Submitted by: Christopher Smith

Many kinds of wheelchairs are available for those who require them. They are designed to aid people with different combinations of medical conditions, so examine them closely to ensure that the wheelchair you purchase suits your needs. Motorized wheelchairs provide the advantage of electric motors, and thus can be used by many people who may not be able to operate a manual wheelchair due to their diminished physical capacities.

Manual wheelchairs must be operated by the person using them. One way or another, the user provides the force to propel himself. However, not everybody is able to do this. Some wheelchair users have arm or leg problems and simply do not have the strength or ability to operate a manual wheelchair. They are better advised to use a motorized wheelchair instead.


“Powerchairs” are so-called because they are powered by electric motors. The operator uses a control device such as a joystick, or one of various other methods, to “drive” the chair. The chair will operate both indoors and outdoors, and can be customized with many various options for comfort and ease of use.

Motorized wheelchairs, due to their greater complexity, will generally cost more than the manual variety. However, if you have a condition that limits your ability to use a manual wheelchair, check with your insurance agency. You may find that powerchairs are covered under your policy. Even if it is not covered, a wheelchair is usually a one-time purchase, so the cost is not as daunting as it may appear at first glance.

One should buy wheelchair parts or accessories at the same time as purchasing the device. A portable wheelchair ramp is among the most valuable of accessories. When one is stuck in a location difficult to maneuver, or completely without access portable wheelchair ramps make things much simpler. Other replacement wheelchair parts such as batteries or motors should be available from the retailer and are quite useful.

When deciding which wheelchair to buy, it’s important to keep in mind that this is a long-term investment in a piece of equipment that you may be using for a long time: be very careful to choose one that you’ll be happy with. For both manual and motorized wheelchairs, comfort and convenience are paramount; spending your money wisely now will likely save you both money and difficulties in the long run.

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