Choosing an electric powerchair is a very personal choice and the ideal model for one person may not be suitable for another. Having said that, taking certain things into consideration whichever model you are interested in should help make the decision.
Technology changes very rapidly and so it’s worth finding out what technological features are available, and how you would use them. That way, you’ll be able to prioritise the features you consider to be necessary and those that would be a nice addition.
By thinking about your interests, you can look for powerchair features that enable them. For example, if you enjoy travel or being outdoors your powerchair should be equipped to get to the places you want to go. If you need to be able to negotiate lots of kerbs or more off-road terrain, not all powerchairs (or their batteries) perform the same so research is key.
Similarly, powerchairs will vary in build quality and durability. They can be an expensive investment and you don’t want to have ongoing or unexpected maintenance and repair costs.
You may also want to research whether any of the powerchairs on your shortlist can be customised (in addition to the usual customisation of the cushioning, seat size and length, footplate and armrest height and position) at the point of purchase or even retrofitted if you decide that it could be tailored even more specifically for you.
Consider how you will transport your powerchair. Will the one you are interested in fold up? How much space it will take up? How heavy is it and will it fit inside your wheelchair accessible vehicle? All of these factors may influence whether your final choice is portable, full-size or heavy-duty.
Storage is another important consideration. The ability to get close enough to a socket for charging is an essential requirement whether your powerchair will be stored in a garage or in the home.
And finally, the perfect powerchair will very quickly become less perfect if it’s not comfortable. And the longer your trip, the more comfortable it needs to be so try to test for at least 20 minutes if possible.
The choice of power wheelchairs on the market is wide but taking time to research and having a targeted approach should help you choose the best option for you and your lifestyle.