The 10 Best Electric Wheelchairs

Updated June 18, 2018 by Lydia Chipman

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We spent 46 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you, or someone you know, needs a reliable form of personal transportation, either due to an injury or a long-term chronic condition, take a look at these electric power wheelchairs. Our selection includes rugged trail-riders and pack-and-go models you can take almost anywhere, and all provide an effortless, battery-powered ride. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best electric wheelchair on Amazon.

10. Pride Mobility Go-Chair

Offered in a veritable rainbow of colors, the Pride Mobility Go-Chair includes dual swing-out storage bins stashed under the seat, and 18 amps of battery power to keep you rolling along for a good while, even though it isn't the most comfortable choice.
  • small turning radius
  • supports up to 300 pounds
  • latch on battery pack is fragile
Brand GO CHAIR
Model Go-Chair
Weight 128 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Drive Medical Cirrus Plus

The Drive Medical Cirrus Plus is equipped with a seatbelt, to help the user feel secure, and a very comfortable seat pad. The tension on the back upholstery is adjustable for comfort, and the footrests can swing away for a highly customizable riding experience.
  • tires are non-marking
  • secure manual wheel locks
  • heavy and difficult to transport
Brand Drive Medical
Model CPN20FBA
Weight 149 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. EZ Lite Cruiser HD Deluxe DX12

The EZ Lite Cruiser HD Deluxe DX12 offers several charging options. It goes for up to ten miles on one charge, but can travel twice the distance with the addition of a second battery. Although it's lightweight and portable, it can still support 330 pounds.
  • 5-position reclining
  • rugged 12-inch pneumatic tires
  • folding mechanism can be tricky
Brand Ez lite cruiser
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Forcemech Voyager

Propelled by 200-watt brushless motors, the Forcemech Voyager is a practical solution for easy maneuvering at the touch of a joystick. It offers a spacious, comfortable seat in a quick-folding design that packs into a car trunk for transport.
  • ergonomic configuration
  • intelligent braking system
  • battery doesn't last very long
Brand Forcemech
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. CTM Mobility Compact

The CTM Mobility Compact combines comfort and function, featuring an extra-wide, contoured backrest and seat with adjustable armrests. It provides a smooth ride and easy maneuvering, and allows for the option of adding elevated footrests.
  • power saving sleep mode
  • pivoting headrest
  • suspension is not great
Brand CTM Mobility Scooter
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Karman XO-202

The substantial upfront investment in a powered standing unit, like the Karman XO-202, can pay dividends when it comes to your health, not to mention the ability to access items and activities that are just out of reach from a seated position.
  • extremely versatile option
  • plush foam back cushion
  • range of 25 miles
Brand Karman Healthcare
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Invacare Pronto M51

Although the Invacare Pronto M51 is sufficiently sturdy to accommodate most users, and compact enough to negotiate tight spaces and sharp corners easily, it doesn't skimp on the little luxuries, such as a cushy captain's-style chair with a height-adjustable headrest.
  • feels nice and stable
  • back can recline slightly
  • includes preinstalled batteries
Brand Invacare
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Culver Power Chair

For a basic option that won't weigh you down or leave a jumbo-sized hole in your budget, the aluminum alloy Culver Power Chair features a waterproof 360-degrees universal joystick, and forward shock absorbers for a more stable, less jarring ride.
  • dual 250w motors
  • easy to open up and fold away
  • power indicator light
Brand Culver LED
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Golden Technologies LiteRider Envy

Making conscientious use of space, the Golden Technologies LiteRider Envy has a 26-inch turning radius and a storage basket tucked underneath the roomy, stadium-style seat to keep clearance requirements minimal without sacrificing comfort or cargo capacity.
  • flip-up leg- and armrests
  • off-board battery charging
  • easy disassembly for travel
Brand LiteRider
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Pride Mobility Jazzy 600 ES

With a carrying capacity of up to 300 pounds, the Pride Mobility Jazzy 600 ES features Active-Trac ATX suspension and omnidirectional casters to get you wherever you need to go, be it out to the mailbox or on an epic cross-town adventure to find the best bagel in the city.
  • over 16-mile range
  • high-back seating comfort
  • regenerative braking system
Brand Pride Mobility
Model Jazzy600ES 2S-C
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

A Brief History Of The Wheelchair

It may seem like something that would have been invented immediately after we came up with the wheel, but wheelchairs as we know them have only been around since the late 1700s, when a gentleman named John Dawson got the idea to put two large wheels and one smaller one on a conventional chair. While his idea wasn't the most practical or comfortable, the underlying genius was apparent, and the race was on to invent a more suitable alternative.

However, it wasn't until 1881 that the self-propelled wheelchair came into existence, and with the US in the midst of the Civil War, the timing couldn't have been more opportune. This prototype placed rubber wheels over metal bicycle rims, so it's likely that it took quite a bit of upper-body strength to get around. Still, it was better than any alternative up to that point.

The first motorized wheelchair was created in London in 1916 by placing a 1.75 horsepower motor on something called an "invalid's tricycle." The resulting design was more like a motorcycle than a wheelchair, and as you might imagine, they weren't very effective for indoor use (unless you really wanted to run over family members), and the design never went into large-scale production.

In 1932, Harry Jennings invented the folding wheelchair, which is basically the design that most chairs follow today. Jennings's design was such an improvement over previous models, in fact, that he and his friend Herbert Everest quickly cornered the market. He was accused of price-rigging and lost an antitrust lawsuit, proving yet again that the allure of the wheelchair business can drive any man mad with power.

However, it would once again take a war to spur innovation in the industry, as Canadian George Klein invented an electric wheelchair to service WWII vets. This model went into mass-production in 1956, sold by a company owned by...you guessed it, Harry Jennings and Herbert Everest. Presumably they had learned their lesson about price-fixing in the meantime.

Chairs are constantly being tinkered with and improved, but the basic idea and design has remained the same since. However, big changes could be looming on the horizon, as a company called Braingate is looking to make a motorized wheelchair that can be powered with your mind (cue spooky Twilight Zone music).

What To Look For When Shopping For Your Electric Wheelchair

Fortunately, wheelchairs are getting more convenient and comfortable all the time, so you don't have to sacrifice your lifestyle just because you're in a chair. We've come a long way from the souped-up motorcycle design of the invalid's tricycle, but there are still options out there if you really want to let the world know you mean business.

The first thing you need to consider is size. Some models are real beasts, with extremely wide dimensions. If you're cramped for space, you probably won't want a model with over-sized tires and broad armrests. Likewise, take into consideration who might be lugging it around when you travel. If you don't have a wheelchair lift on your car, someone will have to lift it into the trunk, so you'll want a lighter model if you don't want to put that person in a wheelchair, as well.

Ultimately, though, the most important factor is definitely comfort. If you plan on spending a lot of time in this thing, you don't want to be miserable every second. While there are cushions available to make the ride more comfortable, you don't want to buy a model that's uncomfortable from the get-go. It's far better to get a cushy ride and then upgrade from there.

Also, keep in mind your individual needs, and be proactive about finding a chair that will make life easier for you in the long run. Is it a hassle for you to get in and out of the seat? In that case, find an option that's comfortable to stay in all day, so you'll need as little transferring as possible. Many options recline, and some even stand, so you can still live your day-to-day life without much interference.

Adjusting To Your New Chair

If you're used to a traditional, self-powered wheelchair, or if your motorized model will be the first one you've ever had, there are a few tips and tricks to consider that can make your life much easier.

The first thing to know is you'll need to become much more aware of your environment than you were previously. Be aware of locations that might involve steep inclines, as pushing your chair beyond that which it's able to handle is a good way to burn out the motor, and that's not cheap or easy to replace. Likewise, ensuring that any accommodations have both a ramp and curb cut-outs is essential to making sure that your outing isn't ruined.

Being aware of the path you're traveling on is important as well. While most motorized chairs have plastic wheels, you still won't want to cross nails or broken glass. Similarly, it's not as easy to notice when you've rolled over dog waste as it is in a regular wheelchair, so you could find yourself tracking poop all over your carpet before you realize what you've done. That's a lesson that you'll likely only have to learn once, though (and at least you won't have to deal with getting it all over your hand).

Finally, keep any tools for fixing or maintaining you chair handy, preferably on the chair itself (backpacks strapped behind the seat come in very handy for this). You don't want to break down and be stranded with no means of saving yourself. Fortunately, most maintenance is fairly simple, and doesn't require special tools that aren't likely to be found in your basic tool kit.


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Last updated on June 18, 2018 by Lydia Chipman

An itinerant wordsmith with a broad constellation of interests, Lydia Chipman has turned iconoclasm into a livelihood of sorts. Bearing the scars and stripes of an uncommon diversity of experience—with the notable exceptions of joining a religious order or becoming an artist—she still can’t resist the temptation to learn something new.


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