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Thread: Shopping For New Power Chair

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Aiken, SC USA

    Shopping For New Power Chair

    I am beginning research into a new power chair. My constraints, if any, are what the VA will issue. Currently driving a Permobil C400, front wheel drive. Permobil offers front, rear and mid wheel drives. My first power chair was mid wheel drive.

    My question is: Your experience with rear wheel drive? What are the pros and cons of front, rear and mi wheel drives.

    Thanks much for your input.

    Bloomingly your,
    Iris Flowers
    You C.A.N.
    Conquer Adversity Now

  2. #2
    I would encourage you to work with the therapy staff who do seating and mobility equipment ordering at your VA SCI Center. They should have arrangements with various vendors and companies for you to have demonstrations and sometimes even loaners to try out and then order your customized chair that meets your needs best. The VA deals with nearly all power wheelchairs available in the USA, but only the SCI (Hub) Centers have staff (PTs or OTs) who are truly expert in assisting SCI Veterans in making their chair selection and assuring that the prescription is properly written.


  3. #3
    Based on my limited experience and test drives, here is what I found:

    Front wheel drives will go up higher curbs and surface irregularities.

    Mid wheel drives are more maneuverable, especially in tight quarters.

    Rear wheel drives drive most like manual chairs. Most of the chair movement is in front of you.

    When you turn with front wheel drives, the back of the chair swings around where it is out of your visual field. Mid wheel drives fall in between.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Aiken, SC USA
    Thanks for the input. KLD, I plan to get with my seating/chair specialist at Augusta, Ga. VA.

    Bob, your information is most helpful.

    Always moving,
    Stan Still
    You C.A.N.
    Conquer Adversity Now

  5. #5
    Senior Member webfoot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Blog Entries
    I agree with SCIfor55yrsimho FWD chairs fishtail and feel the most squirrel y - even with proper programming. MWD turn on a dime but can get high centered - with door jams etc you need to start your turn early so the rear will clear. RWD steers most like a manual chair. You set up high for the turn - aiming wider than your end destination. Check out and Lots of knowledgeable people there as here! My advice - test drive everything but make sure you only buy a chair that the user - You - have a way to program it with settings that meet Your needs - Not some company's generalized presets. I prefer RWD. Good luck!

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