Which Is Best For You? Rear-Wheel Or Front-Wheel Drive Powerchair?
If you are facing the decision of buying motorized wheelchair, you are faced with many
options with each specific model. Some powered wheelchairs are better for
around the home and confined spaces and other power wheelchairs perform better
outdoors on longer journeys.
To know how to choose the best wheelchair for your needs, this article looks at the pros and cons of different types of electric wheelchairs.
Front-Wheel Drive Chairs
Wheelchairs that have powered wheels at the front are excellent for outside terrain with different obstacles. Because the power comes from the front, these types of powered chairs are great for tackling curbs and going across uneven terrain. They also perform better when traveling across softer surfaces like grass.
One of the difficulties that new wheelchair users find is maneuvering the chair. Most of the weight is behind the powered wheels and this can make turning difficult. Also, wheelchairs that are powered from the front can start to “fishtail” and therefore tend to be slower.
Rear-Wheel Drive Chairs
Rear-wheeldrive chairs are very popular among consumers because they are more powerful and provide great stability. They are also very stable on uneven ground and can offer better top speeds than front-wheel drive chairs.
Rear-wheel drive chairs are usually chosen for children who require a powered chair for mobility. It is easier for parents to get the chair up a curb by pushing on the back canes and let the chair power itself up the curb.
One of the disadvantages of rear-wheel drive chairs is that they need a larger space to turn. For example, the chair needs to clear a corner before burning and it requires a larger turning radius. Also, chairs that are powered from the rear can be more difficult to learn how to drive. This is because the steering is from the back of the chair and doesn’t mimic how a person walks.
Center-Wheel Drive Chairs
Powered chairs that have their power source in the center or middle of the chair are great for turning in small spaces. It is sometimes possible to almost turn on the spot and are a good choice for a person who spends a lot of time indoors. Because the drive wheels are directly under the person it is easier to control steering on the chair.
One of the drawbacks of mid-wheel drive chairs is that they are more difficult to direct over obstacles and up curbs. However, new technologies in the latest chair designs have addressed many of these problems.