fantastic multi-purpose powerchair for those without complex needs

5 out of 5 stars

I'm an ambulant wheelchair user, so use a powerchair outdoors but not in the house. I bought a freedomchair A08L (the largest in the range) a year ago and I LOVE IT!

The first thing to be aware of however is that it would probably not be suitable for a full time wheelchair user, as the seat and footrest etc are not very customisable, there is no raise/recline or tilt in space function etc, and the A08L is too wide to use in an unmodified home, although the smaller A08 might be. It is, however FANTASTIC for anything out of the home.

It took me a lot of research to find a powerchair that completley suits my needs, there was literally NOTHING available on motability or the NHS that would work for me, which unfortunately meant I had to privately finance my own via crowdfunding.

The plus points (there are a LOT).
- fits in almost ANY vehicle, honestly I think it might even go in a smart car but I haven't tried yet. It folds up to the size of a medium-large suitcase easily and quickly, in a split second it folds like a deckchair, and it only weighs 26kg (the smaller A08 will weigh less).
- Fits on busses, trains, in shops and public spaces easily
- Whilst it's not true all-terrain, it is as close as you can get whilst still being car-portable. I bought this because we take our cars to car shows, and I needed something that not only fits into a regular car boot easily, but could also cope with traversing grassy fields, gravel paths etc - it is perfect! I can trundle across show fields, even on softer wet grass, I even took it up a steep gravel forest path on holiday in Sweden.
- great range - I'm a heavier user, hence why I chose the A08L, it has ample power, and space for 3 batteries, each the size and weight as a typical bag of sugar -each battery will get you about 8 miles. You get 1 with the powerchair, each additional costs about £300, so I saved up and bought a second one, but honestly I don't see a need for a 3rd, as even under heavy use, with steep hills and varying terrain, mine will go ALL DAY and use all of one battery, and a blip or two of the next one. (You can wire them together easily, but I chose to test one at a time to find out the real range).
- batteries charge onboard (under the controller, so no bending down to plug in) or offboard, so if you just want to bring a battery in at night rather than the whole wheelchair, you can easily unplug and slide out the small batteries and charge them separately.
- onboard USB socket is invaluable for charging your phone or other accessories.
- seat can be adjusted somewhat by altering the tightness of the velcro straps under and behind the seat cushions, which easily unvelcro. The cushion cover is easily removable if you need to wash it, although I keep mine under a waterproof seat cover in case I get caught out in the rain.
- storage - the seat back contains a small velcro-close slim pocket for sundries, although I've added a slightly larger hi-viz wheelchair bag to mine instead. Under the seat is a very useful bag poppered to the frame where you can keep your charger or other things. I find that my handbag sits perfectly on top of this smaller bag, keeping it safe and dry. It's protected from the rear by the batteries and control unit, from the sides by the frame, and from the front by my legs, so it's hard to see my bag under there, let alone grab it.
- flying/holidays. Another advantage is that this is cleared for air travel, and I took it on holiday to italy a few months ago. It comes with a complimentary protective case. It folds like a deckchair to the size of a suitacase, and can be easily pulled along like a wheeled suitcase. The controller folds away easily, and can also be removed (or changed from left to right if needed), so I chose to remove the controller for the flight as it is one of the more delicate pieces and I didn't want to risk baggage handlers damaging it - I placed the controller in my hand luggage just before boarding, whilst my boyfriend folded and bagged the wheelchair and passed it to the baggage handlers at the plane door to place into the hold. It meant I could use my own comfy wheelchair all the way to the plane, rather than a painful airport transfer chair.
- Even in a steep cobbled historic place like Sorrento, it coped admirably on the hills and I was able to get around surprisingly well considering. (I wouldn't have chosen it as a disabled friendly destination, but we were invited there for a wedding).
- because it's so easy to use, it has improved my quality of life so much - I have a better social life as I can get out more, meet friends, go on public transport, don't have to worry about running out of range, my pain and fatigue are reduced because I'm not trying to do more than my body can deal with.

Customer service has also been great, before buying I was able to try one with a no obligation free test drive. They demonstrated how easy it was to get in and out of the car. They came in a regular bmw saloon car, not even an estate or a van, and he had 2 in there, with room for more. It fits easily in our nissan 200SX coupe, as well as my old saab 900 turbo sedan (not hatchback) still with loads of room to spare for luggage around it.

VAT relief is available for those with long term health conditions.

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5 out of 5 stars

5 out of 5 stars

5 out of 5 stars

Transport

freedomchair

Enter price

£2500

it's only limitation is inside non modified homes like small flats with narrow doorways/hallways, but everywhere else it's been fantastic. It copes happily outdoors on grass and gravel paths. Obviously don't try very fine gravel or sand as it will bog down, it is not all terrain, but as close as you will find in a car-portable lightweight powerchair.

in a year of ownership I had an issue with the charger, but that was replaced under warranty with no hassle. The USB port has stopped working on mine, but they are sending me a new controller again under warranty - it doesn't stop me using the chair, it's just useful for charging your phone etc.

considering the cost of other powerchairs, and the amount of functionality this one provides, although expensive, it's good value for money.

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  • Mobility
  • Accessibility
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Life changer

5 out of 5 stars

I never had so much freedom before. Now I can go to parks, restaurants and shopping centers. However, it is time consuming to get in and out of a car. It takes about 5 minutes to get in and out. Hard to get help from as others as it's complicated.

It is very good but rigid - hard to make comfortable. I can't lean back/adjust the back and the footrest is small. The problem with these products is that they are not designed for disabled people but rather more able bodied who have had an accident. They're not designed specifically for people with unique or multiple disabilities.

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5 out of 5 stars

5 out of 5 stars

5 out of 5 stars

Freedom Chair

Out and about

Freedom

Other

£3,500

  • Mobility

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-Joystick controlled

-Easy to fold in just a few seconds

-Easy to control and use both outdoors and indoors

-Easy to store in an apartment or where space is at a premium

-Light at just 21kg for the A06 model and 23kg for the A08 model

-Complete with anti tip bars as standard

-The Freedom chair comes with an airline approval certificate and is ideal for excursions or use on a cruise ship.

-It comes with an under seat zip bag, and a wrap around travel bag as standard. The materials and cushioning is easily removed for cleaning.

-The armrests fold up to allow for easy side access if required.

-The standard model has a range of 8 miles but you can easily extend the range by adding in extra batteries – by doing this you can increase the range to up to 25 miles.