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Manual Wheelchairs Vs Power Wheelchairs

Manual Wheelchairs Vs Power Wheelchairs
Taikhum Sadiq

Wheelchairs are one of the oldest mobility aids in the world. The basic structure of a wheelchair is the same even today, but technology has lent a helping hand in creating far more superior devices than a simple chair attached to wheels.   

Types of wheelchairs  

There are two major types of wheelchairs, manual and power, and each has pros and cons. We'll look at both to help you decide which is best for your needs. 

Manual wheelchairs  

Manual wheelchairs are the most common in the world. Their cost-effectiveness has also allowed those in third-world countries to adopt their use widely. They run on physical power from the user or someone else pushing from behind.   

Types of Manual Wheelchairs  

  • Standard manual wheelchairs - The most basic type of wheelchair and designed for those with good control over their upper body. They have large rear wheels which can be pushed to move around.  
  • Transport wheelchairs - Equipped with small rear wheels, they are primarily used in hospitals and public spaces where another person guides the chair wherever needed.  
  • Bariatric wheelchairs - Designed with a sturdy and durable frame, these chairs are specially made for bariatric patients. They are designed to evenly distribute weight while not compromising control and speed.  
  • Ultralight wheelchairs - Also known as portable wheelchairs, they are designed to weigh less than 40 pounds and usually do not have a cushioned seat to avoid increasing the weight  
  • Pediatric manual wheelchairs - Made with smaller frames and narrow seats. The short handles are adjustable so an adult can push the chair. Because they are designed for children, many have patterns of cartoons or animals. 
  • Reclining wheelchairs - Equipped with a backrest that can be tilted or reclined.  
  • Folding wheelchairs - Typically used in hospitals and public places where standard wheelchairs take up too much room. These chairs can be folded and stored easily and are great for those who have limited space at home. 

Power Wheelchairs  

Power wheelchairs run on electric power via batteries and are more powerful than manual wheelchairs.   

They are propelled using a toggle on either of the handles. The different features of a power wheelchair include speed control, turning, seat height, and reclining angle, all with the push of a button.  

Types of Power Wheelchairs  

  • Front-wheel Drive  - The drive system is located in the front, which makes maneuvering over terrain 2 inches high easy. The battery is located in the back, which provides balance while moving up and down a slope.  
  • Mid-wheel Drive  - Also known as Center-Drive, this chair has a small turning radius which makes them the perfect choice for home use. They are built to be stable and sturdy, however they do not perform well on rough terrain.  
  • Rear-wheel Drive  - This chair offers excellent maneuverability, even at high speeds, and is suitable for rough and flat terrain. The drive system rests at the back, with the front wheels acting as casters. One disadvantage of these chairs is that they can have issues with balance going up and down slopes.  
  • Standing  - The chair rises quickly with the push of a button allowing the user to work independently to reach things on shelves or wardrobes.  
  • Travel  - With a longer battery life than other power wheelchairs, they are also easy to dismantle for traveling or storage.  

Difference between powered and manual wheelchairs 

Manual Wheelchairs Power Wheelchairs
Lower up front and maintenance costs Perfect for people with low upper body strength
Lightweight and easily transported Quiet motor
Helps maintain upper body strength Better option for long-term use
Requires less maintenance More comfortable

Choosing a wheelchair should be based on three significant factors: comfort, feasibility, and need. At HPFY, we have a varied selection of power and manual wheelchairs made by the best manufacturers in the industry. Visit us at  


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text, was created solely for informational purposes. Our content should never be used to diagnose or treat any medical conditions. Furthermore, content shared on our websites is not meant to substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Taikhum Sadiq

Taikhum Sadiq

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Taikhum Sadiq has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2016.

He is an archaeology student and is passionate about learning about the past and how it impacts our future. He believes ...

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