What’s the Best Power Wheelchair?

Side-by-side evaluations help you see how each chair performs on both simulated and real-world obstacles.
Side-by-side evaluations help you see how each chair performs on both simulated and real-world obstacles.

We spend a lot of time discussing wheelchair vans and wheelchair lifts on AbilityVoice – they’re what make BraunAbility tick after all. But of course there’s another important piece of equipment that helps keep you mobile: your wheelchair! As you know, there are thousands of power chairs on the market, and it can certainly be a daunting task to choose the one that’s right for you.

If you’re like me, before making a major purchase you like to ask your friends if they know anything about the product. I even find myself routinely skipping the “ad speak” on Amazon and heading straight to the customer reviews, because I want a real-world evaluation. So when it comes to choosing a power wheelchair, who better to turn to than the experts – the people who use them every day?

Enter the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. Last week I was happy to find a series of videos on their website in the “Paralysis Resource Center” section that evaluates power wheelchairs in a side-by-side comparison. There are currently some introductory videos and a detailed review of the Quickie S-636, and it looks like other reviews will be posted in the near future. They put the chairs through their paces in obstacle courses and real-world situations, in from what I can tell is a very thorough evaluation. All of this should be very helpful if you’re in the market for a new power chair.

These videos got me thinking about a similar third-party comparison of wheelchair accessible vehicles could be. Wheelchair users could discuss the pros and cons of side entry vs. rear entry, infloor vs. foldout ramps, and even other important pieces of the puzzle like tie-downs and hand controls. What do you think – would you find a video series like this helpful? Let us know what you’d like to see by commenting below!