Manual vs. Power Wheelchair: The Pros & Cons of Each

For individuals with temporary or permanent mobility issues, a wheelchair is often a lifesaving device. With a wheelchair, you have the ability to move around much more freely and maintain a higher level of independence and control over your life.

These days, the market for wheelchairs is plentiful. One of the first choices you’ll have to make as you shop is whether you need a manual wheelchair or power wheelchair. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each category, so you can determine which one is best for you!

Manual Wheelchair


  • Easy to transport—manual chairs are lightweight and often foldable
  • Better navigate chairs and tight spaces
  • Low-maintenance
  • No batteries—less hassle


  • Difficult for traversing slopes and long distances
  • Requires a certain amount of strength and balance to operate
  • Potential for upper body injury with repeated use

Power Wheelchair


  • No strength and limited mobility required
  • Good for various terrains
  • Recline and tilt features for pressure relief
  • Won’t tire out


  • Travels poorly—heavy and bulky
  • More maintenance required
  • Higher purchase and maintenance cost

Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Wheelchair

Taking the pros and cons above into account, there are a few considerations and questions you’ll want to think about when deciding between a manual and power wheelchair. These include:

Upper Body Strength

How long/often will you be needing your chair? Will you have the ability to operate a manual wheelchair comfortably for this amount of time? Or is your upper body strength or mobility too limited to maneuver it?


Do you travel often, locally or long distance? Will you have regular access to a vehicle with a lift or another means of transporting your chair? Do you want to be able to travel alone?

Home Adaptations

Will you need to be able to maneuver your wheelchair in your home? If so, do you need a ramp, stair lift, or other mobility modifications? Can you afford and access these?

If you’re stuck on choosing between a manual wheelchair and a power wheelchair, reach out to the team at BEK Medical. As a leading provider of home medical equipment in Dallas, El Paso, and online, we have a quality selection of manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, power scooters, and other mobility equipment, services, and products available to you. Our professionals can help you determine which of these will best suit your needs and get everything set for you.

Contact us today to discuss your home medical needs!