Views: 1 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2023-10-12 Origin: Site
Folding electric wheelchairs provide mobility and independence for wheelchair users who need the power of an electric chair but also the convenience of one that folds for transport and storage. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about folding power wheelchairs.
Folding electric wheelchairs, also known as foldable power chairs or foldaways, are motorized mobility devices that can be collapsed and folded for easy transportation and storage. Here is an overview of their key features:
Powered mobility - They provide powered movement via electric motors and batteries so users don't have to manually propel the wheels. This makes them ideal for those with limited mobility and upper body strength.
Foldable design - Their frames are made of lightweight materials and constructed to fold up into a compact size for portability and storage when not in use. This makes them transportable in cars and ideal for travel.
Adjustable features - They offer adjustable seating, armrests, leg rests, and backrests to provide customized comfort and support. Control panels and joysticks are also adjustable.
Range of models - Folding electric wheelchairs come in a variety of models with differences in frame styles, seating options, drive wheel configurations, turning radii, drive types, power options, and more.
Indoor and outdoor use - Most models are designed for both indoor mobility around tight spaces and outdoor use for pavement, sidewalks, grass, gravel, etc. Their tires and suspension provide a smooth ride.
Limited weight capacities - Foldaways have lower weight limits around 250-300 lbs compared to heavier duty full-size power chairs. Always check the manufacturer specs for weight limits.
Folding electric wheelchairs provide powered mobility with the versatility of a folding, compact chair. They give users independence and the freedom to easily go places without relying on others to transport a wheelchair.
There are several different configurations and models of folding power chairs. Here is an overview of the main types:
These ultra lightweight folding chairs are designed specifically for travel. They feature very compact folding mechanisms to fit easily in cars and airplanes. Travel power chairs have tight turning radii and range from 25-50 lbs in weight.
The most common style, standard foldaways strike a balance between compact size and comfortable seating. They offer full seating options and fold to a third of their open size. Weight ranges from 80-120 lbs with 5-10 mile ranges per charge.
Built with sturdier frames and components, these support heavier weights up to 350 lbs while still folding up. They may have wider, more supportive seats and higher weight capacities.
With puncture-proof tires and higher ground clearance, all-terrain folding chairs can maneuver over rougher surfaces while still folding for transport. Some have tracks instead of wheels.
For those needing perfect custom fits, made-to-measure folding chairs are built to your exact body measurements and specifications.
This table compares the main types:
|Type||Weight||Folded Size||Weight Limit||Range||Key Features|
|Travel||25-50 lbs||Very compact||Up to 265 lbs||Up to 10 miles||Lightweight, tight turning, airline friendly|
|Standard||80-120 lbs||~30" x 30" x 30"||Up to 300 lbs||10-15 miles||Balance of portability and comfort|
|Heavy Duty||120-200 lbs||Larger when folded||Up to 350 lbs||12-20 miles||Sturdier frames and parts|
|All-Terrain||90-150 lbs||Standard fold size||265-300 lbs||10-15 miles||Rugged build, traction tires|
|Custom||Varies||Varies||As needed||As required||Built to match user's measurements|
Folding power chairs are made up of several important components that allow them to provide motorized mobility and fold away when needed. Here are the key components:
The wheelchair frame is made of lightweight metal alloys like aluminum or titanium and jointed to allow the chair to fold up. Materials like aircraft-grade aluminum allow for a sturdy but lightweight frame.
The seating components like seat cushion, adjustable backrest, and flip-up armrests are upholstered in vinyl or fabric for comfort. Some models offer reclining backrests.
The large rear wheels have integrated compact electric hub motors inside them powered by on-board batteries to provide powered mobility. Hub motors maximize space.
Smaller front caster wheels with rubber or air-filled tires provide swiveling and smooth rolling. Larger casters offer more stability. Some models have anti-tip casters.
Matching folding footrests provide support and comfort for the lower legs and feet. They flip up when folding the chair.
An attached control panel or joystick controller connects to the motors allowing the user to steers and control speed and direction. Controls can be mounted on armrests.
Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries ranging from 10 to 40 amp-hours offer power. Higher capacity batteries provide longer range but weigh more. Most foldaways run 24V-36V systems.
Suspension components like shocks and springs provide a smooth ride. Posture adjustments allow users to customize the seating position as needed.
Folding power wheelchairs combine folding frames, electric drive systems, and adjustable seating to provide both powered mobility and convenience.
Folding power chairs have a range of specifications depending on the model and features. Here are the key specifications to look for when selecting one:
Standard models accommodate 180-300 lbs
Heavy duty models support 300-350 lbs
Know your weight with clothing and items to match capacity
Light travel sizes are 25-50 lbs
Heavier models run 80-200 lbs
Lighter chairs are easier to maneuver when folded
Approximately 30" x 30" x 12-30" folded
Measure space available in car, closets, etc.
Standard models average 10-15 miles per charge
Range depends on: terrain, rider weight, driving style
Longer range requires larger, heavier batteries
Standard charge time is 6-8 hours
Rapid chargers may charge in 2-3 hours
Second battery extends range
Typically 3-6 mph max speed
Speed control knob or settings allow speed adjustment
Drive wheels: 14, 16, 18, or 20 inches
Front casters: 6, 8 inches with solid or pneumatic tires
Larger wheels provide more ground clearance
Compact hub motors built into drive wheels
200-400 watt power on average
More power provides more torque and hill climbing ability
Dynamic braking system for smooth stops
LED battery gauge shows charge level
Control panel has speed adjustment, lights, horn, etc.
Aircraft grade aluminum and steel parts
Powder coated finishes resist scratches
Look for anti-corrosion treatments
Standard models handle 180-300 lbs
Heavy duty foldaways support 300-350 lbs
Know total weight with items loaded
Consider key specifications like range, dimensions, speed, and capacity to select the right folding power wheelchair. Prioritize needs like battery range, turning radius, and weight capacity.
Folding power wheelchairs are versatile mobility aids that can be used in many different circumstances. Here are some of the most common applications and uses:
The compact folded size makes them ideal for taking on trips where space is limited like in cars, buses, trains, and airplanes. Easily take them to work, school, errands, etc.
For those who only need or want to use a power chair part-time, a foldaway can be stored out of the way when not needed. They allow for portable powered mobility as needed.
In smaller homes, apartments, or care facilities, the folding function allows wheelchairs to be put away in closets and out of the way when not in use to save space.
The ability to quickly fold and stow the chair makes them great for short trips running errands around town where you'll be getting in and out of the chair frequently.
Some folks use a folding power chair as a backup to their primary mobility aid for occasions when needed as a spare or when traveling.
For active users going between home, car, office, outdoors, and other locations throughout the day, a foldaway provides powered mobility without hassles transporting.
Their versatile folding design makes electric folding wheelchairs useful in many circumstances where convenience and space savings matter.
Selecting the right foldaway chair means considering factors like your needs, living situation, activities, and measurements. Follow this guide for picking the ideal model:
Will it be for occasional travel or daily full-time use? In a small apartment or larger home? Used indoors, outdoors, or both?
Your primary uses help decide size, range, power, seating, and portability needs
Know your weight fully dressed with items loaded to match capacity
Measure doorways, vehicles, storage areas to meet folded dimensions -allowance for legrests, armrests when measuring for overall width
Measure your regular daily routes and trips to determine range needed
Standard models have 10-15 mile range. Add backup battery if needed.
Terrain, hills, and user weight impact range
Do you need more torque for hills and slopes? Go for higher watt motors
Top speed reqs determine power. Standard is 3-6 mph
More power drains batteries faster. Prioritize needs.
Test different joysticks and specialty controls if needed
Mounting locations like armrests, headrests? Wired or wireless?
Input controls should be ergonomic for your usage and capabilities
Do you need basic seat or full reclining seating system?
Stadium style seat, sling seat, or solid seat pan? Back height?
Ensure width and depth accommodate your proportions
Travel models have very compact, lightweight folding. Make sure it's not too small.
Measure storage space at home and mode of transport to ensure fit.
Standard foldaways strike a good balance.
Try turning radius and ease of controlling directions
Adjust driving settings to your capability and comfort
Ensure you can handle tight spaces and corners
Power elevating legrests? Specialty controls or electronics?
Customization options like seat fabrics? Accessory mounts?
Prioritize useful extras versus unnecessary ones
Take the time to thoroughly evaluate your needs and test models. Choosing the right electric folding wheelchair takes research but enables independence.
There are many manufacturers and mobility equipment suppliers that offer folding power wheelchairs. Here is an overview of some leading brands and sample pricing:
|Brand||Sample Models||Price Range|
|Permobil||M300 Corpus, M5 Corpus||$5000 - $11,000|
|Invacare||TDX SP2, Spree 3||$2000 - $6500|
|Pride Mobility||Go-Go Folding Traveler||$2000 - $3000|
|Drive Medical||Compact Travel Power Chair||$1200 - $2000|
|Karman Healthcare||S-Ergo 115||$3000 - $7000|
|Ewheels||LiteRider Envy||$2500 - $4000|
|TopChair||ez-Lighting||$4000 - $6000|
|Colours||NX-250||$2500 - $3500|
Prices vary based on features like range, capacity, seating, and portability
Basic folding models start around $1200. Higher-end retail $6000+
Check motors, batteries, electronics when comparing quality
Order through local mobility dealers or medical equipment suppliers
Insurance may provide full or partial payment if prescribed
There are folding power chairs at different price points. Evaluate quality and features when comparing brands. Seek local dealers who can help find the right match.
Operating and maintaining a folding electric wheelchair properly is important for safety, performance, and durability. Follow this guide for using and caring for foldaways:
Fully charge batteries before first use
Install or attach seating components, armrests, legrests, etc.
Adjust seating angles, legrests, and armrests for ergonomic positioning
Program or set preferred driving modes and max speeds
Check battery charge level and recharge if needed
Inspect tires, casters, and controls to ensure functioning normally
Keep moving parts lubricated and free of dirt
Engage and lock brakes when stationary
Practice operating in open areas until comfortable steering and stopping
Start at low speeds and work up as you gain experience
Be mindful of traction on surfaces and stability on slopes
Use supplied off-board charger to recharge batteries daily or as needed
Turn off power when charging. Charge in ventilated areas.
Newer lithium batteries don't need full discharging
Swap dual batteries to double runtime if available
Check tires and casters, ensure no cracks or wear
Inspect frame and hinges for cracks or damage
Check for loose fasteners, fixings, damaged cables
Keep upholstery and metal parts clean
Move cautiously in folded position. Get assistance if needed.
For storage, engage locks to prevent unfolding
Avoid exposure to heat, cold, or moisture in storage
Prevent dust buildup if stored long term
Proper operation, charging routines, repairs, and maintenance will keep your folding wheelchair working safely. Regular upkeep also extends the lifetime of components.
Choosing the right supplier for a folding power wheelchair involves research and comparison. Follow these tips for selecting a provider and navigating the sales process:
Search for suppliers near you or online with good ratings
Ask for recommendations from health providers, friends, or support groups
Compare customer reviews and testimonials
Licensed, accredited medical equipment sellers
Specialists in mobility devices preferred
Custom builders should have certified technicians
Offer wide selection of major brands and models
Have options across price ranges and features
Customization capabilities a plus
Responsive sales and service team
Help to select right chair for needs and environment
Provide training on use, adjustments, maintenance
Accept Medicare, Medicaid, insurance
Provide guidance navigating coverage
Offer financing options and payment plans
Itemize product, shipping, warranty, returns, taxes
No hidden fees or gimmicks
Price match policies a plus
Schedule appointments to see, test, compare products
Ensure showroom models match your requirements
Take measurements to your environment
White glove delivery and setup services ideal
Assess delivery fees if applicable
Detailed instructions for use on delivery
Conduct research to find suppliers with expertise in electric wheelchairs. They should provide guidance selecting the right model and offer services like funding help, customization, and delivery.
Folding electric wheelchairs provide powered mobility plus the ability to collapse for storage and transport. But rigid (non-folding) power chairs have benefits too. Here's a comparison:
|Parameter||Folding Wheelchair||Rigid Frame Wheelchair|
|Foldability||Folds into compact size||Does not fold due to fixed frame|
|Weight||25-120 lbs typical||Heavier, 100-400 lbs|
|Frame style||Jointed, hinged frame||Solid fixed frame|
|Portability||Very portable for transport||Harder to transport|
|Storage||Can be stored in small space||Takes up more storage space|
|Seating size||More compact seating||Larger seats and proportions|
|Custom sizing||Some models custom fit||Fully customized often available|
|Comfort features||Standard adjustability||More seating and recline options|
|Terrain handling||Works well on smooth surfaces||Handles rough terrain better|
|Max user weight||265-350 lbs usually||Up to 500+ lbs capacity|
|Maintenance||Hinges require lubrication||Less movable parts to maintain|
In contrast, here are situations where a rigid (non-folding) power wheelchair may be the better choice:
Full-time daily usage - For all day use as a primary mobility device, a rigid chair provides optimal comfort and customization. Folding chairs work better for part-time use.
Larger weight capacities - Rigid chairs often accommodate heavier users up to 500 lbs or more, while folding chairs max out around 350 lbs typically.
Custom fitting - Rigid chairs can be fully customized and built to measurements for a perfect fit. Some folding chairs have custom options too.
Heavy duty durability - The fixed solid frame of a rigid wheelchair is built for rugged use with reinforced parts designed to handle heavier stresses long-term.
Expanded seating options - Rigid chairs allow for more adjustable seating configurations including powered features like leg rests and recline.
Speciality controls - The larger frames of rigid wheelchairs better accommodate alternative control systems like sip and puff, etc. if needed.
Outdoor terrain - Larger wheels and tires equip rigid chairs to handle rougher outdoor conditions better than some folding models.
When features like full customization, heavy duty capacity, and specialized seating are top priorities, a rigid power wheelchair is likely the best choice.
By weighing portability vs long-term comfort and durability needs, you can determine whether a folding or rigid electric wheelchair makes the most sense for your situation. Test rides and input from mobility specialists also helps make the right choice between the folding and rigid options.
Folding power wheelchairs provide unique advantages in terms of portability and convenience. But there are some limitations to consider as well. Here is a look at the key pros and cons of folding electric wheelchairs:
Compact size when folded makes transportation easy
Can be stowed discretely out of the way when not in use
Allowusers to take powered mobility with them on trips
Tight turning radius ideal for indoor navigation
Weigh less than rigid power chairs - easier to move
Provide power mobility with flexibility and portability
Lower cost than many full-size power chairs
Modular components are easy to repair
Limited weight capacities around 300 lbs maximum
Less powerful than large motored power chairs
Seating and customization options more limited
Components may wear faster than heavy duty chairs
Shorter battery range compared to bigger batteries
Not ideal for very prolonged continuous daily use
Frame flexing possible compared to rigid chairs
Frequent folding can loosen joints over time
While foldaways have limitations in terms of strength, battery life and seating adjustability, their transportability creates opportunities for powered mobility for travel, part-time use, and storage that rigid chairs do not offer.
Knowing both the advantages and potential drawbacks helps ensure folding electric wheelchairs match your needs and that you can use them reliably within their intended scope. Working with mobility specialists ensures you select the right model to maximize the benefits while understanding the tradeoffs.
A: When collapsed, they typically fold to around 30" wide x 30" long x 12"-30" high. Measure doorways, trunks, storage spaces to ensure the folded size fits your needs.
A: Yes, when folded they will fit airline cargo holds and inside the cabin in most cases. Be sure to contact the airline about their wheelchair policies. Some disassembly may be required.
A: They meet the same general ADA and FDA standards for wheelchairs. Go at low speeds, avoid slopes, and use anti-tips for stability. Seatbelts are recommended as well.
A: Average range per charge is 10-15 miles depending on weight, hills, and driving style. Have a backup battery or charger if needed. Lithium batteries last the longest.
A: Standard folding wheelchairs accommodate 180-300 lbs. Heavy duty models support 300-350 lbs. Custom foldaways can support even more.
A: Aircraft-grade aluminum or alloy frames are lightweight but very strong. Avoid overloading to stay within weight limits. Inspect hinges and fasteners periodically.
A: Most come with limited warranties of 1-3 years covering manufacturing defects. Extended warranties can be purchased as well.
A: Yes, many vendors offer payment plans or financing assistance. Medicare, Medicaid, VA often help with costs if prescribed by a doctor.
A: Yes, gently used models can offer savings. Ensure electronics, tires, and frames are in good shape. Medical charities also provide used chairs.