1.What is Electric Wheelchair
With the development of the times, electric wheelchairs have gradually begun to spread. More and more physically disabled people are starting to use electric wheelchairs. So how do we choose the best electric wheelchair in the face of so many wheelchair suppliers? As a manufacturer, we will give some advice on the body material of the wheelchair, battery properties, controller type and so on.
1.1 History of electric wheelchairs
Electric wheelchairs were invented in the early 20th century. However, when the electric wheelchair was first introduced to the market, it was not recognized by consumers. Because the product is too bulky, difficult to control, and extremely inconvenient to operate.
After the end of the Second World War, the number of disabled people who survived the war surged. The huge market gap has prompted electric wheelchair manufacturers to continuously update and optimize their products.
From the 1960s to the 1970s, the stability of electric wheelchair controllers was gradually improved with the development of science and technology.
After entering the 21st century, science and technology have developed rapidly. Aviation metal materials are changing with each passing day and are gradually being applied to people’s livelihood. Electric wheelchairs are the beneficiaries. The Motorized Wheelchairs weighs less than 20kg due to the use of aerospace-grade 6061 aluminum alloy as the main body.
1.2 Current status and prospects of electric wheelchairs
Today, electric wheelchairs are no longer limited to meeting the basic needs of people with physical disabilities. It is moving towards automation and artificial intelligence.
For example, beach electric wheelchairs, off-road power wheelchairs, ultra-light electric wheelchairs. Their nature has not changed and is still an aid to people with physical disabilities. But they have become more user-friendly and have a wider range of applications.
Satcon believe that in the near future, an electric wheelchair robot will become the most reliable friend of the physically handicapped.
2. Construction of Electric Wheelchair
In this chapter, we will explain the parts of the electric wheelchair separately. A more comprehensive understanding of mobility wheelchair.
2.1 Body material
The now popular lightweight electric wheelchair is due to the use of a lighter, stronger, aerospace-grade aluminum body. Only then can the quality of the electric wheelchair be comparable to the quality of the manual wheelchair. Of course, its price is also relatively expensive.
2.1.1 Cold rolled carbon steel
To be honest, carbon steel electric wheelchairs are enough to meet daily needs. Both the body-stable type and the anti-rust treatment process have matured. The most important thing is that the price of wheelchairs made of carbon steel is more affordable.
Of course, it also has obvious shortcomings, that is, the body is too bulky and not easy to carry. In general, carbon steel electric wheelchairs weigh from 45 kg to 55 kg. If you are just walking in the daily park, shopping in the supermarket, I think it is enough to meet your needs. Carbon steel electric wheelchairs have very large sales in Southeast Asia, low prices and stable quality.
2.1.2 Aluminum Alloy
In our impression, carbon steel wheelchairs are more durable than aluminum alloys. But this has long been past tense, and the new aluminum alloy material is now superior to carbon steel.
The aluminum alloy electric wheelchair body is lighter in weight and of course it costs more. The biggest advantage of aluminum alloy electric wheelchairs is portability. Its weight is generally controlled between 20 kg and 25 kg, easy to fold and easy to carry.
If you have a higher budget, I highly recommend an electric wheelchair made of aluminum. Its price is expensive, but it is still acceptable. A high-quality aluminum alloy electric wheelchair costs about $400-600.
2.1.3 Aviation grade aluminum-magnesium alloy
If you have frequent travel needs, the 20 kg electric wheelchair is still too heavy for you. Then an electric wheelchair with aerospace-grade aluminum-magnesium alloy is necessary for you because it weighs only 13 kg to 18 kg.
6061 aluminum alloy is a high-quality aluminum alloy produced by heat treatment pre-stretching process. It has excellent processing properties, excellent welding characteristics and electroplating properties, good corrosion resistance, high toughness and no deformation after processing.
2.2 Wheelchair tire
The tires of electric wheelchairs play a important role in the smoothness and comfort of wheelchairs. Below, Satcon introduces several common tires.
2.2.1 PU pneumatic tire
PU pneumatic tires have been the mainstream choice for the rear wheel of electric wheelchairs in the past. It has the advantages of low cost, good shock absorption performance and high comfort. However, as the number of wheelchairs increases, tires are inevitably leaking. It is very difficult to inflate a wheelchair alone for patients with physical disabilities.
2.2.2 PU non-pneumatic tires (NPT)
The inflatable tire has a long history. It’s not high-tech. Its advantage is durable sex is strong, pass sex is good. Of course, the early NPT was not ideal in terms of ride comfort and shock absorption.
That’s why inflatable tires haven’t been able to completely disappear. So when you’re shopping for an electric wheelchair, you need to make some appropriate trade-offs.
The front wheel of most electric wheelchairs uses NPT. Because the front wheels need to control the direction, the size is usually between 4 inches and 6 inches. If a pneumatic tire is used, the replacement of the tire becomes very difficult.
2.2.3 Airless pneumatic tires
This is a new type of patented product. You could also call it NPT Plus. It balances durability without compromising comfort. Of course, you’ll have to pay more for the new tires.
2.2.4 Electric wheelchair tire size
Regarding the size of the tire, it depends on your individual needs. Typically, the front wheel size will be smaller, between 4 and 6 inches. This is easy to operate and guarantees the flexibility of the wheelchair. The rear wheel will have a larger size option. For example, portable 8 to 10-inch tires are used. For better off-road performance, choose 22″ to 24″ tires. Making the right choice depends on your actual needs.
2.3 Electric wheelchair controller
The controller of an electric wheelchair is crucial, and its stability and sensitivity have a great impact on the safety of the user.
In general, electric wheelchair controllers have the following features:
- Motor direction speed control
- Alarm buzzer control
- Motor solenoid valve control
- Battery level display and charging indication
- Fault detection alarm
- USB charging
Satcon Medical recommends several well-known controller manufacturers.
- Dynamic: There is no doubt that this is an internationally renowned brand. It has been 40 years old. It is headquartered in Christchurch, New Zealand.
- PG Drives Technology: The company is a large-scale manufacturer of wheelchair and lightweight scooter controllers. Of course, it has a higher reputation in the field of electric wheelchair controllers.
- Micon Mechanical & Electrical: This is a Chinese company whose controller is extremely cost-effective. At present, many wheelchairs in the Chinese market are using the products of this company. Stability has been tested in the market.
2.4 Electric wheelchair motor
The motor can be said to be the core of an electric wheelchair, which is the most easily overlooked part of people when choosing an electric wheelchair. At present, electric wheelchairs mainly use two types of motors, brush motors and Brushless DC electric motor. These two motors have their own shortcomings and shortcomings, we will explain for you in detail, to facilitate your choice.
2.4.1 Brush motor
First of all, the structure of the brush motor is very simple and the cost is low. It is an economical product with a wide range of applications. The brush motor is regulated by voltage regulation, so the starting and braking are stable, and it is stable even at constant speed.
However, the brush motor has low work efficiency, large heat generation, and short service life. The operation is very noisy. Since the resistance of the brushless motor is large, his output power is lower under the same working conditions.
2.4.2 Brushless Motor
First of all, the brushless motor runs very quietly. When you use an electric wheelchair outdoors, you cannot tell if it is running. Brushless motors have better stability and longer life. Maintenance costs are very low. If you are a patient with regular wheelchair use, I recommend that you purchase an electric wheelchair for a brushless motor.
Brushless motors are more energy-efficient and have the same battery capacity. Wheelchairs with brushless motors have longer cruising range. If you must say the shortcomings of brushless motors, then the price is more expensive.
2.5 Electric wheelchair battery
Regarding the electric wheelchair battery, this is a multiple-choice question. If you need a higher cruising range, your battery capacity will be larger and of course, the weight will be higher. If you like to be light, you can even fly to the world. Then you have to choose a lithium battery that is less than 6 AH.
2.5.1 Lead-acid batteries
Lead-acid batteries are being phased out due to environmental issues. But it still has the stability that lithium batteries can’t match. If you are in the cold north, I think lead-acid batteries are more suitable for you. Because in the cold weather, lithium batteries will still strike.
Of course, if you need to travel a lot, you need to bring your wheelchair to the plane and the high-speed rail. Then lead-acid batteries must not be suitable for you, because lead-acid batteries are aviation embargoed items.
Lead-acid batteries are 40% cheaper than lithium batteries and have better stability. Therefore, if you only use electric wheelchairs near parks and supermarkets, lead-acid batteries are also worth choosing.
2.5.2 Lithium battery
There is no doubt that before other new energy batteries made a breakthrough. Lithium batteries are still the best choice. It is lighter in weight and safer. If you carry an electric wheelchair with a lithium battery, you can easily fly between the plane and the high-speed rail. For those who have a need for outings, this is very important.
As the EU’s control of lead-acid batteries becomes more stringent, most electric wheelchairs exported to Europe use lithium batteries. In fact, lithium batteries are not much more expensive than lead-acid batteries.
2.5.3 Electric Wheelchair Battery Specifications
|Type of battery||Net weight||Recharge mileage||Price|
|12 A Lead-acid battery||9 kg||15 km||15 USD|
|20 A Lead-acid battery||14 kg||20 km||50 USD|
|6 A Lithium battery||1.5 kg||10 km||60 USD|
|12 A Lithium battery||2 kg||20 km||85 USD|
|20 A Lithium battery||4 kg||25 km||115 USD|
Note: This cruising range test uses the same aluminum alloy electric wheelchair. The weight of the motorized wheelchair is around 25kg. The wheelchair user is the same person, height 180cm, 85kg. The test road surface is a flat park plastic track.
Lithium batteries are small in size, light in weight, more cycles of charging and discharging, and have a longer service life, but the price is more expensive; lead-acid batteries are affordable, but the volume and weight are large, and the number of cycles of charging and discharging is only about 300-500 times.
Through this form, you can make the choice of battery selection easier.Ultra-lightweight wheelchairs generally choose low-capacity lithium batteries.
2.6 Electric wheelchair brake system
2.6.1 Electromagnetic brake system
The brakes of electric wheelchairs are related to the safety of the user. The electric wheelchair electromagnetic brake device, also called the eddy current retarder, is a vehicle brake device. When the user releases the control handle, the stator coil of the retarder will be supplied with direct current, and a magnetic field will be generated in the stator coil, which forms a loop between the adjacent core, the yoke plate, the air gap and the rotor.
At this time, if there is relative motion between the rotor and the stator, this motion is equivalent to the conductor cutting the magnetic field lines.
According to the principle of electromagnetic induction, an induced current is generated inside the conductor, and the induced current generates another induced magnetic field. There is a force between the existing magnetic fields, and the direction of the force is always the direction that hinders the movement of the conductor. This force is the source of the retarder braking torque.
2.6.2 How to check the brake performance of a wheelchair
However, some wheelchair manufacturers will cancel the electromagnetic brakes in order to save costs. This increases the safety hazard of wheelchair users.
So how do we tell if this electric wheelchair is equipped with an electromagnetic brake? This is not a problem, Satcon can give you the easiest way.
First, an electric wheelchair equipped with an electromagnetic brake system is automatically parked on the slope.
Second, the braking distance of the electromagnetic brake is very short. Due to the design speed of the electric wheelchair up to 6 km/h, the electric wheelchair with electromagnetic brake system has a braking distance of less than 0.5 m.
If these two conditions are met at the same time, this electric wheelchair uses an electromagnetic brake system.
3 Top 5 Best Electric Wheelchair
In China alone, there are more than 800 manufacturers of electric wheelchairs. Faced with so many suppliers, a wide range of products. How do we make the right choice? We will analyze this issue in depth from product prices, application scenarios and applicable population perspectives.
All-electric wheelchair purchasing manager will pursue cost-effectiveness. They are always looking for the best quality and lowest price products. But this is a contradictory event in itself. You always have to make a choice.
3.1 The lightest electric wheelchair
In our impression, electric wheelchairs must be more cumbersome than manual wheelchairs. Today, we recommend this electric wheelchair, which weighs only 15 kg (not including the battery). This is amazing, but it weighs only 15 kg. This is due to the use of lighter weight aerospace magnesium alloys.
Even more surprising is that the folding size of this wheelchair is smaller than the 29-inch suitcase. It is very convenient to carry. Thanks to the 6 A 12 V lithium battery, you can carry it directly to the plane. More critically, you do not need to check in.
If you must talk about its shortcomings. First of all, its price is not expensive. Secondly, in order to reduce weight, the stability of the wheelchair is not perfect. The performance when passing the speed bump and the lawn is not perfect.
3.2 Fashionable electric wheelchair
This electric wheelchair is very popular in the United States. There are a lot of sellers on the Amazon platform selling. Last year we customized 500 pinks for an Amazon seller, which is very fashionable and beautiful. Its rear wheels feature the latest honeycomb-filled solid tires. Balanced durability and comfort.
This wheelchair has a good performance when passing through complex roads. This is thanks to its honeycomb-free inflatable rear wheel. If you are an American wheelchair dealer, I highly recommend you choose this electric wheelchair. Because it is so popular in the United States.
3.3 Heavy duty motorized wheelchair
This electric wheelchair features a reinforced beam design. Its maximum safe load capacity can reach 200 kg. This is a good choice for those who are obese. It has a very user-friendly design. Considering that the battery is dead, it only needs to be switched to the manual mode design with one touch. It allows the rear wheel to be driven away from the motor and you can easily push it. At this point, you can use it as a manual wheelchair.
Because the wheelchair is equipped with two anti-side rollers. It performed well through the park bridge and the sloping road. Pneumatic tires are used on both the front and rear wheels for added comfort. Considering the higher load capacity, a brushless motor is used to provide greater output power.
3.4 Cheaper price motorized wheelchair
In the current situation, this is the cheapest electric wheelchair. But please note that being cheap does not mean that it is not good enough. Just made some compromises on portability and appearance. So what are the compromises that make this wheelchair cheaper?
First of all, the body of this wheelchair is made of carbon steel. Compared with aluminum alloys, the cost is greatly reduced. Despite this, carbon steel is strong enough that the only problem is that the wheelchair is too heavy. When the battery is added, its weight reaches 45 kg.
Secondly, it does not use the popular lithium battery, but the cheaper lead-acid battery. There is no big problem with this. The only downside is that you can’t carry it on airplanes and high-speed rail. Considering that he weighs 45 kilograms, I don’t think anyone will have this idea. The wholesale price for this wheelchair is about $300, which I think is attractive enough. If your main market is in Southeast Asia, this wheelchair is definitely your best choice.
3.5 Adjustable electric wheelchair
This electric wheelchair is designed for the elderly. The back and legs are adjustable by the remote control. Its backrest is very high and it is very comfortable to sit on. Its backrest is very high and it is very comfortable to sit on. The adjustment of the legs greatly alleviates the swelling of the legs caused by long-term wheelchair rides.
This product is very suitable for those who have some self-care ability, take a wheelchair to go to the park to relax. You can choose a sitting position that suits you, soak up the sun, embrace nature, and let your mood relax.
3 Types of Power Wheelchairs
Electric wheelchairs are a very broad category, with different naming schemes in different application scenarios and different groups of people. Today Satcon Medical popularizes some common types of electric wheelchairs.
3.1 Travel Motorized Wheelchairs
The biggest feature of traveling electric wheelchairs is that they are small in size, light in weight and easy to carry. In order to reduce the weight of the car body, a lighter-weight aluminum-magnesium alloy material is used. In general, this type of electric wheelchair can pass through a narrow staircase aisle, train ticket gate.
Although the quality of the electric wheelchair for travel is very light, it seems to be weak. However, its safe load reaches 130kg, which can meet the needs of most people.
In order to facilitate air transportation, the travel electric wheelchair uses a 5.8A high-performance lithium battery.
3.2 Heavy-Duty Electric Wheelchairs
A heavy-duty electric wheelchair can also be a high-load full-size electric wheelchair. It is mainly targeted at people with physical disabilities who are obese.
Generally, people who are obese. Ordinary electric wheelchairs are not suitable for them. The width of a common electric wheelchair is between 460 mm and 530 mm. The seat width of the heavy-duty is between 600 mm and 700 mm. Of course, some extremely obese patients need a custom wheelchair.
Of course, the cost of a heavy-duty electric wheelchair will be higher, and it will be about 60% more expensive than an ordinary electric wheelchair.