Power wheelchairs are in high demand for anyone that experiences mobility issues related to injury, surgery, paralysis, illness or disease. The requirement for long-term use of a wheelchair usually has consumers looking for the best power wheelchair available which takes a lot of research and knowledge. Searching online exposes you to a variety of brands, models, designs and manufacturers. This can all become confusing for those who are unfamiliar with everything a power wheelchair offers. The holiday season is just around the corner, if shopping for a power wheelchair is on your to-do list, continue reading our 2018 holiday power wheelchair buying guide below.
Consider the Benefits of a Power Wheelchair
Whether you are planning to purchase your first wheelchair or you want to upgrade from a manual wheelchair to a power wheelchair, you need to consider the amazing benefits a power wheelchair offers you.
- Improved mobility
- Outdoor and indoor use
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Visit the Doctor
The need for a wheelchair is directly related to your current health condition. Your doctor will examine you and provide insightful information that will help you decide if a power wheelchair is best suited for you. Once your doctor gives you the approval to get a power wheelchair, you will begin your journey of finding the perfect model for you!
Determine the Need
Whether you are purchasing a power wheelchair for yourself or someone else this holiday season, you need to determine the need. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How long is the wheelchair needed? Long term or short term?
- Will the wheelchair be used indoors or outdoors, or both?
- Will the wheelchair be used for travel?
- Do you need a portable wheelchair?
Indoor or Outdoor Use
Those who need the wheelchair for indoor use only are usually bedridden most of the day, sick and experience low levels of energy. Users who remain indoors for long periods of time are generally following doctors orders.
Are you an outdoor adventure enthusiast? You will need a power wheelchair that can keep up with you. This means you want to look for a power wheelchair that can navigate over a variety of outdoor terrain as well as have the speed needed to live your life to the fullest. Generally, you want to look for a power wheelchair that is sturdy, durable, fast, and has excellent tires.
Do you or the potential user enjoy traveling? In the past, traveling with a wheelchair was quite difficult. These days wheelchair users travel on a regular basis for pleasure, business, and medical reasons. The airlines have specific regulations and guidelines for travelers in wheelchairs. It’s important to find a power wheelchair that is accepted on planes and other types of transportation.
Gone are the days when wheelchair users stay hidden in their house. In today’s world, wheelchair users are accomplishing more than ever before. There are the usual daily tasks to take care of such as work, groceries, and cooking. However, some wheelchair users go a bit farther and participate in accessible sports, extreme sports and more. Using a portable wheelchair is needed to make things easier when going from one event to the next.
How to Measure Your Body for a Wheelchair
You want to make sure the wheelchair of your choice is the perfect fit for the user. The following steps will help you find the right wheelchair size for you or the potential user.
Step 1: Measure the Width of the Person
- Sit on a firm surface and measure the width of the person
- Consider room for added comfort and clothing by adding 1 to 2 inches to the measurement
- This measurement will determine the seat size
Step 2: Measure the Chest
- Place the measuring tape directly under one armpit and stretch it to the other armpit. This measurement will determine the size the back of the seat on the wheelchair.
Step 3: Measure the Legs
- Place the tape measure on the back of the knee and stretch it down to the back of the heel in a sitting position.
- The footrest will need extra room, so it doesn’t hit the floor. You need to add at least 2 inches to the leg measurement.
Step 4: Measure the Hips
- Use the tape measure by placing it on the back of the hips and stretching it to the back of the knee.
- Add about 2 inches to the measurement
- The total measurement will determine the depth of the wheelchair seat.
Step 5: Measure the Elbow
- Begin in a sitting position and place both of your arms at a 90-degree angle.
- Place the measuring tape at the tip of the elbow and stretch it to the top of the hip area.
- This measurement will determine the proper height needed for the armrest.
Step 6: Measure the Shoulders
- Place the measuring tape at the top of the shoulder area and stretch it down to the hips.
- This measurement will determine the height the back of the wheelchair seat will need to be.
Step 7: Measure the Head
- Begin in a sitting position.
- Place the tape measure at the top of the head and stretch it straight down to the hips.
- This measurement will determine the required height of the headrest.
Wheelchair Battery Types
- Lithium-Ion Batteries – The long-lasting energy power Lithium-ion batteries provide has caused it to become the number one choice for wheelchair manufacturers. This environmentally friendly battery has the capability to store up to six times the energy.
- Gel Batteries – This type of battery requires no maintenance and contains pure water, sulphuric acid, fumed silica, and phosphoric acid which creates a thixotropic gel. They are leak proof and have a long life cycle. Gel batteries are excellent to use in cold temperatures since they work well in low-temperature environments. An added benefit of using this type of battery is that it’s approved for air travel.
- Wet Batteries – This type of battery is known for its low cost. They require regular maintenance that involves filling it with distilled water on a regular basis. Wet batteries use sulphuric acid which acts as a chemical reaction that creates electrical energy. Beware of these batteries since they are known to leak. Airlines do not approve of wet batteries for travel.
- AGM Batteries – This no maintenance battery is spill and leak proof as well as shock resistant. This battery contains acid electrolyte which is located on the absorbent glass mat which is sandwiched between the plates. The AGM battery is known to be expensive since it doesn’t require maintenance and is approved for airline travel.
Front, Mid and Rear Wheel Drive Wheelchairs
- Front Wheel Drive – This type of power wheelchair provides excellent turning capability. It has a lower top speed which is beneficial for some wheelchair users.
- Mid Wheel Drive – This type of wheelchair is not suited for navigating over uneven surfaces. It tends to become unsteady when starting and stopping. This type of power wheelchair is best known for its excellent turning capability.
- Rear Wheel Drive – The rear wheel drive is the most common and popular option. It is best known for its ability to go fast which is beneficial for some wheelchair users. The turning capability is slower for safety reasons. Rear wheel drive is the most desired and requested power wheelchair.
- Fixed Full Length – This type of armrest provides support due to a fixed height that supports the arm.
- Adjustable Full Length – This type of armrest is adjustable and comfortable for those who need unique support for their arms. They are common for those who need to use a lap tray and require arm support at a specific level. Adjusting the armrest into place involves a push pin to lock it into place.
- Fixed Desk Length – This type of armrest is excellent for students and professionals. They have a fixed height that makes it easy to sit at a desk or table since it supports three-fourths of the seat.
- Adjustable Desk Length – This type of armrest allows the user to adjust the height to fit under a desk or table top.
- Swing Away Armrests – This type of armrest is excellent for those who transfer in and out of their wheelchair frequently.
Wheelchair controllers are also referred to as Joysticks. You will use this controller to drive your motorized wheelchair in any direction you wish. You can control the speed, when to stop, when to begin, turns and what direction you prefer.
Leg Rests and Seating
For some wheelchair users leg rests are essential to maintaining good health. For example if your legs tend to swell, leg rests will allow you to adjust them so that your legs can rest in a variety of positions, including straight outward. Leg rests usually come with a calf pad or padded area.
KD Smart Chair Power Wheelchairs
KD Smart Chair is the original manufacturer of lightweight power wheelchair. There is a wide range of power chair models available from Standard, Special Edition to Heavy Duty. The KD Smart Chair electric wheelchair line is designed with the user in mind so you can regain your mobility and independence back.
Standard KD Power Wheelchair Model Specifications
- Device Weight: 58 pounds (includes battery)
- Max Capacity: 265 pounds
- Unfolded Dimensions: 38.2” X 23.2” X 33”
- Folded Dimensions: 13” X 23.2” X 29.5”
- Seat Dimensions: 16.75” X 15.25”
- Seat Height from Ground: 19 inches
- Arm Rest Height from Ground: 27 inches
- Turning Radius: 31.5 inches
- Maximum Speed: 4 miles per hour
- Distance on Fully Charged Battery: 15 miles
- Ground Clearance: 3.1 inches
- Front Wheels: 7” D X 1.5”W
- Rear Wheels: 8” D X 2” W
- Incline Capability: 12-degree slope
- Motor Type: Brushless DC Motor, 180 W Power
- Charger: Input: AC 100V-240V Maxx 47Hz-63Hz Output: DC 29.2V – 2A
- Battery: Lithium Ion, with a 10 Ah (Ampere-Hour) Capacity & 24 V DC Output Voltage (2 10ah batteries)
- Brake Type: Electromagnetic
How to Pay for a Motorized Wheelchair
Now that you have learned in-depth details about motorized wheelchairs, including the need for them, measuring yourself for the perfect fit and receiving your doctor’s approval, chances are you are ready to make your purchase. A common concern and question many consumers ask are, how will they pay for the power wheelchair? Consider the payment options shown below for your power chair:
- Credit Card
- Personal loan
- Financial installment plans
Purchasing a Power Wheelchair for the Holidays
Now that you have the details about the latest 2018 power wheelchairs models and their components, you are most-likely ready to make your holiday gift purchase for your loved one or yourself. Many wheelchair users do a lot of shopping online to find the best electric wheelchair for their needs. You will want to look for a company that offers a trial period so that you can test out the wheelchair and money back guarantee. One of the benefits of ordering online is the convenience and the fact that the wheelchair arrives at your front door. KD Smart Chair is one of those companies that offer a trial period and a 60 day money back guarantee. When testing out the wheelchair make sure you use it as you would every day, go outdoors, run errands and go over rough terrain to see if it is a good fit to keep up with your lifestyle.