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old woman in wheelchair with her caretaker

Electric vs Manual Wheelchair: Which Is Right for You?

Do you need a wheelchair for yourself or your loved one? Choosing the right type may not be easy. 

There are many types of wheelchairs for every individual – young or old, athletic or not, traveler or a home buddy.

The choice may also vary based on the user’s condition. Is the patient bedridden? Healing from recent surgery? Or suffering from a mobility disability?

The main types of wheelchairs are electric and manual wheelchair. It can be moved by the user, the caretaker, or through motor devices. 

There are pros and cons for both types of wheelchairs, and we will discuss that here. Keep reading!

Things to Consider When Choosing a Wheelchair:

A wheelchair helps people with limited mobility to take part in day-to-day activities. 

Consider these essential factors when choosing the correct wheelchair

  • Health condition 
  • Comfort
  • Size and height
  • Stability and durability
  • Budget
  • Other clinical needs based on your doctor’s recommendations

In addition, it’s ideal to answer these questions to trim your choices:

  • Do you have enough strength to propel the wheelchair?
  • Do you need help when moving the device? 
  • Can you manage the necessary maintenance and repairs in the future?

Electric vs Manual Wheelchair: Pros and Cons

A manual wheelchair is the most common type of mobility aid. By its name, it’s manually movable by the user or with the help of another person.

Meanwhile, an electric wheelchair (also known as a powered or motorized wheelchair) uses a motor to function

The motor helps in maneuvering the wheelchair with less effort. 

Using an electric wheelchair is advisable for people suffering from severe mobility deficiency. It usually comes with a joystick or remote control to give the user more freedom.

Electric Wheelchair – Pros

User freedom

A motorized wheelchair is easy to maneuver. The user can use a controller to move it with less effort and strength. The motor uses electricity to propel the wheelchair. 

Suitable for different types of terrain

According to a report by the Asian Development Bank, the road system in the Philippines is classifiable as poor. There are many uneven, rocky, and muddy roads. These places are harder to access by wheelchair users.

An electric wheelchair eases this problem for people with limited mobility. It’s easy to maneuver around different types of terrain, giving peace of mind to its user. 

Tilt or recline feature

woman in a reclining electric wheelchair

An electric wheelchair’s common feature is its recline feature

The tilt or recline function helps to ease stiffness when staying in the chair for a longer period. It also allows accessibility when getting off and on the wheelchair.

[Read: Benefits of Using Motorized Wheelchair]

Electric Wheelchair – Cons

Pricier than a manual wheelchair

Since a powered wheelchair uses technology, it’s not a surprise if it’s on the expensive side.

If you’re on a tight budget, think twice first if you really need this wheelchair. Choosing this also requires some maintenance in the future. 

Heavier and harder to transport

Electric wheelchairs are heavier and harder to transport due to the added features.

Although some electric wheelchairs are foldable, their sizes may not fit other types of vehicles. 

A motor wheelchair is also heavier. Loading and unloading on a vehicle could be hefty.

Manual Wheelchair – Pros

Easier to transport

A manual wheelchair is lighter and can be foldable into smaller sizes. Hence, it’s easier to load it in any kind of vehicle. 

It’s lightweight, so a helper can also lift the wheelchair in steps while the patient is in it.

Lesser cost of the wheelchair and its maintenance

Manual wheelchairs are generally less expensive since they use lesser parts compared to electric ones. 

The cost of maintenance is also cheaper because these chairs have fewer parts installed.

Manual Wheelchair – Cons

Requires strength and balance

A manual wheelchair can be self-propelled or moved by a helper. 

It requires the right level of strength and balance to maneuver around with the patient on it. It can be exhausting and may result in shoulder stiffness. 

Electric vs Manual Wheelchair: The Choice Is On You

With the pros and cons above, have you decided on the right wheelchair to use?

Don’t forget to consult your doctor or physical therapist, too, for recommendations! They are the most knowledgeable on the right aid for your health condition. 

Visit Mobility Supplies’ online store if you’re looking for quality and affordable wheelchairs

Do you have any questions about wheelchairs? Ask us in the comments section below!

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