Manual Vs Electric Wheelchairs



We have compiled, from separate sources, “Manual Vs Electric Wheelchairs”. The reference links are at the bottom of the article.

As part of the transport problems that have arisen with the diversification of lifestyle in recent years, old people, as well as handicapped people with mobility, are more and more involved in social activities, but the environment for transportation for these people has not been sufficiently prepared. Especially, barriers on roads that obstruct transportation by wheelchairs. The height of curbs on sidewalks and big slopes on the road become barriers to easy transportation. This situation increases difficulties and anxiety for those using wheelchairs, and it could cause traffic disasters. This paper compares the heartbeat rates of wheelchair drivers when operating electric and manual wheelchairs and for different curb heights between sidewalks and roads, and it studies the efficacy of electric wheelchairs.


Wheelchairs are a type of medical device that is used to improve accessibility for people who are mobility challenged. Wheelchairs are used by people for whom walking is difficult or impossible due to illness like physiological or physical, injury or disability. In some form or another, wheelchairs have been used for many thousands of years, but it would not be until the beginning of the twentieth century that a standard wheelchair design would be developed. There are a number of different wheelchair designs and models available, but they are basically classified as either manual or electric

Manual Wheelchairs

Manual wheelchairs are the oldest type of wheelchair available and are either classified as self-propelled or attendant-propelled. One of the first self-propelled wheelchairs was developed by a blacksmith over 300 years ago and used a hand crank to move the wheelchair. Today, there are a number of different types of self-propelled manual wheelchairs, which are classified by their uses, but the most common type of manual wheelchair is the conventional wheelchair. 

The Conventional wheelchair usually offers a folding design, so it can be easily transported and has a steel tube frame. However, to reduce weight aluminum and titanium frames are also used. The seat is typically made of vinyl, which is easy to clean wheelchairs, or transport chairs, often look very similar to a self-propelled wheelchair; however, they do not have hand rims on the rear wheels. Instead, they are designed to be pushed by someone walking behind the wheelchair. Often the rear wheels will be much smaller than traditional wheelchairs.

Advantages Of Manual Wheelchairs 

Manual wheelchairs do provide great advantages over power ones that many people overlook. For starters, lightweight wheelchairs are almost always manual. This can be a huge selling point for someone who does not possess a lot of body strength. They are easier to maneuver and even though power chairs do not have to be pushed, there is always the chance that the battery could die. 

Another advantage of manual wheelchairs is the fact that they can go almost anywhere. A person does not have to worry whether or not the terrain is bumpy or uneven like they would with a power wheelchair. 

Electric Powered Wheelchairs 

Electric wheelchairs, which are also called power chairs, were first developed during the middle of the twentieth century. Early electric wheelchairs were simply manual wheelchairs that had been outfitted with an electric motor. A chair is attached to the base and resembles a high-quality office chair, but usually has a higher back, more padding, and a headrest. 

However, environmental factors, such as hills and the rider’s weight, play a role in the wheelchairs range. Most use a joystick control, which can be mounted to either the left or right armrest. There are also a great deal number of alternate controls, such as breath control. A remote control system is also available, to offer attendant-propelled functionality. Portable power chairs are also available, which closely resemble a conventional folding wheelchairs.

Advantages Of Electric Powered Wheelchairs 

Power wheelchairs or scooters are indicated for those who cannot manually propel a wheelchair and who have the cognitive ability and coordination needed to safely propel a power device.  They may be appropriate for patients with upper limb weakness, cardiopulmonary disease, poor trunk stability, upper limb pain, limited endurance, or obesity. 

Feature motors mounted into the wheel hub or as an add-on unit to the wheel or axle. Augments self-propulsion in a manual wheelchair so decreased upper limb strength is required.  Requires a battery system, which increases weight and can make transportation more difficult. Examples include Xtender, E-motion, SmartDrive, and Twion.  These are ideal for those who are apprehensive about committing to a power wheelchair.

Patients may also require a power wheelchair when manual or power-assist wheelchairs do not meet their needs.  These are typically heavier and do not disassemble so transportation of these chairs is more challenging.  They can be controlled via a joystick, touchpad, head control, or sip and puff, depending on the patient’s level of impairment.  They can also have proportional control (pressure matches speed) or non-proportional control (speed not controllable).


Thank you for reading this article and check back frequently for other similar articles. 

To know more about Wheelchairs, Visit our website: 

Article compiled by 

Article Reference Links: