Mid Wheel Drive Chairs

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Mid-Wheel-Drive Chairs

A mid-wheel-drive chair provides a number of benefits for people who need added indoor mobility. The wheels that drive the chair are located in the center between a pair of front and rear supporting wheels. Mid-wheel-drive chairs have a number of advantages and disadvantages.


Mid-wheel-drive chairs have increased stability because of the positioning of the wheels. The chair is very stable on flat indoor surfaces. The reason for this is that the weight of the person in the chair is pushing down directly on the wheels minimizing any rocking. The smaller front and rear wheels add to the stability.


A mid-wheel-drive chair is very responsive to the commands of the person using the controls. The chair can move in very small increments both forward and backward. This allows for better access to narrow areas that require precise movements to pass. The person in the chair also has a better sense of the terrain under the wheels. This is because the placement of the wheels directs irregularities in the ground upwards into the seat.

Turning Radius

One of the main advantages of mid-wheel-drive chairs is the tight turning radius. The wheels are in the center of the chair placing the turn axis directly above the seat. The circumference of a turn is very minimal. The tight turning radius makes it possible to maneuver between furniture indoors. It also makes it easier to turn in place. The circumference of the turns results in better overall maneuverability so a person can easily follow winding hallways inside the home. This type of maneuverability is not present in front- or rear-drive chairs.


A mid-wheel-drive chair has a better grip on flat surfaces than other types of chairs. The majority of the weight of the chair is centered on the middle wheels. This extra weight increases the amount of traction the wheels have on floors inside the home. The added grip makes it easier to move across floors that have a slippery or polished finish.

Uneven Terrain and Outdoor Use

One of the drawbacks of mid-wheel-drive chairs is that the wheels do not perform well on uneven terrain. The chair provides limited access to outdoor areas. The main problem is that the forward or rear supporting wheels could encounter a rise and lift the middle wheels off the ground. The chair can become stuck in this position until the middle wheels are moved back into contact with the ground.

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