Rear Front Or Mid Wheel Drive - What's The Deal?

Author: Nicholas Sutedja   Date Posted:2 November 2017 

Rear Front Or Mid Wheel Drive - What's The Deal? main image Rear Front Or Mid Wheel Drive - What's The Deal? image

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Last week we invited you to register for Quantum's launching of the iLevel power wheelchair.

So you want to buy a power wheelchair, you know what you want, but then you look through our website and say “What’s the difference between all of these wheelchairs? Mid-Wheel Drive? Rear-Wheel Drive? Aren’t all power wheelchairs the same?”


Well yes and no. Yes in that they all serve the same function and no in that they each have their pros and cons. Their each have their unique style and each user would have their own preferences on what kind of power wheelchair they want.

Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD)

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This particular configuration is known for offering the highest top speed and performs quite well at high speeds. If you need, or plan to, go only from point A to point B as quickly as possible then a rear-wheel drive wheelchair would be most recommended for you.

Its power bases track is very straight and it handles aggressive terrain quite well in addition to its good stability.

However the size of its footprint and turning radius means that when turning around a corner it requires more space to successfully pass the corner compared to other bases.

Front-wheel Drive (FWD)

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One of this configuration’s greatest strength is that obstacle climbing is simple due to its drive wheel located at the front of the base and it also has good stability.

Unfortunately speed is not one of its strong points and many users have likened driving a FWD as driving a fork-lift due to the fact that driving uphill may result in a loss of traction and reduction in driver control…not something that you want.

It can also be confusing for users when turning tight corners as they need to account for the rear part of the wheelchair in order to make it not to mention be aware of what is behind them at all times.

Mid-wheel Drive (MWD)

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Now being ‘mid-wheel’ you might think that it’s the middle ground between front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive.

Well this configuration is well known to be good at maneuvering in very tight spaces and can turn a full circle giving it the best maneuverability out of all the other configurations.

A MWD wheelchair tends to track across a side slope very well due to its central power base.

So after reading all that what’s the end result? It all depends on what the user needs, each user has their own set of challenges and problems that needs to be addressed.

Here in Active Mobility we try to address those problems through our range of power wheelchairs and we work with both therapists and patients so that all issues and problems can be addressed and the patient is happy with the end result.

So come to our website and browse through our selection of wheelchairs.


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