If your current condition allows you to propel yourself around in a wheelchair and that being in a wheelchair is a temporary thing, then buying a manual wheel chair is the better choice. Manual wheel chairs are cheaper and usually lighter compared to electric wheel chairs.
However if you are confined to a wheelchair for a long duration, then an electric wheelchair would be the better and more favorable option. Electric wheelchairs are also a good option if you do not want to exhaust yourself trying to get around if your body is not up for it.
This is critical to your quality of life when it comes to choosing a wheelchair. Have the person sit upright in the wheelchair, then measure from the back of the seat to about two inches behind their knees. You’re doing this because you want to be sure the seat is long enough to provide ample leg support without rubbing the back of their lower legs.
Note that for a person 5’4” and taller, the standard 19” to 21” seat height will work well for them, unless they’re using a seat cushion. If the wheelchair user is 5’4” and shorter, then the hemi seat height of 17” to 18” seat height would be ideal. For someone who is shorter than 4’11”, a seat height of 14” to 16” is usually what you should be looking at.
The footrest of the wheel chair has to be taken into consideration as well. It is important to know that the more the wheelchair footrest sticks out, the harder it is to maneuver. It’s inevitable that a wheel chair user will bump into objects and when that happens, the footrest will usually be the part that takes the most punishment, so it is necessary to have a durable foot rest.
Choosing Right Wheelchair – here are two types of footrests to choose from:
Standard foot rest
This is the standard footrest for a wheelchair user if he or she does not need their legs elevated, but need the footrest to swing out of the way to get in and out of the wheelchair. Keep in mind that these footrests do not have calf pads to support the leg.
Elevating leg rest
If the wheel chair user has issues with their legs such as swelling then this type of footrest would be ideal and they come with calf pads.
Finally, there are the armrests of the wheelchair to take into consideration. There are two types:
Desk length arms
These are ideal for getting close to desks or tables.
Full length arms
These are good for the user to push themselves up from the wheelchair. Also note that full length arms take roughly 2 inches off the width of the seat.