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The best drive wheelchair

Which Drive wheelchair is best?

When powered wheelchairs were invented, new worlds opened up to those who found a self-powered wheel difficult to maneuver. For many people who need a wheelchair to get around, a powered wheelchair gives them a new level of independence. There are daily-use models, indoor and outdoor models, compact travel models and even off-road wheelchairs.

If you are looking for a safe, reliable drive wheelchair, the Innuovo Intelligent Foldable Electric Wheelchair is a great choice. Its front-wheel shock absorbers make this a smooth and safe ride.

What to know before you buy a drive wheelchair

The place to begin your search for the ideal drive wheelchair is by defining how and where you plan on using it. Here are a few areas for you to explore:

  • Will you be using your drive wheelchair indoors, outdoors or both?
  • What is the narrowest opening (likely a doorway) that your electric wheelchair must be able to pass through?
  • How far do you want to be able to go before your powered wheelchair’s batteries need recharging?
  • Will you be moving your drive wheelchair from place to place with your car?
  • Will you be traveling through airports?

Drive wheelchair types

Full-size drive wheelchairs are the most common type. They are comfortably padded and best for people who spend long hours each day in a wheelchair.  

Folding drive wheelchairs are lightweight and can be folded into smaller profiles so they can be transported in a car or SUV.

Travel drive wheelchairs are generally smaller and lighter than standard drive wheelchairs and about the same size and weight as folding drive wheelchairs.

Heavy-duty drive wheelchairs are designed to safely and comfortably transport people weighing up to 350 pounds.

Reclining drive wheelchairs are the choice of people who spend long hours in their wheelchairs and need to stop and relieve pressure and improve circulation from time to time as needed.

Standing drive wheelchairs convert from sitting to standing. They help relieve the pressure that comes from long hours of sitting and also allow the user to reach areas too high for someone who is seated.

Pediatric drive wheelchairs are sized for smaller users yet have the same design and control mechanisms as full-size wheelchairs.

To learn even more about drive wheelchairs, take a look at the electric wheelchair buying guide from BestReviews.

What to look for in a quality drive wheelchair

Drive system

Front-wheel drive wheelchairs have good turning capabilities but move more slowly than rear-wheel drive units.

Rear-wheel drive wheelchairs go faster than front-wheel drive units but do not turn as well.

Center-wheel drive wheelchairs are the most maneuverable of the three drive system types. The downsides are that they are the least stable platforms and they do not perform well on bumpy and uneven surfaces.


Lithium-ion: These lightweight batteries are able to store up to six times the energy than the lead-acid battery of the type used in cars and trucks.

AGM: This is the battery of choice for air travelers because it is leak- and spill-proof, resistant to bumping and jarring and requires no maintenance of any kind. AGM batteries are the most expensive of all types because they are designed to deliver powerful bursts of energy and run electronics for a long time.

Wet: This is the least expensive type of battery used in drive wheelchairs. It requires regular filling with distilled water and is subject to leaking, the reason why this type of battery is not approved for air travel.

Gel: This is a lead-acid battery that is technically considered to be a wet-cell battery, but the fluid inside is a gel instead of a liquid, making it less likely to spill. It is a no-maintenance battery that works well in low temperatures and can be used for air travel.

Wheels and tires

Wheels: The size of the wheels on drive wheelchairs varies greatly, depending on whether they are drive wheels or stabilizer wheels. Generally speaking, larger drive wheels are more comfortable, while smaller ones are more maneuverable. 

Tires: Air-filled tires give the best traction and are the best choice for handling bumpy and rough surfaces. This type of tire is susceptible to punctures, unlike foam-filled tires that will never go flat but deliver a less comfortable ride. 

How much you can expect to spend on drive wheelchair

Full-size, folding and travel drive wheelchairs cost between $1,500-$5,500. Pediatric wheelchairs cost between $2,000-$7,000. Specialty drive wheelchairs cost anywhere from $2,500-$20,000.

Drive wheelchair FAQ

What is the difference between a powered wheelchair and a mobility scooter?

A. Electric wheelchairs are designed for all-day use, while mobility scooters are used mostly for short trips outside the home. Mobility scooters are controlled by a tiller or handlebars, while drive wheelchairs use a joystick.

How do I know if the airlines will let me travel with my battery-powered wheelchair?

A. Start by talking with the airline before you buy your tickets. Tell them the name, brand and model of your electric wheelchair and ask if they can accommodate it. You can also go online and check the Pack Safe guidelines published by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

What’s the best drive wheelchair to buy?

Top drive wheelchair 

Innuovo Intelligent Foldable Electric Wheelchair

What you need to know: This is a safe, reliable drive wheelchair with a magnetic braking system.

What you’ll love: One high-performance lithium-ion battery drives this wheelchair while the other serves as a backup, so you are never at a loss for power. The 360-degree joystick provides seamless steering and the shock absorbers cushion the user from bumps.

What you should consider: At 50 pounds, this electric wheelchair is a lot to lift.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top drive wheelchair for the money

GO CHAIR Pride Mobility Travel Electric Wheelchair

What you need to know: This lightweight electric wheelchair is ideal for travelers.

What you’ll love: The long wheelbase of this drive wheelchair makes it stable and easy to maneuver in tight spots. The armrests are simple to adjust for height and width. This model includes dual storage bins and comes in a choice of a few colors.

What you should consider: This powered wheelchair’s ride does not provide enough support when traveling over rough terrain. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Jazzy Pride Mobility 614 HD Heavy-Duty Power Chair

What you need to know: This drive wheelchair combines quality, performance and maneuverability.

What you’ll love: This drive wheelchair goes up to 11 miles per charge with its two 12-volt batteries. The 6-inch casters on the front and rear provide maximum safety and stability and the never-flat 14-inch drive wheels are filled with foam. The independent drive wheel suspension and spring strut dampening system reduces vibrations over rough and uneven surfaces. 

What you should consider: This is a very pricey drive wheelchair.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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