The 4 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.

If this is your first time buying an electric wheelchair, we outline some of the important considerations to think about and evaluate some of our top wheelchair picks based on specific needs.

Contents

Buying Considerations

Pain

Considerations for choosing an electric wheelchair
  1. Many people with painful disorders like muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis (MS) need to feel comfortable in their wheelchair for long periods of time. The wheelchair needs to be large enough that any potentially painful pressure points can be padded without preventing the user from changing sitting positions.
  2. Bumps can also be extremely uncomfortable without proper suspension. Not every electric wheelchair comes with shock absorbers, so be sure to ask that question before purchase.
  3. Most electric wheelchairs are adjustable to some extent, but some adjustments, like a reclining back, do not come standard on many models.

Physical Ability

  1. If you have limited strength and/or hypoxia, the power wheelchair can move you around, but can you move it around? With heavy chairs you may need a car lift to load it, but there are lightweight electric wheelchair options that can allow you or a loved one to load it independently.
  2. Make sure you can get in and out of the chair easily as well. Some options have side entry or a footrest that might make front entry more difficult.

Recovery or Decline?

Hopefully the electric wheelchair will last you for years, so make sure that you consider the future.

Those recovering from a disease or accident will be fine with a chair that accommodates their needs right now, but for the elderly and those with progressive disorders, think about what they will need in 3 years.

For example, how difficult will it be for them to load the wheelchair into a car?

Power Wheelchair vs Scooter

Electric mobility scooters are similar to electric wheelchairs, but they do not accommodate disabilities and limitations to the same extent as wheelchairs.

Mobility scooters have a steering wheel and assume that the user can stand and walk unaided for at least short distances.

If you think that a mobility scooter may be more suitable for your needs, check out our review of the best electric mobility scooters for adults.

Medicare Coverage

Medicare may cover some of the costs associated with purchasing an electric wheelchair or electric mobility scooter. If you have a valid medical need for an electric wheelchair, Medicare will pay 80% of the cost.

To be elligible you will need a written note from your doctor that you meet all the requirements listed on Medicare’s wheelchair and scooter benefits.

The following is our recommended list of the best 4 electric wheelchairs for sale:

1. American-Made Wheelchair

Until recently, most of the good lightweight, portable electric wheelchairs available online were from foreign manufacturers, shipped from overseas, and had spotty customer service.

Finally, Sentire Med, an American company stepped up to make a competitively-priced electric wheelchair with good customer service and a high-quality design characteristic of American products.

The Forza D09 has one of the highest weight capacities of folding wheelchairs, a large comfortable seat, and an intuitive design that accounts for a variety of disabilities.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 26.5kg (58.5 lbs)
  • Max Speed: 6 km/hr (3.7 miles/hr)
  • Maximum Capacity: 180kg (400 lbs)
  • Seat Dimensions (W x L): 48 x 43 cm (19 x 17”)
  • Seat Back Height: 40 cm (15.75 in)
  • 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)

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

You can purchase the Forza D09 portable electric wheelchair on Amazon.

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.

Pros:

Foldable power chair in the trunk of a car
  • Foldable – The chair easily folds down onto itself by flipping the locking switch in the rear.
  • Portable – Once folded, it can be pulled around by the handle like airport luggage, it can also fit inside the trunk of a car.
  • Sturdy – With a max capacity of 400 pounds, this is one of the sturdiest chairs on the market.
  • Wide Seat – With a wide seat, this chair is perfect for those who are large and/or tall or who need extra padding.
  • Airplane Ready – Airlines should be notified ahead of time that you will be bringing an electric wheelchair. The batteries and the wheelchair will be separated as you board the plane, but there will be no extra fees since it is a medical device.
  • Regenerative Braking – Instead of wasting battery life, the Forza D09 recharges your batteries going down hills and when braking.
  • Side Entry – With a foldable footrest and armrests, you can move onto the chair from the front or either side depending on what is most comfortable for you.
  • Push Mode – Disable the motors to let someone push the chair like a normal wheelchair. Just flip the large red switches mounted on both motors.
  • American Company – The wheelchair parts are not made in America, but the chair is assembled in New Jersey and the product ships from there. That means shipping is faster and the customer service is better than overseas options.
  • Suspension – The suspension makes for a much smoother ride, especially for those with chronic pain issues.

Cons:

  • Cannot Upgrade Batteries - The chair comes with 2 lithium ion batteries, but the range cannot be extended like other models.
  • Does not have universal attachment hitch for baskets, oxygen tanks, etc

Notes:

  • The seat cushion is removable and washable.
  • The weight of the power wheelchair is similar to the PW-1000XL model from Wheelchair88.
  • The height of the chair back is 15.75” compared to the PW-1000XL’s 20” back. A headrest is available upon request from Sentire Med that will extend the backrest farther up.
  • Suitable for people up to 6'4" (193 cm) tall.
  • The controller can be attached to either arm of the wheelchair.

2. Lightweight Electric Wheelchair

The PW-999UL is a compact, lightweight electric wheelchair that works well for flat surfaces and traveling. It has a good range, can fit in even small cars, and is one of the most popular models on the market.

Specs:

  • Weight: 20.5kg (45 lbs)
  • Max Speed: 6.5 km/hr (4 miles/hr)
  • Maximum Capacity: 100kg (220 lbs)
  • Seat Dimensions (W x L): 45 x 42 cm (17.7 x 16.5”)
  • Turning Radius: 75cm (29.5”)
  • Folded Size (L x H x W): 30 x 71 x 60 cm (11.8” x 28” x 23.6”)
  • Max Distance: 1 battery: ~13km (8 miles), 2 batteries: ~26km (~16 miles), (15% less in cold weather)
  • Charge Time (for 1 battery): 4 hours
  • Slope Capability: 13˚
  • Motor Power: 150W x 2

You can purchase the PW-999UL lightweight electric wheelchair on Amazon.

Pros:

Foldable power chair
  • Foldable - No breakdown is required since the chair easily folds down on itself.
  • Portable - It comes with a soft carrying case and can be pulled around like airport luggage.
  • Lightweight - At 45 lbs, this is one of the most lightweight electric wheelchairs on the market.
  • Second battery - Although it only comes with one battery, a second can be purchased separately to extend the range.
  • Extendable footrest - The footrest can be extended up to 4 inches, and it folds up out of the way for easy front access.
  • Airplane ready - Some airlines may require the batteries to be taken out and put in carry on, but many allow the power wheelchair to be checked at the airplane like a stroller.

Cons:

  • Poor traction - On relatively slick surfaces like damp wood, the wheels will spin.
  • Small wheels make it difficult to use off road.
  • No universal hitch for accessories like oxygen tank holders or rear baskets

Notes

  1. This model is compact and may not be suitable for people over 6 ft tall.
  2. Wheelchair88 is a Malaysian company, and their electric wheelchairs are made in and ship from Malaysia.
  3. Purchasing through Amazon allows you to rely on Amazon’s arbitration system to settle any disputes which can save a huge hassle if anything goes wrong.

3. Portable 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.

4. Heavy Duty 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)

To purchase the Drive Medical Cirrus Plus see here.

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 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 our top pick for a lightweight, portable electric wheelchair.
  2. If you are shorter than 6 foot, normal build, and interested in the lightest, most portable electric wheelchair, the PW-999UL is what you want.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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