More About Wheelchair Batteries
Your electric wheelchair's batteries are one of its most important components, giving it the power needed to take you wherever you go. Pride Mobility Jazzy/Quantum and Invacare power wheel chairs each use 2 deep-cycle batteries.
There are just two types of batteries that are suitable for use in motorized wheelchairs: gel-cell, and AGM.
- Gel: Gel wheelchair batteries contain a mixture of fluids that form a leak-proof gel. Gel batteries require no maintenance, are approved for airline travel, perform well in low temperatures, and have good life expectancy. However, they are prone to overcharging. Always follow the charging guidelines set forth in your wheelchair owner's manual. Electric wheelchairs require gel or AGM batteries. Used Wheelchairs USA ships only AGM batteries, described below.
- AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat): AGM powerchair batteries are the newest battery technology, using an absorbent glass mat covered in acid electrolyte and placed between their two plates. They are maintenance-free, spill-proof, shock resistant, and approved for airline travel. They are the most costly power wheelchair battery option. Electric wheelchairs require gel-cell or AGM batteries. Used Wheelchairs USA ships only AGM batteries.
- WARNING - Wet-cell batteries, typically used in cars, are less expensive than Gel or AGM but they are not suitable indoors or allowed on airplanes, because they can leak and explode, and can corrode the wheelchair and its wiring. They are also incompatible with most wheelchair battery chargers. Never use wet-cell batteries in power wheelchairs.
Wheelchair Battery Sizes and Prices
Most Pride and Invacare power wheelchairs use 12-volt U1 batteries (small - 24.5 pounds each), 12-volt Group-22 batteries (medium - 38 pounds each), and 12-volt Group-24 batteries (large - 53.5 pounds each). A few electric wheelchair models use Group-34 or half-U1 batteries.
Large batteries are more powerful and much more expensive than small batteries. Each wheelchair model requires a specific size of battery. Using the wrong size battery can damage or destroy your power wheelchair's electronics. Please see your wheelchair owner's manual for your specific battery requirements.
2 batteries are required in each electric wheelchair, and both should be replaced at the same time. Wheelchair batteries can cost hundreds of dollars to replace - see our survey of battery prices from major resellers. Wheelchair batteries are available from other sources, too: check your yellow pages under batteries, or search for "wheelchair batteries" on your favorite search engine.
Charging Your Wheelchair Batteries
It is important to note that you cannot charge gel or AGM batteries with a charger designed for wet-cell batteries. Always read your power wheelchair owner's manual and follow its instructions with regard to the type of battery compatible with your wheelchair's charger.
New electric wheelchair batteries have a maximum life of 300 recharges (or fewer), meaning that they can only be recharged 300 times before you must replace them. Therefore, it's best to drain your power chair's batteries somewhat (but not completely) before recharging. We recommend that you charge your wheelchair's batteries at least once per week.
Battery Range per Charge: 25 miles ... or is it 5?
Manufacturers' officially published range for most power wheelchair batteries is 20-25 miles per charge under optimal factory conditions. In reality, battery range is never optimal. The "optimal" range is reduced by the weight of the rider, less-than-ideal new battery break-in, difficult terrain, hot and cold operating temperatures, frequent stops and starts, aging batteries, and more.
Hard flat surfaces, for example, yield more miles per charge than carpeted or uneven surfaces. A 100-pound rider will get more miles per charge than a 250-pound rider. For the typical wheeler who uses a chair on varying surfaces, the actual range of new batteries (following proper break-in) may be 5-15 miles. Still, a 5-15 mile battery range should easily allow you to get through an average day.
Improving Wheelchair Battery Range and Life
Here are some pointers to help you get maximum range and life out of your wheelchair batteries:
- Never replace just one battery; replace both wheelchair batteries at the same time.
- Follow the directions in your wheelchair manual for the proper break-in of new batteries.
- Keep your powerchair batteries cool and dry to extend battery life.
- Don't let your wheelchair batteries discharge completely; this shortens battery life.
- Accelerate slowly to improve battery range; fast acceleration quickly drains your powerchair batteries.
- Avoid frequent stops and starts to improve battery range. Proceed at a consistent speed toward your destination.
- If your wheelchair is not used for an extended period of time, be sure to recharge your batteries at least once each month. Otherwise your batteries may permanently lose their ability to recharge.
If you have any questions regarding the batteries that we supply with our used power electric wheelchairs, please call us at 540-721-3327 (Virginia).