Manual or Electric Wheelchair: Which One to Buy?

Personal Choice

When looking for the right wheelchair for your lifestyle, there are three primary considerations. These are your budget, your physical condition, and your primary use. These will help you easily determine the best type of wheelchair for your needs. Manual and electric wheelchairs both have advantages and disadvantages. Find out which one will best fit your personal situation.

Budget Considerations

Cost is a big concern for many people. The best manual wheelchair costs considerably less than an electric wheelchair. Manual wheelchairs also need less maintenance, and they do not require batteries or charging. Because the cost of operating an electric wheelchair is greater than a manual wheelchair, people sometimes take out insurance on their chairs, which can further increase costs.

Insurance Coverage

Medicare Part B will cover manual wheelchairs if prescribed by a doctor. Electric wheelchairs must be medically necessary in order to be covered. Coverage will vary with different providers and policies. Check your policy first and speak with your health care provider.

Physical Condition

If you have good upper body strength and wish to maintain it, a manual wheelchair could be a great choice. This chair is ideal for short-term use, such as convalescing from an accident or surgery. Conversely, a person with poor upper body strength, breathing problems, or heart issues, will need an electric wheelchair. A lightweight manual wheelchair is easier to transport in a vehicle than its heavy electric counterpart. However, for speed or going long distances, an electric wheelchair may be the better choice.

Another important consideration is whether you have someone available to push your chair. If you do not have help, you don't want to risk becoming tired and being unable to get to your destination. When looking for a wheelchair for sale in Chicago, IL, make sure your choice meets your needs for safety as well as comfort.   

Primary Use

Another big factor affecting your choice is your lifestyle. A transport chair is lightweight and more convenient for transport, which may be easier to maneuver around the house and for getting in and out of vehicles. It's simple to operate and doesn't need charging. You can drive it yourself, or have a helper push you. It's easy to take along when visiting friends or relatives or when taking short trips, such as to the doctor's office. If you only need to use a wheelchair occasionally, then a manual wheelchair may be your best choice.

If you are unable to operate a manual wheelchair and don't have a helper, then an electric chair is the only choice. However, some people just prefer the comfort and luxury of an electric chair. They like the social aspects and the freedom it gives them to independently go places without a helper. An electric wheelchair for sale in Chicago, IL, makes it easier to go further distances, such as shopping malls, stadiums, and outdoor events.