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What Are the Disadvantages of an Electric Wheelchair?

Updated November 21, 2016

Wheelchairs provide mobility and freedom to move around if you have difficulties walking on your own. Electric wheelchairs build upon this principle to allow you to control most functions with a small joystick. Despite the benefits of electric wheelchairs, some users experience disadvantages with the devices, such as the high cost of obtaining the device.

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An electric wheelchair is an expensive piece of equipment that includes multiple electrical components and a motorised element. Often used similar to a small vehicle, electrical wheelchairs are complex pieces of machinery operated by a small joystick on one of the handles. The chairs facilitate movement and reduce the physical stress on the user. It is expensive to purchase or rent an electrical chair. Some people cannot afford to the convenience. Any problems that occur with the chair usually will have to be resolved by a mechanic, which results in additional charges.

Uses a Battery

The electrical components of a electric wheelchair need to be powered by a battery. This battery powers the wheels of the chair and any other electrical functions. Wheelchair batteries rely on the user to recharge the battery regularly to maintain peak performance when the electric wheelchair is in use. Unlike cars, which have a built-in alternator to recharge the battery as the car drives, electrical wheelchairs only draw from the battery. If the chair is used frequently on a daily basis, the battery will need to be recharged daily. This process can take up to a few hours to complete.

No Exercise

Being in a wheelchair reduces the opportunity for regular exercise. While traditional manual wheelchairs require you to propel yourself forward or backward, electric wheelchairs perform all the movements mechanically. You can complete most movements within the chair or by using the joystick. Limited exercise increases the potential for health complications later on and reduces basic human functions like the ability to balance the body during movement. Electric wheelchairs may help you move around quickly, but they encourage the body to remain sedentary.

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About the Author

Alexander Sam is an avid photographer/traveler. After completing a trip across India, Thailand and Laos he decided that he wasn't made for the cubicle job. Presently he is backpacking across South America and hopes to find himself in another part of the world at this time next year. Sam studied sociology at York University.

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