Wheelchairs have come a long way in a few short years. No longer are you stuck with the traditional manual wheelchair with a simple fabric seat and the need to be controlled by someone else. Now there’s such a thing as a folding electric wheelchair – and these devices are making a huge impact on people’s lives.
With the development of folding wheelchairs, mobility among the physically challenged people has increased significantly. A folding electric wheelchair is smaller, lighter and more compact than other kinds of powered wheelchairs. It is entirely different from traditional wheelchairs with their smaller wheels, padded seating, and a battery-powered controller operated from a joystick on the armrest.
In this article, we will take a brief look at the top three lightweight folding electric wheelchairs.
What Is So Great About A Folding Electric Wheelchair?
These lightweight, foldable electric wheelchairs are a blessing. They provide maximum mobility while improving the quality of life for so many. Folding electric wheelchairs can comfortably ride on any smooth indoor surface and many outdoor surfaces as well. Some models are better than others on particular terrain, like grass but all are efficient and comfortable on interior floors of all kinds – including most carpeting.
It’s relatively easy for the average person to use leverage to load one of these devices into the trunk of the car. These portable, folding chairs have virtually eliminated the need for ramps, vans, and SUVs.
The convenience of battery power frees the user from needing strength to wheel themselves around, or having someone else do it for them. What these marvelous devices offer in essence is the ultimate gift, the gift of freedom and independence.
If you’re new to folding power wheelchairs, it could take anywhere from a couple of hours to several days to get used to operating them. There are no manual breaking mechanisms, but you are in total control, thanks to the joystick and control panel – the dashboard of these machines.
Here is our choice of the top three models of foldable electric wheelchairs.
Foldawheel PW-1000 XL Power Chair
The Foldawheel PW-1000XL weighs 55 pounds. It is also available in a heavier duty version called the PW-999 XL. You can find the same features and benefits of the 1000 XL, but with the added comfort of increased width for larger people. It is one of the lightest in its class of “heavy duty portable wheelchairs”.
All it takes is a matter of seconds to fold up or put away this device. When not in use it compresses to a compact size so you can fit it into the trunk of even a small car. A simple lever locks the frame into position while in use. To fold it up again, you need to unlock this lever.
The Foldawheel reaches speeds of up to 5 mph. With its sturdy, wider body frame, the PW 1000 XL is built to accommodate users up to 330 pounds – and more.
The secret to the larger weight capacity seems to lie in the extra width of the frame. That distributes the weight over a larger area – something you just can’t achieve with the smaller seat area.
This model also features larger, ten-inch rear wheels, smooth riding tires, and four independent spring suspensions for greater comfort on any non-smooth surface. These are powerful devices, yet quiet as they operate with a brushless motor that delivers energy efficiently to conserve battery power.
The joystick controller is easily detachable without removing the entire cable. That makes fold up quick, easy, and safe – which is exactly what you need when traveling. It also comes with a rugged travel bag, power charger (that works anywhere) and one battery pack that’s good for about 9.3 miles per charge.
What’s unique about the Foldawheel is that it can accommodate up to two additional batteries as well. While the battery capacity may seem low, the fact that you can add multiple batteries is a huge bonus not available on other chairs.
One battery fully charged is good for about 8 miles. You may get slightly more than that on an all flat surface and in warmer temperatures with zero wind resistance. With the optional second battery, your distance has increased to about 16 miles. Add a third battery, and you would triple the distance you can travel – up to about 24 miles.
A single full battery charge requires four hours. Typically, The battery holds a charge for several days. But you should know that all polymer batteries usually only last for a few years and then require replacement.
Stuck with a dead battery? Not a problem. You can push this chair like a regular wheelchair should the battery run dry and you don’t have a second one on board. Just disengage the motor, and you’re ready to go.
This model features a sizable seat that is 18 inches deep by 18 inches wide. It allows 19 inches between the armrests and those armrests are height adjustable, for greater comfort. It folds up to a size of 14.2 inches long by 23.6 inches wide by 26.4 inches high. The open size measures 36.2 inches long by 23.6 inches wide by 35 inches high.
The turning radius is 31.5 inches, making it quite easy to get around into smaller areas.
The rear wheels are 10 inches in diameter, while the front wheels are 7 inches. You also get solid rubber tires on metal wheels – a better option in my view to inflatable tires that can go flat. The frame is constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy – so you know you’re getting something that’s both strong and light.
This model also comes with anti-tilt support and the capability of tackling slopes up to 13° – without any issue whatsoever. The Foldawheel also comes with a weatherproof storage bag, foldable footrest, and head rest assembly.
The charger is built to work anywhere with the voltage capability from 110 V to 240 V. Various cords and adapters are available to accommodate you wherever you happen to be.
The Foldawheel works well on a variety of hard terrains. But as with all wheelchairs, you are best to avoid sand altogether. It could get inside the parts and can cause severe damage. The Foldawheel easily handles traveling across cobblestone streets, interlocking brick, thick grass, and hard-packed gravel roads.
On bumpy rides, you are well advised to drive with added caution. That goes for any mobility device – not just the Foldawheel.
The speed is controlled by a joystick using the plus and minus buttons and indicated by lights. If all the lights are on, you’re at top speed. Press the minus button to reduce your speed incrementally. A favorite speed among users is reached when two lights are showing on your control panel.
Joysticks can also be mounted on the back of the chair to place the controls in a convenient spot for someone else – like a family member, caregiver or attendant.
Parts and pieces are made in various countries to the manufacturer’s exact specifications and assembled in Malaysia. Most orders arrive at the buyer’s door within 1 to 2 weeks.
It packs up effortlessly and is reasonably lightweight. The structure opens in just seconds and operates quickly and reliably and moves at a good pace when you wanted to. Travels exceptionally well internationally, domestically, and locally. Most airlines today will readily accept the Foldawheel as baggage. But you need to check with your carrier before heading to the airport.
It’s well-built with precision quality and robust parts and a nice finish – with a battery that reliably holds its charge. It effortlessly climbs slopes within its range. It’s a chair that feels solid beneath you and feels like it’s made for heavy-duty use. It’s well-engineered and tightly designed with clearly laid out electronics for smooth operation.
It rides well with a relatively quiet motor. Turns are tight, yet smooth. But it’s a rear-wheel drive so may take a little getting used to for some people.
For maximum safety, we recommend that you use this chair with the anti-tip wheels provided.
Minor complaints include the lack of legroom, side to side. And the foot rest seems a little awkward when getting in and out of the chair. Also, you need to replace the batteries after a few years of daily use. But that’s the case, no matter what brand you buy.
|All in all, the Foldawheel makes an excellent choice. Get the best deal on Amazon by clicking here.|
EZ Lite Cruiser Personal Mobility Aid
This one also weighs in at about the same 50 pounds (including the battery) and can support a rider up to 264 lbs. It’s got a slightly smaller turning radius of just 29.5 inches to help you maneuver through those tight or crowded areas.
It features a lithium battery that’s good for 10+ miles on a single charge. An optional secondary battery doubles that distance.
The compact size of the EZ Lite Cruiser lends itself to easy travel, and it fits into almost any vehicle or compact storage area. Its construction consists of a lightweight aluminum alloy, which is robust and durable. Fold-up is quick and easy. The EZ Lite Cruiser Personal Mobility Aid is manufactured in China, where a large percentage of our products come from these days.
You mount the joystick on either armrest, left or right. To access the seat, you simply need to raise these armrests. Both the seat and cover are removable, and you can clean them quite easily. When folded, the EZ Lite Cruiser stands on its rear wheels. That makes it particularly easy for getting it into and out of the trunk of your car.
This four-wheel design provides more stability than a three-wheel scooter. It requires very little service and maintenance. Numerous accessories are also available to further customize your EZ Lite Cruiser Personal Mobility Aid.
There’s a standalone charger that connects directly to the battery, enabling a full charge without the need to connect them to the chair. It is one additional option that is available at an extra cost. Or, you can use the charger that comes with this foldable electric wheelchair. With an adapter, you can plug in anywhere. But a standard US-compatible plug is provided.
While folded, the EZ Lite Cruiser measures 25.5 inches long by 22.4 inches wide by 12.25 inches high. Open dimensions are 31 inches long by 22.4 inches wide by 33.1 inches high.
The speed settings are straightforward. All you need to do is to control it by pushing plus or minus buttons to adjust it. You can also adjust the pressure on the joystick to control your speed. The joystick also allows for easy navigation in any direction – including reverse.
The outer width measures about 22 inches – so it should be easy getting through most doors. Even a small door of just 24 inches can be handled, but it’s best to have someone help by pushing the chair through manually, or by progressing very slowly.
The armrests lift straight up on both sides making it easier to get in and out, and they lock down easily too. The seat of the EZ Lite Cruiser sits about 20 inches off the floor and is 15 1/4 inches wide. There are about 18 inches of clearance between the armrest and it comes with a seatbelt and is capable of supporting someone up to a weight of about 250 pounds.
You don’t have to remove the battery to fold the chair. But the battery itself weighs about 6 1/2 pounds, so it would make it lighter.
|If size and weight are relatively close to this stated limit (264 pounds), you might want to consider the heavier duty model of the EZ Lite Cruiser – with its slightly wider seat. The heavy duty model has 12-inch wheels and is the better choice for rugged terrain. But the regular model works well on cut grass and carpeting.|
You can pushed this chair manually when you disengage the electromagnetic locks on the rear wheels. However, the designer’s intention was not to use it for regular pushing. After all, the whole idea here is operator independence. But it’s good to have an emergency option to push it manually, if necessary.
Maximum climb on an incline (while powered) goes up to 12°. On steeper surfaces, it may be harder to steer when going downhill. That’s something you need to keep in mind.
One big advantage is that the foot rest folds so that you have more room to plant your feet closer to the seat. That makes it easier to get on and off. When folded it stands on its rear wheels making it much simpler to lift into any car, truck, or hatchback by tilting the top down and lifting the bottom and sliding it in.
Its relatively compact size makes the EZ Lite Cruiser a wise choice for smaller living areas, since is easy to maneuver in tight places.
It’s easy-to-use, compresses for travel, powerful, and it handles most types of terrains you’re likely to encounter quite well. It’s a capable piece of quality equipment that provides freedom and fun. Its construction is lightweight but sturdy. It handles well and makes tight turns. The control panel is easy to view and easy to use.
Also, this company provides exceptional customer service. They seem to answer all concerns promptly and professionally and express empathy and understanding and a solution-oriented focus. It’s clear that they care about their customers.
On the downside, the seat is good for short durations. But you may want to get a more comfortable cushion if you intend to use the chair for extended periods.
|Click Here Now for the latest version of the EZ Lite Cruiser Personal Mobility Aid on Amazon at a terrific price.|
KD Smart Chair
The KD Smart Chair: design and construction in the US and assembly in Malaysia. Let’s see what smart feature await you:
* * * For a full review of the KD Smart Chair – click here.
You can mount the controller anywhere and place it exactly where it serves you best. A lever mounted to the motor disengages it to allow
A lever mounted to the motor disengages it to allow manual operation of the chair, just like a regular wheelchair.
The seat sits about 19 inches off the floor. It’s detachable too. Some buyers like to add thicker foam for extra comfort, while others simply sit on a pillow on top of the cushion. The overall width is 23 inches on the standard model and 27 inches on the heavy duty model.
This folding electric wheelchair uses two batteries. It is possible to charge both of them, to mount them to the chair and plug in. It takes four hours to charge from complete drain to a full charge. You don’t have to worry about overcharging them – a green light indicator turns on when the battery charge is full.
The battery charger ranges from 110 V to 240 V – so you can use it almost anywhere in the world with a simple adapter. As you can see, that makes this wheelchair a valuable ally for traveling.
The KD Smart Chair is quite compact and can even fit in the trunk of a Mini Cooper. The KD Smart Chair moves at about the same pace as a brisk walk, rather than a casual one, although you could reduce the speed significantly if you want to.
Battery removal is easy, but not necessary for folding. It does make the unit a little bit lighter, though. So, if you’re having trouble getting in and out of a car, that’s one factor to consider.
It comes equipped with anti-tip wheels on the rear. The KD smart chair features rubber non-inflatable tires, so you never have to worry about a flat. The armrests on this model rotate behind to make transfers to either side convenient. It also allows you to sit comfortably at the dinner table, or at a restaurant while remaining in your chair.
It’s safe and water resistant. But like all electronic devices you want to protect it from poor weather conditions. It produces virtually no noise. This super-quiet operation works well on all kinds of flooring too.
The heavy-duty version features a seat that is 17 1/4 inches wide by 17 1/4 inches wide, and the weight capacity is nearly 400 pounds.
This model may also be ideal for working at a desk because it can fit under tables and desks and a tight turning radius makes getting around in an office quite easy.
The warranty on the KD Smart Chair is five years on the frame, one year on the battery, control panel, joystick, and more.
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