For those with disabilities, freedom, or lack thereof, can be life changing. For disabilities that prevent the use of manual wheelchairs, electric or power wheelchairs can offer a solution to get you back out and about.
These days there are several portable, lightweight, electric wheelchair options that can fit in your car, be lifted by one person, fly on airplanes, and be driven for miles on a charge.
1 Sentire Med: FCX - Heavy Duty Lightweight Electric Wheelchair
Sentire Med has a motto: Do one thing, and do it well. They only sell one product, but it is the best lightweight electric wheelchair on the market. Yes, it has room for improvement, but no other product on the market succeeds in so many important categories. Made in the USA by a small, family-owned business, the FCX is built from quality components, with an elegant design, at a price that is very competetive with similar wheelchairs.
The FCX is the next generation redesign of the Forza D09, Amazon's best selling folding motorized wheelchair. This model has more powerful motors, a higher top speed, and batteries that last longer than ever. After listening to their customers, they also decided to make the chair slightly wider and include several convenient accessories like a cup holder, arm bag, rear carrying pouch, and an under-seat basket.
At 67 lbs (31.5 kg) including batteries and accessories it is 7 lbs heavier than the previous model and about 20 lbs heavier than the lightest electric wheelchair on the market.
The extra weight is mostly due to a stronger frame that can hold up to 352 lbs (162 kg). If you need the capacity, this is an easy trade-off.
One of the things that's really difficult to design into a lightweight, folding electric wheelchair is the folding mechanism itself. The original collapsible wheelchair, the KD Smart Chair, has several steps involved in closing it. Even though it is not a huge inconvenience for most people, for a limited mobility adult, it might be.
In other models that are imported from Asia, like Wheelchair88's PW-999UL, they dramatically reduced the effort and steps required to fold the wheelchair. One of the problems I have seen with some of the foreign-designed folding wheelchairs, though, is the lack of a latch to stop the chair from folding over on itself when someone is pushing from behind.
The FCX latches open, so that when someone is pushing the chair from behind, it doesn't try to fold closed. It could be improved, though if the wheelchair also latched closed. In order to easily wheel it around while closed, you need to put its travel case on. The case will hold it closed, but it is inconvenient to use for short distances.
Folding wheelchairs are usuallly not very accommodating for individuals with disabilities. They have a low back with no headrest, no recline option, non-adjustable footrests, and poor suspension at best. That being said, the FCX does attempt to accommodate where they can.
The footrest is still stationary, and the backrest does not recline, but the chair does have suspension, the armrests fold up for side entry, and when I called the company, they said they could include an attachable headrest. The push bar on the back of the wheelchair does extend out to accommodate taller individuals.
In the end, if you want a wheelchair that caters to disabilities, folding wheelchairs are not the best option, but Sentire Med's FCX does its best.
Sentire Med is releasing another option, only available on their website, called the FCXL (L for Lift) that is a folding electric wheelchair designed to accommodate disabilities. This is the first folding electric wheelchair of its kind. It has not been released yet. Updates will be forthcoming.
Although it is not advertised explicitly, Sentire Med can add a number of custom options to your purchase upon request. In talking with their customer service, I found out that they can include options like an attachable headrest or different paint jobs in colors like blue, red, and pink. Custom options, especially colors, may take up to 2 weeks to ship.
They can also add and switch padding on the back and seat according to your needs and preferences.
In fact, they even call you and customize every chair before shipping, even when bought through Amazon. As the manufacturer, they can really do a lot to personalize the wheelchair to your individual needs and body type.
Overall, I was impressed at how willing and able they are to accommodate specific requests. If you want something extra, it doesn't hurt to ask.
- Gross Weight with 2 Batteries: 67 lbs (31.5 kg)
- Net Weight without = Excluding Batteries and Accessories: 60 lbs (27 kg)
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 352 lbs (162 kg)
- Seat Dimensions: 19” x 17.5” (49 cm x 44 cm)
- Speed: 4 mph standard, 6 mph maximum
- Unfolded Size (L*W*H): 40” x 24.5” x 35.5” (102 x 62 x 90 cm)
- Folded Size (L*W*H): 25” x 13” x 29” (64 x 33 x 74 cm)
- Battery: 2 x Lithium 24V/10AH
- Charge Time: 5 hours/battery (i.e. 10hrs for 2 batteries)
- Driving Range:
- 1 battery: 10mi (16km)
- 2 batteries: 20mi (32km)
- 3 batteries: 30mi (48km)
- Two Brushless Motors: 250W/motor with electromagnetic brakes
- Battery Charge: 24V/2A
- Suspension: Front and Rear Spring Coil
- Max Slope: 15 degrees
In the Package
- Travel bag that goes over the electric wheelchair when it is folded.
- Warranty information and user manual.
- FCX electric wheelchair
- Lithium ion batteries (x2)
- Electronic controller
- Charging adapter
- Tool kit (x2)
- Cup holder
- Arm bag
- Under-seat basket
The FCX comes with a:
- 2 year limited warranty on the frame
- 6 month limited warranty on wearable parts
- 3 month limited warranty on the batteries
As a small, family-run company, Sentire Med is also willing and able to work with borderline warranty issues. If your chair breaks the day after the warranty expires, they won't pull out the fine print (according to my conversation with their customer service). They are a company that stands by their product.
- Considering the weight, quality, and the fact that Sentire Med is an American company, the FCX has a lot of utility for the money you spend.
- Although Sentire Med is a new company in the wheelchair space, it was evaluated by the Better Business Bureau and received an A score.
- This is the only electric wheelchair that Sentire Med sells, they clearly thought it was good enough to be the cornerstone of their company.
- Sentire Med has accommodated for people up to 6'8", but if you are over 6'4", you should talk to the company before purchase.
- The controller can be attached to either armrest. Almost every lightweight electric wheelchair I have seen can easily switch the controller from one armrest to another.
- There is no universal hitch for attachments like oxygen tank holders or rear baskets.
Electric wheelchairs are expensive no matter what, but different wheelchairs will get you more for your money than others. The FCX is more expensive than lightweight models like the KD Smart Chair, but you do get a lot of added benefit if you need the increased weight capacity, size, shock absorbers etc.
The Bottom Line
The FCX is a comfortable ride for larger individuals or those who need extra comfort. That along with fast shipping, excellent customer support, and competitive pricing makes the FCX our top pick for a lightweight, portable electric wheelchair.
How to Buy the Forza FCX
2 Forcemech Voyager R2
Age and disability both make it difficult to transport your electric wheelchair, and sometimes just a few more pounds can be the difference between dependence and independence.
The Forcemech Voyager R2 is the lightest electric wheelchair on the market at 43 lbs. Forcemech really put time into the design to cut as many pounds as possible while keeping price, durability, and range on the level with other electric wheelchairs of its class.
- Weight capacity: 265 lbs
- Weight: 43 lbs
- Range: 16 miles on full charge
- Time to fully charge batteries: 6 hours
- Dimensions: 35" x 23" x 35"
- Dimensions (folded): 26" x 13" x 30"
- Seat size/height: 17” x 17”, 20”
The Voyager R2 is smaller than the Forza D09, has a lower weight capacity, and a bit less power. The price point reflects that to some extent, but you do pay for the extreme portability. It is slightly more expensive than other electric wheelchairs with similar specs but not by much.
Alloy wheels for durability Shock-absorbing springs for a smooth ride Folding kickstand, for stability when stopped Rear reflectors for safety
Why the Forcemech Voyager R2?
The biggest selling point of this electric wheelchair is how portable it is- the Voyager can be folded flat in just seconds. At just 43 pounds, the compact and lightweight frame can be transported just about anywhere.
The folded chair fits easily in a car’s trunk. Additionally, Forcemech wheelchairs are cleared for US airline travel (NOTE: the policies of individual airlines or foreign countries may differ).
Maintenance & Warranty
- Forcemech highly recommends annual maintenance, however most folding electric wheelchairs are worry/maintenance free. In my opinion, this is a money making tactic and can be disregarded. If it ain't broke, don't pay a technician a bunch of money to tell you what you already know.
- Per Forcemech policy, wheelchairs can be returned within 60 days for a full refund.
- Warranty: 5 years on frame, 2 years on motor
Before you buy
- In order to use Medicare, you must purchase at a physical location. You cannot purchase this online.
- Make sure that the wheelchair specifications are right for you (seat height and width, weight capacity, etc.).
If wheelchair weight and portability are your prime concerns, this is the wheelchair you want. It sacrifices in some areas for larger/taller people in order to make it the easiest wheelchair to transport. Built for both comfort and easy travel, you can take it anywhere, and it can do the same for you.
3 Zinger Chair from firstSTREET
The Zinger Chair is a compact, electric, travel wheelchair that folds up for easy transport. It is one of the lightest electric wheelchairs on the market. Zinger has also developed a novel lever steering mechanism to replace the typical joystick found on many other models of electric wheelchair. While it is not for everyone, it is intuitive and easy-to-use.
Steering and Operating
The Zinger Chair has a unique steering mechanism that is different from the typical joystick. There are two handles, one on either side of the wheelchair. Each handle drives one side of the wheelchair. Up is reverse, and down is forward. To turn, pull one handle up and push the other down.
It’s honestly a pretty intuitive system, but it could come with some drawbacks for those with disabilities or weakness on one side. A benefit to the joystick model is that the entire chair can be controlled with one hand, and you get to pick which hand you use. This makes joystick wheelchairs widely accessible to those with disabilities and limits the range of users that can operate the Zinger Chair.
Before buying a Zinger Chair, be sure that you can operate levers that require whole arm motion on both sides.
The Zinger Chair from firstSTREET:
- Weight: 47 lbs (21.4 kg) with battery
- 42 lbs (19.1 kg) without battery
- Max Speed: 9.5 km/hr (6 miles/hr)
- Maximum Capacity: 125 kg (275 lbs)
- Max Distance: 13 km (8 mi)
- Charge Time: 4 hours
- Battery Charges On or Off the Wheelchair
- Lithium Ion battery
- Slope Capability: 10˚
- Airline Safe
- Lightweight and Portable - The chair and the battery combined weigh in at 47 lbs making it one of the lightest power wheelchairs on the market. To further decrease the weight, removing the battery brings the chair down to 42 lbs.
- Airplane Ready - The battery meets all FAA requirments to be taken on airlines.
- Those with one-sided weakness or disability may not be able to operate the controls.
The Bottom Line
The Zinger Chair is one of the lightest electric wheelchairs on the market. The lever-style control mechanism may not be for everyone, but it is very intuitve for those who can use it. This power chair is best suited for people who have a normal range of motion and general functionality but have a hard time walking long distances or are at risk for falls on uneven ground.
How to Buy a Zinger Chair
4 Pride Mobility: Jazzy Passport
When we compare the best lightweight electric wheelchairs across the industry, we don’t just look at what they can do; we look at value added for the price paid.
The Jazzy passport has a lot of great specs, but it also comes in as one of the most affordable quality wheelchairs.
Besides affordability, Pride also puts in extra effort to ensure that the Jazzy Passport is as comfortable as possible considering its foldable, portable nature.
- Weight: 27.2 kg (60 lbs)
- Max Speed: 5.6 km/hr (3.5 miles/hr)
- Maximum Capacity: 113.4 kg (250 lbs)
- Max Distance: 9.6 mi (15.5 km)
- Motor Power: 180W x 2
At 60 lbs (27.2 kg) with battery the Jazzy Passport is about 25% heavier than the lightest wheelchair (45 lbs), the PW-999UL from Wheelchair 88. You could lighten the wheelchair a bit by removing the battery, but the weight is not a problem in my opinion. If you cannot lift 60 lbs safely, you probably cannot lift 50 lbs safely.
If you are 6’2” (188 cm) or shorter, you will fit easily in the Jazzy Passport, but over 6’2” and you might notice it getting a little cramped. At 250 lbs capacity the Passport is not meant for large individuals or heavy loads.
If you weigh over 250 lbs and want a folding wheelchair, check out the Forza D09 from Sentire Med.
One of the things I like most about the Jazzy Passport is the steps they took to improve the comfort. Most lightweight electric wheelchair designs assume that you will only use it for short periods, so they do not emphasize comfort. The Jazzy Passport has very nice seats, though. They use breathable material, so you do not get that sticky, sweaty feeling from sitting too long.
The other built-in features are the cup holder and the rotating joystick. Both are pretty unique among lightweight electric wheelchairs, and they make using it for longer periods easier.
The joystick can be left straight, but you can also rotate it out of the way or in closer to yourself. This caters to personal preference, but it can also help with flexibility issues and joint deformities that make it difficult to hold your hands in certain positions.
The cup holder is a nice bonus, and it works like most other cup holders. You can swap the joystick and the cup holder to either arm depending on how you want it.
Ease of Use
Lightweight electric wheelchairs should be user-friendly for those with limited mobility. Easy setup and maintenance is especially important for these wheelchairs. The Jazzy Passport comes mostly assembled in one box.
You have to attach the joystick, joystick wire, cup holder, and battery. The initial setup may be too difficult for the user, so it is a good idea to have help for that part. Once the wheelchair is set up, there is almost no maintenance at all. You can charge the battery off the wheelchair directly or on the wheelchair through the joystick.
The Jazzy Passport locks both open and closed, so that it does not pop open when you are moving it or try to eat you when you are sitting in it.
The distance on the Jazzy Passport could honestly be better. At 9.6 miles, it is on the lower end of lightweight electric wheelchairs we looked at. Most other folding wheelchairs have a max distance of around 15 miles, or they offer the option to upgrade the battery.
Pride Mobility has been a well-respected American brand for over 30 years, and their Jazzy line is well-known for its quality. Pride has good customer service and aftermarket care. Their support lines are open from Monday to Friday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.
- I really like the folding mechanism because it locks open AND closed unlike the PW-999UL and the PW-1000XL. It also folds in one smooth motion without extra steps, unlike the KD Smart Chair.
- The armrests fold up, so that the chair can fit under tables.
- Pride really pushes the idea that the removable battery can lighten the weight from 60 lbs to 53, but it does not seem practical. In order to take the battery out, you need to crouch down behind the chair, reach underneath, and pull the battery out. If 7 lbs of battery is really going to be the breaking point for getting your wheelchair into a vehicle, crouching down on your hands and knees to take the battery out and put it back in again is probably not any easier.
At around $2,000, the Jazzy Passport is one of the most affordable lightweight electric wheelchairs with a quality reputation. Other wheelchairs with similar specs sell for upwards of $2,600 (Wheelchair88’s PW-999UL), and even the KD Smart Chair can be more expensive even though it is usually one of the more affordable chairs.
Disclaimer: Prices do vary. We get our information from historical data, but we cannot predict how the price will change in the future.
The Bottom Line
Pride Mobility's Jazzy Passport is an affordable, comfortable, well-rounded electric wheelchair for those under 6'2" and 250 lbs. The maximum distance is not as good as other wheelchairs, and there is no option to upgrade the battery.
How to Buy the Jazzy Passport
5 KD Smart Chair - Lightweight Electric Wheelchair
Quite a few new power wheelchair companies have been popping up recently, but one of the first lightweight, foldable electric wheelchairs was the KD Smart Chair.
The Smart Chair started production in 2012 and has been featured in reviews, on Youtube channels, on CBS, and through several celebrity endorsements.
That doesn't necessarily mean that the chair is good, but the company is at least well-known and respected enough to have survived for over 6 years in a highly competetive industry. It is still one of the highest-rated lightweight electric wheelchairs on the market despite the competition.
The KD Smart Chair is no longer the lightest electric wheelchair available, but the difference between the Smart Chair's weight and that of its competitors is almost negligible. The Smart Chair weighs in at 50 lbs (22.6 kg) in total with the batteries and electronics.
If you look at other lightweight power wheelchairs, the lightest you can get is 45 lbs (the PW-999UL). On the other end of the "lightweight" spectrum is the Drive Cirrus Plus that weighs in at an unliftable 146 lbs, but most fall between 50 and 65 lbs.
The capacity refers to the maximum capacity that the wheelchair can safely carry. At 265 lbs max weight, the KD Smart Chair won't win any deadlifting competitions, but it does alright.
It beats out the weakest at 220 lbs (the PW-999UL), but some of the heavy duty folding wheelchairs can hold up to 400 lbs. If you need more than that, it is best to look in the non-folding models.
The KD Smart Chair does very average here, but if capacity is something you are looking for, check out the KD Smart Chair Heavy Duty coming up next.
We all want more distance, but adding batteries adds to the weight. Some electric wheelchairs have the option to add batteries for increased range, but the KD Smart Chair does not. The good news is that the battery weight problem mostly only applies to the heavy lead-acid batteries in some of the older models.
The KD Smart Chair has a very competitive 15 mile range that is comparable with some of the other wheelchairs AFTER you buy their range extending battery. The max distance for lightweight electric wheelchairs varies from 8 miles all the way to 20 miles.
Any product can claim to have the best specs, but the real quality is only as good as the company that makes it.
As I mentioned earlier, KD Smart Chair has a well-tested reputation that stretches back to 2012, along with consistently great reviews. The company is also based in America, which makes aftermarket care much easier than it is for Asian-based companies.
KD Smart Chair has replacement parts available online.
- Weight: 20.5kg (45 lbs)
- Max Speed: 6 km/hr (3.75 miles/hr)
- Maximum Capacity: 120kg (265 lbs)
- Max Distance: 15 mi (24.1 km)
- Slope Capability: 12˚
- It takes more time to break down the KD Smart Chair than some of the newer models from other companies. Newer folding designs just fold and clip, so it takes about 2 seconds. The Smart Chair does have a few extra steps like folding back the arm and foot rests, but it is not a deal-breaker. The Smart Chair is still very simple to handle.
- The joystick can be mounted on either armrest or to the back if a caretaker will be using it.
- The reclining back does not seem very useful. The pivot point is about half-way up your back, so leaning back would be pretty uncomfortable for any length of time.
- There is no suspension, but it handles grass, bumps, and uneven ground no problem.
- There is no universal hitch for attachments like oxygen tank holders or rear baskets.
The Bottom Line
The KD Smart Chair has built a great reputation for itself as one of the most trusted names in lightweight folding electric wheelchairs. Weighing 50 lbs it is easy to manage and transport. The design is not quite as streamlined as newer models from other companies.
How to Buy a KD Smart Wheelchair
6 Foldawheel PW-1000XL - Electric Folding Wheelchair
The PW-1000XL, by the company Wheelchair88, is a more rugged version of the PW-999UL that gives the user more power, range, and comfort without sacrificing its portability. It works well for use outdoors, on grass, or traveling long distances.
- Weight: 26 kg (57 lbs)
- Max Speed: 8 kph ( 5 mph)
- Max Capacity: 150 kg (330 lbs)
- Seat Dimensions: 48.25 x 45.5 cm (19 x 18”)
- Folded Size (L x H x W) 36 x 67 x 60 cm (14.2 x 26.4 x 23.6”)
- Turning Radius 80cm (31.5”)
- Max Distance: 1 battery: ~13 km (8 mi), 2 batteries: ~26 km (16 mi), 3 batteries: ~45km (24 mi)
- Charge Time (for 1 battery): 4 hours
- Slope Capability (with anti-tilt support): 13˚
- Motor Power 250W x 2 units
- Lightweight - Despite power and carrying capacity upgrades, it is only 12 lbs heavier than the PW 999UL model.
- Foldable - The chair easily folds down on itself into a compact bundle.
- Powerful - 1000XL motors: 250 W x2 compared to 999UL motors: 150 W x2
- Upgradeable battery - The base unit comes with 1 lithium ion battery, but it can use up to 3 batteries to extend the max range.
- Airplane ready - Just like the 999UL, this can be checked on an airplane, although, some flights may require you to remove the batteries and take them as carry-on.
- Suspension - 4 spring suspension makes this power wheelchair a comfortable option for bumpy terrain.
- Wheelchair88 is a Malaysian company. Their electric wheelchairs are manufactured in and shipped from Malaysia. We recommend purchasing through Amazon, so that you can use Amazon’s arbitration system to settle disputes if anything goes wrong.
- This wheelchair does not have a universal hitch for accessories like a rear basket or an oxygen tank holder
- Those 6’2” and taller may not be comfortable with the size of the chair.
- The weight limit is usually less of a problem than the size of the seat. If you are close to the weight limit for the wheelchair measure the width of your hips and compare it to the width of the seat. Add 1 inch on either side to account for clothing and wiggle room.
The Bottom Line
For tall people up to about 6 feet 2 inches, the PW-1000XL offers a better fit while still keeping the wheelchair's weight under control.
How to Buy the PW-1000XL
- The 4 Best Electric Mobility Scooters for Adults
- Mobility Training and Public Safety
- The Power Wheelchair
- Useful Tips for Electric Wheelchair Users
- Transitioning from a Manual to a Power Wheelchair
- Forcemech Voyager R2 Frequently Asked Questions
- Jazzy Passport User Manual
- KD Smart Chair Manual
- PW-1000XL User Manual
- The Benefits of a Tilt-in-Space Wheelchair