While no mobility device is perfect in every way, the best electric wheelchairs should excel in a number of key areas. They need to be well-built and durable – after all, you'll ideally want years of use from one – and should be comfortable, with high-quality support for your back, head, arms and feet. A good electric wheelchair should offer excellent maneuverability, to enable you to traverse from one place to another without any problems.
The best electric wheelchairs are also simple to operate, with intuitive controls that don't necessitate having to reach for the instruction manual every time you want to activate one of the functions. Those are the absolute essentials.
Much like the best mobility scooters, a good electric motorized wheelchair should ideally also offer decent range (the number of miles they can travel on a single charge), top speed, turning radius, and incline rating (how well they travel up an incline). And in the case of the best electric wheelchairs that fold, they need to be light enough to lift from pavement to car trunk, and vice versa.
In this guide, we look at the best electric wheelchair in a number of different categories, including the top power electric wheelchair for seniors, and the most popular motorized wheelchair for travel. We’ll look at each device's specifications, giving you the lowdown on how they might help you in your daily activities, and sum up whether we think that particular model is a worthy investment or not.
Ultimately, the best electric wheelchairs should boost your confidence and sense of freedom, help you to feel safe and empowered when using one, and above all improve your day-to-day life. Let’s take a look at them now…
8 best electric wheelchairs to consider now
1. ForceMech Voyager R2: Best electric wheelchair that folds
The follow-up to ForceMech’s 2018 Voyager electric wheelchair doesn’t stray far away from the original blueprint, but that’s understandable when you consider how capable that model was and how well it sold. Like its predecessor, the ForceMech Voyager R2 is a super-light (47lbs with batteries) foldable mobility device with striking good looks and a tough-as-nails strengthened aluminium alloy frame.
Making this electric wheelchair slightly superior to the first Voyager are the addition of front absorption springs for more comfortable suspension, a set of reflective lights around the back to ensure that nobody bumps into you after dark, and a new twin-6.6 Ah battery set-up that ups the range from 12-16 miles.
If you already own the original wheelchair and it’s still performing well, we wouldn’t recommend upgrading. But if you don’t and you’re looking for the best electric wheelchair for great portability and fairly simple operation – all at a very affordable price – then the Voyager R2 could well be the one.
- Read our in-depth guide to the ForceMech Voyager R2
2. Porto Mobility Ranger Quattro: Best electric wheelchair on Amazon
The heavy duty Porto Mobility Ranger Quattro is something of a brute among power electric wheelchairs: built from tough, airplane-grade aluminium alloy, it’s a muscular machine that goes both faster (up to 7mph) and further (up to 45 miles) than most motorized wheelchairs guide.
What’s more, its excellent 25-degree incline rating gives it the edge over most models in our best electric wheelchairs guide when it comes to climbing hills.
That’s not to say that the Ranger Quattro is clumsy or cumbersome. OK, so its 39-inch turning radius is hardly what you’d call graceful, but on open paths and pavements the device drives like a dream, with perky acceleration, slick steering and forgiving suspension. If you’re not fussed about foldability, add this one to your shortlist pronto.
- Read our in-depth guide to the Porto Mobility Ranger Quattro
3. Pride Mobility Jazzy Air 2: Best power electric wheelchair
Feeling empowered when socializing with others is a key consideration for many wheelchair users, which might explain why Pride Mobility's Jazzy Air became such a big hit when it was launched in 2016. Here was an electric wheelchair that enabled users to elevate their seat by up to ten inches in just 16 seconds, and all with the simple flick of a switch.
Well, fast-forward to 2018 and the Pennsylvania-based manufacturer trumped its original creation with a more advanced follow-up. The Jazzy Air 2 remains one of the best electric wheelchairs for social interaction: not only does it offer even better seat elevation (up to 12 inches in 11 seconds), its seat-to-floor height is 5cm lower than its predecessor, enabling users to sit more comfortably at dining tables.
Thanks in part to its Mid-Wheel 6 Drive system and Active-Trac suspension, the Pride Mobility Jazzy Air 2 delivers exceptional stability and maneuverability, while a maximum range of 19.2 miles (with the optional 40Ah battery) is competitive. We would've liked a better top speed (at 4mph in both the elevated and non-elevated positions, it's still a slight improvement on its predecessor), but overall the Jazzy Air 2 is a very impressive package.
4. Merits P312 Dualer: Best electric wheelchair for seniors
Like the most eager hotel concierge, the Merits P312 Compact FWD/RWD Dualer is designed to cater to your every whim. As the name suggests, this electric wheelchair boasts a dual drive configuration that enables you to switch it from front wheel-drive to rear-wheel drive, simply by activating a lever and twisting the seat around.
Equally useful is the wheelchair’s power seat elevator that will raise you by five inches at the press of a button – handy if you’re unable to physically reach up to do the dusting or take something from a supermarket shelf.
The Merits P312 Compact FWD/RWD Dualer delivers decent performance to match its versatility, with a competitive top speed of 5mph and up to 18 miles of range per battery charge. That’s by some way short of the very best electric wheelchairs, but it’s far from the worst we’ve seen. Yes, the incline rating is disappointing at 12 degrees, but for the most part this is a very able electric wheelchair.
- Read our in-depth guide to the Merits P312 Compact FWD/RWD Dualer
5. EZ Lite Cruiser Deluxe Regular DX12: Best electric wheelchair for travel
If you're looking for the best electric wheelchair to take with you on business meetings and holidays, look no further than the EZ Lite Cruiser Deluxe Regular DX12. Weighing just 62lbs without batteries, this foldable mobility device features a patented quick-release system that enables you to split it into three pieces, ready for stowing away in the trunk of your car. And when the time comes to get the chair out again, it can be unfolded in just one second.
But the EZ Lite Cruiser Deluxe Regular DX12 electric wheelchair is no one-trick pony, and you're also guaranteed a smooth and comfortable ride thanks to its large rear wheels, five preset reclining positions and excellent weight capacity (up to 305lbs).
The top speed of 5mph, while not being best in class, is competitive. And you can choose to double up on battery power for up to 30 miles of range. Just be aware that if you opt for 15 Ah batteries as opposed to the 10 Ah ones, you won't be able to take the chair onto an airplane.
6. Karman XO-505: Best electric wheelchair for standing and sitting
It's not just for its standing functionality that we've positioned the Karman XO-505 as the best electric wheelchair overall – that's a fantastic feature that offers a number of health benefits, including improved blood circulation, muscle tone and kidney and bladder functioning, but we accept that it won't be for everyone.
No, the XO-505 delivers in (almost) all of the important areas: it's reassuringly robust, thanks to the strengthened aluminium alloy, and it's highly adjustable, enabling you to tweak the back, foot and armrests for optimum comfort. On top of that, it's impressively agile, with a turning radius of just 25 inches, and its dual 12V batteries are good for up to 25 miles of usage, which is among the best we've seen.
Karman is currently offering a huge discount on the XO-505 electric wheelchair, knocking the price down from $19,800 to $12,950, but it still represents a very hefty investment. That said, if you want a top-rated electric wheelchair that’s built to last, this one is worth a closer look.
7. Golden Compass Sport: Best electric wheelchair for comfort
The Golden Compass Sport is built for all-around performance and sports a tight turning radius, high ground clearance, and a great 19.5-mile range per charge. The maximum speed is 4.5mph, and while there are powered wheelchairs with slightly faster motors and slightly longer ranges, this one also prioritizes comfort in a big way.
In addition, the turning radius is 19.5 inches, giving this power wheelchair the ability to turn in much tighter areas than other electric wheelchairs. The Golden Compass Sport is also capable of driving up ramps with a 6-degree incline.
Elsewhere there's a high ground clearance of 3.25 inches, while the wheels are large enough to provide a smooth ride, powering over bumps and uneven terrain without causing you any stress.
8. Drive Medical Cirrus Plus HD: An easy-drive motorized wheelchair
The Cirrus Plus is a folding powered wheelchair for travel use. However, it’s the combination of performance and price that makes this powered wheelchair superb value for money. The Cirrus Plus has a top speed of 5mph, with a maximum range of 15 miles per single charge. In addition, the motor is powerful enough to ride up ramps of 6 degrees, and has a generous four-inch ground clearance.
One of the downsides of the Cirrus Plus is the wide turning radius. If you’re in a tight spot it needs at least 33 inches to make the turn. By comparison, wheelchairs like the Golden Compass Sport have a 19.5-inch turning radius, giving them far superior indoor maneuverability. But if you’re outside and you have room, the Cirrus Plus’ large wheels provide a smooth ride.
Since this electric wheelchair folds like a manual wheelchair, it lacks the same level and quality of padding as some of the more comfort-focused powered wheelchairs. Nonetheless, it still has a wide, comfy seat, plus durable arm rests with easy-touch controls.
9. Invacare Pronto M51: Best electric wheelchair for tight turns
With a center-wheel design, the Invacare Pronto M51 has a tight turning radius of just 19.5 inches. By comparison, the average electric wheelchair requires at least 30 inches to make a full turn. The Invacare Pronto M51 is also capable of climbing inclines up to 9 degrees, making it the a good choice for maneuverability.
The maximum speed is 4mph, and the range is 12 miles per single charge. Both are average specifications. In addition, the ground clearance is 2.6 inches, making it lower to the ground than most powered wheelchairs, which can make for a rougher ride on uneven surfaces.
At 198lbs the Pronto M51 is very heavy. Since most of the weight is only 2.6 inches off the ground, it has a very low center of gravity, which means it’s capable of providing the agility it’s designed for without the risk of tipping over, even with people weighing up to 300lbs. However, this also makes it more difficult to transport compared to some lighter, more compact models in our best electric wheelchairs guide. With that in mind, you'll likely need a powered ramp to transport the M51.
Best electric wheelchairs FAQ
How we evaluated the best electric wheelchairs
We evaluated both indoor and outdoor motorized wheelchairs that fell within the price range of $1,500 to $3,700. Products within this range provide plenty of power to travel long distances, provide a strong battery life and come with numerous features to ensure maximum comfort.
We found that most wheelchairs in this price range are ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. They provide a tight turning radius, allowing you to easily move around tight corners and plenty of power to climb steep hills or clear curbs.
Besides the turning radius and power, there are several factors you should consider when deciding on the right electric wheelchair for your needs. Below are a few additional criteria to consider.
The battery life on a motorized wheelchair is critical. Many electric wheelchairs have enough battery power to travel up to 14 or more miles on a single charge. The best models can travel 19 to 20 miles. It is important that your wheelchair can handle long distances, especially if you plan to use it outdoors. Most of these electric wheelchairs in our lineup can be charged overnight or while you're at home and not using it.
Wheelchair design is another important consideration. First, consider your own specific needs. If you plan to use the chair for long periods of time or for most of the day, you want a product that offers plenty of seat padding. Some products also offer excessive padding on the backrest to ensure additional comfort. However, there are a handful of electric wheelchairs that do not provide a headrest, which can be a drawback.
Furthermore, electric wheelchairs can be large and bulky, some weighing more than 200 pounds. If you plan to frequently transport the chair, you want a model that can easily be transported around your home or with your vehicle. Some power-operated wheelchairs can fold in half, allowing for easy transportation, while on others may fold down to much smaller dimensions.
The joystick and controls is another design feature you want to closely examine. Depending on whether you are right or left handed, you want to ensure the joystick and button controls are installed on the correct side of the wheelchair. The best models also feature swinging joysticks so you can move the joystick out of the way when you're sitting at a table or desk.
Because wheelchairs are a substantial purchase and, for many people, the sole source of transportation, it's important to find a model that is built to last and is backed by a warranty in the event the unit is defective or if it breaks down.
The best electric wheelchair models offer a lifetime warranty for the frame and a year or more protection on the joystick and electronic controls. Most wheelchair manufacturers, however, do not guarantee the tires, upholstery, armrests or handle grips, so in the event one of these items is damaged, it is up to you to repair or replace these parts.
How we evaluated the best electric wheelchairs
When it came to choosing our list, we took a number of things into consideration, including build quality, ease of use, comfort, functionality, performance, user reviews, and value for money. Manufacturer reputation is something else we factored in when compiling our list of the best electric wheelchairs, as buying from an established company with good customer service can be invaluable if anything should go wrong with your product.
Our appraisals should only be used as a general guide, and before purchasing any kind of mobility device we would highly recommend you to do your own research too, to ensure that you are considering the very best electric wheelchair for your specific requirements.
The best electric wheelchairs v power scooters
You’ve probably heard the terms ‘electric wheelchair’ and ‘power scooter’ bandied about together, but how do you distinguish between the two? It’s actually quite easy to tell them apart.
Electric wheelchairs look almost identical to standard wheelchairs, but come with buttons and a joystick that enable the user to control them – this method of control is particularly useful for people with restricted movement in their arms and upper body. Power scooters, on the other hand, tend to have three wheels and are steered by a pair of handlebars, much like traditional scooters.
And there are other differences, too. Electric wheelchairs often have a lot of extra padding around the seat, backrest and headrest, since they’re more likely to see full-day use. They’re more agile than power scooters, allowing for foldability and a tighter turning circle. But they also tend to be slower – not that there’s much in it. An elevating and/or reclining seat is a common feature among power scooters, although it’s not present in all models.
Indoor vs outdoor electric wheelchairs
If you’re thinking of buying an electric wheelchair, you need to consider how you’re going to be using it, because some mobility aids are better tailored to outdoor use than others. For example, rear-wheel electric wheelchairs (with a drive wheel at the back and caster wheels at the front) are ideal for using outdoors because they offer greater stability and more speed.
If you will be using your electric wheelchair inside the home a lot instead, you might want to consider a center-wheel design. As the name suggests, these types of electric wheelchairs come with a large wheel in the middle of the wheelchair that allows for a tight turning radius – useful for navigating corridors and smaller rooms.
Will Medicare cover the cost of an electric wheelchair?
Electric wheelchairs are covered by Medicare as long as you meet certain criteria. Power-operated wheelchairs are covered under Part B coverage, which includes medical equipment and supplies. Medicare Part D plans, however, do not cover these types of products.
Additionally, your healthcare provider must verify your need for an electric wheelchair, then write a prescription for the wheelchair. You have the freedom to choose the best electric wheelchair for you, but it must be approved by Medicare and purchased through a Medicare supplier.
You might pay 20% of the cost depending on several factors, including the electric wheelchair you choose and its original cost.
Searching for other health care content? Take a look at our guide to the best medical alert bracelets, as well as the best fall detection sensors, which are often used with the best medical alert systems to boost your safety when living independently.