How Fast Can an Electric Wheelchair Go? 

How fast an electric wheelchair goes is usually one of the top criteria used to evaluate whether it's a good fit for someone. It should be quick enough to keep up with family and friends if you're running errands and easy to navigate around the house. 

While most electric wheelchairs have top speeds of about five mph, some models lag behind while others are quicker.  

Our expert team of rehab equipment professionals is here to cover everything you need to know about a wheelchair's speed, including: 

  • How fast most electric wheelchairs go 

  • What affects the speed of a wheelchair 

  • What the ideal wheelchair speed is 

How Fast Can Electric Wheelchairs Go? 

Most electric wheelchairs go about 5 miles per hour (mph). Some of the faster power wheelchairs can travel up to 10 mph.  

While five mph might seem slow, it's still more than enough to keep up with friends and family when you're out and about — the average walking speed of an adult is about 2.5-3 mph. 

For reference, these are the top speeds of some of the most popular electric wheelchairs we carry at Freedom Mobility:

What Affects the Speed of a Power Wheelchair?

While all power chairs have a maximum speed, you won't be able to achieve top speed all the time. 

The speed of a power wheelchair depends on a few things, including:

  • The make and model - Some electric wheelchairs weren't designed to go fast, whether for safety reasons or because the chair is so heavy. For example, bariatric electric wheelchairs tend to have a lower top speed as they weigh more and are expected to carry more weight. 

  • Weight of the user - To reach the maximum speed of a power wheelchair, the user needs to be under the maximum weight limit. The less you weigh, the quicker your power chair will reach its top speed. 

  • The health of the wheelchair's battery - Always keep your battery fully charged. A wheelchair with an old or dying battery probably won't be very good at reaching its maximum speed. (Plus, regularly charging your wheelchair's battery helps prolong its life!). Most electric wheelchair batteries last a year or two — make sure you keep up with regular service and battery replacement as needed. 

  • Range of your wheelchair - The further you drive in your power chair, the less speed you'll have. For example, if your battery has a range of 14 miles and a top speed of 5 mph, you'll only be able to use it at the maximum speed for three hours. If you drive the chair slower, you'll prolong that range before needing to charge up the battery again. 

  • The terrain the vehicle is driving over - A wheelchair will be faster on a smooth, flat service than on uneven terrain. You're more likely to hit a higher speed on a smooth, freshly-paved sidewalk than on an old, uneven parking lot. 

How Fast Should My Power Wheelchair Be? 

Faster power wheelchairs benefit users who are on the go a lot. A higher speed is helpful if you want to quickly maneuver around the mall, a school campus, or busy parking lots.  

However, if you mostly use your electric wheelchair inside your home, speed doesn't need to be a priority. It's easier to navigate a slower wheelchair around furniture and corners in your home. 

Plus, the regular 4-5 mph top speed of electric wheelchairs is enough to keep up with the walking pace of most adults, so you shouldn't feel like you're lagging behind! For safety reasons, there's no need to go much faster. 

Can You Make an Electric Wheelchair Faster? 

Technically yes, electric wheelchairs can be modified to be quicker. However, we strongly advise against this for a few reasons: 

  • Modifications increase your risk of injury. The faster your power chair is, the easier it is to lose control or crash into something. It's best to stick with the manufacturer's original settings. 

  • Modifications void the power chair's warranty. Like modifying a car, power chair modifications will void the manufacturer's warranty. If anything goes wrong, whether a result of your changes or not, you'll be on the hook to pay for it.  

To maximize the speed of your electric wheelchair, simply keep up with scheduled maintenance, keep the battery fully charged, and keep everything clean. 

Do You Have Questions About Power Wheelchairs? 

Whether you have a question about your current power wheelchair or want to see if you qualify for a brand-new one, we can help! 

Freedom Mobility is based out of Rodeo, California, and provides complex rehab technology and wheelchair repair services to the entire state. Contact us today for a FREE consultation!