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The Difference between an Electric Wheelchair and Manual Wheelchair

Views:68     Author:freedom     Publish Time: 2019-01-02      Origin:Site

One question we keep hearing often is, “does new mean better”? While most people would argue that the old and conventional way of doing things has always been ultimate and that we should just stick to what works for us, others say that new tech innovations have really improved the traditional way of doing things.

Now, regarding the wheelchairs, you would like to know the difference between the electric wheelchair and the manual wheelchair to help you know which is best for you. To achieve this, we would also be looking at the pros and cons of both. This way you should conveniently choose which is best for you.

We’d begin with the electric wheelchair.

Difference between electric wheelchair and manual wheelchair:

Electric Wheelchairs


One unique feature that differentiates the electric wheelchairs from the manual is that while they are propelled by batteries, the manual wheelchairs are not. Another key difference is the speed adjustment features. You can actually choose between a front wheel drive, a mid-wheel drive and a rear wheel drive wheelchair with variations in their speed and drive patterns. From the various designs, you would have to go for a mid-wheel if you require a wheelchair with a good turning circle. If you are looking for speed, then you need to go for a rear wheel drive.

Let’s now look at a few pros and cons relative to the manual wheelchairs


  • Neither you nor a helper is required to propel electric wheelchairs. This implies that you won’t have to struggle or get worn out trying to get it up a slope.

  • Electric wheelchairs would allow you to travel faster than you would be able to push with the manual. So, for longer distances, the electric wheelchair is ideal.

  • For those with limited upper body strength, the electric wheelchair is an idea

  • The motors don’t make noise, no wheels rubbing against each other.

  • Compared to the manual wheelchairs, the electric wheelchairs are more luxurious.


  • Compared to the manual wheelchairs, the electric wheelchairs are quite expensive and that’s the major disadvantage it has. Again, the cost of maintaining the electric wheelchair is relatively on the high side. It needs a bit of your time to do so. You may wish to opt for insurance which could be expensive.

  • Compared to the manual wheelchair, the electric wheelchair is heavy

  • They may require service repairs

Manual Wheelchairs


The difference from the electric wheelchairs.

Basically, the manual wheelchairs are propelled by physically turning the large rear wheels either with your hands or a helper pushes it by the handles from behind. Hence, they are lightweight.


  • Compared to the electric wheelchair, you need relative upper body strength to be able to propel the rear wheels yourself. You will have to depend on your muscles to be able to do this. Alternatively, you may need a helper who would move it from behind.

  • Compared to the electric wheelchair, the manual wheelchairs are lightweight and relatively affordable.

  • They are easy to transport and ideal for short-term use.

  • They also often require maintenance.



It is difficult to reach good speed and travel long distance with the manual wheelchairs, unlike the electric wheelchairs.

You are likely to wear out as it requires upper body strength.

You also need a helper for those with limited or no strength. A helper will assist in pushing from behind.


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Jiangsu, China (Mainland)
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