The Top Folding Electric Wheelchairs of 2021
- 04 Aug, 2020
Thanks to advancing technology in folding manual & electric wheelchairs, people are easily able to do things that were thought impractical or impossible in the past.
Everyone wants to be free to go anywhere and do anything.
New motorized wheelchair designs mean that it is now possible to travel from one place to another in previously unimagined ways – in comfort and luxury.
In this collection, we show you our power-assisted wheelchairs, also known as electric wheelchairs, that are foldable. Before we discuss specific kinds of adult wheelchairs, we need to understand what these devices are.
Table of Contents
⇨Here are some essential questions you may wish to ask yourself to determine whether fold-up power wheelchairs are worth considering, for you specifically:
What is a Folding Electric Wheelchair?
An electric wheelchair is sometimes known as a motorized wheelchair or a powerchair, and make it possible for people with restricted mobility to get around independently. They work on a similar principle to an electric scooter, but with a shorter wheelbase are more compact, making them more versatile.
Electric wheelchairs are powered by a battery, and have a certain range which they can travel before they need to be recharged. It is possible to push some power chairs in the same way as a manual wheelchair but usually a lever needs to be moved to allow this.
The question is, can you fold an electric wheelchair?
The good news is yes! A foldable electric wheelchair has the extra advantage of being portable as it easily folds up for transport. This means if you want to go out in your car or take an airplane flight you can take your electric wheelchair with you. Some folding electric wheelchairs dissemble rather than just collapse down so it’s important to check how easily each device is to fold up and open again.
Folding Power Assisted Wheelchairs:
As the name suggests, folding power wheelchairs have the added capability of folding to a compact shape. The main purpose of the collapsing design is to allow for uncomplicated storage and travel.
Other names for these kinds of electricity-assisted wheelchairs include collapsible motorized wheelchairs, compact electric, easy fold, foldaway, fold 'n' go and foldable electric wheelchairs.
They all have the same aim in mind – to allow the chair to fold into a far smaller, more compact shape than that of an open wheelchair in use. This significantly simplifies traveling with the wheelchair or packing it away.
Advantages of Folding Electric Wheelchairs
If you have mobility needs and want to be able to get around on your own, a folding electric wheelchair could be the answer. There are many benefits of using a foldable motorized wheelchair such as:
Retain full independence
Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
Folds down quickly for transport
Takes up less space when not in use
No need for upper body strength to self-propel
Can handle inclines without lots of effort
Long-range distance on modern batteries
Compatible with travel on cars, trains and planes
Tight turning radius
For anyone who needs a bit of help moving around, an electric wheelchair ticks every box. Choose the model which offers the features that are important to you to get the maximum benefit. For example, a narrow power chair might be your priority, or one that has a particularly long range for the battery. With such a wide selection of foldable motorized wheelchairs, it's easy to find the right one for your circumstances.
There are many benefits in utilizing a powered wheelchair, and even more, if you purchase one with a foldable design.
The advantages of a folding wheelchair compared to conventional wheelchairs are obvious: there's no need to use your body power to propel the chair, which minimizes exertion altogether. Just use the mounted joystick on the chair's arm to steer the chair in the desired direction by activating its drive wheels to operate at the desired speed.
We will focus on some of the advantages of collapsing motorized wheelchairs versus power chairs that do not fold at all.
Traveling With Your Fold 'N Go Electric Wheelchair
Because your wheelchair is foldable, you will need significantly less storage space compared to those that cannot fold.
This means you can easily fit your wheelchair inside the trunk of your car when you need to take it to places farther than the chair's capabilities allow.
The types of foldable electric wheelchairs for sale can easily fit in very small car trunks, so there is no need for an SUV or minivan!
Planning on traveling on vacation with your family? You can quickly and practically bring your fold-up wheelchair with you on your trip.
It should be noted, though, that folding a collapsible electrically assisted wheelchair might not be quite as easy as folding a conventional wheelchair. For example, you may need to remove the batteries from a power wheelchair before folding. Nevertheless, most models can be folded very quickly and with little hassle.
Storing Your Fold-Up Motorized Chair
Being able to collapse/fold your wheelchair is very handy even when you are not traveling. People who live in compact spaces, such as in retirement-home rooms and in apartments, greatly value the ability to move a bulky wheelchair out of the way by folding it and storing it under a bed or between a closet and wall.
Furthermore, many users only need their wheelchair for specific occasions, and they would rather use the space a chair occupies for more frequently used items.
Sometimes a bulky wheelchair is a tripping hazard, so the ability to fold a wheelchair and put it aside can be critical.
Here are some essential questions you may wish to ask yourself to determine whether fold-up power wheelchairs are worth considering, for you specifically:
• Is space conservation vital to me in my living area?
• If yes, a foldable wheelchair could be the answer.
• Is space conservation vital to me on a daily/weekly basis, at work, while traveling, or anywhere I frequently go?
• If I get a non-foldable model, would it cause inconvenience, such as a tripping hazard, when the chair is not in use?
• If yes, you should avoid models that cannot be folded and stowed away.
• Will the fact that the wheelchair is foldable actually help me in a practical way?
• Are the dimensions of the folded chair small enough for where I plan to store it?
• Think of your car trunk, under your bed or other available spaces.
• If your situation is one where storing or traveling with the chair would necessarily involve raising it, are you capable of lifting its weight?
• In some models, removing the batteries reduces the chair's weight significantly, making it easier to lift, but this is a challenge for some patients.
• If you think the weight of the chair is unsuitable for your capabilities, will you have assistance at hand when you need it?
• This help could come from a loved one, co-worker or member of staff to help you lift the chair when necessary.
• Is comfort an essential factor for you?
• Although designed to be as comfortable as possible, a wheelchair that is foldable tends to be less comfy than a non-foldable model.
• If yes, are the advantages of a collapsing wheelchair sufficient to outweigh any reduction in comfort compared with a luxury non-foldable chair?
• Note: You can also purchase easy-to-remove wheelchair pillows to make your foldable chair more comfortable. These are widely available at mobility stores and on websites and can make a world of difference to how you feel after several hours in your chair.
Disadvantages of Folding Electric Wheelchairs
Although a folding electric wheelchair is the right solution for many people, there are some drawbacks. Before you take the plunge, make sure you consider the following disadvantages:
- Some models are more expensive
- Heavier than manual wheelchairs
- Regular maintenance checks are recommended
- Can take a little while to learn the controls
- You will need to keep an eye on battery levels during use
If you’re planning on purchasing a motorized wheelchair, just make sure you fully consider all of the above factors before choosing the one you want.
How Long Does a Folding Electric Wheelchair Battery Last?
Getting the most out of your battery is key to optimizing the use of your powerchair. If your battery isn’t in tip-top condition, you could risk ending up stranding with no charge.
As a general rule, a battery will provide approximately eight hours of use. The number of miles this corresponds to will vary between models, but is often 10 miles or more. If your battery is starting to get old or worn-out, it may not hold its charge as effectively as before. There are some steps you can take to preserve the quality of your battery for as long as possible. These include:
- Not exposing your batteries to extreme temperatures - either hot or cold
- Avoid your battery draining to 0%
- Make sure your battery is at least 50% full before use
- Let your battery regularly have an overnight full charge
- Don’t charge your battery for more than 24 hours
- If your wheelchair won’t be used for a while, disconnect the battery
- Only use the charger that came with your electric wheelchair
These tips apply whether your motorized wheelchair has a lithium or sealed lead-acid battery.
Other factors which can affect the battery use include the weight of the user, tire pressure, the terrain and the ambient temperature.
When looked after, a folding wheelchair battery can last for between 1-3 years.
Funding Your Folding Electric Wheelchair
So, you like the idea of a folding electric wheelchair? Great! The next step is working out how to cover the cost. There’s no getting away from the fact that buying a powerchair is a considerable expense and one that you’ll want to carefully consider.
You’ll find at Scooters ’N Chairs we have money off many of the top models, giving you big savings without sacrificing quality. If you can’t afford to pay for your scooter in one go, financing options such as PayTomorrow allow you to spread the cost. We don’t think that affordability should be a barrier to being mobile!
Will Medicare Pay for a Folding Motorized Wheelchair?
Before arranging finance or using your savings to pay for a motorized wheelchair, it’s worth considering Medicare. In some cases the cost of an electric wheelchair will be met by Medicare Part B - but there are conditions attached.
Your physician must agree that you need an electric wheelchair. This means that a manual wheelchair either won’t fit in your home, or you don’t have the strength to operate it safely. If a doctor agree this is the case, there are a few extra conditions to fulfill before you get the green light. These include:
- Your health prevents you from being easily able to move around your home
- You can get in and out of the wheelchair safely, or you have a permanent companion who can help you to do so
- You are unable to carry out activities of daily living such as dressing, getting out of bed, using the bathroom or washing, even when you’re using a support such as a cane or a frame
- The wheelchair can be used in your home eg/access won’t be blocked by furniture or narrow doorways
- Your treating doctor and the supplier are both enrolled in Medicare
After you’ve paid your deductible for Part B for the year, you’ll be left with 20% of the bill to cover with Medicare picking up the tab for the rest.
How Much Does a Folding Motorized Wheelchair Cost?
A motorized wheelchair costs more than a manual chair because of the extra features and engineering. The ones which are more expensive tend to have more features such as smartphone apps and remote controls. The entry level motorized wheelchairs offer a solid build, great maneuverability and reliability, even though they may not have all of the extras.
You can expect to pay upwards of $1500 for a foldable powerchair, but to get the best bargains, look out for the sales. This is the best way to get all the benefits of a more expensive motorized folding wheelchair but with a smaller price-tag.
Can I Find Used Folding Electric Wheelchairs for Sale?
You can buy used folding electric wheelchairs but it can be a false economy. If the wheelchair has been heavily used or not properly taken care of, you might find that you need to replace a number of the components. No-one wants to think about getting stranded so you’ll need to be confident that the battery is in good shape. The tires are another area which can show wear and tear, plus the brakes will need to be checked too.
You might be lucky enough to pick up a bargain on sites such as Ebay or craigslist but many users rely on their electric wheelchair so it’s likely that it will have had significant use. To get the chair in prime working condition that you can trust, you may find that it’s better just to buy a model that’s brand new. Don’t forget, there are finance options available on electric wheelchairs that are available even if you have a bad credit history. If you’re considering buying a used model to save money, it could end up costing more in the end.
Traveling With a Power Wheelchair
The Americans With Disabilities Act 1990 makes it compulsory for public transport providers to make it accessible for people traveling in wheelchairs. This includes electric wheelchairs of all types. This doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed a place on a train, bus or coach if there are other wheelchair users already on board. Spaces may be limited so it’s always advisable to book as far in advance as possible. The law just stipulates that there must be some spaces allotted for use by disabled passengers.
If you want to stay in your wheelchair for the duration of your journey, there should be an area dedicated to wheelchair users. However, if you prefer to sit in a regular seat, you should be able to ask for your foldable electric wheelchair to be stashed away. Depending on the weight and how compact is when folded, this may either be on the baggage area or in the storage facility. There is normally a weight limit too, for example, Greyhound stipulate a maximum limit of 200lbs for any mobility device.
Can You Fly With a Folding Electric Wheelchair?
Being a power wheelchair user shouldn’t stop you seeing the world, and it’s perfectly possible to fly with your folding electric wheelchair. You won’t be able to have your own wheelchair in the cabin with you, so you’ll need to make sure it’s fully prepared to go in the hold.
Although the airline can’t unreasonably refuse to accept passengers who are disabled, you may need to double-check that your travel electric wheelchair will fit in the hold. If your power chair is larger than average, or the plane is small, ask for the dimensions of the cargo hold door.
Even if your powered wheelchair fits through the door of the hold, the airline may tip your chair on its side. This is because the cargo doors are often wider than they are tall. Some airlines provide an undertaking to move and transport your wheelchair vertically if it falls within agreed dimensions. This is a big benefit as even lightweight electric wheelchairs can easily become damaged when laid on their side. Two-aisle planes tend to have a larger capacity and be more able to transport your wheelchair vertically so where possible, aim for these.
Before you hand your chair over at the airport, make sure the settings have been flipped so it can be manually pushed. If the joystick can be easily removed, this is highly recommended. This is one of the most vulnerable parts of the wheelchair and can easily get damaged in transit. If it can’t be removed, make sure it’s packed and protected. The battery must be disconnected and electrical tape placed over the connectors to reduce the risk of fire.
While your wheelchair is taken to the hold, you will be given an airport wheelchair to transfer you to the plane. It’s a good idea to check in advance whether your seat has armrests which lift up. Transferring from a wheelchair into a plane seat is much easier when you don’t have to maneuver over the armrest.
The Air Carrier Access Act means that airlines are not allowed to discriminate against passengers with a disability. There is also a number of conditions which airlines are obligated to comply with which will make it easier and more comfortable for you to board the plane. These conditions include aircraft with more than 60 seats having an accessible bathroom and keeping a wheelchair on board during the flight.
Giving the airline advance notice of your intention to travel with a wheelchair, at least 48 hours but preferably more, will ensure that you get the best seats for accessibility and that provisions can be made for your device.
Does it Cost to Take a Power Wheelchair on an Airplane?
The US Department of Transportation makes it crystal clear that airlines are not allowed to treat assistive devices, such as power wheelchairs as general luggage. This means they cannot charge you for stowing your wheelchair in the hold.
They are also not allowed to charge for any aids or assistive devices that you need to take onto the plane, even if they would normally charge for hand luggage.
US law makes it clear that as a wheelchair user, you should not be penalized financially for needing to travel with assistive devices, including an electric wheelchair.
Getting Your Folding Power Chair Into a Car Trunk?
Although there may be occasions when you want to go out straight from your home in your electric wheelchair, in most cases you’ll probably be driving somewhere. This means that you’ll need a folding electrical wheelchair which can be easily stored in the trunk.
The great news is that you don’t need an SUV or some kind of monster truck to fit your foldable power chair into your car. Any regular auto will have plenty of room in the trunk for a foldable electric wheelchair.
However, although size isn’t a problem, you need to consider how you’ll get the device into the trunk. Even the most lightweight electric wheelchair can be quite heavy and cumbersome, especially for people with mobility issues. This means that you won’t be able to go out on your own, without needing some help in loading your folding wheelchair back into your vehicle.
Thankfully, help is at hand. There are a variety of different wheelchair lifts which lift the device into the trunk on your behalf, typically by remote control. A cheaper alternative is a hoist; this also lifts the wheelchair but doesn’t include a platform.
There are pros and cons to the different types of vehicle lifts, which you can read about here.
The 3 Different Kinds of Folding Electric Wheelchairs
Folding wheelchairs come in many different styles, and some are designed for very specific needs. Although all foldable motorized wheelchairs offer convenience and independence, there are certain models which are more suited to some circumstances than others.
Lightweight Aluminum Folding Power Wheelchairs
Aluminum is a metal that’s incredibly lightweight, but still offers supreme strength. Given the lack of weight, it’s easy to dismiss aluminum as a flimsy material but that’s not the case. To put that into context, aircraft use aluminum - there’s probably no better testimony to the strength and durability of the metal than this!! Other applications include buildings, cars, ocean liners and trains. It’s a very popular metal because its unique combination of light weight and strength makes certain designs possible that couldn’t be achieved with heavier metals such as steel.
It’s therefore not surprising to discover that some wheelchairs are made from aluminum. If you’re concerned about the weight of the chair and are looking for a lighter design that doesn’t compromise on good build quality, an aluminum frame is the ideal choice. Karman Healthcare are just one of the manufacturers that use aluminum in their folding electric wheelchairs.
Heavy Duty Folding Electric Wheelchairs
If you have a larger frame or you anticipate covering rough terrain, you might want to consider a heavy duty folding electric wheelchair. Although other wheelchairs may be able to cope, they may wear out quicker than you might expect.
A heavy duty wheelchair will be designed to bear heavier weights and may also be better equipped to deal with rough and uneven terrain. This may include wheels which won’t get a flat and leave you stranded and four-wheel drive. This makes it easier to travel over loose stones, small rocks and other obstacles in your path. There are many electric folding wheelchairs such as the Cirrus Plus and Model A which offer strength and capability over rough terrain, but for the really big guns look out for models such as the Merits USA.
Folding Electric Wheelchairs that Dissemble
Although typically described as a folding electric wheelchair, dissembling power chairs are a little different. Folding wheelchairs stay in one piece and simply collapse in on themselves, with arm rests and footplates that typically flip up or to the side. The only thing that needs to be removed is the battery.
By contrast a dissembling wheelchair doesn’t fold at all. When it’s time to put the wheelchair in your trunk, you will break it into several parts. This may sound complex but they are designed to be easy to take apart and put back together. Each part normally clicks easily into place and takes only seconds to re-assemble.
There are advantages to dissembling powerchairs, such as being easier to lift, move and store. However, they can be more difficult for individuals who have impaired mobility to dissemble and assemble as the process involves a bit more stretching and bending. The Whill Ci is an example of a top-class dissembling electric wheelchair.
How to Choose the Best Folding Electric Wheelchair for Your Needs
Should I Get a Foldable Power Chair?
To answer that question, you need to carefully consider your situation and the circumstances in which you would use your mobility device.
As we’ve seen from the above, there are lots of different types of folding electric wheelchair. By prioritizing your needs you’ll be able to pinpoint which model is likely to be the best one for your needs. These are some of the factor you should consider before making a purchase:
- Type of terrain: are you likely to be covering rough or bumpy ground regularly?
- Will you be mainly using it indoors or outside?
- Will it fit through your doorways and around your furniture and fittings?
- How heavy is it?
- How easily does it fold or break down?
- Is it compact enough for your space?
- What mileage does the battery offer between charges?
- What’s the maximum weight capacity?
- Is there any space for storage?
- What is the turning radius? This is particularly important for indoor use
- Does it utilize technology ie/a companion phone app
Will a Folding Electric Wheelchair Fit My Size
Folding motorized wheelchairs aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution so you’ll need to think carefully about the size and dimensions of the chair. This is particularly important if you are taller or have a heavier frame as not every device will suit you.
All electric wheelchairs have a maximum weight capacity which you’ll need to check before you buy. There can be quite a difference in how much weight a wheelchair can support so don’t give up if you’re too heavy for the first chair you see. Some types of electric wheelchair can’t support more than 200lbs, while others go up to 300lbs or more. Heavy duty wheelchairs can support double this weight, making them a great choice for anyone with a larger frame.
The size of the seat can be another factor. You may be sitting in the wheelchair for a considerable length of time on some days, so it’s unthinkable to put up with a sear that makes you feel squashed. A gel cushion can add extra comfort, but the dimensions still need to be right. If you’re larger, look for a chair that offers different width and depths; some models are available in both narrow and extra-wide versions. People of all shapes and sizes use electric wheelchairs so don’t feel awkward about asking for a model that is on the larger size.
Folding Power Wheelchair Reviews
It’s important to know what your priorities are when you’re choosing the right electric wheelchair. While It would be great to get absolutely everything you can think of, the most important thing is to ensure the essentials are all included. When you think you have narrowed down your selection, checking out past reviews is an excellent way to make your final choice.
Honest and unbiased reviews are invaluable when deciding what to buy. Hearing another user’s experience can provide a perspective that is likely to mirror your own. Do remember though that it’s worth getting opinions from several reviewers because a general consensus is likely to give you the most accurate feedback.
Folding Power Wheelchair Rental
Unlike mobility scooters, power wheelchairs tend to be used by people who have a disability which means they need support all of the time. Scooters can sometimes be used to make life easier, especially when leaving the house while wheelchairs are typically used both indoors and out.
Therefore, for most people renting a folding power wheelchair won’t be the cost-effective solution. It may help in the short-term if you have a need to fulfill while you’re looking around for the right model. Generally though, buying your own power chair is recommended for electric wheelchair users.
Folding Procedures for Power Wheelchairs
Each foldable electric wheelchair will have its own folding procedure; there’s no such thing as a generic process. However, all of the best chairs are designed to fold quickly and easily, enabling them to fit into a compact space. This is essential; a powerchair which is difficult or complicated to fold will soon find itself consigned to the scrapheap.
If you’ve ever folded a manual wheelchair, you’ll find that the process for electric wheelchairs is similar. It’s often a case of lifting up the footplates, disengaging the back rest and pulling on the central seating area to compact the frame. The biggest difference is the presence of a battery which you will need to remove first.
It’s important to read the manual to check the correct way to fold your electric chair. Although you may have had other foldable electric wheelchairs in the past, each one has its own specific design. In particular, there may be clips which need to be loosened or moved into position to enable the wheelchair to fold up or down.
Some foldable motorized wheelchairs don’t technically fold, but dissemble. This means that rather than just staying in one piece and folding, they break down into large parts. This can be useful if you don’t have a large amount of storage space. Dissembling powerchairs often take up less room than a true folding electric chair. However, they can be more difficult to put back together or take apart than a chair that simply flips up or down. There’s no better or worse option, it’s simply a matter of personal taste.
10 Best Folding Electric Wheelchairs to Buy in 2021
There are countless types of folding electric wheelchair which is good news for buyers, but it can be a little overwhelming when you’re trying to decide what to buy. We’ve listed below 10 of the top motorized wheelchairs on the market, and listed the categories in which we think they excel.
What is the Best Folding Electric Wheelchair?
The Whill range of power wheelchairs are loved for their ultra-modern appearance and ability to handle even challenging terrain. The tight turning circle is 45% smaller than typical tiller-operated mobility devices, offering maximum maneuverability both indoors and out. Large front wheels can comfortably climb over anything in its path up to 2” in height while the iPhone companion app provides versatile options for control. Although there are plenty of other power chairs that stand out
- Large under-seat storage
- Great over rough terrain
- Companion iPhone app for remote access and control
- USB charging port
- 10-mile range
- Top speed of 5mph
- Detailed range indicator so you can see exactly how much power is left
- Tight turning radius
- Breaks down quickly for easy transportation
- Not classified as a medical device
- Two-wheel drive (compare to the A model from Whill)
- More expensive than competitors
What is the Best Lightweight Power Wheelchair?
There are many lightweight electric wheelchairs in the market but the E-Z Lite Cruiser is the best of them all. A patented design allows the frame to quickly break down into three dissembling parts which makes is even more portable. As a lightweight electric wheelchair, it’s also sturdy and robust, supporting user weights of up to 305 lbs. A top speed of 5mph and a distance range of 10-15 miles depending on battery choice, means this is a versatile portable electric wheelchair that will suit all.
- Very lightweight
- Folds down in one second
- Can support up to 305 lbs
- Adjustable reclining back
- Patented quick release feature for the motors
- Splits into three parts for easier maneuverability
- Looks like a traditional wheelchair
- Up to 45” turning radius
What is the Lightest Folding Electric Wheelchair?
When weight is critical, you’ll need a lightweight folding electric wheelchair and the lightest one we can recommend is the Geo Cruiser DX. Weighting just 50 lbs (without the battery) it still has impressive strength, supporting a user weight of up to 265 lbs. Very easy to fold up and down, the Geo Cruiser is the ideal travel electric wheelchair. Portable enough for day trips, shopping and visiting family, it’s also airline-approved for making longer journeys too.
- Weighs just 50 lbs
- Distance range of 15 miles
- Adjustable backrest and leg guards
- Under-seat basket storage
- Easy to maneuver into car trunk
- Quick to fold down
- Modern design
- Narrow footrest
What is the Best Portable Electric Wheelchair?
No collection of foldable wheelchairs is complete without the Jazzy Passport. This revolutionary wheelchair, by Pride Mobility, has an excellent folded size and measures only 31 inches tall, 16 inches deep and 23.5 inches wide when folded. It also stars in its exceptionally lightweight frame that allows it to weigh only 53 lbs. excluding batteries.
The Pride Jazzy Passport is the perfect device for providing daily mobility where space may be an issue. But it is even more suited to traveling, where space always seems to be an issue.
The folding procedure for the Jazzy Passport wheelchair is also effortlessly simple. You remove the battery, squeeze two levers together, and with a little push, the chair folds into its well-known compact shape.
It is important to remember that the Jazzy Passport can carry up to a maximum of two hundred and fifty pounds, which is perfect for most, though some people need a higher capacity. Pride Mobility has made the Jazzy wheelchair a super compact folding wheelchair model, so the weight capacity is somewhat on the lower end of the scale.
If the weight capacity of your chair needs to be higher than 250 lbs., consider our other models in this foldable wheelchair collection.
It’s often the small touches which can make a real difference and that’s certainly the case with the Jazzy Passport Power Chair. The speciality foam in the seat and the larger foot platform ensure your comfort, even when sat for long periods. Designed to be a portable electric wheelchair, the Jazzy Passport folds in a few quick steps. With a cupholder, under-seat storage and a tight turning radius, this power chair is practical in every way.
- Class II FDA Medical Device
- Tight 24” turning radius
- Extra storage in under-seat and in back pocket
- Easy access to free-wheeling lever
- Simple to fold down
- FAA-approved battery
- Large foot platform
- Slower maximum speed (3.6mph)
- Lower range per charge (9.6-11 miles depending on weight)
What is the Smallest Folding Electric Wheelchair?
The FreeRider Luggie looks like a cross between a traditional electric wheelchair and a mobility scooter. The end result is a device which is small and portable, but still offers excellent support and mobility. The patented Coaxial DM tech means you’ll have more grip while an anti-tip design and a lap-belt will help you to feel safe while on the move. Despite its very small dimensions, the smart engineering and zero welding on the chassis means that the Luggie gives you maximum weight-bearing capacity despite its light weight.
- 22 mile range
- Superior traction control
- Largest weight capacity for smallest footprint
- Classified as a medical device
- FAA-approved battery
- Three seconds to fold or set up
- Open design may not appeal to all
Best Bariatric Folding Electric Wheelchair with High Weight Capacity
Heavy-Duty Electric (Merits Wheelchairs USA)
The Heavy-Duty Power Wheelchair by Merits brand is an exceptional folding power product. If you want an above-average quality powered wheelchair, the Heavy-Duty Power is a perfect choice.
When it says its folding chair is "heavy-duty", Merits USA means business! This chair can hold up to six hundred pounds of weight, has a top speed of 4 mph, and comes in several available seat widths – up to a generous 24 inches!
It has been perfectly engineered to provide optimal indoor and outdoor performance, including use on uneven terrain.
Another amazing feature is the exceptional range per battery charge – 25 miles of range. Compared with similar products on the market, this is absolute tops for a collapsible wheelchair. So, whether you are in transit, enjoying a long trip, or generally do a lot of daily moving about, this product won't let you down.
Despite all these heavy-duty features, the Merits USA stands up to the test of being a transportable, foldable chair. In its folded state, it measures a slim 14 inches wide, regardless of the seat width when unfolded.
Also, consider the weight of this chair – only 117 lbs., including the batteries. This Merits wheelchair is truly a jewel of a folding mobility product.
Other Top Contenders
For many dealers and patients alike, when you say "fold-up electric wheelchair", the first thought that comes to mind is a Drive brand chair, specifically the Cirrus Plus Wheelchair. It is sturdy, very sensibly designed, super easy to control and is often the first choice for people who are considering collapsible electricity-assisted wheelchairs.
In the pictures above, you can see the ultra-strong metalwork – a common feature of a Drive electric wheelchair – that allows it to carry up to 300 lbs. The Cirrus Plus has the advantages of other Drive Medical wheelchairs and transport chairs, both motorized and manual. You can see the attention to keeping things orderly, straightforward and user-friendly.
The Cirrus Plus frame is made of a carbon-based material build, which provides maximum durability for low weight. It also folds to a beautifully compact shape, as illustrated above, so it also qualifies as a portable power wheelchair.
To fold the Cirrus Plus, simply remove its batteries beneath its seat, and you are good to fold. This wheelchair comes with many must-have features aside from its portability. If comfort is your priority, it has a well-cushioned backrest, fully adjustable armrests, and handy footrests.
In addition to these features, the Cirrus Plus has considerable top speed, up to 5 mph, and it can do an impressive fifteen miles on a single battery charge.
Bear in mind, however, that this wheelchair weighs 90 lbs., excluding the batteries. For patients in search of the best portable wheelchairs, or those who need a light wheelchair, the Cirrus Plus might not be the best choice. Still, many users see the weight of the Cirrus Power Wheelchair as reasonable, considering the extra stability and comfort that the additional weight provides.
To sum up, due to the advantages mentioned above, many users regard this Drive brand wheelchair as their perfect portable electric chair. They fold it up and put in their car trunk, on trains, and even on airplanes as checked-in luggage.
If you’re considering moving up to an electric wheelchair from a manual chair, the Cirrus Plus is a great choice. With large tires, a comfy seat and wide arm rests guarantee a smooth ride even if you’re outdoors and riding over bumpy ground. The seat comes in three different sizes and the joystick can be mounted on either side. Powerful motors provide a fast top speed of 5mph, while the battery range is impressive, lasting up to 15mph. Coming in at a very economical price, it’s an excellent example of a foldable travel electric wheelchair.
- 15 mile range
- Top speed of 5mph
- Can tackle tough terrain
- Engineered for a smooth ride
- Looks like a traditional wheelchair
If you’re looking for a portable and lightweight electric wheelchair that also folds, the Karman Tranzit Go ticks every box. Weighing a mere 56 lbs, it’s a very portable power chair so it’s great for when you want to go exploring. Quick to fold down and easy to maneuver, you can just throw the Tranzit into your trunk and head off. Solid wheels and a range of 15 miles means you can have a lot of fun before you’ll need to recharge!
- 15 mile range
- Max weight capacity 330 lbs
- Removable joystick
- Storage under the seat
- Looks like a traditional wheelchair
- Slower top speed than competitors (3.75mph)
The Karman XO-202 isn’t a true foldable wheelchair but it offers a unique reconfiguration that provides users with new options. The futuristic design can offer support in the normal seated position, but also allows users to be held safely in a standing position. By folding upwards, the dimensions of the chair change but offer numerous health benefits such as improving muscle tone, boosting circulation and helping kidney and bladder function. Slower speeds are recommended for the standing position, but when seated the powerchair can travel up to 5mph. Made from aircraft-grade aluminum and featuring breathable nylon upholstery, you’ll be as comfortable as possible during the impressive 25-mile range.
- 25-mile distance range
- Stand-assist feature
- Integrated controls which offer multiple options
- Rugged enough for substantial outdoor terrain
- Designed for comfort during prolonged use
- Doesn’t collapse right down like other foldable electric wheelchairs
- Controls can be tricky to master at first
- More expensive than other models
Despite its conservative look, this particular model can offer you many cool and practical things.
A folded width of only 13" is an excellent place to start. This foldable electric wheelchair can easily fit under a bed or in the narrow unused spaces around your home.
You will also have little difficulty to fit this device in most car trunks: click, fold, and off you go!
An impressive feature of this Merits collapsing electric wheelchair that isn't seen in other foldable power chairs is its foldable battery brackets. The folding battery brackets allow for a smoother and simpler fold, meaning a more portable solution overall.
The battery life is exceptional, too – eighteen miles per charge! So off you go to your destination and back, maybe even twice a day on one charge.
With a 23" turning radius, this wheelchair is also an excellent choice if you often find yourself in confined and tight spaces. You might have a small apartment, use an elevator or have a narrow hallway, and the ability to turn sharp corners in these areas is paramount.
The pictures of this product show a relatively bare seat and back, but Merits Wheelchairs have optional extras. If extra comfort is more important to you than a slightly slimmer folded wheelchair size, we suggest that you consider these handy extras.
This model also boasts well-cushioned armrests and fully adjustable footrests, which have optional leg rests.
For a motorized wheelchair that won’t restrict where you travel, the Merits P101 is a popular pick. Its compact dimensions and very tight turning circle mean you can navigate even narrow spaces. The driving range is an impressive 18 miles so you won’t get stranded away from home. A padded gel cushion seat provides comfort and is available in different widths. If you want to fly, the SLA battery is FAA-compliant and it folds down quickly and easily.
- Programmable controller
- Great for indoor use
- Economical price
- Range of options including oxygen tank holder
- Very tight 23” turning radius
- Generous max weight capacity
- Easy to fold
- Light weight makes it very portable
- Excellent 18-mile range
- Not suitable for rougher terrain
- Standard wheels are pneumatic
For a wheelchair that looks less like a mobility aid and more like a rugged outdoor adventure vehicle, you can’t find better than Model A from Whill. This shakes off the shackles of conventional wheelchair design and offers a contemporary and fun look which pairs with top-notch function. This powerchair utilizes the latest technology with an iPhone app that can control movement. This means if you want to move to the sofa and drive your chair to the corner of the room, you won’t be left stranded when it’s time to get going. A great option for those who want to be independent and don’t need a chair that supports high levels of clinical need.
- Tight turning radius
- Low centre of gravity prevents tips
- Companion iPhone app for remote control
- 12-mile range
- All-wheel drive
- Three speed settings and a top speed of 5.5 mph
- Can clear obstacles up to 3” high
- Not classified as a medical device
- More expensive than competitors
- No storage space
- Lower max weight capacity
Our best folding wheelchair collection above shows some of the best folding power wheelchairs available. All are from USA brands, and they are designed by companies and manufacturers with years of experience in making the lives of disabled people better, more practical, and more independent.