Power Wheelchair for Your Needs

Jun 26, 2015
Tagged with: Power Wheelchair for Your Needs

Purchasing a power wheelchair for you or someone else can be intimidating if you do not know what best suits your needs. As power wheelchairs are expensive, I wanted to write a post that would help you make the right choice when purchasing a power wheelchair. There are many variables you need to take into consideration such as your home environment, personal measurements, transportation and the terrain you will be using your battery powered wheelchair on. Regardless of where you find a power wheelchair for sale, by following this guide, you’ll end up selecting the best power wheelchair for your needs.

Measuring a Person for a Power Wheelchair

Whether you are an adult, teen or child, it is important to measure a person for a power wheelchair prior to purchase. This will ensure that the power wheelchair will fit your needs. There are 3 types of power wheelchairs which you will find if you are looking to buy power wheelchairs online. First is the heavy duty power wheelchair which is designed to hold more weight and in most cases can travel on many terrains. There are folding power wheelchairs made for travel and the standard power wheelchair. Regardless of the type of power wheelchair you’re going to buy, it’s important to understand your requirements before making your purchase.

By using the bullets and diagram below, this will demonstrate what is needed to be measured to fit properly in your new power wheelchair.


  • Hip Width – Measure the widest point of your hips to determine the seat width.
  • Widest Point – Measure the widest point across the lower extremities if different than the hip measurement.
  • Chest Width – Measure the widest point of the thorax just below the armpit area to determine armrest height.
  • Heel to Knee – Measure from the heel to the back of the knee to determine seat height and leg riggings.
  • Tailbone (SRP) to Knee – Measure the tailbone to the back of the knee to determine the appropriate seat depth.
  • Tailbone (SRP) to Elbow – Measure this width at a 90 degree angle at the elbow and shoulder in the relaxed position.
  • Tailbone (SRP) to Shoulder – Measure this height to determine the back height or to style a custom backrest.
  • Tailbone (SRP) to Head – Measure the center of the back of the head to the spine to determine the headrest height.

When properly measuring a person for a power wheelchair, you can now reference user manuals and specifications on each power wheelchair product and the custom options to determine what chair will best fit you. This will provide you with more comfort, stability and relief from pressure points while using a battery powered wheelchair.

Measuring Your Home for a Power Wheelchair

The first element that should be taken into consideration is your home environment. You will want to make sure that the power wheelchair can safely navigate through all necessary common areas of your home. This includes taking measurements of the width your doorways, and width of common areas around, furniture, tables, chairs, and other unavoidable elements. It also helps if you situate your home prior to purchasing a power wheelchair. By measuring your home you will find out what exactly the maximum dimensions of the power wheelchair can be in length and width.

If you are a power wheelchair user, it is likely very important that you can remain independent as much as possible. This includes accessibility to your home by other means of entrances and other uses of the home such as the kitchen counter tops, cabinets, washing machine, and other not so easy to reach areas. Some power wheelchairs can be equipped with a elevating seat such as the Golden Compass, which can lift your seat by an additional 10-15 inches. This is crucial when it comes to living in a home independently with a power wheelchair.

Selecting a Power Wheelchair 

When purchasing a power wheelchair it is important to buy a powered wheelchair that best suits your needs. As there are many injuries and issues that could make you heavily rely on a power wheelchair, selecting the right one for you and your safety is the main objective.

If you have a health issue such as muscular dystrophy, ALS, cerebral palsy, spinal stenosis or any other disease that affects the central nervous system that can mutate your body, you need to select a power wheelchair that has the proper supports and cushions for your spine, lumbar, and legs. Some of these supports include lumbar support pads, arm troughs, neck supports, headrests, and elevating leg rests. If you are an amputee you want to make sure you either have a deep enough seat, or have an attachment that is specifically designed to meet the needs of your residual limb. Some known heart or lung diseases can have a negative affect the way you breath in an upright position. By purchasing a power wheelchair with a reclining seat this can help alleviate heavy breathing or blocked air passages. Consult with a physical therapist or ATP technician to help you measure yourself for a power wheelchair.

Power Wheelchair for Travel Needs

If you are looking to buy power wheelchairs to travel with you have many options. If your disability does not require you to have rehab seating, you can purchase a folding power wheelchair which can fit inside of your vehicle with easy disassembly. Other options include lifts for cars, trucks and vans. As there are many different styles of lifts for vehicles there is always a solution to travel with a power wheelchair. If you you are in need of a heavy duty power wheelchair to travel with, you can purchase a lift such as the Harmar AL301XL which can slide into a hitch bracket on your automobile. This lift will allow a person to transport a heavy duty power wheelchair.

Most rehab and sophisticated power wheelchairs can have a van or SUV equipped with an EZ Lock system which holds the power wheelchair in place while riding inside of the vehicle. Van ramps are also available for this application. Van ramps can be installed by a mobility scooter repair company for automobiles in your area. Vehicle ramps can be folding and removable, or permanent and electronic.

Buying the Best Power Wheelchair Model For You

Now that we have touched base with the many variables of purchasing a power wheelchair you can confidently shop for the best power wheelchair for your needs and for others. Always consult with your physician to determine which motorized wheelchair is best for you. As there are many manufacturers, makes and models of power wheelchairs, keep peace of mind knowing there is a powerchair just for you. If you have any questions, reach out to a qualified mobility company that can help assist you or a loved ones needs. Take your time a research the different powerchairs for sale online.

Author: Chris Miller