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What is A Self Propelled Wheelchair

A Self Propelled Wheelchair

The wheelchair gives us freedom by fulfilling our mobility needs. But there are tons of wheelchair models and types in the market. But do you know all types of wheelchairs come under two categories; manual and power wheelchairs? While a power chair operates on electricity. However self-propelled wheelchairs are confusing for many first-time buyers. 

To help you understand what is self propelled wheelchair and who can use it. Further, I will discuss its advantages and features. 

What is a Self-Propelled Wheelchair?

Self-propelled wheelchairs are mobility aids for a person with limited or no ability to walk. Push rims or hand rims are designed on its large rear wheel to move forward in different directions. Its large rear wheels allow you to move it on the obstacles. 

Some wheelchair model also features push handles and they can used by another individual or caretaker to maneuver in the surroundings. 

A very light material like aluminum is used in its manufacturing to make it lightweight and easily maneuverable. Further, its lightweight and foldable features make it convenient for storage and transportation.

Is Self-Propelled Wheelchair Suitable For You? 

The self-propelled chair is manually operated. So, it is a suitable aid for day-to-day mobility needs for anyone having strong upper body muscles.

So, it is preferable to analyze your health condition and do self-thinking if you can always push yourself around. If yes then self-propelled is a good option as it is lightweight, convenient to use, and easy to maintain. Moreover, it helps you to keep your arm and shoulder muscles strong by providing some exercise. 

If you realize that it is not possible for you to travel all the time using your body strength or you have weak shoulder and arm muscles then I will suggest you consider buying an electric wheelchair. Further, you can discuss with your rehabilitation specialist or doctor to make the final decision to choose between a manual or electric wheelchair. 

Benefits of Self-Propelled Wheelchairs

Self-propelled wheelchairs offer several benefits to individuals with mobility limitations. Some of the key advantages include:

1. Independence

When you are dealing with mobility problems it becomes difficult to move around without someone’s help. You are completely dependent on others and you can go anywhere.

But a self-propelled chair empowers you to move around independently and gives you freedom and self-confidence. You can take yourself anywhere to participate in different activities without asking for help from someone else. 

2. Physical Exercise

People with mobility problems are restricted to their beds. Ultimately there are no physical activities involved in their lives. When you start using a wheelchair it not only gives you freedom and mobility but also a source of physical exercise.

Over time you start feeling strong and healthy. Moreover, you can participate in sports and games specialized for wheelchair users. 

3. Maneuverability

A self-propelled wheelchair has a small turning radius and helps you to navigate in corners and tight spaces of your house. So, it is perfect for indoor use.  

4. Customization

Plenty of customization options are available in this wheelchair. The key customizations are adjustable seat height, backrest angle, and footrest position to cater to your needs for more comfort and support. 

5. Versatility

With a self-propelled wheelchair, you can easily travel on between different terrains. You can use it for indoor and outdoor environments. Moreover, its big wheel size makes it useful for uneven surfaces.

Key Features of Self Propelled Wheelchairs

Self-propelled wheelchairs come with a range of features that enhance your comfort, safety, and convenience. If you are considering buying a self-propelled wheelchair then I will suggest you look into the below features in that specific type of wheelchair.

Because different manufacturer offers different features in their wheelchair models. The key features to consider are;

1. Frame Material

A very light and rust-resistant material like aluminum or steel is used in the frame of a self-propelled chair. This material not only makes it lightweight but also offers durability and strength. So, ask the seller about the wheelchair material type. 

2. Seat Width and Depth

A wheelchair person spends a long time sitting in a wheelchair. For their comfort and optimal support it is necessary to have appropriate size seats. So, choose the correct seat dimensions by determining your hip width and leg length to spend in a wheelchair without feeling tired. 

3. Wheel Size

The size of the wheelchair directly involves wheelchair maneuverability and ease of propulsion. A self-propelled wheelchair features a large wheel that provides better traction and easy navigation over obstacles. It gives you a comfortable ride on rough and uneven terrain. 

4. Backrest and Cushioning

You will spend a long time sitting on it. It is wise to look into its cushioning and backrest to maintain proper posture on the seat. So, the seat cushion should be comfortable and pressure-relieving to prevent the development of pressure sores.

5. Footrests and Leg Supports

The wheelchair features a lot of other add-ons to make the ride more comfortable and smooth. Choosing a wheelchair with detachable or swing-away footrests can help you accommodate different needs in daily activities. An adjustable leg support can help in proper leg positioning and support. 

6. Foldability and Portability

While buying your self-propelled wheelchair it is worth considering foldability and portability features. Because lightweight and foldable wheelchairs are easier to transport and store. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How do self-propelled wheelchairs differ from electric wheelchairs?

A self-propelled wheelchair is different from an electric one because it operates manually and requires the wheelchair’s physical strength to maneuver it. The electric wheelchair operates on power generated by a battery. 

Q2. Can self-propelled wheelchairs be used with limited upper body strength?

A self-propelled wheelchair requires upper body strength. It is designed to operate a by wheelchair user himself. However, you find it challenging to propel for long distances or inclined paths with limited upper body strength. In such cases, electric wheelchairs may be a more suitable option.

Q3. Are self-propelled wheelchairs suitable for outdoor use?

Yes, self-propelled wheelchairs are suitable for outdoor use. They are designed to handle various terrains, including pavements, parks, and uneven surfaces. However, it is essential to consider the wheel size to ensure optimal maneuverability. 


Self-propelled wheelchairs provide individuals with limited mobility the opportunity to regain independence and control over their daily activities. You can enjoy your life without being dependent on others.

It gives you numerous benefits that directly involve enhancing the quality of your life. While buying a self-propelled wheelchair make sure it has all the features I discuss above in this article to get a better experience from it.