The Best Lightweight Electric Wheelchairs for Sale

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.

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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.

Weight

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.

Capacity

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.

Distance

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.

Reputation

Any product can claim to have the best specs, but the real quality is only as good as the company that makes it. Newer companies in the electric wheelchair space may be up-and-coming big names or they may be fly-by-night scammers. It's difficult to tell until they've established a reputation.

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.

Specs

  • 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˚
  • Motor Power: 180W x 2

NOTE: For full specifications see the user manual

Price

It is difficult to find a quality lightweight electric wheelchair for less than $2,000 USD. The KD Smart Chair typically varies between about $2,000 and $2,300. At a $2,000 price point, the KD Smart Chair is very competitive with other models that have similar specs.

DISCLAIMER: Prices do vary. We get our information from historical data, but we cannot predict how the price will change in the future.

Other Thoughts

  • 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. Also, there is no head rest, so you cannot actually recline without holding your head up manually. If you need the reclining feature, you will need to find a non-folding wheelchair with a higher backrest.
  • 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.

Pride Mobility: Jazzy Passport

Considerations for choosing an electric wheelchair

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 Passport is as comfortable as possible considering its foldable, portable nature.

Weight

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.

Capacity

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.

Comfort

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.

Distance

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.

Reputation

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.

Specs

  • 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

NOTE: For full specifications see the user manual

Price

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.

Other Thoughts

  • 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.

Sentire Med: Forza D09 - Heavy Duty Lightweight Electric Wheelchair

For those that need something that is a bit larger and stronger than the standard lightweight model, Sentire Med has a model that might be just what you're looking for. Although it is not marketed as a heavy duty model, the Forza D09 has a price point and specs that put it on a similar level with heavy duty models from other manufacturers.

From what I've seen, the Forza D09 has a lot to offer over other electric wheelchairs of its class. It has one of the highest weight capacities of folding wheelchairs, a large comfortable seat, and an intuitive design that is a pleasure to use.

Weight

At 59 lbs (26.5 kg) it is about 15% heavier than the lightest electric wheelchairs like the KD Smart Chair and the PW-999UL. The extra weight is mostly due to a stronger frame that can hold up to 400 lbs (180 kg). If you need the capacity, this is an easy trade-off.

Folding Mechanism

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 Forza D09 latches open, so that when someone is pushing the chair from behind, it doesn't try to fold closed.

Disability Accommodations

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 Forza D09 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.

In the end, if you want a wheelchair that caters to disabilities, folding wheelchairs are not the best option, but Sentire Med's Forza D09 does try to be accommodating.

Options

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.

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.

Specs

  • Weight: 26.5kg (58.5 lbs)
  • Max Speed: 6 km/hr (3.7 miles/hr)
  • Maximum Capacity: 180kg (400 lbs)
  • Seat Dimensions (L x W x D): 49 x 48 x 43 cm (19” x 19” x 17”)
  • Turning Radius: 85cm (33”)
  • Folded Size (L x H x W): 33 x 78.75 x 61 cm (13” x 31” x 24”)
  • Max Distance: 24 km (15 mi)
  • Charge Time: 6 - 8 hours
  • Slope Capability: 8 - 12˚
  • Motor Power: 250W x 2
  • Ground Clearance: 11.5 cm (4.5 in)
  • Charge time: 6 - 8 hours (not 30 min like it says in the description)

Price

Electric wheelchairs are expensive no matter what, but different wheelchairs will get you more for your money than others. The Forza D09 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.

Surprisingly, the Forza D09 is actually less expensive than the PW-999UL from Wheelchair88 despite having better specs.

DISCLAIMER: Prices do vary. We get our information from historical data, but we cannot predict how the price will change in the future.

In the Package

  • Travel bag that goes over the electric wheelchair when it is folded.
  • Warranty information and user manual.
  • Forza D09 electric wheelchair
  • Lithium ion batteries (x2)
  • Electronic controller

Warranty

When I contacted the company (06/13/2018) they said it comes with a 1 year warranty on the frame, a 6 month warranty on wearable parts, and a 3 month warranty on the batteries.

From their customer support: "We’ll take care of you either way, not to worry. We are not stringent with warranty issues. The chair is designed to be [worry] free so nothing to worry about really."

I do not like that the warranty is not clear, but until I see evidence of a problem, it is a non-issue. The electric wheelchair will come with a warranty card that lists the warranty you receive.

Other Thoughts

  • Considering the weight, quality, and the fact that Sentire Med is an American company, the Forza D09 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. The only reason it was not a full A is because they have only been around for a short time.
  • This is the only electric wheelchair that Sentire Med sells. That could be good or bad, but they clearly thought it was good enough to be the cornerstone of their company.
  • People up to 6'4" (193 cm) tall will probably be comfortable in this electric wheelchair.
  • The controller can be attached to either armrest. Almost every 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.

Golden Technologies: LiteRider Envy - Adjustable Electric Wheelchair

The LiteRider Envy is a compact travel chair that breaks into four lightweight, easy-to-manage pieces, with the heaviest piece weighing only 37 lbs. Although it does not have the sleek fold-and-roll capability of the Forza D09, it does offer more adjustability than a folding wheelchair can.

Specs:

  • Weight: 55.8 kg (123 lbs) with battery
  • Max Speed: 5.6 km/hr (3.5 miles/hr)
  • Maximum Capacity: 136 kg (300 lbs)
  • Seat Dimensions (W x L): 43.2 x 40.6 cm (17 x 16 in)
    • Upgradeable to (W x L): 50.8 x 45.7 cm (20 x 18 in)
  • Turning Radius: 66 cm (26 in)
  • Individual Pieces:
    • Standard Seat: 10.4 kg (23 lbs)
    • Front: 16.3 kg (36 lbs)
    • Back: 16.7 kg (37 lbs)
    • Battery: 12.2 kg (27 lbs)
  • Max Distance: 25 km (15.5 mi)
  • Charge Time: 8 hours
  • Off-Board Charger
  • Sealed Lead Acid battery
  • Slope Capability: 6˚

You can purchase the LiteRider Envy lightweight electric wheelchair from Scooter n' Chairs.

Pros:

  • Easy Breakdown - Breaks into four managable pieces for easy transport.
  • Adjustable - The seat can be set at 2 different heights, and the armrests's widths can be adjusted.
  • Airplane Ready - Lead acid batteries are safe to take on all boats and airplanes.
  • Universal Hitch - Has a universal rear hitch for a basket or other accessories.

Cons:

  • Hills - With a maximum grade of 6 degrees, it lags behind some of its competitors.
  • No Suspension - Door stops and off-road bumps will be felt.

Warranty

  1. Frame - 5 years
  2. Drive Train - 13 months
  3. Electronics - 13 months
  4. Batteries - 12 months

The Bottom Line

The LiteRider Envy uses slightly dated technology (lead acid batteries) and design (break apart vs folding), but it comes with perks like adjustable armrests and a universal accessory hitch that you just do not see on the folding style wheelchairs. Golden Technologies is also a well-respected brand in the mobility products world, so you know the product is reliable.

PW-1000XL - Electric Folding Wheelchair

The PW-1000XL 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.

Specs:

  • 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: ~39km (24 mi)
  • Charge Time (for 1 battery): 4 hours
  • Slope Capability (with anti-tilt support): 13˚
  • Motor Power 250W x 2 units

To buy the PW-1000XL lightweight electric wheelchair see here.

Pros:

Portable electric wheelchair folded view
  • Lightweight - Despite power and carrying capacity upgrades, it is only 12 lbs heavier than the PW 999UL model.
  • 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.
  • Foldable - The chair easily folds down on itself into a compact bundle.
  • 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.

Cons:

  • Other customers commented that Wheelchair88’s customer service is very good until the purchase is made. For that reason, 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

Notes

  1. Wheelchair88 is a Malaysian company. Their electric wheelchairs are manufactured in and shipped from Malaysia.
  2. Those 6’2” and taller may not be comfortable with the size of the chair.
  3. 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.

Drive Medical: Cirrus Plus Power Wheelchair

This electric wheelchair is a solid, comfortable option made by a trusted American brand, Drive Medical. It comes in several different sizes to accommodate a wide range of body shapes and heights.

Specs:

  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
  • Top Speed: 5 mph (8 kph)
  • Max Range: 15 mi (24 km)
  • Turning Radius: 30" | 32" | 33" (76 | 81 | 84 cm)
  • Climbing Angle 6°
  • Ground Clearance: 4" (10.2 cm)
  • Motors (2): 24V x 320W x 4600 rpm
  • Batteries (2): 12V x 36AH (U1)
  • Total Weight: 146 lbs (66 kg)

Pros:

  • 2 Year Warranty - The electronics and drive train come with a 2 year warranty, the batteries come with a 1 year warranty, and the frame comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • 3 Sizes - Choose between 3 sizes of wheelchair depending on your size.
  • Trusted American Brand - Drive Medical is a well-respected brand that also produces some of the most popular mobility scooters on the market.
  • Collapsible - This power wheelchair folds together to fit in even small cars.
  • Comfortable - Good for those who need a comfortable chair for long durations at a time.
  • Powerful - Handles grass and uneven surfaces easily.

Cons:

  • Heavy - In order to transport this power wheelchair in a car, you need a lift or a strong person to break it down and lift it into the car. At 151 lbs it is about 3 times heavier than the 999UL or the 1000XL.

Notes

  1. The lead acid batteries will never need to be taken as carry-on aboard an airplane like lithium ion batteries, however, due to the weight it may incur extra baggage fees traveling by airplane.

The Bottom Line

  1. 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.
  2. Pride Mobility's Jazzy Passport is an affordable, comfortable, well-rounded 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.
  3. The Forza D09 is a comfortable ride for larger individuals or those who need extra comfort. That along with fast shipping, decent customer support, and competitive pricing makes this one of our top picks for a lightweight, portable electric wheelchair.
  4. The LiteRider Envy is a comfortable ride with a several size adjustments and a universal rear hitch for accessories like a basket or oxygen tank.
  5. 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.
  6. The Drive Medical Cirrus Plus may not be the best choice for weight and portability, but it is a solid power wheelchair and comes with lead acid batteries if you are concerned about the lithium ion batteries that most other chairs come with.

Additional Resources

  1. The 4 Best Electric Mobility Scooters for Adults
  2. Mobility Training and Public Safety
  3. The Power Wheelchair
  4. Useful Tips for Electric Wheelchair Users
  5. Transitioning from a Manual to a Power Wheelchair
  6. PW-999UL User Manual
  7. PW-1000XL User Manual
  8. Drive Medical Cirrus Plus User Manual
  9. The Benefits of a Tilt-in-Space Wheelchair

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