Electric Wheelchair
Buying Guide

Comprehensive Electric Wheelchair Buying Guide: Choose the Perfect Mobility Solution for Your Needs with Out and About Healthcare's Expert Tips and Recommendations!

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Mobility is a key determiner of an individual’s wellbeing.

How does this translate? Mobility limitations can increase the risk of suffering from:

  • Depression
  • Delirium
  • Under-nutrition
  • Falls and fall-related injuries
  • Loss of confidence

Thankfully, studies indicate that power wheelchairs positively affect health and improve quality of life.

Largely, this is due to the increased mobility and independence that comes with wheelchair use. Furthermore, electric wheelchairs offer the ability to travel with minimal fatigue.

"“…power wheelchairs become a focus of attention, in much the same way the body could be considered as a project that is ‘worked at and accomplished as part of an individual’s self-identity’… As users become comfortable with power mobility, they may incorporate these devices into their body schemas, and a positive feedback loop may be established. As power mobility is used, the user’s skills may grow and with enhanced skills, powered mobility becomes more useful.

”The Power of Power Wheelchairs – National Center for Biotechnology Information

At Out and About Healthcare, we’re committed to offering various innovative mobility solutions to empower our customers. This includes an extensive wheelchair range to suit different user needs.

Whether you require a power wheelchair or a manual one, we definitely have something for you.

Nevertheless, finding the right wheelchair can be tasking, owing to the many options to consider.

This guide examines the different types of electric wheelchairs, their characteristics as well as their ideal usage.

All You Need to Know
Before Choosing an Electric Wheelchair

When choosing a wheelchair, people generally opt for electric wheelchairs for two main reasons. First is the issue of mobility and second, comfort.

Electric wheelchairs (or power wheelchairs) are a suitable option for both indoor/outdoor use. They take up less floor space and offer tighter turning circles.

Power chairs, therefore, enable users to move through indoor spaces with ease.

However, as with mobility scooters, power wheelchairs have varying design specifications. Consequently, these determine how suitable they are for indoor/outdoor performance.

When beginning your search for the right electric wheelchair, you should ask yourself:

  • Where will I predominantly use my power chair?
  • For how long will I use my power chair at a time?
  • Do I need additional functions (eg. tilting, raised seating etc.) for my power chair?
  • If I require a travel power wheelchair, will I need a hoist to get it into the car?

Am I Permitted To Use an Electric Wheelchair?

Electric wheelchairs are considered motorised mobility devices, but their users are legally viewed as pedestrians.

Across Australia, there are some basic rules that apply regarding the use of electric wheelchairs according to Blue Badge Insurance. These include:

  • Riding electric wheelchairs while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is a crime.
  • Only people who have a disability or experience difficulty walking should use electric wheelchairs.
  • Wheelchairs should be limited to 10km per hour on ground level.
  • Users of electric wheelchairs are considered as pedestrians and must follow the same road laws as other pedestrians.
  • Electric wheelchairs must not be driven on the road if there is an available nature strip or footpath.
  • If you plan to use a wheelchair on private property other than your own (e.g. a retirement village), seek approval from the manager before purchasing.

Children can sometimes use mobility scooters also, but age restrictions apply. You will have to check your local state guidelines as they differ across Australia.

Each state and territory in Australia also has its own stipulations in relation to how wheelchairs are to be used in that area.
To find out more about each state’s regulations, see the following resources:

New South Wales
South Australia
Western Australia
Northern Territory

It’s important to get the right operating information for whichever state you call home.

Planning on Using the Electric Wheelchair Indoors?

Generally, electric wheelchairs are widest at the rear-wheels. All the same, the armrests might be wider, depending on the particular model.

You need to ensure that your power wheelchair is well-suited to your home. To do this, measure the smallest door frame that you will travel through.

Next, make a comparison between this dimension and the electric wheelchair’s widest dimension. In essence, this is from each outside rear-wheel or each outside armrest. 

You also want to consider the spaces in which you plan to use the wheelchair. Doing so will help ensure that the length and width are suitable. 

How Long Will I Use an Electric Wheelchair at a Time?

Electric wheelchairs come designed for comfort. They incorporate a variety of seating options to meet a user’s support needs.

Naturally, though, the size of the power wheelchair dictates how far it can go.

Planning to use the electric wheelchair for long trips to the shops? Consider a mid-sized or large wheelchair as this may suit you best.

  • Would I feel confident driving a mobility scooter?
  • Am I able to turn my head to look for pedestrians and traffic?
  • Am I able to react quickly and effectively?

Though scooter accidents are rare, they can be dangerous for both the user and others – so you should carefully consider your capabilities of operating one.

If you decide that a mobility scooter is a manageable product for you to use, you can begin to look in more detail at some of the elements you should think about.

Do I Need Additional Functions for My Electrical Wheelchair?

We have a large range of rehabilitation electric wheelchairs which include:

  • Rehab seating wheelchairs
  • Tilt-n-space function wheelchairs
  • Elevating electric wheelchairs

Consider consulting an occupational therapist regarding an electric wheelchair with special functions. You can then work with our on-site technician to engineer modifications suited to your needs.

Unsure about answers to the questions posed above? Don’t fret. You can speak to an occupational therapist who will work with you to assess your abilities.

To use your power wheelchair outside your home, you should register it. This is in accordance with Australian laws. However, you do not need a driver’s licence or doctor’s certificate.

If you plan to use it on private property that is not owned by yourself (e.g. a retirement village), we recommend seeking approval from the manager before purchasing.

To do so, just fill in your name, email, phone number and message here.
When deciding if an electric wheelchair is right for you, ask yourself:

  • Do I feel confident about driving an electric wheelchair?
  • Do I have suitable hearing and vision to be aware of my surroundings?
  • Am I able to turn my head to look for pedestrians and traffic?
  • Elevating electric wheelchAm I able to react quickly and confidently while in my chair?

All You Need to Know About Rear, Front, and Mid-Wheel Drive Power Chair Systems

Selecting the right wheelchair drive system for your needs is one of the first and most crucial decisions to make when choosing an electric wheelchair. This applies whether you’re getting your first wheelchair or replacing your current one.

You’ve probably come across the terms front-wheel drive, mid-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive. But what do all these phrases mean when it comes to a power wheelchair?

Prior to the 1990s, there wasn’t much choice but to settle for rear-wheel drive power wheelchairs.

However, different users had varying needs and used their wheelchairs in contrasting settings. The two other drive modes began to emerge as a result. 

The first difference concerns their nomenclature. Each drive system description relates to the location of the driving wheels on the power chair. Beyond this, the three-wheel drive modes vary based on:

  • Manoeuvrability
  • Smooth riding
  • Handling obstacles
  • Stability at high speed


Drive wheel positioning affects the space a power chair needs in order to turn around. In addition, it impacts the way power chairs manoeuver in tight spaces.

Manoeuvrability centres around two measurements: 

  • The 360-degree turning circumference. This is the total area required by the wheelchair to turn in a complete circle.
  • The turning radius. This is the distance from the chair's centre between the drive wheels to the chair’s furthest point.

A mid-wheel drive is the most manoeuvrable wheel drive mode. Mid-wheel drive power chairs have the smallest 360-degree turning circumference.

Smooth riding

A rear or front-wheel drive typically offers the smoothest riding outdoors. These two drive modes tend to have independent suspension. This means they have shock absorbers on all four wheels.

In most cases, mid-wheel drive wheelchairs lack this type of suspension, accounting for a “bumpier” ride.

Handling obstacles

Front-wheel drives handle obstacles such as gravel, curbs and grass with relative ease. This is because the wheels encounter these obstacles before the rest of the chair.

A rear-wheel drive means the wheels must push the front of the wheelchair over obstacles. It’s more difficult to push the wheelchair’s weight forward than to pull. This means more exertion on the driver’s part.

A mid-wheel drive gets weighed down by the user’s body weight. A mid-wheel drive wheelchair, therefore, tends to sink into the terrain.

However, they fare better at handling inclines and declines on steep slopes.

Stability at high speed

Generally, all four-wheel drives are stable at relatively low speeds. But you’ll notice disparities in how they handle acceleration.

A rear-wheel drive will offer more stability as most of the weight is borne towards the back of the wheelchair.

A mid-wheel drive will be less stable at higher speeds than a rear one. This also applies to a front-wheel drive. As the wheelchair turns, it’s likely to fishtail, given how much weight the front wheels have to pull behind them.

The best way to choose the right wheel drive mode is to consult extensively with a therapist. Keep in mind, modifications can be made to adapt the wheelchair drive system to your needs.

What Type of Electronic Wheel Chair Do I Need?

Travel Electric Wheelchair

Ideal for: Mild indoor/outdoor performance. This includes travel (on planes or cruises), excursions and shopping trips (fits into car boot).
Travel distance: Up to 20km
Weight: Between 18kg – 24kg
Weight capacity: 115kg – 180kg
Terrain suitability: Varies – predominantly footpaths/indoors

Travel electric wheelchairs are incredibly popular due to their modest size and weight. They have been driven on cruise ships, travelled across cobblestone paths in Europe, and are frequently used for extended shopping trips

Lightweight and folding in seconds, you can use them with our electric wheelchair hoists, which also fold easily.

Moreover, the wheelchair-accessible shopping cart is steadily gaining traction in Australia. When used with a travel wheelchair, your shopping experience becomes a breeze.

The travel electric wheelchair is also ideal if you want to be mobile indoors. That’s when you’re not planning to take it in the boot of your car or on vacation. It really is the best of both worlds.

Companion 115
Travel Folding Electric Wheelchair

The Companion 115 Travel Folding Electric Wheelchair is an amazingly portable power wheelchair. It’s perfect for taking on holidays.

Weighing only 19.2kg in its basic setup, it can fold to a compact size. This folding mechanism makes for easy storage in cars and planes.

The chair is even fitted with lightweight lithium batteries. These come with a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to show your travel company. This allows you to bring your Companion 115 on flights and cruises.

The Companion 115 has a comfortable gel-cushioned seating system to relieve pressure. You’ll find this especially useful if you plan on doing a lot of travelling. While the base machine has a weight capacity of 115kg, we also have options for 150kg and 180kg, depending on your needs.

Design and Craftsmanship

Companion Convertible Travel Folding Electric Wheelchair

Our Companion Convertible wheelchair is one of the most advanced portable wheelchairs in the world. This chair is the epitome of comfort, courtesy of:

  • An adjustable backrest that reclines at the push of a button.
  • A swing-up footplate.
  • Wide armrests that are fully adjustable up and down, forward and back.

The armrests can also swing away to fit the chair comfortably under a table. That way, you’ll never need to transfer to a different seat. The Companion Convertible is the ideal wheelchair for users who value their independence.

A new hand control sets the Companion Convertible wheelchair apart from all others. It boasts a sport mode as well as innovative safety features. 

The incredible LED display screen control panel has amazingly advanced features such as:

  • Five speed modes, in addition to sports mode (low, normal, powerful)
  • Battery charge displayed as a percentage
  • An SOS distress beeper function for emergency use, to draw attention
  • Narration – the chair talks to you when a button is pressed, rather than just beeping
  • Volume control of the buttons and system narration (soft, normal, loud)
  • Back-light brightness control (bright, damp, off)
  • Automatic shut-down function (battery saving option); you decide whether the chair shuts down after a few minutes in an idle state or stays on
  • Language selection of English or Chinese

This model comes with a single removable battery.
This makes the chair lighter and easier to transport. You can charge the removable battery while in the chair, or remove it to charge separately.

The Companion Convertible is suitable for plane travel thanks to two attributes:

  • A BMS chip (Battery Management System) built into the system
  • A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) indicating its suitability for plane travel

Design and Craftsmanship

Companion 150 Travel Folding Electric Wheelchair

The Companion 150 Wheelchair

The Companion 150 is a manual folding portable electric wheelchair. This model folds quickly for easy storage in cars. Fully assembled, this amazing machine weighs only 29.1kg.

Furthermore, its batteries are detachable from the chair to make it even lighter. If you need extra assistance lifting the chair, worry not. We can do a package deal with our Wheelchair Hoist to help you lift it.

The Companion 150 comes designed for Australian conditions and meets Australian safety standards.

While it has a weight capacity of 150kg, we also have models available for 115kg or 180kg, based on your needs.

Design and Craftsmanship

Heartway Sahara KX (HP7KX)
Captain Seating Semi All Terrain Electric Wheelchair

The Companion 150 Wheelchair

A great alternative to the standard Heartway Sahara K, the Heartway Sahara KX has all of the same great features but with tyres designed to tackle a range of terrains.

The Heartway Sahara KX is a semi-all-terrain power chair.

It boasts comfortable, adjustable captain seating and full suspension. With heavy-duty wheels and a 180kg weight capacity, this wheelchair is ideal for the individual who wants great outdoor performance.

The Heartway Sahara KX comes standard with a comfortable padded captain seating system. The HP7KX is also available with a rehab seating system (crash tested), for clients who require more specialised seating solutions (e.g. Tilt-N-Space).

The Heartway Sahara KX is a tough and comfortable electric wheelchair designed for use outdoors and is perfect for those who like to adventure off the beaten track.

Design and Craftsmanship

Rehab Electric Wheelchairs

Ideal for: Indoor and outdoor performance
Travel distance: Up to 30km
Weight: Between 120kg – 200kg
Terrain suitability: Indoor/Outdoor, Suburban Terrain

Ranging in size, rehab electric wheelchairs have the following attributes:

  • Designed for modification to suit a user’s needs
  • Ergonomic seating that supports the head
  • Tight turning circles
  • Ideal for indoor and outdoor performance.
  • Suitable for wheelchair taxis
  • Seatbelts for enhanced security
  • Can be fitted with a full-body harness for extra support.

Heartway Maxx Rehab Tilt-N-Space (P3DXRT)
Electric Wheelchair

The Heartway Maxx Rehab Tilt-N-Space Electric Wheelchair is a powerful mid-wheel drive electric wheelchair.

This power wheelchair features innovative Tilt-N-Space seating. Users can tilt their seat backwards 45 degrees and recline. This improves comfort and relieves pressure on the joints.

Another feature designed to maximise comfort is the Heartway’s comfortable padded rehab seating system. It contours around the body, offering essential back support.

The 160kg weight capacity and a high-strength coated aluminium frame enhance durability.

The Heartway Maxx Rehab features a programmable VRII 9Amp controller. As such, users enjoy the maximum function and precise driver control.

On a single charge, this wheelchair can travel up to 30km, courtesy of two 12V/50Ah batteries and two 500W motors.

The Heartway Maxx Rehab power chair is great for travelling long distances. It makes family picnics and shopping trips nearly effortless. This chair is the perfect option for those who want to regain their independence.

Design and Craftsmanship

Heartway Vital R (P16R) Rehab Wheelchair

The Heartway Vital R is a durable, heavy-duty electric wheelchair. This model features high power motors and a comfortable rehab seating system, with a number of rehab functions available. It also boasts LED indication lights for added safety, and linear guideways of high stiffness and precise accuracy.

The seating options for this model range up to 24’’ in width. The Heartway Vital R has a weight capacity of 225kg.

Design and Craftsmanship

Heartway Challenger (P20RT) Tilt-N-Space Electric Wheelchair

The Heartway Challenger P20RT Tilt-N-Space Electric Wheelchair is the perfect wheelchair for anyone requiring extra care or support. This is a heavy-duty electric wheelchair, featuring large rear-wheels ideal for a comfortable and efficient ride.

As with other Heartway power wheelchairs, it’s fitted with a rehab seating system that can tilt backwards for extra comfort and relieve pressure on joints. The ergonomic Tilt-N-Space function is perfect for individuals who require assistance, improving ease and accessibility for carers.

The Heartway Challenger P20RT is also available with either manual or electronic elevating leg rests and calf supports, as well as fully adjustable seating options, to suit individual needs.

The P20RT model features hazard lights, indicators and rear lights for added safety. This model has a higher weight-bearing capacity of 205kg and is constructed with a heavy-duty powder-coated frame for rust resistance, strength and durability. This heavy-duty electric wheelchair features large rear-wheels ideal for a comfortable ride, travelling up to 40km on a single charge.

The joystick control is easy-to-use and can be fitted to the left or right-hand side of the machine, depending on your preference. A joystick can also be fitted to the rear of the chair. This allows easy wheelchair control by either the carer or the user.

Design and Craftsmanship

Off-Road Electric Wheelchairs

Ideal for: Outdoor performance – beach or bush
Travel distance: Up to 20km (depending on terrain)
Terrain suitability: Beach and bush, hard & soft sand

Our range of off-road electric wheelchairs is engineered to take you all the places other whelchairs can only dream of. From traversing off-road on the beach or bush – to going out with family and friends again, our off-road models offer great outdoor performance.

These electric wheelchairs are generally not suited for indoor use. It comes down to the width of their tyres and the way their wheels are designed (e.g. to grip soft sand).

Users who go for these power wheelchairs tend to have an extra electric wheelchair for indoor use.

Design and Craftsmanship

Heartway Sahara KX (HP7KX)
Captain Seating Semi All Terrain Electric Wheelchair

A great alternative to the standard Heartway Sahara K, there’s a lot to love about this wheelchair. The KX boasts all of the same outstanding features that set Sahara electric wheelchairs apart.

However, it’s enhanced with tyres designed to tackle a range of terrains. This semi-all-terrain power chair boasts comfortable, adjustable seating and full suspension.

Two key aspects make this wheelchair ideal for the individual who loves to be out and about. First, the Sahara KX has a weight carrying capacity up to 180kg. Second, it has heavy-duty wheels. This gifts you with unmatched outdoor performance.

The Sahara KX power wheelchair comes with a comfortable padded captain seating system. It’s also available with a crash-tesdted rehab seating system. This is great news for clients who require more specialised seating solutions (e.g. Tilt-N-Space).

All in all, this is a tough and comfortable electric wheelchair designed for use outdoors. It’s perfect for adventurers who love to get out in nature.

Design and Craftsmanship

Observer Beach 4×4 All Terrain Electric Wheelchair

The Observer Beach 4×4 is an all-terrain electric wheelchair, designed for beach use. This durable, heavy-duty electric wheelchair allows you to:

  • Travel across sand,
  • Traverse low levels of water, and
  • Climb slopes up to 15 degrees.

With a rust-resistant aluminium shroud, this power chair holds up to whatever conditions you throw at it. The Beach 4×4 is a genuine four-wheel drive wheelchair with a four-point safety belt for adventurous drivers.

The Beach 4×4 power chair has a weight capacity of 150kg. Fitted with two 1350 Watt four-pole motors, this fantastic wheelchair packs a lot of power.

Design and Craftsmanship

Observer Beach 4×4 All Terrain Electric Wheelchair

The Observer Aussie Bush 4×4 is a heavy-duty all-terrain electric wheelchair. With puncture-resistant tyres, this is one of those power chairs that are ever ready to take on rough terrain.

This power chair can turn in its own circle for easier control and movement, as well as climb slopes up to 15 degrees.

This wheelchair also features comfortable seating plus a weight capacity up to 150kg. We know you want to tackle a range of terrains like the farm or the bush, and standard wheelchairs just won’t cut it.

The Bush 4×4 Electric Wheelchair has a genuine four-wheel drive system. Fitted with a four-point tie-down seat belt, it will keep even the most daring drivers safe. This machine utilises a skid turning system similar to that of a Bobcat.

You can rest assured that the Bush 4×4 power wheelchair is not for the faint-hearted.

Design and Craftsmanship

Observer Beach Special Edition 4×4
All Terrain Electric Wheelchair Wheelchair

The Observer Beach Special Edition 4×4 is a heavy-duty all-terrain electric wheelchair. As far as power chairs go, this is as powerful as it gets. Durable and heavy-duty, it makes short work of sand, low water levels and slopes up to 15 degrees.

The rust-resistant aluminium shroud protects it from the elements. The result? A worry-free driving experience.

The Beach Special Edition 4×4 is the epitome of four-wheel drive electric wheelchairs. Moreover, it features self-levelling seating plus a four-point safety belt. Adventurous drivers will enjoy the safety this affords them. The self-levelling seat adjusts when going over slopes and bumps. This adds extra comfort to give you a luxurious ride.

The Beach 4×4 machine has a weight capacity of 150kg. Additionally, it comes fitted with two incredibly powerful 1350 Watt four-pole motors. You won’t feel any limitations with this fantastic wheelchair!

With a skid turning system, Beach Special Edition 4×4 electric wheelchairs are ideal for those who spend a lot of time by the water.

Transform Your Mobility
With Out and About Healthcare

Out and About Healthcare has been leading the healthcare industry with innovative mobility equipment since 2006. Established in a small store in Caboolture, Queensland, the demand for high quality, reliable mobility equipment has seen this family-owned company rapidly grow to a nationwide association.

At the heart of our growth is a passion and commitment to transform the lives of our clients. Our premise remains to offer quality, reliability and exceptional service.

Inclusivity is vital to us, which is why the price range of our electric wheelchairs caters to a diverse clientele. Whether it’s an electric wheelchair on sale or a higher-end model, we have a mobility solution for you.

Our vision is to see radical changes in the quality of life of those afflicted by mobility restraints. Over the years, countless lives have been positively impacted by Out and About Healthcare electric wheelchairs.

Here are a few amazing mobility transformation journeys from clients who have benefited from our power wheelchairs:

Meet Rosie; a loving grandmother who regained her independence when she was introduced to the Aviator mobility scooter. After beginning to struggle doing things for her grandson, Rosie’s daughter made the call to have her try a mobility scooter. Rosie quickly found a whole new world open up!

Meet Len and Lita; a loving couple who decided to look into mobility aids to help Len with day-to-day activities. Now equipped with a Companion Electric Wheelchair and Aviator, see how Len has gained back his independence and the positive impact it had on his wife, Lita.

We have an extensive range of mobility aids. Our electric wheelchairs cater to people of different age groups and various needs. In addition to our power wheelchairs, we also have other helpful products including mobility scooters, beds and accessories.

Our team comprises over fifty Australians dedicated to ensuring the highest quality service and products for our customers. We are proud to be one of the longest-standing mobility equipment suppliers in Australia.

All Out and About Healthcare electric wheelchairs are the work of careful, precise engineering. This guarantees you a comfortable driving experience. We invite you to journey with us today on the path to independence.

Given the current public safety situation we all find ourselves in, we’ve made some adjustments to serve you better. To do this, we’re offering a free online demo of our products.

You can access the demo from anywhere, and select a time and date that works best for you.

To book your free demo, click here to access our dedicated booking website. All you need to fill in is a few contact details and products you’re interested in.

Should you encounter any issues, please start a LiveChat with the button in the bottom right corner of your screen. A friendly member of our team will be happy to help you.