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Electric Wheelchair Price: What Factors Influence It & Should You Buy Or Rent When Needed?

blue and grey electric wheelchair in nature

Last Updated: May 14, 2024

A manual wheelchair will let you move as much as you want, but an electric wheelchair provides complete independence.


Before you get one, you have to consider the electric wheelchair cost as it's higher than the price of other mobility aids. Why? Electric wheelchairs use high-tech materials, and a lot of resources and time goes to the manufacturing process.

Plus, they have more add-ons compared to manual wheelchairs. Expect to spend from $1,000.

So many factors influence this price, and we'll look at them below.

What Influences The Electric Wheelchair Price?

old man sitting on a red electric wheelchair

We'll mention a few of them, such as...

FDA Classification Standards

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) undertakes several tests prior to approving a product.

For an electric wheelchair, these pre-classification tests include energy consumption, power and control systems tests, climatic tests, obstacle-climbing ability, and electric systems tests.

Therefore, you see, the manufacturer transfers part of the cost of these tests to the buyer.

The motorized wheelchair cost is also high because of...

Innovative Product Research

The product development stage incorporates strategies to differentiate the model from other versions in the market. Such product development strategies include finding sturdy but lightweight materials and systems that conserve energy.

Thus, you may incur a higher cost for buying a power chair with the latest technology.

Ways To Lower An Electric Wheelchair Cost

Get Funding

The first avenue for such financial assistance is your insurance provider. Find out if your medical cover finances electric wheelchairs. If it doesn't, Medicare is another program that may fund about 80% of the electric wheelchair price.

It'll do so under Medicare Part B, which covers such equipment.

However, your doctor must prove that you need an electric wheelchair for medical purposes and that you need it for use in your home. You can also check the Medicaid policy in your state.

Learn more details with this video:

If none of these opportunities is available to you, for instance, if you haven't enrolled for Medicare yet, you can try charities and foundations that donate electric wheelchairs.

Go For A Cheaper Make Or Model

Prices vary from one brand and model to the other. For example, electric wheelchairs within the $1,000 to $3,000 range have the basics, such as a detachable backrest, foldable design, and a sturdy frame.

The more sophisticated models, the ones costing from $13,000, are what you'd call a travel chair. They are lighter and easier to fold without detaching some parts, and they have an adjustable seat depth and a safety belt.

On such a model, you can adjust the backrest or foot pedal by 90 degrees.

Buy Or Rent Used Power Chairs

Get a used wheelchair instead of buying a new one or rent it. You'll not pay as much as a new power chair.

Frequently Asked Questions About Power Chairs

How Much Does A Motorized Wheelchair Cost?

As we mentioned earlier, motorized wheelchair prices start from $1,000. The cost of your power chair may also increase when you add electric wheelchair accessories such as a side bag, joystick covers, a saddlebag, a phone charger, and a cup holder.

Further, newer models are more expensive.

What Should You Consider Before Buying A Power Chair?

grey and red power chair on a pavement

First, consider its size. If it's for use outside your home, it should be portable and easy to fold. Hence, it'll be smaller than a full-size electric wheelchair.

On the other hand, a full-size is the best choice if you'll use it the whole day. Such a design will have excellent seat padding, a larger sitting area, plus padded armrests. If, on the other hand, you weigh over 300 pounds, you'll need a heavy-duty wheelchair.

Another consideration is the drive system. A front-wheel system has excellent maneuverability in rough terrain and tight spaces. However, it's not easy to control at high speed. The second option is a mid-wheel drive, the preferred system indoors as it turns with ease in tight spaces.

Nonetheless, there's another drive system, the rear-wheel-drive, which suits outdoor terrain.

Based on the factors we've mentioned here, know whether you'll use your wheelchair indoors or outdoors.

Additionally, think about the quality of the seat, the backrest recline, and how the device tilts without changing your angle. Lastly, check the control system as they come in different styles.

You can control some motorized wheelchairs with a joystick. Others use foot, head, or chin controls. Then there are sophisticated electric wheelchairs that use a voice command, or you puff into a tube.

What Makes The Cost Of Electric Wheelchair Models Vary?

We mentioned these factors earlier, and they include a rigorous testing process to get FDA approval, the make, model, and accessories provided.

Final Thoughts

You'll spend $1,000 or more on an electric chair. The cheaper models have essential features such as a padded seat, a control system, and a padded backrest.

Expensive models give you a padded headrest or adjustable seat depth, among other features. On top of that, the price also varies with the accessories included and extra batteries.

Luckily, there are ways to fund an electric wheelchair so you can cover part of the cost only. They include insurance programs like Medicare Part B and Medicaid. If these fail, try foundations and charities that assist people with disabilities.

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