Obviously, when it comes to mobility, there is no ‘one size fits all’. You may think a mobility scooter ideal, or you may consider an electric powerchair a better option if you don’t want a fully self-propelled one but don’t want to rely on being pushed. So, having made the decision, you need to ask yourself some questions to ensure that you get the best wheelchair for you.
Comfort is vital – especially for longer trips – so don’t just sit in it and take its immediate comfort for granted. Try to give it a minimum of 20 minutes so you get more of an idea of what it would be like on an ongoing basis. And remember, as many manufacturers understand the need to be flexible, you will generally be able to have the cushioning, seat size and length, footplate and armrest height and position, customised.
Think about your transport. Which car will your preferred model be transported in, how much space does it take up, and will it fit? Yes, most powerchairs fold up, but they are usually heavier than a standard wheelchair, so you really need to know.
Ask yourself what you will mostly be using the powerchair for. This will help you decide whether you need an indoor, an outdoor or a hybrid model. Clearly, an indoor model won’t be suitable for regular shopping trips, but you don’t want to find that out when you’ve already bought it. And if it is for venturing further afield, ask yourself what wheelchair-specific accessories would improve your experience, and find out whether they are compatible with your preferred choice.
If you’re going to be using your powerchair on pavements then it must be a Class 2 and if you’re planning on road use as well as pavement, then it must be a Class 3 – at this point it’s worth considering the best type of powerchair for the type of terrain you will be covering most frequently – a lot of kerbs, for example.
When it comes to the drive controls, most of them are mounted on one of the armrests so think about what level of sensitivity you can easily get used to. Some people prefer the control to be more sensitive, some prefer it to be less.
And finally, storage, which of course, is vital. Whether your powerchair will be stored in the home, garage or other building, consider the proximity to a socket for easy charging.
Armed with this information, you should be able to make an excellent choice.
Lewis Reed Group
With over 20 years experience producing and selling wheelchair accessible vehicles in the UK, you can be sure that we can offer excellent customer service with a level of knowledge that is completely unrivalled.