FAQ Power Wheelchairs
All Star Medical offers folding power wheelchairs which offer the user the ability to fold the unit into a compact shape to easily store the powerchair in the trunk of a car or in the storage area of an SUV or van. A large number of first-time shoppers have the idea that a folding powerchair would be much easier to handle and store compared to a portable compact powerchair that disassembles into a few pieces. Be advised that folding power wheelchairs do have a 1 or 2 step process to fold, but the unit is still, for the most part, fully assembled and could be heavier to lift into the vehicle. Compared to a portable power wheelchair that disassembles, the pieces are lighter and easier to lift, depending on the model you are interested in. While you are considering a power wheelchair, pay close attention to the specifications of the heaviest piece when disassembled, or in the case of a folding power wheelchair, the total weight when folded.
Portable power wheelchairs do not fold. Instead, they disassemble into 3 or 4 pieces, making them much more manageable to store due to the decreased weight of each piece. These power wheelchairs can have more comfort adjustments than a folding powerchair, such as a swivel seat, height adjustable seat and armrests that can swivel out of the way, making transferring in or out of the power wheelchair easier. Portable compact power wheelchairs normally have a weight capacity of 250 to 300 lbs. These power wheelchairs have been the most popular selection for our customers here at All Star Medical.
All Star Medical offers a large variety of heavy duty power wheelchairs, which are designed to support heavier weights, normally above 300 lbs. Heavy duty power wheelchairs also have wider seats, and larger batteries for the increased weight requirements. There are some heavy duty power wheelchairs that have the option to disassemble into 4 or 5 pieces, but be prepared for these pieces to weigh substantially more than the smaller compact power wheelchairs.
If you are unable to find any of these specifications on our website for the unit you are considering, please call us directly or you can always chat with us online, during normal business hours.
Weight Capacity – This is crucial for determining which powerchair fits your needs. Most Electric wheelchairs have a 300 lb weight capacity but some have a weight capacity of 450 lbs. We even have one model that goes up to 600 lbs. The weight capacity is the total weight that the unit can handle according to the manufacturer. Selecting a power wheelchair which does not support the user’s weight can void the warranty, and can cause costly repairs.
Front, Rear or Mid-wheel Drive Powerchairs – The position of the drive wheels significantly affects the space needed for the chair to turn around, and the way the chair maneuvers in tight spaces. There are two measurements that usually are referred to in wheelchair specifications. The 360-degree turning circumference is the entire area needed by the wheelchair to turn in a complete circle. The turning radius is the distance from the center of the chair between the drive wheels (pivot point) to the furthest point on the chair.
A mid-wheel drive power wheelchair has caster wheels on the front and back of the base, helping to prevent the powerchair from tipping forward or backward. Power wheelchairs with mid-wheel drive also have good traction on most surfaces, inclines and side slopes.
Front-wheel drives have a turning radius of 25 to 28 inches and a larger 360-degree circumference than mid-wheel drives. However, they actually navigate around tight corners better than the other two drive systems because the position of the pivot point gives them a very short front end. But turning around in a small space is tricky because of the long back end.
Rear Wheel Drive - Rear-wheel drives have the largest 360-degree circumference and turning radius (30 to 33 inches depending on the unit selected) of the three drive systems, making them more difficult to maneuver in tight spaces.
Seat Width – The dimensions of the seat are important based on the user’s measurements. Most seats DO come with adjustable armrests, so you can adjust them outwards or inwards for comfort.
Weight of Heaviest Piece (when disassembled) – If you are considering a unit that disassembles, pay close attention to the weight of the heaviest piece to ensure it will be manageable for the person storing the unit.
Travel Range - This is the total distance a unit can travel on a full battery charge.
The Manufacturers we carry are below: