Manual vs. Electric Wheelchairs: What’s the Difference?

Manual vs. Electric Wheelchairs: What’s the Difference?

Wheelchairs are essential for people with mobility issues. Getting around and doing things on your own benefits your mood and well-being.

Your choice of wheelchair plays a significant role in your everyday life. Whether you want something fast and lightweight or sturdy and reliable depends entirely on your needs. Knowing the difference between manual and electric wheelchairs will make it easier to decide which suits you.


Manual wheelchairs have been around for centuries, allowing those with mobility issues to get around independently. While they’re much more reliable and comfortable today than they were in the past, it can still be difficult for some people to use them without assistance.

The nice thing about electric wheelchairs is that you don’t need strong arms or someone pushing you to get around. This setup makes them ideal for people with limited upper-body strength. Electric wheelchairs can dramatically transform the quality of life for people who don’t have others to help them move around.


Both manual and electric wheelchairs are designed with the user in mind. However, there are safety concerns that you’ll need to consider, no matter which type of wheelchair you use. For electric wheelchairs, owners need to learn safe operating procedures and remember to turn the power off when not in use.

There are some things to remember when using manual wheelchairs as well. Applying the brakes when necessary and learning to distribute your weight will ensure you’re safe no matter what. If you’re a caregiver, be sure to read these manual wheelchair safety tips caregivers should know to help minimize risks.


One of the most significant differences between manual and electric wheelchairs is their price tags. Since they’re equipped with motors, a battery, and a heavier frame, electric wheelchairs cost much more than their manual counterparts. While a standard manual wheelchair is only a few hundred dollars, electric wheelchairs can range anywhere between 1,000 and 15,000 dollars.

Finding a quality electric wheelchair in your price range can be difficult, making manual wheelchairs a more economical option for many people. Local community programs, insurance, and other funding sources can make it easier to purchase an electric wheelchair if you need one.

Get the Wheelchair That Fits Your Needs and Lifestyle

While an electric wheelchair can be convenient for those who need one, others prefer manual wheelchairs for their affordability and flexibility. They’re easier to transport and allow users to get exercise.

For many with mobility issues, the differences between manual and electric wheelchairs can have a considerable impact. Getting one that fits your lifestyle and budget will significantly improve your quality of life.

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