assistance and more. 

I go into detail about the additional features available for an electric wheelchair below. 

Government Regulations for Outdoor Use

If you plan on using a powered wheelchair outdoors, there are rules and regulations regarding it’s speed, class, and where it can be driven.

Visit the Government’s website here to double check your legal requirements before using your wheelchair outside.

Electric Wheelchair vs Mobility Scooter

An electric wheelchair is designed for indoor and some outdoor use, depending on it’s drive system (discussed above).

They’re typically more compact and manoeuverable than a mobility scooter, have a smaller turning radius, and feature higher levels of comfort for prolonged sitting.

They’re suitable for people who need a mobility aid to move around indoors and outdoors.

A mobility scooter is designed predominately for outdoor use. They’re typically larger and less nimble than an electric wheelchair, and have a more powerful motor and a longer battery range.

They also typically have less comfort features, but have excellent stability.

They’re more suitable for people who don’t need much assistance moving around indoors, but require a mobility aid to travel around outdoors. 

If you think a mobility scooter is more suited to your needs, check out my mobility scooter review article here!

Common Features of an Electric Wheelchair

Rests

Electric wheelchairs can feature arm, head, foot, leg or back rests, and commonly come with a combination of most of these. 

These rests can be as simple as a piece of fabric, or as sophisticated as an ergonomically designed cushion.

They can also be adjustable, as in the case of elevating leg rests to increase circulation, or movable headrests to support the user as they eat, drink or sleep.

Sometimes these rests are also removable to allow for easy cleaning, or to give the user even more flexibility.

Recline and Tilt

Some electric wheelchairs feature a reclining backrest, or a tilt function that changes the angle of the entire seat. 

Both of these functionalities allow for better comfort, and can help increase blood flow, reduce pressure sores, and provide better support for the hips and spine.

Free Wheel

Free wheel is a clever feature that enables the electric wheelchair to be put into “neutral,” i.e the motor disengages from the wheels. 

This allows the chair to be pushed manually, and is a great safety feature in case the battery dies or the motor malfunctions when away from home. 

It’s also very handy when transporting the wheelchair while not in use. 

One thing to remember, though, is that free wheel mode usually disengages the brakes as well, so always make sure to transition into it while on a flat surface to avoid losing control of the wheelchair. 

Drive Controls

Joystick control of the aerolite electric wheelchair

Joystick control of the Motion Healthcare Aerolite Electric Wheelchair

Electric wheelchairs come with many different driver control options to suit an individual driver’s specific needs. 

The most common type is a joystick, where the user can use their dominant hand to control the wheelchair’s speed and direction.

Customised joysticks can also be controlled with the user’s chin, forearm or foot. Some electric wheelchairs even come with a joystick at the back so that a carer or companion can also electronically control the wheelchair.

If a joystick isn’t accessible for the user, there are a range of other options available:

Tongue Control: A mouthpiece that can be controlled with the tongue and upper mouth.

Head Control: A device in the wheelchair’s headrest that interprets the movements of the user’s head to control the wheelchair.

Keypad Control: You can often control the wheelchair’s motion, plus other adjustability features such as recline or tilt, through a keypad. 

Speech Controls: Using simple voice commands to move the wheelchair.

Switch Controls: Each switch controls one aspect of the wheelchair, such as go, turn right, turn left. These are usually pre-programmed to the specific needs of the user so that the wheelchair will always go at the same speed, turn at the same degree etc. Quite often the user is able to turn on multiple switches at once for more sophisticated control of the wheelchair.

Sip’n’Puff: The user can control their wheelchair by sipping and puffing through a tube. This control is sophisticated enough to identify the differences between a hard sip, soft sip, hard puff or soft puff and control the wheelchair accordingly. 

Most electric wheelchairs come with a standard hand joystick control. If you or your loved one require a different kind of control, I highly recommend engaging a specialist company who can supply, install and program the right control for you. 

Casters

Caster wheels are the small wheels that help stabilise a wheelchair. There are usually two, four or possibly six casters on an electric wheelchair depending on it’s drive system. 

They can come in varying sizes, with small being best suited to tight corners, high manoeuverability and indoor use, and larger sizes best for outdoor use and rough terrain. 

Stand Assistance

Advanced electric wheelchairs can have a seat to stand feature, which raises the chair to a standing position to allow the user to safely and easily move into or out of the wheelchair.

This feature can also be used if the user doesn’t want to get out of the wheelchair, but simply wants to orientate themselves in a standing position for a little while. This can help with blood flow, posture, and can also reduce the risk of pressure sores. 

Elevating Mechanism

Similar to a standing assistance feature, an elevating feature raises the seat of an electric wheelchair up and down. This is different to standing assist as it doesn’t tilt the seat forward, but instead is to help the user reach high places such as the top of the fridge, or to talk to someone at eye level. 

Now that we’ve been through the benefits of electric wheelchairs and the different features, drive systems and controls available, let’s get into reviews of the best electric wheelchairs available on the market today!

The Best Electric Wheelchairs Are:

Best Electric Wheelchair Comparison Table

Let’s now compare the specs of the best electric wheelchairs side by side!

If you’re on mobile, scroll across the table with your finger.

Motion Healthcare Aerolite Electric Mobility Chair Motion Healthcare Foldalite Trekker Powerchair Wisging Long Range Electric Wheelchair Livewell Instafold Electric Wheelchair KWK Heavy Duty Foldable Electric Wheelchair
Product Image
Item Weight 22 kg 33 kg 23 kg 25 kg 29 kg
Max Speed Unknown 4 mph 5 mph 4 mph 3.7 mph
Max Range Unknown 16 km 32 km 12 km Unknown
Foldable / Collapsible? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Max User Weight 115 kg 160 kg 120 kg 120 kg 180 kg
Battery Type Lithium Unknown Lithium Lithium Lithium
Price $$ $$$ $$ $ $$$$
Best Purchase View Best Price View Best Price View Best Price View Best Price View Best Price

Reviews of the Best Electric Wheelchairs

Before we get into the reviews, I want to state that the electric wheelchairs I’ve selected below for review are best for those who don’t require high-level support.

If you or your loved one has specific needs or requirements that are outside a standard electric wheelchair, such as customised controls or specifically shaped cushions or seat, I recommend speaking with your local mobility professionals.

However, you can still browse the below options to see what’s out there and get an idea of any modifications you may require.

With that said, let’s get into it! Here are my honest reviews of the top 5 electric wheelchairs on the market today, including features, pros and cons.

Motion Healthcare Aerolite Electric Wheelchair

Motion healthcare aerolite electric wheelchair

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The thing I love most about the Motion Healthcare Aerolite electric wheelchair is how lightweight and portable it is.

It’s design is much more streamlined than most other powerchairs, making it easy to manoeuvre around small areas such as a shopping centre or cafes.

It also folds up easily and can fit into most car boots, making it great for travel.

With batteries, the entire unit weighs 22kg, which is lighter than most other electric wheelchairs I come across (and the lightest one I’ve reviewed in this article!)

It’s also relatively affordable, and I think it’s excellent value considering how portable it is.

The only draw back is that it’s max user weight limit is 115kg, so it’s not suitable for heavier users.

However, if you’re looking for a lightweight, streamline electric wheelchair that’s easy to travel with and won’t break the bank, the Aerolite is the one I recommend!

Motion Healthcare FoldaLite Trekker Powerchair

Motion Healthcare foldalite trekker powerchair

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Motion Healthcare make a number of good quality mobility products, which is why I couldn’t resist including another electric wheelchair of theirs – the Foldalite Trekker.

The difference between the Trekker and the Aerolite above is that the Trekker is the perfect mix between portability and robust durability.

This electric wheelchair folds down to a small size, allowing it to easily fit into the boot of a car. It is, however, the heaviest wheelchair reviewed in this article so extra care or assistance may be required to transport it.

It also features high-tread rear wheel drive, making it suitable for outdoor use as well as indoor.

It’s got a decent range of 10 miles on a full battery, so if you need an electric wheelchair to get from home to your local shops or around the neighbourhood, this one is a good option.

It’s also got a relatively high user weight capacity of 160kg.

If you’re looking for an electric wheelchair that is portable, but also robust enough for prolonged use outside, the Foldalite Trekker is the one I’d recommend.

Wisging Long Range Electric Wheelchair

wisging long range electric wheelchair

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If you’re looking for a reliable, long range electric wheelchair that will last you all day, I highly recommend the Wisging Long Range Electric Wheelchair.

This wheelchair has an incredible max range of 32kms – this is at least double the range of any other wheelchair reviewed in this article.

I think there is a lot of value in an electric wheelchair that has a long range, mainly because it eliminates the fear of the battery running out while the user is out and about.

This in turn enables the user to do everything they need to do during the day and enjoy a day out without the stress of becoming stranded, which boosts their independence and overall wellbeing.

I also love how short the battery charge time is, and that the batteries also come with an overcharge protection feature to ensure they last their full life span.

With that said, a long range and quality batteries aren’t the only things I like about the Wisging.

It also has a sleek and aesthetic design, a powerful motor with a strong climbing ability, and an electromagnetic braking system.

It’s also got a very comfortable seat cushion and can fold down into a compact design, making it easy to travel with.

You may be thinking that, with all these features, the Wisging is certainly going to be an expensive electric wheelchair. However, it’s actually incredibly affordable.

So affordable, in fact, that when all is taken into account, I think the Wisging Long Range Electric Wheelchair is one of the best value electric wheelchairs available on the market today.

So if you’re looking for an electric wheelchair that is reliable, long range, sturdy, comfortable, and won’t break the bank, I can’t recommend the Wisging enough.

Livewell InstaFold Electric Wheelchair

livewell instafold electric wheelchair

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If you’re looking for an affordable electric wheelchair that is easy to use and gets the job done, the Livewell InstaFold electric wheelchair is the one for you.

It’s the most affordable wheelchair reviewed in this article, however it still has all the standard features that make an electric wheelchair comfortable and easy to use.

It folds down into a compact size for easy transportation, it’s got front suspension for a comfortable ride, and it has a standard range and speed.

It can also accommodate users up to 120kg in weight, which is market average.

Truth be told, I find the price of the InstaFold to be incredibly good value, considering how the product itself compares to other more expensive electric wheelchairs on the market.

If you’re on a budget but still need a functional and reliable electric wheelchair that gets you from A to B, go for the Livewell InstaFold.

KWK Heavy Duty Folding Electric Wheelchair

kwk heavy duty electric wheelchair

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If you need a heavy duty, high weight capacity electric wheelchair, then this model by KWK is the one for you.

At 180kg, it’s got the highest weight capacity of all the electric wheelchairs reviewed in this article.

It features tread wheels and a rear wheel drive, giving it extra power and stability when going over outdoor terrain.

I like that it also features electromagnetic brakes, which are more sophisticated than the common electrical brakes and provide better security and control, which I think is particularly important for heavier users.

Yes, this electric wheelchair is more expensive than most. However, I think investing in an electric wheelchair that is designed for heavier users, and is capable of transporting the user safely and securely is definitely money well spent.

What To Look For When Buying an Electric Wheelchair

Safety

The first thing you should consider when looking to purchase an electric wheelchair is safety. 

Consider things like where the wheelchair is most likely to be used (indoor or outdoor), the type of control that’s most suited to the user, the weight limit of the wheelchair (discussed more below) and the kind of brakes that are best suited to you.

Comfort

Consider whether you will use your electric wheelchair for a few hours a week, or more often. This will determine whether you might want a simple seat, or a highly cushioned, ergonomic seat. 

Do you have any other requirements, such as extra spine, leg or neck support? Or perhaps you require adjustable armrests? Consider what features will make you most comfortable in your wheelchair, and seek them out. 

Manoeuverability

If you plan on using your electric wheelchair mainly indoors, consider how small your living space is. Do you have lots of narrow hallways or tight corners? If so, you may want to consider a front or mid wheel drive system which offer better manoeuverability, or perhaps a slim-built wheelchair if it will still meet your needs. 

Is there anywhere else that you’re likely to use your electric wheelchair often, such as the local shopping centre or an office? Consider the spaces you’ll be moving around in most often and the type of electric wheelchair that will help you navigate them most easily. 

Durability

An electric wheelchair should be seen as an investment, and I always encourage everyone I work with to spend a little bit more to ensure they get a properly built, reliable and durable model.

I believe that durability and safety go hand in hand, so ensure that the electric wheelchair you select is made of high quality materials, has a good motor, and ideally comes with a warranty. All the models I’ve reviewed above have excellent durability, so don’t forget to check them out!

Adjustability

It’s important that the electric wheelchair you select can support you properly.

If you require any kind of support or comfort feature such as leg rests, arm rests or head rests, ensure you’re selecting a model that can be adjusted so that these features can be moved to the correct position for you.

This is especially important if you’re shorter or taller than average. 

Also consider other kinds of adjustability you may require such as backrest recline, chair tilt, elevation, sit to stand, or leg elevation. 

If you require specialised adjustability, I recommend consulting the brand you’re considering purchasing from before purchasing to see if their product can be suited to your needs.

Portability

If you need to move, carry or store your electric wheelchair in any way while it’s not in use, it’s very important to consider how portable it is. 

Is it lightweight enough for you or a carer to carry? Do you require one that can fold or collapse into a smaller size? 

If you plan on travelling with it, I recommend also considering whether it can fit into the boot of your car, or is suitable to take on airplanes. 

Battery Life

One of the most important aspects of electric wheelchairs is the battery life, as this determines how much use you can get out of your battery before needing to recharge.

Consider how long you’re likely to be using your electric wheelchair on an average day. Do you just need it for around the house? Or do you need it to transport you to the shops, to medical appointments, or other places around the community?

Always purchase an electric wheelchair that can comfortably accommodate the distance you’re likely to use it for. This is extremely important as it will eliminate the risk of the battery dying while the user is out and about, which can potentially leave them stranded.

Other aspects to consider is the charging time of the batteries, and whether the wheelchair comes with one or two batteries.

Also, some electric wheelchair batteries come with an overcharge protect feature, which you may want to consider as it will help prolong the lifespan of the battery.

Weight Capacity

Weight capacity is an important safety feature that people often overlook. Always ensure the user fits comfortably within the weight capacity of the electric wheelchair, otherwise they could potentially topple over or become stuck while travelling. 

A user that is over the weight capacity can also put extra strain on the wheelchair’s motor, which means they may not be able to get up hills safely or could even burn the motor out. 

Price

Electric wheelchairs are sophisticated pieces of equipment, and their prices range from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds.

I recommend searching for good value electric wheelchairs (the ones reviewed above are a great place to start!) but I also recommend being realistic with the price tag.

Electric wheelchairs can greatly improve a person’s independence, mental health and overall quality of life.

As such, they should be seen as an investment, not an expense.

While I encourage you to compare prices as well as features, I always recommend purchasing good quality electric wheelchairs that will be reliable, comfortable and safe to use for years to come.

Best Electric Wheelchairs: Conclusion

I hope this article has helped you find the right electric wheelchair for your needs!

If you need more information or aren’t sure if an electric wheelchair is quite the product for you, please check out my other wheelchair articles here.