Lightweight power wheelchairs can be life-changing for many people. They're the easiest type of wheelchair to maneuver, whether you want an easier way to get around the house or are looking to start enjoying more activities outside your home!

Here at Freedom Mobility, we're dedicated to helping people regain independence and live the life they want to live. We've provided Complex Rehab Technology to the state of California for 15 years, and we're here to help you find the perfect solution for your needs.

We put together this guide so you can learn more about lightweight power wheelchairs and what our favorite lightweight power wheelchairs are!

Lightweight Power Wheelchairs vs Regular Power Wheelchairs

First, we want to provide a little bit of information on the main differences between lightweight power wheelchairs and regular power wheelchairs: insurance coverage. 

Insurance Coverage

One of the biggest differences between lightweight and regular power wheelchairs is insurance coverage.

Wondering if Medicare will cover your power wheelchair? It all depends on the type of power wheelchair you're looking at. If you're looking for a wheelchair that will be covered by insurance, it’s very unlikely you will be approved for a lightweight or portable wheelchair, and here's why.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, insurance coverage for power mobility devices requires an item to be:

  1. Eligible for a defined Medicare benefit category

  2. Reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of illness or injury or to improve the functioning of a malformed body member, and

  3. Meet all other applicable Medicare requirements

The main issue with lightweight, portable power wheelchairs is that they don't meet the proper needs of someone with a permanent disability, i.e. someone looking for insurance coverage on a power wheelchair that is medically necessary.

A power wheelchair isn't just something that looks cool and is convenient to use — it has to meet your medical needs and regulatory requirements set by the CMS. These requirements are referred to as Pricing, Data Analysis, and Coding (PDAC). Any power wheelchair without a PDAC code is not eligible for insurance coverage.

Looking at the criteria for an item to be covered by insurance, most lightweight power wheelchairs do not meet #2, where an item needs to be reasonable and necessary.

Lightweight power wheelchairs simply aren't designed for daily, long-term use and could even cause adverse health effects when used incorrectly.

Another requirement necessary for coverage with Medicare and most commercial insurance plans is that your power wheelchair will only be covered to be used inside your home. Most lightweight power wheelchairs are designed to be used outside the home, which is why they're so portable.

So if you're simply looking for a power wheelchair to help you get around outdoors, it won't be deemed as "reasonable" or "necessary" under Medicare coverage criteria. This is because outdoor use is not a covered Medicare benefit. And since commercial payers typically follow Medicare coverage rules, you’ll find that most health plans have the same “in-home use” requirement.

However, If you have a Medi-Cal plan, this is not the case. In fact Medi-Cal plans are prohibited from denying beneficiaries coverage on the basis that your power wheelchair will be used only for outdoors. That’s not to say outdoor use is covered in all cases. Your physician must still establish that a medical necessity for outdoor use exists, and even then Medi-Cal may not agree with your doctor and can still deny you coverage. Due to the complexities of the different types of insurances and coverage rules across payers, it’s important to work with a wheelchair supplier who knows Medicare and Medi-Cal coverage criteria to avoid being denied coverage.

Need Help Finding a Power Wheelchair with Insurance Coverage?

Contact our team of rehab experts today. They can walk you through what your options are, how much an electric wheelchair might cost for you, and help you find the best power wheelchair that fits your needs.


Of course, the main difference is lightweight power wheelchairs weigh a lot less — some of the lightest power wheelchairs only weigh around 30 lbs. On the other hand, regular power wheelchairs can weigh over 200 lbs! 

In addition to the weight of the wheelchair itself, lightweight power wheelchairs have a lower weight limit than regular and bariatric electric wheelchairs: a lightweight power chair usually has a weight limit of 250-300 lbs, while a bariatric chair can hold up to 600 lbs. 


Most lightweight power wheelchairs fold up small enough to fit in most cars, without the need for any special mobility equipment.

To get regular power wheelchairs into a vehicle, you usually need a large vehicle with a ramp installed. Power wheelchairs don't fold small enough to fit into regular vehicles, and they're too heavy to lift in and out of a vehicle.


Some lightweight power wheelchairs might sacrifice a bit of comfort to stay light and portable. To keep them light, they're usually made out of aluminum instead of steel.

Also, some lightweight power wheelchairs won't have as much of a cushiony, couch feel that high-end power wheelchairs have. For example, take a look at the Jazzy Elite 14 — it looks like a recliner on wheels! However, all of that cushion makes the chair heavier, and it won't be able to fold down easily, either.

That's not to say lightweight power wheelchairs aren't comfortable, it's just a difference you'll probably notice as you browse through power wheelchair selections.

How to Choose the Best Lightweight Power Wheelchair

The best power wheelchair for you depends on what you're looking for. As you browse through lightweight power wheelchairs, here's some general criteria you should evaluate them on:

  • Total weight - Some lightweight power wheelchairs still weigh around 50 lbs. Depending on who will be lifting the power wheelchair in and out of a car, this could still be considered heavy. The lightest power chair is around 33 lbs, which isn't too difficult to lift for most people.

  • How easy it is to fold up - Make sure you're able to easily fold the power wheelchair up and that it fits into whatever vehicle you'll be in the most.

  • Turning radius - A tight turning radius means you'll be able to maneuver around corners and smaller spaces. Look for a turning radius close to 20".

  • Comfort - Make sure the lightweight power wheelchair you choose has the comfort options you need. For example, do you need a wide seat? What about strong back support? Or cushioned armrests?

  • Weight limit - Some lightweight power wheelchairs have lower weight limits than regular power wheelchairs. Some weight limits max out at 240 lbs. If you need a weight limit over 300 lbs, you'll need to look for bariatric or heavy-duty power wheelchairs.

  • Durability - Lightweight requires using lighter materials, which can sometimes mean the wheelchair won't be very durable. Make sure to read reviews and see what real-life users have to say about the durability of the chair you're looking at.

  • Battery life - Some lightweight power wheelchairs don't have great battery life, since a smaller battery saves the chair from being too heavy. Make sure the estimated battery range is enough for the distance you plan on traveling in your chair.

Top Lightweight Power Wheelchairs in 2022

Jazzy Passport

The Jazzy Passport is a lightweight, folding electric wheelchair.

This power wheelchair is perfect for traveling, too: it folds up small enough to fit on an airplane, there's bag storage underneath the seat, and there's an optional airline-approved lithium-ion travel battery.

Features of the Jazzy Passport:

  • Total weight (without batteries): 59.8 lbs.

  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs

  • Turning radius: 24.25"

  • Folding? Yes

  • Folded dimensions: 31" x 23.5" x 16"

  • Airplane approved? Yes, with the optional airline-approved lithium-ion travel battery

  • Maximum speed: 3.6 MPH

  • Range: Up to 11 miles

  • Covered by insurance? No

Best for: People looking for a powerful, lightweight, foldable power wheelchair from a trusted provider and are not paying with insurance.

Feather Power Chair

The Feather Power Chair is the lightest power wheelchair in existence. It also folds up small enough to fit into any car or even a coat closet.

That said, the 35" turning radius on this chair isn't as tight as others. However, it makes up for that in weight and speed.

Features of the Feather:

  • Total weight: 33 lbs.

  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs.

  • Turning radius: 35"

  • Folding? Yes

  • Folded dimensions: 13" x 28"

  • Airplane approved? Yes, as the battery can be removed

  • Maximum speed: 5 mph

  • Range: 11 miles

  • Covered by insurance? No

Best for: Someone looking for the lightest possible power wheelchair and are not paying with insurance. The range and weight capacity aren't as high as other lightweight power wheelchairs, but if lightweight is what you're looking for, this could be the perfect fit!

Move Lite Folding Power Chair

At just 50 lbs, this is another one of the lightest power wheelchairs on the market. It features a decent range (15 mph), good weight capacity (300 lbs), and is airline-approved. It has a tighter turning radius and higher weight capacity than the Feather.

Made from aircraft-grade aluminum, this chair also has strong durability going for it! The Move Lite Folding Power Chair folds up and can fit into pretty much any car.

  • Total weight: 50 lbs.

  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs.

  • Turning radius: 31.5"

  • Folding? Yes

  • Airplane-approved? Yes

  • Maximum speed: 5 mph

  • Range: 15 mph

  • Covered by insurance? No

Best for: People looking for a light, foldable power wheelchair with a higher weight capacity and long range and are not paying with insurance.

Jazzy Evo 613

Pride Mobility produces some of the best quality power wheelchairs available. The Jazzy Evo 613 is one of their lightest chairs, coming in at 55% lighter than their other power wheelchairs.

The best part about this power wheelchair is that it's one of the lightest chairs that meets PDAC standards, meaning it's eligible for insurance coverage. (It's actually the only one on this list that meets insurance requirements).

While it's considered one of Pride Mobility's lightest chairs, it still weighs in at 189 lbs, which isn't necessarily something someone can lift on their own. It's considered lightweight for their line of chairs and packs a strong performance with tight maneuverability.

Features of the Jazzy EVO 613:

  • Total weight: 189 lbs.

  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs.

  • Turning radius: 22"

  • Folding? No

  • Fits on airplanes? No

  • Maximum speed: 5.1 mph

  • Range: Up to 21 miles

  • Covered by insurance? YES!

Best for: Users looking for performance who don't necessarily need the power chair to be foldable or airline-approved. Since the Evo is coded by DME PDAC, it also meets the criteria for insurance coverage which makes the Evo the best option for users looking to use their insurance to fund their purchase.

What is the Lightest Power Wheelchair?

The lightest power wheelchair is the 33-lb Feather Power Chair from Feather Mobility, a company dedicated to making the lightest wheelchairs in the world.

Most lightweight power wheelchairs weigh anywhere from 33-50+ lbs. Regular power wheelchairs weigh anywhere from 150-200+ lbs.

Where Should I Buy a Lightweight Power Wheelchair?

You have two different options for buying a power wheelchair:


While buying a lightweight power wheelchair online can be convenient, you won't always get the same close attention or service like you would if you shopped in person.

The other main downside of buying a power wheelchair online is that it's difficult to get assistance if something goes wrong with your order or you have issues with your new power wheelchair. Also keep in mind that power wheelchairs require servicing at least once a year to replace the tires and batteries, and every few years for more extensive repairs such as replacement motors and electronics. When it comes time for servicing it can be difficult to find a local company willing to repair equipment they didn’t sell.

In Person

Buying a power wheelchair in person means you'll get customized recommendations, one-on-one support, and you'll have a place to take your power wheelchair to if anything goes wrong with it, not to mention you won’t have to worry about who to take your power chair to when it comes time for servicing, or if you need someone to install replacement parts.

Need Help Finding a Lightweight Power Wheelchair in California?

If you're a resident in the state of California, we can help you pick the perfect power wheelchair for your needs.

Whether you live in Northern California, Central California, or Southern California, we'll deliver your power wheelchair right to your door, train you on how to use it, and make sure you feel comfortable in your new chair.

See if you qualify for a power wheelchair today or contact us to set up a FREE consultation

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