How to Choose a New Power Wheelchair (and Why I Love My New One)

Choosing a new power wheelchair can be a fun and exciting experience for wheelchair users. Upgrading your mobility equipment is an opportunity to use new technology to improve your quality of life, from how you move around your living space to your ability to run errands, take trips, and continue your daily tasks.

Approaching the task of choosing a new power wheelchair can be overwhelming, as there are so many options and details that can be configured. It can be difficult to know where to start or how to choose a new power wheelchair. I love my new Quickie Q700 M, and the following steps will help you use my same approach to choosing a new power wheelchair. Be sure to work with your preferred Complex Rehabilitation Technology supplier and your physical or occupational therapist as part of a team to decide what is best for you.

What should I look for when deciding on a new power wheelchair?

This question can be difficult to answer, because each wheelchair user has unique mobility needs and ways in which a new wheelchair can improve their life. The best way to know what to look for is to first answer the following questions to get an idea of what your wheelchair does for you, how it can be improved, and what you'd like a new power wheelchair to do for you.

1. How can your current wheelchair be improved?

The best place to start when deciding on a new power wheelchair is how your current wheelchair could be improved. Since you're looking for a new power wheelchair, think about what you don't like about your current chair or why you want a new one. Alternatively, consider the idea that if you could make adjustments to your current wheelchair, what would you do? What would you add or remove to have your wheelchair suit your needs?

Thinking about what could be improved on your current wheelchair helps you learn what you want in a wheelchair and gives you some ideas of what to look for when shopping around. This will also help you reduce the options and choices from the range of wheelchairs you're considering, making it easier to focus on the features and options you're most interested in.

2. What do you need your new power wheelchair to do for you?

Using your answers from the previous question, another way to frame choosing a new power wheelchair is by asking yourself, "What do I need my new power wheelchair to do for me?" This takes the areas you'd like to improve on your current wheelchair and helps you focus on specific features. Areas to consider include:

  • Need more speed
  • Better traction for all-terrain
  • Specific seating features
  • Better support
  • Longer battery life

This is also the time to consider what you need your new power wheelchair to do that your current wheelchair doesn't. Not just improvements, but full changes that make your new wheelchair worth the upgrade. Taking time to think about these details will make it easier to choose a power wheelchair because it will highlight which specific features you're looking for, such as power, battery life, traction, and seat functionality.

3. How can a new power wheelchair improve your life?

The last question to ask yourself is a bit bigger in that it's a chance to think about how a new power wheelchair can improve your life. What can a new, more modern wheelchair do to help you in your daily life, from interacting in public to navigating your home?

Which features would not only make your days easier but would also add to your overall living experience? Wheelchair users rely on their wheelchairs for daily mobility, so it's important to consider not only the technical features of a new chair, but how this wheelchair helps you improve your daily interactions and allows you to do what you want in your days without limitations.

Deciding between new options: comparing and contrasting

Now that you have an idea of what you're looking for in a new power wheelchair, you can use your ideas about what you'd like to improve on your current wheelchair and what you need in a new wheelchair to narrow down the options available to you.

Comparing and contrasting new options is a great way to work through the large marketplace of power wheelchairs to find the options that fit your wants, needs, and budget. Consider what the new wheelchairs offer and how they differ from each other. Are there any features you love and must have on your new power wheelchair? If so, look at the wheelchairs with this specific feature. Which one could you see yourself in?

Taking the time to compare and contrast new options will be worth it in the long run, as you want to make sure the new wheelchair suits your needs and is a true upgrade from your current wheelchair.

Features to consider: the Quickie Q700 M

The newest power wheelchairs on the market have modern technology that deviates from the standard power wheelchair that many wheelchair users may be familiar with. These new features can make a huge difference in the user's experience with the mobility device and can change how you interact at home and in public settings. The following highlights a few new features you may be interested in, and offers a window into the modern upgrades power wheelchairs are including with the user in mind. The wheelchair being used as an example here is the Quickie Q700 M, which offers high-end technology and lots of options. I just got the Q700 M for myself and I can say firsthand that it is fantastic!

C-Me seat elevator

Cory decorating a Christmas tree using the Q700 M C-Me feature

The add-on C-Me seat elevator allows the wheelchair's seat to be raised up above the wheelchair base. This allows the wheelchair user to elevate their seat up to 12 inches, which is very useful in public settings for getting a better view of your surroundings. It can also be used to raise the seat for eye-to-eye contact with others, to help you look over obstacles, and to reach spaces in your home that were previously too high due to a stationary wheelchair seat.

Headlights & taillights

Another great feature on the Q700 M is the addition of headlights and taillights. These LED lights provide more visibility while you're traveling, which is useful when spending time outdoors. The headlights make it easier for you to be seen by others when you're in dark outdoor spaces and allows you to see your surroundings while navigating in dark or dimly lit spaces. This feature may be easy to overlook, but having the lights built into the wheelchair makes it very convenient to use when you're spending time in your own backyard or at outdoor events.

Configuration options

Lastly, the Quickie Q700 M offers a lot of configuration options, which allows you to tailor the experience to your personal needs. Configuration options do affect the overall price, but it's worth it if these features will improve the functionality and experience you get with the power wheelchair.

The best way to see the range of options available is to visit the website, which provides a full list of the standard features as well as the configuration and upgrade options, complete with prices. Even if you're going to purchase your power wheelchair in person, it's a good idea to visit the manufacturer's website before heading to the store. That way, you'll have an idea of what the wheelchair offers as a base and what can be adjusted for you specifically.

Choosing a new power wheelchair is a fun and exciting time. With a little planning and research, you can find a great new power wheelchair that improves your mobility and maybe even your life. I love the Quickie Q700 M because of the C-Me seat elevator, headlights, and configuration options which give me the ability to tailor my wheelchair to my needs and my lifestyle.

About the Author

Cory Lee

After being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two, Cory Lee's thirst for adventure never ceased. He went on many trips around the U.S. when he was younger, and then started taking things internationally when he turned 15. Since then, Cory has traveled to 21 countries across six continents, all while managing to start up his travel blog Curb Free with Cory Lee, where he shares his accessible, and sometimes not-so-accessible travel adventures with others. Cory is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA). He has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, in a nationwide segment for CBS News, Lonely Planet, and many others. His blog won the 2017 Best Travel Blog Gold Lowell Thomas Award. He hopes to inspire other wheelchair users to roll out of their comfort zone and see all of the beauty that the world has to offer.

Cory Lee's ride is a Quickie Q700 M.

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Date: 2/2/2021 12:00:00 AM

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