Power Wheelchair Drive Wheel Types

Power Wheelchair Drive Wheel Types


Power wheelchairs use three different types of drive-wheel configuration Front-wheel-drive where the drive wheel is in front the client's body. Rear-wheel drive where the main drive wheel is just behind the client's body. Finally mid-wheel drive is where the drive wheels are under the center of the client's body. How exactly do you know which type of drive-wheel is right for you?

Rear-Wheel Drive  

The biggest advantage of a rear-wheel drive power wheelchairs is that it is very  stable on different terrains. This configuration tends to handle downhill terrains like streets and ramps. Rear-wheel drive power wheelchairs also allow better better control at faster speeds. There are many options within this type and they tend to work well for people who are oftentimes outside. 

A drawback of rear-wheel drive power wheelchairs they tend to have the largest turning radius of the three configurations. Users tend to worry about accessibility with this type of power wheelchair. Most power chairs can get through a doorway inside your home, but we urge you to measure them before purchasing.  Consider the turning radius so you can properly navigate obstacles inside your home. 

During use the front wheels will pivot during turning. Sometimes the front wheels may interfere with the footplate. This happens if your footplate is placed too low. You need to remember to provide ample room for the footplate and front wheels because the front wheels will pivot while maneuvering. 

Streamer Sport Rear-Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair

Streamer Sport Rear-Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair

Front-Wheel Drive

Power wheelchairs with front-wheel drive simply means the drive-wheel is located in front of the client. This configuration pulls the chair rather than push the power wheelchair. In this configuration the casters are located behind the user and they rotate as the user maneuvers. The front wheels are larger which comes in handy while traversing lower obstacles. Different from the rear-wheel configuration you will not have to worry about  any footplate conflictions. Power wheelchairs with front-wheel drive usually have smaller turning radius'. 

However, there are a few drawbacks. Front-wheel drive power wheelchairs tend to be less stable while going downhill. If the user is driving too fast down a sloped sidewalk the back of the power wheelchair could slightly fishtail. If the user tends to stop on the footrest doing transfers the unit may tip forward a tiny bit. We suggest not using the footplate to stable yourself during transfers. Front-wheel drive power wheelchairs tend to be a tad slower than the other drive-wheel options. Always be careful around curbs with all configurations of power wheelchair drive-wheels.

Merits Health Vision CF Front-Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair


Mid-Wheel Drive

Power wheelchairs with mid-wheel drive means the drive-wheel is underneath the client's body. Mid-wheel drive power wheelchairs are super common in todays marketplace. These types of power wheelchairs tend to have the smallest footprint. What we mean by that is they take up the power wheelchair base takes up the least amount of space. This drive-wheel configuration also usually has the smallest turning radius'. Most people tend to gravitate to this configuration because of these features as well as their stability, however, mid-wheel drive power wheelchairs don't traverse outdoor terrains well. 

this configuration is perfect for indoor use. The tight turning radius allows you to navigate tight corners inside your home especially narrow hallways and rooms. Many find this drive-wheel type to be the most intuitive. this is because the drive-wheel is located under the user’s center of gravity. The additional front and rear casters help provide one of the most stable bases on the market today.

Golden Technologies Compass Sport Mid-Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair



We hope you have learned something by reviewing the different drive-wheel options for power wheelchairs. If you are interested in related articles our mobility experts have compiled a great list of mobility scooters that are airline approved, Maintenance Tips for Mobility Scooters and Power Wheelchairs, and our top 5 Mobility Scooters with the Best Turning Radius. Not to mentions our experts have reviewed some of the industries best scooters such as the Buzzaround CarryOnGolden Technologies CricketEV Rider AF Plus, Transformer 2, and the EV Rider Teqno.

Our team of mobility experts here at Suncoast Mobility are available by email at info@suncoastmobility.com or by phone at 727-537-6275. Please call or email at anytime. We cannot wait to assist you in selecting your new off-road rough terrain capable mobility scooter to continue your adventurous lifestyle. Call or email us today to take advantage of your special discount.

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