What Is A Self Propelled Wheelchair | Beginner’s Guide 2023

Written By Cardiologist
What Is A Self Propelled Wheelchair | Beginner’s Guide 2023

If you or someone you know has recently had difficulty getting around, a self-propelled wheelchair may be the perfect solution.

Simply put, a self-propelled wheelchair is a chair that the user propels themselves. Whilst they may have handles that enable the user to be pushed, the main design for these wheelchairs is for the user to be able to maneuver the chair themselves without the need for assistance.

These wheelchairs are designed to allow people to move and get around independently.

They are easy to use and provide a safe, comfortable way to get around.

However, as with any medical equipment, it’s important to understand how to use it properly and safely.

This guide will provide you with all the information you need to know about self-propelled wheelchairs, from the types available to the features you should look for to best suit your needs.

With this knowledge, you can make an informed decision and find the perfect self-propelled wheelchair for you.

What is a self-propelled wheelchair?

What is a self-propelled wheelchair?

A self-propelled wheelchair is a mobility aid that allows you to propel yourself. It works like a standard wheelchair but has a motorized drive system.

This system allows you to control the speed, direction, and amount of power you use to move the chair around. This gives you full control of your mobility, meaning you can get around wherever and however you want to.

But, what does it mean if a wheelchair is self-propelled? Essentially, the chair has a mechanism built into it that lets the user control the speed and direction of the chair.

These mechanisms usually come in one of three varieties: Self-propelled wheelchairs differ from regular wheelchairs by having a built-in propulsion system that allows users to move around.

This gives them a high level of mobility, which is particularly important for those who are experiencing difficulty in getting around on their own.

Benefits of using a self-propelled wheelchair

Benefits of using a self-propelled wheelchair

There are many benefits to using a self-propelled wheelchair. Some of the top reasons to make the switch are:

Increased mobility: A self-propelled wheelchair allows you to move around as you please. You don’t have to rely on others for assistance and can get wherever you want to go – indoors or outdoors – with ease.
Less pressure on the back: Using a regular wheelchair requires the user to push themselves forward. This can put a lot of pressure on the lower back and make it difficult to move around comfortably.
More freedom of movement: There is no need to rely on your hands to move around with a self-propelled wheelchair. You can use your hands to grab a drink, hold a book, or do anything else while you’re moving around in the chair.
Reduced risk of injury: Using a regular wheelchair can put a lot of stress on the arms, wrists, and hands. This can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue, which can result in injury and make it difficult for you to get around.

Features to look out for in a self-propelled wheelchair

When shopping for a self-propelled wheelchair, there are a few key features to keep in mind. These include:

Weight capacity: All wheelchairs have a weight capacity, which is the maximum amount of weight the chair can safely support. Make sure the chair you choose has a weight capacity that is high enough to accommodate your size and weight.
Comfort: Comfort is key when choosing a wheelchair. You want a chair that is both comfortable to sit in and easy to navigate around. Check the wheel width, seat depth, tilt and recline options, and armrests to find the one that best suits your needs and provides the level of comfort you need.

How to choose the right self-propelled wheelchair

Features to look out for in a self-propelled wheelchair

When deciding which self-propelled wheelchair is right for you, it’s important to think about your daily routine and mobility needs. How often do you use a wheelchair? What type of terrain do you spend the most time on? What are your mobility limitations and abilities?

These are all things to consider when shopping for a new wheelchair. You also need to keep in mind your size and overall mobility. If you’re still growing, it’s important to get a wheelchair that can grow with you.

Once you’ve considered all of these factors, you can begin the process of narrowing down your options and finding the best self-propelled wheelchair for you.

How to use a self-propelled wheelchair safely

Like with any medical equipment, it’s important to use a self-propelled wheelchair safely. To do so, make sure you’re operating the chair correctly and maintaining it properly. When using a self-propelled wheelchair, make sure to:

Use the correct amount of power: If you’re not using enough power, your chair will slow down and come to a stop. If you’re using too much, the chair will go too fast. The key is to find the perfect amount of power for you.
Adjust your chair before moving: Make sure your chair is properly adjusted before you start moving. This includes adjusting the seat height, footrest, and power joystick.
Always wear your safety equipment: When using a self-propelled wheelchair, it is essential to wear the proper safety equipment. This includes a safety belt, closed-toed shoes, and a helmet if you are going outside.

Self-propelled wheelchair accessories

Self-propelled wheelchair accessories

There are a variety of accessories you can add to your self-propelled wheelchair to make it more functional and convenient. These include:

Footrests: Footrests can be useful if you’re having a hard time keeping your feet on the ground while in your wheelchair. This can make it easier to sit and get around.
Armrests: Armrests provide comfort and support while in a wheelchair. They can also help with repositioning your body and getting in and out of the chair when needed.
Headrest: A headrest is another great way to add comfort to your wheelchair. This added feature can help reduce head and neck pain and make it easier to sit for long periods of time.

Self-propelled wheelchair maintenance

Self-propelled wheelchair maintenance

When it comes to maintaining your wheelchair, there are a few key things to keep in mind. It’s important to keep your wheelchair clean and properly maintained for a few reasons.

First, it will help prevent the buildup of dirt and grime, which can damage the chair and make it more difficult to clean.

Secondly, cleaning your wheelchair correctly can help extend its lifespan.

– Clean your chair regularly: Clean your wheelchair on a regular basis (at least once a week), and use a soft, disinfected cloth or sponge to remove dirt, dust, and other debris. Avoid using abrasive sponges or cleaning solutions, as they can damage the chair.

Cost of self-propelled wheelchairs

Cost of self-propelled wheelchairs

Self-propelled wheelchairs can range in price depending on the type and features you’re looking for. Generally, they can range from $200 to upwards of $2,000.

If you’re looking for a basic self-propelled wheelchair without any extra features, you can expect to pay somewhere between $200 and $500. These models usually have fixed armrests and footrests, and are made of basic materials like metal and vinyl.

If you want a higher-end model with more features, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,000. These models usually have adjustable armrests, adjustable footrests, and adjustable backrests, and are made of higher-quality materials like aluminum or titanium. They also come with features like motorized propulsion, adjustable speed settings, and joystick control.

When budgeting for a self-propelled wheelchair, make sure to factor in any additional costs such as maintenance and repair costs. You’ll also want to factor in the cost of any accessories you may need, such as a carrying bag or cushion.

Where to buy self-propelled wheelchairs

If you’re looking for a self-propelled wheelchair, you have a lot of options! Most medical supply stores will carry self-propelled wheelchairs, but if you’re looking for a more specialized or higher-end model, you may want to check out online retailers like Amazon, Walmart, or even specialty stores like Mobility Solutions.

At Mobility Solutions, you can find a wide variety of self-propelled wheelchairs, from lightweight models that are perfect for everyday use to heavier-duty wheelchairs that are meant for longer trips. They also offer customization options, so you can make sure that your wheelchair suits your specific needs.

If you’re looking for an affordable option, Walmart also has a good selection of self-propelled wheelchairs. They offer a range of styles at different price points, so you can find something that fits your budget.

Finally, if you’re looking for a more specialized or higher-end model of a self-propelled wheelchair, you may want to check out Amazon. They have a wide selection of wheelchairs from various manufacturers and they offer competitive pricing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a self-propelled wheelchair easier to push?

Absolutely! A self-propelled wheelchair is definitely easier to push than a traditional wheelchair. Self-propelled wheelchairs are designed to allow the user to propel themselves without the need for a carer or assistant to push them. They use the user’s own strength and power to move forward. This means that the user has complete control over their movement, and can go where they want when they want.
Self-propelled wheelchairs come with a variety of features that make them easier to push. Many models have larger front wheels that are designed to help reduce the effort required to push the chair. They also often come with additional features such as adjustable handles and armrests, which can help improve the user’s comfort and reduce the strain on their arms and shoulders.
In addition, many self-propelled wheelchairs come with powered options, such as electric motors or battery-powered systems. These powered options can help reduce the effort required to propel the chair, as well as allow the user to cover greater distances with less effort.

What is the difference between a transit and a self-propelled wheelchair?

Transit wheelchairs are often used by people with limited mobility or those who need extra support while they are in a seated position. They are lightweight and have small wheels, which makes them easier to maneuver and transport. The chair itself is usually pushed by another person, such as a caregiver, family member, or friend. These types of chairs are typically the most affordable and are great for those who do not need to travel long distances.
Self-propelled wheelchairs, on the other hand, are designed for more independent use. These chairs typically have larger wheels, allowing the user to push themselves with their own strength and body weight. Self-propelled chairs also often have more features than transit chairs, such as adjustable backrests, adjustable footrests, and adjustable armrests. These features make the chairs more comfortable and user-friendly. However, they are typically more expensive than transit chairs.

Can someone else push a self-propelled wheelchair?

Absolutely! Self-propelled wheelchairs are designed to be easy to push by someone other than the user. In fact, if you’ve ever seen a wheelchair in a hospital, you may have noticed that the attendant is often pushing the chair instead of the patient.

Tiny Nair

Article by

Tiny Nair, MD, DM, FACC, FRCP, is a cardiologist and head of Dept of Cardiology at PRS Hospital in Trivandrum. He is also an author, fluent in Middle English and offers consultations on finding the best wheelchair according to individual needs.