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Choosing the Best Wheelchair

by Juan Lopez January 14, 2021 0 Comments

Woman in Wheelchair

Wheelchairs are often considered a necessity for those who need them and purchasing one is a big commitment. Before buying you should take into account individual needs and do your research. At Vive Health, we offer a range of different models from simple transport chairs to full on power wheelchairs. In this guide, we’ll break down the differences, features and provide recommendations based on the most common needs our customers have.

What to Consider When Choosing a Wheelchair

Let’s break down the individual features of each wheelchair model to help you decide which factors will best suit your needs.

Type of Wheelchair

  • Manual

    Manual wheelchairs do not come with the assistance of a battery. These wheelchairs are designed to be self propelled by the user, companion propelled (meaning another person pushes the wheelchair), or both. These wheelchairs are typically lightweight, portable and smaller in size.

    The Vive Mobility Transport Chair can be both self and companion propelled. While the rollator wheelchair must be pushed by another person when the user is sitting in the device.

  • Dual Electric + Manual

    An electric wheelchair is battery operated with power controls. Motorized wheelchairs are rechargeable and great for those who lack motor function and cardiovascular strength. A dual option wheelchair simply means it has both manual and electric capabilities. This is the best of both worlds. The Vive Mobility Compact Wheelchair and  Mobility Power Wheelchair both have the option to be either self propelled using power controls or manually pushed by a companion.

Assembly

Knowing how your wheelchair will arrive and the assembly it will require is important. You’ll want to make sure that you are capable of setting up your chair or arrange to have assistance on hand.

  • Both the Vive Mobility power chairs and the transport wheelchair come preassembled, however you will be required to follow a couple steps to unfold the chair, attach the footrest and controls.

  • The wheelchair rollator requires the most assembly which includes attaching the front and back wheels, foot rests, travel bag, and cane clip. Plus you’ll need to properly adjust the handle height.

Portability

Think about how you will be using your wheelchair. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How often do I plan on taking my wheelchair on the go?
  • Do I need to exit my wheelchair for transportation?
  • Can I lift my own wheelchair or have someone who can help me?

If you plan to be taking it on the go frequently, you’ll want a design that can be conveniently folded and easily lifted by you or your caregiver. Luckily, each Vive Mobility wheelchair comes with this capability; however, you’ll need to take into consideration your own needs, capabilities and resources.

Our wheelchair rollator is the most minimalist option and perfect for those who are independent and mobile, but rely on a little extra support when fatigued. It’s super lightweight and folds up easily, perfect for running errands, attending daily activities, and storing away when you don’t need it.

If you’re looking for a motorized wheelchair, the Compact Wheelchair is your best option. It folds down small enough to fit into most vehicle trunks, but make sure you or your caregiver is capable of lifting the frame safely as it weighs ~95lbs. If you have access to handicapable transportation, this option is a no brainer.

Safety Features

Added safety features make all the difference when it comes to choosing the best wheelchair. Take a look at these main features and see which Vive Mobility wheelchair has which features.

  • Seat Belt

    A wheelchair safety or seat belt is designed to protect the user from sliding for falling out of the seat. Our transport chair, compact wheelchair, and power wheelchair all come equipped with secure seat belts.

  • Locking Brakes

    Locking brakes are important for both manual and electric wheelchairs. These keep the wheels safely and firmly locked in place when the wheelchair is not in use. This feature is especially useful when on inclines or declines.

    Both the wheelchair rollator and transport wheelchair have hand locking brakes; while the compact wheelchair is equipped with a hand lever to secure the back wheels.

    While there are no manual locking brakes on the Power Wheelchair, the brakes will automatically engage if the power chair is not being operated using the joystick.

  • Anti-Tip Wheels

    Anti-tip wheels are designed to prevent the wheelchair from tipping when ascending or descending. Both the Compact and Power Wheelchair’s anti-tip wheels allow the chair to safely navigate inclines or declines of 6 degrees.

  • Horn

    Both the Compact and Power Wheelchair are equipped with a horn to help alert others of your presence when navigating or approaching crowded areas.

Weight Capacity

Weight capacity is important to ensure safety and adequate function of the wheelchair. Check to make sure the users weight complies before purchasing to reduce the risk of injury or damage.

Adjustability

Having the ability to adjust certain features can be super convenient and make for a more comfortable fit in your wheelchair, especially if you are on the shorter or taller side.

Each Vive Mobility wheelchair comes with an adjustable footrest that allows you to adjust the height so that your feet rest in the most comfortable position. The Power Wheelchair has adjustable armrests and you can also adjust the height of the seat back.

Wheels & Tires

Essentially the shoes of your wheelchair, a smooth and safe ride is dependent on the quality of its wheels. The wheels or tires we choose for each Vive Mobility Wheelchair does vary. Here are the different types, which wheelchairs they are on, and the benefits of each.

  • Pneumatic Wheels

    Pneumatic wheels are very similar to the tires that go on your car. The thicker tread is capable of absorbing uneven terrain to provide a smooth ride with overall less bumping and shaking. The rear wheels on our Power Wheelchair are solid pneumatic, meaning they are made of rubber and are puncture resistant.

  • Solid Inflate Free Tires

    These types of wheels are conveniently puncture proof and allow for easy maneuvering over all different types of terrain. Since they are not filled with air, there is no need to worry about flat tires or tire pressure. All four of the compact power wheelchair wheels are solid inflate free tires. Along with the front two wheels of the standard power wheelchair.

  • TPU Wheels

    TPU plastic consists of both hard and soft properties and bridges between a sort of rubber and plastic material that is somewhat flexible or elastic. Using this material for our Wheelchair Rollator and Transport Wheelchair provides a smooth ride over any surface. It’s resistance to oil, grease, abrasions, and punctures; plus these wheels won’t leave marks on your floor.

Battery

Both our electric wheelchairs are equipped with 24V 10AH rechargeable batteries. The compact wheelchair can travel up to 12 miles on just one charge. The standard power wheelchair can get up to 6.2 miles. Due to its larger size, it simply takes more battery to power.

Both power chairs have battery indicator lights to help identify the battery charge level while charging and operating.

Speed & Drive Range

Both the Vive Mobility power scooters have relatively the same drive speed. The compact design can reach up to 4 mph and the power wheelchair reaches 3.7 mph. These speeds are tested to be both safe and convenient for users.

Drive range is how far you can travel on a single charge. Our compact power chair can travel up to 12 miles while the larger model, our power wheelchair, travels up to 6.2 miles. 

Control Panel

The control panel is a key component of any power wheelchair. Both our compact and power wheelchair are designed with very similar, intuitive, controllers equipped with a joystick, battery gauge, on/off button, speed indicator, acceleration control, horn and charging socket. The control panel can be installed on either the right or left side armrest so that you have access to all the important controls at your fingertips.

Additional Features

Check out these added bonus features!

  • Shock Absorbers

    The Vive Mobility Power Scooter features front shock absorbers for a smooth and stable ride over any terrain, including grass, gravel, pavement, carpeting and other hard surfaces.

  • Battery Charge Indicator

    Located on the control panel of both VIve Mobility power chairs, the battery indicator light will let you know your current charge status. This displays while the power chair is in use and while charging.

  • USB Charging Port

    Conveniently charge your smartphone or other small devices while using your wheelchair. Both the Vive Mobility power electric wheelchairs come equipped with a charging port.

  • Travel Bag

    The power wheelchair comes with a large pocket located on the back of the seat and our wheelchair rollator includes an attachable bag that hangs below the seat; making it easy to store personal belongings on the go.

  • Cushioned Seating

    A comfortable seat is a must. Our wheelchair seats are designed with maximum width and contour comfortably to any body type. For each model, we chose durable materials and seat padding that can withstand long term use. While all equally comfortable, the sizes, fabrics, and materials do vary from model to model.

    The wheelchair rollator has an 17” seat with padded backrest and breathable material that wicks away moisture. Since most users also use this device as a walking aid it has the least amount of seat padding to compliment it’s hybrid design. 

    The transport wheelchair also has a 17” wide seat and padded backrest made from breathable and convenient wipe-clean material that prevents the build up of moisture.

    The 16” wide seat of our compact power wheelchair is constructed of foam padding and covered with breathable mesh material that helps to prevent moisture build up and keep the user feeling cool and dry.

    Our power wheelchair has the widest seat. At 17.5” it’s designed with thick, dense foam and covered with soft, breathable mesh.

Add-On Accessories

  • Wheelchair Bag

    Consider purchasing a portable wheelchair bag that will easily store all your personal belongings on the go. The Vive Wheelchair Bag attaches to the back of any style wheelchair with adjustable buckle straps. Take the bag on and off as needed, using the shoulder strap for convenient carry when not in your chair.

  • Cup Holder

    Check out the Vive Cup Holder Attachment. It’s super convenient and attaches not only to most wheelchair designs, but you can attach it almost anywhere (i.e. power scooters, bikes, desks, benches, exercise equipment, and so much more)

  • Armrest Covers

    Extra armrest padding goes a long way, especially when using your wheelchair long-term. These (latex-free) faux-sheepskin covers will help protect against soreness, skin irritation and nerve pain.

  • Seat Cushion

    Depending on your personal preference, you may want to consider adding a seat cushion to your wheelchair. There’s a huge variety of options ranging from lumbar and coccyx supports to tailbone and pressure relief cushions.

    How to Find the Right Seat Cushion for Your Needs

Recommendations for . . .

Here are our recommendations on the best wheelchair based on the most common needs we see among customers.

Power Wheelchair

Long-Term Use

If you plan on using your wheelchair daily for long-term use, comfort and convenience should be your top priorities. We believe that our Power Wheelchair surpasses both those standards. From it’s thick foam padded seat, armrests and backrest to long battery life, durable frame, intuitive controller and storage space, this power chair checks off all the boxes. If you need something a bit smaller in size to accommodate a limited amount of space, the compact power wheelchair is equally just as good.

VIEW THIS WHEELCHAIR
Compact Power Wheelchair

Outdoor Use or All-Terrain Surfaces

For safety and stability outdoors, the compact power wheelchair is the top choice. It’s pneumatic rear wheels are puncture resistant and travel seamlessly over bumps, grooves, cracks, dirt, gravel, and uneven surfaces. Plus it’s anti-tip wheels make the power chair safe for traveling over both inclines and declines. If you’re looking for a manual wheelchair option, both the wheelchair rollator and transport chair are designed to take on all-terrain with flat-free solid wheels.

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Transport Wheelchair

Transportation

If you’re a caregiver looking for the most convenient wheelchair for transporting your loved one or patient, we recommend the Vive Mobility Transport Chair. This wheelchair is designed to help get those with limited mobility from one location to another; whether that’s out on the patio, into the car, from room to room, or to doctors appointments. The chair can be self or companion propelled, has locking brakes, and it’s lightweight frame can be easily folded up and fits into most vehicle trunks.

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Compact Power Wheelchair

Indoor Use

When using a wheelchair indoors, you want to make sure that it’s size is compatible with the space that you have. The compact wheelchair is great for tight spaces and boasts a 47” turn radius, making maneuvering throughout the home or care facility a breeze. Best of all, it’s non-marking tires won't damage flooring. As far as manual wheelchair options, the transport chair is also ideal for indoor use. It moves smoothly over all indoor surfaces such as carpet, tile, and hardwood with stability.

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Wheelchair Rollator

Portability

While each of the Vive Mobility Wheelchairs can be folded down for portability needs. The wheelchair rollator is, hands-down, our most portable design. However, keep in mind your level of mobility. Most customers who choose this wheelchair are still mobile and love that the aid can be used as a walker as well. It’s lightest in weight and folds up small enough to tuck away or keep beside the couch and perfect for parks, restaurants, churches and outdoor strolls. If you’re looking for a true wheelchair option, pick the transport chair. It’s designed to fold up easily and light enough to lift in and out of vehicles.

VIEW THIS WHEELCHAIR

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s what customers are asking.

Is there an included warranty with my wheelchair purchase?

Absolutely, we stand behind all our products and offer either a lifetime or limited 3-year guarantee depending on the wheelchair you purchase. You can read more about our guarantees here.

Are the Vive Mobility Power Wheelchairs TSA approved?

Yes, both our power wheelchairs have been TSA approved and are safe for air travel, cruise ships and more.

Are wheelchairs covered by medicare?

Yes, when medically prescribed both manual and power wheelchairs should be covered by Medicare. However, at Vive Health we do not submit payment through insurance and reimbursement must be handled through your insurance.

Need More Help?

Get more information on all Vive Health products by talking to our customer service and product specialists. Call between 8:30am and 9pm EST daily at 1-800-487-3808 or email us at service@vivehealth.com

SHOP ALL WHEELCHAIRS
Juan Lopez
Juan Lopez

Juan Lopez is part of the product development and improvement team at ViveHealth.com. His understanding of products and vast knowledge of consumer needs makes it easy for him to provide helpful information on choosing the best products.



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