Power Wheelchair Drive Wheels - What does that mean?

The power wheelchair drive wheels are the larger wheels in the power wheelchair that are connected to the motor. There are 3 main types of drive wheels for power wheelchairs: mid wheel drive, rear wheel drive and front wheel drive. The location of the drive wheels will have its own advantages and disadvantages.  

Power Wheelchair Drive wheels - What does that mean?

  • Mid - Mid Wheel Drive Power chairs, look very different from rear wheel drive power chairs, as the main drive wheels have been moved from the rear of the wheelchair to the middle part of the wheelchair. Moving the drive wheels to the middle of a wheelchair makes a very big difference to how the wheelchair drives and the space the wheelchair needs for turning. Mid Wheel Drive Power chairs also have a very low centre of gravity, which can make them feel more stable in use. Because mid wheel drive wheelchairs need less space to turn in, you can very often get a larger wheelchair into a smaller space. (1) Unlike front-wheel drive chairs, this type of chair is not ideal for varied, uneven terrain with steep transitions. There is a possibility of you getting “stuck” on the front or rear casters; suspending the drive wheels so they have no contact with the ground. - Image Sample: POWER WHEELCHAIR QUICKIE Q500 M SEDEO PRO [Q500M]

Power Wheelchair Drive wheels - What does that mean?

  • Rear -  Rear Wheel Drive Power chairs are what most people would recognise as a power chair.

    Because the drive wheels are at the back of the wheelchair, rear wheel drive wheelchairs can need larger spaces to turn around in.(1) Note that with rear-wheel drive chairs, going up steep hills will cause the chair to lean back on the anti-tip tubes to assist in preventing the chair from tipping backward. - Sample Image: POWERCHAIR PRIDE GO CHAIR [GOCHAIRNG]

  • Front - Front Wheel Drive Power chairs have the drive wheels mounted at the front of the wheelchair. (1) A sturdy solution for uneven terrain and up and down hills, front-wheel drive chairs can easily climb over small obstacles. The overall speed of this drive type is slower, because it can fishtail at higher speeds. - Image Sample: TA IQ FRONT WHEEL DRIVE WITH LIFT AND TILT [97075]

Sources

(1) Pride Mobility Australia - Power chairs or electric wheelchairs (Visited 08/02/2019)

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