If you are in the market for an electric wheelchair for the first time, you may not really know how to choose the best option. For example, if you don't understand how the drive wheel location can affect the way the chair handles, you might end up with a wheelchair that is harder for you to move around with. Here's a look at the different types of drive wheels to help you select the one that works best for your situation.
An electric wheelchair with drive wheels in the center feature wheels directly beneath the seat of the chair. This puts them under your body. This design shortens the distance between the center of the drive wheel and any outer edge of the chair, so you'll have a shorter turning radius. If you spend a lot of time in smaller spaces or tight corridors, this is a good choice.
The drawback to a center-mounted drive wheel on your electric wheelchair is the sacrifice in power. Since there's no power specifically to the front or rear wheels, you'll have greater risk of getting stuck on an obstacle in the path - even a small one. The lack of power to those wheels makes it harder to get them over things like this.
Most of the traditional electric wheelchair models are fitted with drive wheels in the rear. This design produces a chair that's stable and reliable for most situations. Just keep in mind that you might risk tipping the chair backward if you're trying to travel up a fairly steep incline.
The turning radius is pretty wide on electric wheelchairs with the drive wheels in the rear. That wide turning radius is the result of the distance between the center of the drive wheel in the back and the furthest point of the chair, which would be the front corner. That distance is representative of the turning radius you'll have, so the greater the space between the drive wheel and the edges of the chair, the greater your turning radius will be.
When the drive wheels are mounted to the front of the chair, it's ideal for uneven ground or steep grades. If you travel on terrain like this regularly, that's an important consideration for you. These chairs have a fairly large turning radius like the rear-mounted models, so keep that in mind when you make your choice. Make sure that you can clearly see around you when you turn in these chairs.
Now that you understand each of the different drive wheel choices, you'll be able to better decide which one best suits your current needs. Remember that an electric wheelchair is a long-term investment, so the better fit it is for your lifestyle, the happier you're likely to be. Contact a company like Alaska Mobility to learn more.