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Confused by motorized electric wheelchairs versus power wheel chairs? Is it a debate as fierce as Coke versus Pepsi? And which is best for you? Refer to the cheat sheets below for some guidance.
Power Wheelchairs are:
• Propelled by electricity
• Available in gear vs. belt drives (belt drives wear out faster)
• Not cheap for high-end models and can go as high as $7,500
• Versatile with front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and mid-wheel drive options
• Not as useful for varied terrain
• Best at tight turns if you choose mid-wheel drive
Motorized electric wheelchairs are:
• High-end with spring suspension and can cost as much as $7,500
• Smooth-riding with more features compared to power wheel chairs and scooters, such as power tilt, elevation and recline
• Versatile and can be used as a car seat
• Controlled by a programmable joystick (like a stick shift with more power)
• Available in front-wheel, mid-wheel and rear-wheel drive, like power wheelchairs
• Able to handle more varied terrain and tighter spots
• Best at tight turns no matter if it's mid-wheel, front-wheel or rear-wheel drive
Unlike the Coke vs. Pepsi debate, the question of power wheel chairs versus electric motorized wheelchairs is an important one. To a degree it's a question of lifestyle and personal taste. Some questions to ask:
• Am I going to be using this electric wheel chair mostly at home and on flat surfaces when I'm out and about, or will I go for a run in the park over grass?
• If this is an electric wheel chair for my child, does it offer him or her ease of use?
• Do I want the option to sit, stand, recline, or tilt, which might be better for my muscles, not to mention my child's if she's the one needing the electric wheel chair?
• Do I need to be mostly stationary in my electric wheel chair?
• How much power or "zip" do I want?
• How durable does my chair need to be and can I get by with a lightweight model?
• How easy is it to transport my wheelchair in my car or truck? Do I want the option to use my electric wheel chair as a car seat?
• Do I want a jazzier, more high-tech model to make the transition of being in a wheelchair easier?
• Am I going to need to turn abruptly in small or tight spots in my home or office?
The next time someone asks you about Coke vs. Pepsi, you can ask them which they prefer, motorized electric wheelchairs or power wheel chairs. Now if we could just get celebrities to launch multimillion-dollar ad campaigns.