A power wheelchair can make a huge, positive impact on the quality of life for the elderly and disabled. I see it every day in my job providing mobility aids for the elderly and disabled at a home medical equipment company. It is exciting to see a bed-bound patient get up and move about the house on their own.
Wouldn’t it be nice if this experience could be portable and used out in public? But, aren’t power wheelchairs heavy and hard to transport?
Lightweight Folding Power Wheelchair Reviews
EZ Lite Cruiser - Standard Model - Personal Mobility Aid - Light Weight Folding Power Wheelchair
In many ways, the EZ Lite Cruiser is the gold standard for lightweight folding electric wheelchairs. It is one of the lightest at 50 lb total weight including the battery. This makes it easy to load and unload in the car. It can be loaded without the battery to make it even lighter.
The EZ Lite Cruiser folds up into a very small package without having to take it apart. Folding it becomes simple after a little practice. Be sure to watch the video instructions that come with the chair for folding tips.
Other nice features are an available extra battery to increase the range, flip back arms for easy transfers to bed or your comfort height toilet, a handle to help carry it, and a removable seat cushion and cover for cleaning. The weight capacity is higher than some other folding chairs which is nice for larger sized people.
Check out this video that shows how easy this chair is to fold, unfold, and use on different terrains:
- Extremely lightweight with total weight of 50 lb including battery
- Folds up easily into a very compact package
- 10+ miles on a single battery charge
- Second battery available to increase range
- Weight Capacity 264 lbs*
Foldawheel PW-999UL (2 Batteries+2 yrs Warranty+Free Travel Bag) Open/Fold in 1 Second Now. The lightest & Most Compact Powered Wheelchair in The World (only 43 lbs+3 lbs per Li-ion Battery).
The Foldawheel PW-999UL weighs only 42 lbs (including the battery) and claims to be the world’s lightest power wheelchair! At that weight, nearly anyone can fold and load this chair. This will really open up travel options for elderly people and people with disabilities.
This model also comes with some nice extras like an extendable footplate to accommodate long legs and travel bag that protects the chair from rain and during travel.
The distance this chair will travel between charges is lower than some of the other chairs. Consider the second battery if you choose this chair because of the lower weight. The battery will add some weight to the overall package, but the batteries can be taken off before loading too. This lightens the loading weight of the chair.
This video shows the Foldawheel in motion, folded up, and loaded in the car:
- Claims to be the world’s lightest power wheelchair at only 42 lbs including the battery
- Folds up in 5 seconds into a very compact size
- 8 miles on a single battery charge – second battery can be added to double the range
- Includes extendable footrests that offer 4″ of adjustment in the length to accommodate longer legs.
- Weight Capacity 220 lbs*
- Includes a travel bag for protection while traveling
Drive Medical Cirrus Plus Folding Power Wheelchair with Footrest and Batteries, Black, 18"
This folding electric wheelchair from Drive Medical is the heaviest of the chairs I have reviewed. If you take the batteries out, the chair itself still weighs 90 lbs. This is nearly double the weight of the other chairs. It would be difficult for elderly to load by their self but a younger caretaker or family member could probably manage it. Because the batteries have to be removed before folding, this chair takes a bit longer than the others to load.
BUT, this chair has features the other chairs do not. First, it comes with 2 batteries which give it a longer range right out of the box. Second, it includes lots of adjustments like arm height, leg rest length, and upholstery tension for a custom fit and feel. This chair is the better choice for someone with more profound medical problems or more severe disabilities. It offers more support for these types of patients.
Unfortunately, as far as looks go, this chair looks more like medical equipment than the other. It is a throwback to the electric wheelchairs of the 90’s. But it is nearly a $1,000 less than the other options too – so it is still worth considering.
- Total weight with batteries is 146 lbs and 90 lbs without batteries
- Adjustable features include arm height, leg rest length, upholstery tension and joystick location
- Includes 2 batteries for longer range
- best folding power wheelchair for more severe disabilities and medical problems.
- Weight Capacity 300 lbs
Why Would You Want a Folding Power Wheelchair?
As I stated above, the common problem with most power chairs is that they are heavy and do not travel well. Lightweight fold-up electric wheelchairs though are lighter in weight and fold to a compact size. This makes them ideal for local travel in a car because they fit easily in the trunk. Even air travel becomes more possible and easier with a wheelchair that folds.
What to Think About When Shopping for a Folding Electric Wheelchair
Shopping for and buying a power wheelchair is not something you do every day. Many people go their whole lives and (fortunately!) don’t have to go through this process. To help you out though, here are some important tips about foldable electric wheelchairs.
Assembly & Disassembly
When using the term “lightweight” about a power wheelchair, know that is a relative term. None of these lightweight motorized chairs are light as a feather. So, it is important to make sure you or a caretaker can easily assemble and reassemble the chair as needed. Make sure you understand these instructions and can repeat them easily.
Some of these chairs break down into smaller pieces that are easier to handle. Make sure you know what the weight of the heaviest piece is and make sure it is a weight that the person loading it can handle.
Know the maximum weight that the chair will hold. Because these power chairs are lighter weight and foldable, they may not hold as much weight. Compare the weight of the person who will be riding in the chair with the maximum weight the chair will hold. I recommend a 10% cushion between the figures.
Available Seat Sizes
Look up the width and depth of the seating surface and compare that to the user of the wheelchair. Have the person who will use the electric wheelchair sit in a firm chair like a dining chair and measure them. Measure across their hips (the seat width) and from the back of their rear end to the back of the knee (the seat depth). Make sure the user’s measurements do not exceed the seat size. Also, make sure you are looking at the width and depth of the seat – not the size of the full wheelchair.
Overall Chair Width
Measure the doorways at home that the chair will need to go through and make sure the power wheelchair will fit. I suggest a chair width that is at least 2″ narrower than the smallest doorway.
Make sure the folding motorized chair you choose has proper support for the feet. I recommend swing away leg rests with footrests that also fold up. That way, the user can move the leg and footrests out of the way so they can get in and out of it easier. It is also good if the length of the leg rests are adjustable so that they fit the wheelchair rider.
Look for a chair with arm supports that are sturdy. Armrests that flip back may help with getting in and out of the chair because the user will be able to use the side to get out in addition to the front. Ones that are adjustable in height are even better. This keeps the user from having to hunch over to reach the armrests and will result in better posture.
Make sure the joystick mounts to either the right or the left side of the chair. It is also nice if it adjusts in and out to match the arm length of the user.
Battery Charging and Limits
Battery size varies in these models. Make sure you know how far the power wheelchair will travel (“the range”)between charges and make sure that fit your needs. The chargers are portable also for on the go charging if needed.
Important Accessories :
- Seatbelts are important for user safety by reducing the chance of them falling out.
- Adjustable upholstery allows the tightness of the back or seat upholstery to be adjusted for the user comfort.
- Cushions improve comfort especially for those who will be seated in the chair for long periods of time.
Who Should Not Use a Folding Power Wheelchair
While these chairs are very convenient, they are not suitable for everyone. People with congenital orthopedic deformities or progressive neurological disorders probably should not use one. The problem is these chairs do not offer options for positioning support for elderly or disabled people who are not able to sit upright on their own. Mounting support devices like lateral pads, custom contoured backs, etc is difficult at best and would prevent the chairs from folding up.
It is hard to beat a lightweight folding power wheelchair in terms of convenience, portability, and improving mobility. These mobility aids go almost anywhere and open up travel options for people with difficulty walking.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any experience with folding power wheelchairs! Do you have a model you are happy with and recommend?