For everyday folks who have no mobility issues whatsoever, the act of reaching higher to pick something off a cabinet or switching the lights off is something they never give much thought to. However, if you’re someone who must go about your daily activities in a wheelchair, then you may experience difficulty in reaching items which require your torso to be a few inches higher than your normal seated position.
Luckily, innovative advances in electric wheelchair technology has led to the design and development of elevating seat chairs – power wheelchairs with elevating electric seats that provide far greater accessibility with the added benefit of greater independence.
If you’ve never thought about investing in a power wheelchair with elevating seat, then this insightful read might change your mind and also help you gain a lot more personal freedom.
Elevating Powerchairs – Lifesavers for the Mobility-impaired
Mobility challenges aside, among the biggest challenges wheelchair users face is difficulty reaching upper shelves at stores, ATM machines or cupboards at home – as well as a number of other items that regular people don’t give a second thought to.
Power wheelchairs with elevating seats allow seniors and those with physical disabilities to easily complete day-to-day tasks, which they may otherwise find unusually challenging, if not entirely impossible.
Elevating seat power wheelchairs may not be something you see everyday among the typical electric wheelchair using lot, as only a handful of US brands manufacture them. However, many individuals who have invested in them have found them to be a huge help in making their lives far more independent and productive, with an improved sense of wellbeing as well.
Read any online review on elevating seat powerchairs by Merits, Pride Mobility or EV Rider, and you’ll see how they have transformed people’s lives in wonderful ways. These elevating electric seats offer an excellent alternative over normal power wheelchairs, to people who generally find it painful to stand or can’t seem to support their weight after getting out of their wheelchair.
It is for this very purpose that top US brands like the aforementioned ones have designed power wheelchairs with elevating seats, allowing people to easily do what they love doing, while comfortably remaining seated in their electric mobility companion.
How do Elevating Seat Power Wheelchairs Work and are they Safe?
There are generally two unique mechanisms that help electric wheelchair users elevate their seats:
Elevating seat single/quad post
Perhaps this is the most common type of elevating seat power wheelchair – supported by a single bi-directional threaded rod that moves up/down with the help of an electric motor. This seamlessly elevates the seat up, with the threaded rods rotating in the opposite direction in order to return the seat back to its normal position. Depending on the make and model you buy, these power wheelchairs with elevating seats can easily raise individuals weighing anywhere between 300 lbs. and 450 lbs. by 12” or more.
Users have the luxury of elevating or lowering their seat however they want within the specified seat travel range – i.e. the height is not limited by increments but rather can be adjusted in infinite increments or ranges within the maximum travel range.
In addition, there are certain models that have quad-seat supports for added stability and sturdiness, rather than just one.
Elevating seat scissor configuration
The somewhat less common type of electric wheelchair elevating seat is one that’s based on a scissor mechanism for raising or lowering the seat. This system also incorporates the same threaded rod configuration that’s used in the former, although in this case, the rod resembles a scissor frame that’s clamped to the seat.
The main difference between the single/quad post mechanism and scissor mechanism is that throughout the travel range, the seat frame is robustly supported on all corners – as opposed to just a single point in the seat frame’s center or the quad points at each corner – which don’t quite offer the same level of durability and stability.
How safe are they?
Since elevating the seat on your electric wheelchair would make the center of gravity much higher, this means a less stable wheelchair in motion. With that said, certain elevating seat power wheelchair models are capable of maintaining the same degree of stability no matter what the seat position – such as the EV Rider Vision P13, Merits Vision Super HD or Pride Mobility Jazzy Air 2. However, just to be on the same side, we would not recommend going at the maximum top speed on uneven outdoor terrain with the seat raised all the way, due to safety reasons.
Besides, it’s hard to imagine being in a situation where you’ll need to hammer the throttle with the seat elevated all the way!
What other Benefits does an Electric Wheelchair with Elevating Seat Offer?
Increased confidence and self-esteem
It goes without saying that power wheelchairs in general are lifelong companions for those with mobility issues. After all, they allow seniors and people with physical handicaps move effortless between destinations, allowing them to lead a very independent life.
Elevating seat power wheelchairs, however, take this independence to a completely new level. Users can now move with ease into their bed, reach for items placed on a high shelf or cupboard, and draw the curtains themselves to be greeted by the beautiful morning sunshine. It’s the little things that add up, giving us not only a better sense of personal freedom but also having a drastic effect on our overall wellbeing.
Imagine – the ability to easily access stuff when you’re at a busy supermarket or grocery store, without having to ask for anyone’s assistance. Or, ordering your favorite cup of Joe at the local coffee shop or even picking your favorite reads all by yourself at the library. Electric wheelchairs with elevating seats are your ticket to a more care-free and independent life, both inside and outside the house.
Another notable benefit of using an elevating seat powerchair is the ability to talk to people at the ‘same level’. Say, you’re engaged in a conversation with someone who’s standing – at the touch of a button, you can raise yourself to communicate more comfortably (and confidently) at eye level.
This is something we often don’t give much thought to, but being at the same eye-level with someone you’re talking to can drastically improve self-confidence and even make the conversation more personable as well as enjoyable. Similarly, family and friends won’t have to constantly bend down just to be able to talk to you at eye level.
Even if you’ve never used a wheelchair, you might have still noticed how those that do tend to struggle while moving themselves into cars, or onto beds, toilets (assuming you’re a caregiver or family member) and seats. And in fact, this is made worse with some cars seats, sofas and beds being so high that they can increase the likelihood of sudden injuries.
A quality powerchair with elevating seat is the answer to all these woes, helping people maintain their quality of life while still enjoying their personal space and freedom.
Best-in-class Elevating Seat Power Wheelchairs at Scooters’N’Chairs
At Scooters’N’Chairs, our mobility researchers are always hard at work, scouting the online marketplace and analyzing reviews to handpick top-quality power wheelchairs with elevating seats.
Pride Mobility, for instance, has been a quality US health and mobility brand for two decades, and trusted by folks all across the nation.
If you’ve ever had a chance to use the Pride Jazzy Air, then you’re absolutely going to love the Pride Air Jazzy 2. Improving over its predecessor in a number of ways, the Jazzy Air 2’s elevation mechanism works even more seamlessly – allowing users to elevate their chairs by 12” in just 11 seconds, even when it’s moving.
Available in eye-catching, sporty colors like Matte Black Pearl, Matte Garnet Red and Matte Tanzanite, the $3,999 Jazzy Air 2 is currently one of the most popular and best-rated power wheelchairs with elevating seat, helping people live their lives the way they want. With a top speed of 4 mph, even in the maximum elevated seating position, it can carry users over an impressive 16.2 miles after a single battery charge.
The $3,700 Merits Vision Super Heavy Duty Powerchair is an equally impressive contender. Much like the jazzy Air 2, it is also a mid-wheel driven elevating seat electric wheelchair, providing optimal stability indoors and outdoors, even if the seat is raised all the way up. Its impressive ability to support a weight of up to 400 lbs. with a maximum speed of 5 mph and travel distance of 20 miles, truly makes it an elevating power wheelchair suitable for all terrains.
Furthermore, the 20” turning radius, solid steel frame and independent suspension supporting the front and rear casters make it highly suitable for not just tight and cramped spaces indoors but also rough and uneven outdoor terrain.
The $2,688 Merits Gemini is a midrange elevating seat power wheelchair that offers a high degree of independence and features to seniors. The 21” turning radius, for instance, provides easy maneuverability in cramped indoor spaces, while the 4” ground clearance ensures that users feel completely confident and in control while riding their mobility companion on rough outdoor terrain.
The full-foam tires on the Gemini have plenty of bounce and “give”, ultimately providing noticeably more traction than solid tires found on a variety of other powerchairs with elevating seats.
Another factor that make it a top choice among seniors is that just about everything is customizable, such as the controller, swiveling seat with different reclining angles, armrests, footplate and more. With simple and easy-to-use controls and a wide 22” seat, you can easily go about doing your daily activities without ever having to recharge your electric companion before a good 20 miles.
Ready to buy an Elevating Seat Power Wheelchair?
Without question, an elevating seat electric chair is a major investment, one that you can expect to last a lifetime. And, for majority of seniors and folks with disabilities, this is something they simply cannot imagine living without.
It’s important to pick an electric wheelchair elevating seat that meets your daily needs, so here’s what you should consider:
No matter how much time you spend sitting in your electric wheelchair elevated seat, you need to ensure that it’s nice and comfortable. Majority of power wheelchairs with elevating seats come with adequate padding and other comfort features, but this is still something that’s worth looking into – as certain models might offer more seat modifications and adjustment options. One look at our detailed specification sheets and product overviews – and you should be able to pick your desired model.
Apart from the padding and seat width, you’d also want to pay attention to headrest, backrest and armrests. For instance, can you remove them if need be and what level of adjustability do they offer?
Suspension and wheel configuration
Most electric wheelchairs with elevating seat come with a suspension that’s durable enough to handle a variety of indoor and outdoor surfaces. However, the more feature-packed and durable models boast independent suspension at the front and rear with a large drive wheel at the center, which means they offer the most stability, sturdiness and safety, even if you’re moving with the seat raised.
Furthermore, you’d want to take the turning radius into account – the lower this is, the better. If you’re going to be moving your elevated seat power wheelchair in tight indoor spaces, then consider buying one that has a turning radius of 20-24”.
Majority of elevating seat electric chairs we offer come with an impressive battery range of 10-20 miles, so pick a model that allows you to travel far enough without having to recharge the battery. Certain models also offer the ability to carry a larger extra battery.
For any questions about our top-of-the-line elevating seat electric wheelchairs, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly customer service team.