The Lightest Folding Electric Wheelchair for Travel

The Ability Toolbox is a disabled-owned small business. We use affiliate links, which means we may receive commissions at no added cost to you. Thanks!

 

If you have limited mobility, a folding electric wheelchair can empower you to be active in your community, go on cruises, and even travel by air wherever you want to go.

About This Guide

I am a lifelong wheelchair user and help run an organization that provides free mobility aids to people who can’t afford them. This guide is the result of extensive research and recommendations from our peer experts in The Ability Toolbox community. Together, we'll help you find the lightest portable electric wheelchair on the market today, and choose the right travel mobility device for you.

Pros and Cons of a Lightweight Folding Power Wheelchair

Lightweight folding electric wheelchairs are an amazing technical innovation, but they’re not for everyone. Before you decide to make a major purchase, you should determine whether this is the right type of mobility aid for you.

Advantages of an Ultralight Portable Power Wheelchair

Great for partially ambulatory people

If you can walk a little bit but need assistance with distances or hills, a folding power wheelchair will serve you well. They are an outstanding option for people who need some help getting around.

Easy to transport

No wheelchair lift? No problem! Portable power wheelchairs can easily fit into most car trunks or backseats. Most weigh under 60 pounds, and the batteries are removable so you don’t have to lift everything at once.

Perfect for travel

Traveling by air is often risky for power wheelchair users. In 2022, the most recent year for which we have data available, the 10 largest US airlines lost, damaged, or destroyed more than 11,000 wheelchairs and scooters. Most of this damage occurs in the cargo hold when large mobility aids are improperly loaded or secured.

With a travel electric wheelchair, you don’t have to worry about these issues, as they fold small enough to fit into the storage closet within the passenger cabin. They’re also great for cruises that use tender boats as they can be easily lifted. And if you’re visiting someone’s home that has steps, they’ll be much easier to lift than a full-size device.

Easy use and maintenance

Portable power wheelchairs are fairly simple devices with fewer moving parts to break down compared to full-size power wheelchairs. As long as you keep the battery charged and clean debris from the motors, they should last a long time.

Relatively low cost

Electric wheelchairs that fold are much less expensive than larger wheelchairs, even if you’re paying out of pocket. Due to their popularity, they are produced at higher volume, which brings down the price and makes them more affordable to everyone.

Great for emergencies

A folding electric wheelchair makes an excellent spare device for people who use a larger wheelchair. If you have limited space, you can store one in a closet and keep the batteries separate to recharge them periodically, so it’s ready for you if you’re traveling or your primary device breaks down.

Disadvantages of an Ultralight Folding Electric Wheelchair

Not suited for full-time use

If you are not ambulatory at all or plan to spend all day, every day in a wheelchair, portable devices will probably not meet your needs. They aren’t designed well for people who need to do non-weight-bearing transfers or who need the positioning support and padding necessary to safely use a wheelchair all day without risk of skin breakdown and pressure sores.

Not as comfortable

Folding power wheelchairs have minimal padding and support to help keep the weight low. Which is more comfortable, your recliner at home or the folding lawn chairs you use while camping? The same applies to electric wheelchairs. Of course, you can get an extra seat cushion or back support, but in general, the lighter the wheelchair, the less comfortable it will be.

No positioning features

Full-size power wheelchairs can have features such as elevating legs, recline, tilt, and seat elevation. Folding electric wheelchairs don’t have those functions because they would add too much weight and require much larger batteries. This means that again, they won’t be as comfortable to use for many hours.

Limited outdoor capabilities

Portable power wheelchairs have small front wheels that don’t do well in thick grass or uneven surfaces. However, some are better than others, and we have recommended a model that performs well above its weight — literally — in this area.

Often not covered by health insurance

Many portable electric wheelchairs are designed for the consumer market, meaning they aren't coded for insurance coverage. However, their low price will be similar to what you might pay after your insurance paid its 80%, and you can deduct it as a medical expense from your taxes and countable income for SSDI, Medicaid, and other benefits. 

As you can see, there are some trade-offs when using a folding electric wheelchair, but for the right situation, they’re worth the investment.

The Top 3 Lightweight Folding Electric Wheelchairs for Travel

Within the world of portable power wheelchairs, there’s still a tremendous range of weights, with some that called themselves portable even weighing up to 100 pounds! For this article, we are featuring three of the lightest devices on the market, as they will be easiest for seniors and disabled people to load in and out of a car.

Our Top Ultralight: ComfyGo Phoenix Travel Power Wheelchair

Our favorite of the ultralight travel motorized wheelchairs is also the heaviest, albeit only 2 pounds heavier than the other models. For just 2 pounds extra, you get a lot more. For starters, this chair offers the best battery range by far, at 15.5 miles, and the lithium batteries are airline approved. It’s made with a carbon fiber frame that is both lightweight and strong. Best of all, it features larger front casters, which means it performs better outdoors and in grass than most models. Its top speed of 4 mph is typical for these devices; it’s not great, but it’s about the best you can get.

The major disadvantage of this model is the very basic footrest that doesn't swing away, so it may not be as easy to get in and out of the chair. Like all extremely lightweight chairs, the seat doesn’t have much padding, so if you’ll be using it for many hours, you should consider getting an additional cushion.

Overall, we consider the Phoenix the best in its class and our top pick for devices under 40 pounds.

Editor's Choice

ComfyGo Phoenix Travel Electric Wheelchair -- Only 35 Lbs.

The ComfyGo Phoenix weighs just 35 pounds with batteries and is one of the lightest power wheelchairs you can buy. It has an ultralight carbon fiber frame, offers better outdoor performance than other ultralight electric wheelchairs, and has a longer battery range.
  • Folds to fit in a car trunk or airplane cabin closet
  • Airline-approved lithium battery with 15.5-mile range
  • 4 mph top speed
  • Max user weight 240 lbs.

Lightest Weight: Feather Ultralight Folding Electric Wheelchair

Floating into second place we have the Feather Ultralight. It weighs only 33 pounds including the batteries and features 4 mph top speed, which again, is not great but typical for these types of chairs. The battery range is 11 miles, which Is average for these chairs. The swing-away footrests are an excellent feature for people who have difficulty transferring, which could make this chair a better choice than the ComfyGo for some.

Our biggest concern about this chair is the tiny front wheels. If you’re using this device, be careful when going over large thresholds, as getting stuck could cause you to tip forward. It also won’t perform well in grass. Still, we feel that this chair is a good choice for people who need a very low-weight powered mobility aid that doesn’t take up much space.

Feather Ultralight Portable Electric Wheelchair -- Only 33 Pounds

The Feather Power Chair is one of the lightest electric wheelchairs on the market -- only 33 lbs.
  • Folds to fit in a car trunk or airplane cabin closet
  • Airline-approved lithium battery with 11-mile range
  • 4 mph top speed
  • Max user weight 250 lbs.

Best Ultralight Mobility Scooter for Travel: Featherweight

Rounding out our top three recommendations is this mobility scooter made by Feather. At just 37 pounds including the battery, it’s the lightest scooter on the market. If you are looking for better outdoor performance and can use a tiller control, the Feather scooter is an excellent choice.

The Feather portable mobility scooter goes 5 mph, an improvement over the folding power wheelchairs, but the battery only has a 7.5 mile range, so you may want to purchase a second battery and keep them both charged.

Feather Ultralight Portable Electric Wheelchair -- Only 33 Pounds

The Feather Power Chair is one of the lightest electric wheelchairs on the market -- only 33 lbs.
  • Folds to fit in a car trunk or airplane cabin closet
  • Airline-approved lithium battery with 11-mile range
  • 4 mph top speed
  • Max user weight 250 lbs.

More Portable Power Wheelchairs to Consider

As we mentioned above, the lightest portable electric wheelchairs are not always the most comfortable. If you can handle a bit more weight, these devices will offer a significant upgrade in comfort and performance.

Best Overall Folding Electric Wheelchair: ComfyGo Majestic IQ-7000

We've tested and researched dozens of travel electric wheelchairs, and the ComfyGo Majestic is our overall favorite. With its thick cushions and roomy seat, it offers the perfect balance between portability and comfort. While we wouldn't classify it as an offroad wheelchair, it can handle grass and dirt paths much better than other folding electric wheelchair models. It's heavier, but it folds in a way that makes it ergonomically easier to lift than many lighter devices, so don't let the weight put you off from considering it.

ComfyGo Majestic IQ-7000 Folding Power Wheelchair

The ComfyGo Majestic IQ-7000 provides portability without sacrificing comfort or outdoor performance. At 57 pounds, it's a bit heavier, but still easy to lift when folded, and can accommodate up to 350 pounds.
  • Folds to fit in a car trunk or airplane cabin closet
  • Airline-approved lithium battery with 13-mile range
  • 4 mph top speed
  • Max user weight 350 lbs.

Most Innovative Portable Mobility Scooter: Quingo Flyte

If you've been considering getting an accessible van with a ramp but the cost is prohibitive, the Quingo Flyte Mobility Scooter offers an affordable alternative. Its self-loading ramp system fits into the back of many standard vehicles, including minivans and SUVs. The scooter itself is sturdy and durable, and performs well in grass and on dirt paths. It has a higher weight capacity, 350 pounds, than other portable devices. 

With that said, the Quingo Flyte isn't portable in the same way as other devices on this list. It weighs 250 pounds, so it can't be lifted into a trunk without the ramp system. It also can't fit in airplane cabins, and must go in the cargo hold with all the risks of damage that entails. But if you have your own vehicle and air travel is not a concern, it's an outstanding mobility solution for many people. 

Editor's Choice

Quingo Flyte Mobility Scooter With Self Loading Ramp

The Quingo Flyte Mobility Scooter comes with its own ramp system to easily load into the back of a minivan, SUV, or crossover. It's a far more affordable alternative to buying a converted van.
  • Folds and self-loads into your vehicle's rear hatch
  • Non-lithium batteries with 23-mile range. Not airplane cabin compatible
  • 4 mph top speed
  • Max user weight 350 lbs.

Honorable Mentions

If none of the portable power wheelchairs above are quite right for you, these honorable mentions are recommended by our community.

Metro iTravel Lite Portable Electric Wheelchair -- Only 33 Lbs.

The Metro Mobility iTravel Lite Power Wheelchair has a magnesium-alloy frame and weighs only 33 lbs. making it one of the lightest travel electric wheelchairs you can buy.
  • Folds to fit in a car trunk or airplane cabin closet
  • Airline-approved lithium battery with 10-mile range
  • 3.45 mph top speed
  • Max user weight 220 lbs.

ComfyGo X-7 Lightweight Folding Travel Electric Wheelchair

The ComfyGo X-7 portable power wheelchair weighs only 40 lbs. and is ready to travel with you in a car, on a cruise, or even in an airplane. 
  • Folds to fit in a car trunk or airplane cabin closet
  • Airline-approved lithium battery with 10-mile range
  • 4 mph top speed
  • Max user weight 265 lbs.

Which folding electric wheelchair do you use?

Share your experiences with our disability community in the comments below.

+ posts

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Ability Toolbox. I received my BA in English from Stanford University and MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University Los Angeles, and have worked in entertainment and health media for over 20 years. I also blog about traveling with a disability. As a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy, I am deeply committed to amplifying the voices of the disability community through writing and advocacy.

Start the discussion at community.theabilitytoolbox.com

The Ability Toolbox
Logo
Register New Account