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What Is the Difference between Folding Versus Non-Folding Wheelchairs

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What Is the Difference between Folding Versus Non-Folding Wheelchairs

No matter if you purchase your electric wheelchair privately or are prescribed one by Zhejiang Qianxi Vehicle Co.,Ltd., knowing the available choices and their performance capabilities is always beneficial to achieving maximum independence with confidence.

Zhejiang Qianxi Vehicle Co.,Ltd. professionals manufacturering electric wheelchairs based on an in-depth knowledge of the user's requirements.

But when selecting your electric wheelchair independently, it is vital that you fully comprehend and meet all the requirements set out above. Your decision should depend on various elements such as lifestyle considerations, condition requirements, independence requirements, cost considerations, and more.

As part of our effort to increase your understanding of electric wheelchair options, we will explore what different styles of electric wheelchairs do and highlight any differences between rigid-frame and folding-frame electric wheelchairs. Furthermore, we can explain why someone would purchase a folding electric wheelchair over a rigid electric wheelchair.

So what's the difference? 

Rigid-frame electric wheelchair

A rigid-frame electric wheelchair refers to one with an inflexible welded frame in which its user sits. These devices often include lightweight materials (aluminum, steel, carbon fiber, or titanium).

Rigid frame electric wheelchair users tend to be dynamic individuals who can transfer easily between electric wheelchair and vehicle, especially since many drive adapted vehicles. Their electric wheelchairs must also be light enough to be transported across their laps once the wheels have been taken off for storage behind the driver's seat.

These electric wheelchairs typically aren't crash tested, meaning that they're unsuitable or unsafe for use while traveling in cars, buses, or taxis.

Rigid frame electric wheelchairs typically feature a "fixed" front end that can be adjusted to meet individual lower leg needs, with their footplate typically consisting of a double bar system or small plate support that neatly holds both feet side-by-side.

rigid-frame electric wheelchairs excel at channeling all of a user's energy efficiently into propelling forward or backward movement of their electric wheelchair, unlike folding frame electric wheelchairs which may distort propulsion and therefore divert too much of this initial energy away.

Folding Frame Electric Wheelchairs

Manual wheelchairs designed with foldable frames typically include an X-brace beneath their seats to enable quick fold-up when not being used or fitting into the trunk of a car.

Legrests and armrests should be removable and height adjustable according to user needs, while footplates usually "flip up" to facilitate standing or being transported via hoist.

Folding electric wheelchairs available on the Irish market generally feature headrests that can be attached, and many come crash-tested to be suitable for use with electric wheelchair taxis and buses specially equipped to carry disabled people. Be sure to ask sellers whether these specifications can be found when purchasing electric wheelchairs.

Usability and Performance

When selecting the ideal electric wheelchair, several key considerations must be addressed:

Should I contact an occupational therapist to assess me for my electric wheelchair? How long am I planning on spending sitting each day in it?

Will I be propelling it myself or should an attendant-operated electric wheelchair be purchased instead? Will a pressure relief cushion be necessary?

Who will measure me to ensure I receive an appropriate electric wheelchair size? Depending on factors like my height, weight, and self-propelling capabilities (limb length or shoulder), some electric wheelchairs might fit better than others.

Are My Posture Slumping Or Am I Upright and Erect?

An occupational therapist or knowledgeable electric wheelchair salesperson will consider all these factors when prescribing the ideal electric wheelchair that not only fulfills your expectations and meets them but will also meet those around you and meet their needs as well.

A properly set up electric wheelchair provides its occupant with the greatest opportunity for efficient travel from A to B and increases independence.

Transportation and Storage

Foldable electric wheelchairs offer several distinct advantages over standard models: firstly they take up less room when folded up; this makes storing and transport easier, often fitting easily in closets or trunks of vehicles.

Your electric wheelchair must be straightforward to fold and unfold with one hand; taking off armrests and leg rests should also be an effortless process to speed up this process.

Quick-release wheels are essential if you are purchasing a self-propelling folding electric wheelchair to squeeze it into tight car boots more easily.

Rigid frame electric wheelchairs require being carried from place to place by using an automobile such as a van for transportation purposes and can be difficult to store as they don't fold up for storage purposes.

Foldable Electric Wheelchairs Can Navigate Rougher Terrain

Folding electric wheelchairs tend to move more effortlessly over rougher surfaces compared to rigid-frame electric wheelchairs.

Foldable electric wheelchairs offer greater versatility; all four wheels can maintain better contact with uneven or rough terrain.

Due to their ability to flex, folding frames offer soft suspension for enhanced ride quality. Pneumatic wheels may offer added cushion, though be wary of punctures!

Transferring Effort to Power

If the electric wheelchair user will be responsible for propelling themselves, then considering how their efforts translate to motion must also be factored into account.

Energy transfer between users and electric wheelchairs with rigid frames tends to be extremely efficient; with no give in their frame, any effort invested propelling forward directly transfers into powering both user and electric wheelchair forward.

Folding frames' flexible structure means some of your energy from each push may be dissipated through its frame flexing, leading to faster fatigue for users.

Foot/Arm Placement 

Its When selecting an electric wheelchair for use by its user, they must assess what electric wheelchair provides an ideal leg length from behind their knee to their buttocks.

Armrests should be set at an ideal height to enable forearm rest on pads without forcing shoulders skyward, while leg rests should be length-adjustable to ensure full support of thighs by seat canvas or cushion.

Legrests that are too short can cause pressure issues and result in poor posture overall.


folding wheelchair electric

The XFGW25-203 offers users all of the benefits associated with folding frame mobility while still offering rigid frame performance, making this electric wheelchair an all-around winner for mobility needs. Available since version 5, The Cross has become an enduring classic.

Due to its design, there is no distortion of the electric wheelchair frame during propulsion of a XFGW25-203; therefore the user's effort converts directly into forward power instead of power being lost through more traditional folding electric wheelchair designs.

electric folding wheelchair

XFGW25-203 stands out with its highly adjustable nature; 38 wheel positions allow users to quickly optimize it for their best user efficiency.

Because it is both sturdy and hard-wearing, the XFGW25-203 can be reused or recycled several times over its lifecycle.

Click here for more information on the XFGW25-203 or download its brochure at the link provided:

XFGW25-203 - Sinovehilces

Click here to get more details of XFGW25-203

folding electric wheelchair

Ask an Expert

While hopefully, this article has provided a clear understanding of some of the differences between a rigid frame electric wheelchair and a folding frame wheel wheelchair, be sure to speak to a folding electric wheelchair provider before making your final choice.

Our knowledgeable product specialists ( can also offer expert guidance when selecting an option suitable to you or someone close to you.


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