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The Choice of Mobility: Manual vs. Power Wheelchairs


The time has come to decide on a wheelchair. Whether you or a loved one has had a fall recently, or are acting based on the advice of a physician, using a wheelchair to get around is now a necessity.

But which is the best option? There are manual wheelchairs, propelled by the user or pushed by a caretaker. But there are also electric power wheelchairs that don’t require any assistance from others or physical strength to get around.

The simple answer is it depends. Is independence a priority? How much physical strength and stamina does the user have? How big is the budget? All of these questions need to be answered.

There are also pros and cons for both manual wheelchairs and power wheelchairs to consider as well.

Manual Wheelchairs: Pros

  • Easy to transport
  • User can be lifted up steps while in chair if necessary
  • Fewer moving parts means less risk of maintenance
  • Doesn’t rely on charging batteries
  • Most models are easier to navigate in tight spaces

Manual Wheelchairs: Cons

  • Require the right level of strength and balance
  • Can create new issues with repeated use (shoulder wear and tear)
  • Much harder to go longer distances or up slopes

Power Wheelchairs: Pros

  • No minimum strength required
  • Can go great distances without getting tired
  • Different drivetrains (mid, front or rear) offer personal preference for the terrain covered most often (pavement, grass/dirt, etc.)
  • Inclusion of recline and tilt options is great for pressure relief

Power Wheelchairs: Cons

  • Much heavier and harder to transport
  • Higher incidence of maintenance
  • Requires regular battery charging
  • More expensive to purchase and service
  • Programming controls can be sophisticated

If you are unsure about which option is best, Homepro Medical’s equipment rentals can give you a chance to try a manual wheelchair or power wheelchair. Simply head over to our Rental page to see rates for different models.

You can also purchase a manual or power wheelchair directly from us, as well as the necessary accessories and cushions for a more comfortable experience.

4 thoughts on “The Choice of Mobility: Manual vs. Power Wheelchairs

  1. I agree that wheelchairs are necessary especially when based on the advice of a physician. My grandmother was advised to use not to overexert herself because of her weak heart. My mom suggested having a wheelchair for her and shared this article with our family. It says that it will be easier to transport her through a wheelchair.

  2. That’s good to know that you should choose a wheelchair based on your mobility, physical strength and stamina, and your budget. My son broke his leg rock climbing so he needs a wheelchair in order to get around for a while since he’s not supposed to be hopping around. I really don’t want to get him power wheelchair since I’m sure he’d hurt himself, but I’m not sure if he could do a manual one. I’ll have to see if I can rent a wheelchair to check if he can use the manual one and if not we can look into the power one.

  3. Thanks a lot for sharing this valuable comparison between manual wheelchair and power wheelchair. You give a clear understanding between two wheelchairs. I think most of the people use the power wheelchair because it reduces the path distance. Please post or share relevant content after some days.

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